Tech News Feed

Upgrade Your Network With Up to $280 Off Mesh Routers During This Early Prime Day Deal - CNET

CNET News - 10 hours 22 min ago
These Eero brand mesh routers can improve speed, decrease lag and buffering, eliminate dead zones and much more.

Store Brand Foods Are Cheaper. But Do They Test Better? - CNET

CNET News - 10 hours 28 min ago
Buying grocery store brands instead of name brands can be one way to save on food costs as inflation raises prices.

The post-Roe data privacy nightmare is way bigger than period tracking apps

Engadget - 11 hours 17 min ago

Since the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked, influencers, activists and privacy advocates have urged users to delete period-tracking apps from their devices and remove their information from associated services. With abortion now outlawed in several states, data from such apps could be used in criminal investigations against abortion seekers, and a missed period — or even simply an unlogged one — could be used as evidence of a crime.

These services, like many “wellness” apps, are not bound by HIPAA, and many have long histories of shady practices resulting in fines and regulatory scrutiny. Mistrust in them is well-founded. However, calls to delete period tracking or fertility apps are obscuring what privacy experts say is a much larger issue.

“Period tracking apps are the canary in the coal mine in terms of our data privacy,” says Lia Holland, campaigns and communications director for Fight for the Future, an advocacy group focused on digital rights. While submitting data to a cycle tracking app could lead to being "outed by your phone," they said, there are numerous other ways actionable data could make its way to law enforcement. “That outing [...] could just as easily happen because of some game you installed that is tracking your location to a Planned Parenthood clinic.”

India McKinney, director of federal affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offered similar words of warning about commonplace and seemingly innocuous online activities. "Search history, browser history, content of communication, social media, financial transactions [..] all of this stuff is not necessarily related to period trackers but could be of interest to law enforcement.”

This isn't an abstract problem either: Before the constitutional right to an abortion was overturned, there were already cases where pregnant women had their search histories and text messages used against them after their pregnancies ended.

In one widely cited case, a woman in Mississippi who had a stillbirth at home was charged with murder because she had searched for abortion pills online. (The charges were eventually dropped.) In another case, an Indiana woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide after prosecutors cited her text messages as evidence her miscarriage had been a self-induced abortion. “Prosecutors argued that she’d taken abortion-inducing drugs purchased online, which is illegal in the United States, but police could not find evidence, beyond text messages discussing it, that the drugs were purchased,” according toThe Cut. Her conviction was ultimately overturned but only after she spent three years in prison.

There are other, more insidious ways people seeking abortions can be tracked online. A recent investigation from Reveal and The Markup found that Facebook’s advertising tools — which siphon data from vast swaths of the web, including some hospitals — were used by anti-abortion groups to keep tabs on people seeking abortion services, despite Meta’s rules against collecting such data. Data collected by the groups was also shared with separate anti-abortion marketing firms, which could allow them to target ads to “abortion-minded women,” according to the report. Experts who spoke to Reveal noted that the same data could easily be turned over to law enforcement.

Merely visiting a physical location could be enough to put someone at risk. Data brokers already track and sell location data related to abortion clinic visits. Last month, Motherboardreported that one data broker, SafeGraph, was selling a week’s worth of location data for Planned Parenthood and other clinic locations that included “where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they then went afterwards,” for as little as $160. The source of those datasets showing visits to reproductive health clinics? “Ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones.”

After the report, SafeGraph said it would stop selling datasets related to locations of family planning centers. But that doesn’t mean the apps on your phone stopped tracking where you’re going. And SafeGraph is just one of many companies in the shadowy and mostly unregulated multibillion-dollar data broker industry.

“Most people don't know the apps on their phone are doing this,” says Holland. “And in fact, a lot of developers who build these apps — because they use these very easy-to-use preset tools that have that blackbox surveillance hidden within them — don't even know that their own apps are endangering abortion patients.”

Concern about this sort of broad location-tracking led lawmakers to urge Google to change its data collection practices for the protection of people seeking reproductive healthcare. They cited the now-common practice of geofence warrants, which are “orders demanding data about everyone who was near a particular location at a given time.” Last month they cautioned that if Roe were to be overturned "it is inevitable that right-wing prosecutors will obtain legal warrants to hunt down, prosecute and jail women for obtaining critical reproductive health care." Despite the urgency around data collection practices for tech companies — and what new legal obligations they might now have to turn that data over to law enforcement — the industry's largest companies have thus far remained silent.

So while concerns about period tracking apps are valid, they are only a small piece of a much larger problem. And deleting the services from your phone won’t be enough, on its own, to ensure your personal data can’t be used against you. But though users may be badly outmatched by a vast and largely unregulated industry, they aren't entirely helpless.

Holland and McKinney pointed to the importance of protecting your private messages and browsing history, via encrypted messaging apps and privacy-protecting browsers. When it comes to menstrual tracking apps, Holland recommends looking for apps that only store data locally, not in the cloud. And if you’re visiting a place where you don’t want your phone to track you, the safest option is to simply leave your phone at home, says McKinney. “Your phone is tracking you so leave it at home if you don't want it to know where you go.”

Ultimately, though, both Holland and McKinney agree the onus of privacy should not fall on the individual. Lawmakers need to enact privacy legislation that curtails around what kind of data apps can collect. “Right now, there's not a whole lot of restrictions on what companies can do with people's data,” says McKinney. “We really do need legislation to fix a lot of the stuff on the back end, and not make it so that [I] have to do research to figure out what are the best privacy practices that I need to undertake before I deal with a particularly stressful situation in my life.”

Here Are Today's Refinance Rates, Jun. 29, 2022: Rates Drop Off - CNET

CNET News - 11 hours 18 min ago
Multiple benchmark refinance rates tapered off today. If you haven't locked in a rate yet, now's a good time to assess your options.

Here Are Today's Mortgage Rates on Jun. 29, 2022: Rates Trailed Off - CNET

CNET News - 11 hours 18 min ago
Today quite a few major mortgage rates ticked downward, though rates are expected to rise this year. The Fed's interest rate hikes are increasing costs for prospective homebuyers.

The iPhone at 15: Steve Jobs Revealed His Greatest Product in 2007 - CNET

CNET News - 11 hours 18 min ago
The first iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007 and it helped Apple grow into a $3 trillion company over the next 15 years.

Ford Says You Can Never Own Leased EVs

SlashDot - 11 hours 18 min ago
schwit1 shares a report from The Truth About Cars: Ford Motor Co. will be suspending end-of-lease buyout options for customers driving all-electric vehicles, provided they took possession of the model after June 15, 2022. Those who nabbed their Mach-E beforehand will still have the option of purchasing the automobile once their lease ends. However, there are some states that won't be abiding by the updated rules until the end of the year, not that it matters when customers are almost guaranteed to have to wait at least that long on a reserved vehicle. The change, made earlier in the month, cruised under our radar until a reader asked for our take over the weekend. Ford could be wanting to capitalize on exceptionally high used vehicle prices, ensuring that more vehicles make it back into rotation. The broader industry has likewise been talking about abandoning traditional ownership to transition the auto market into being more service-oriented where manufacturers ultimately retain ownership of all relevant assets. But it may not be that simple as this being another step in the business sector's larger plan to maximize profitability by discouraging private vehicle ownership. [...] While leasing customers will not be able to buy their EV, Ford Credit will allow them to renew an expiring contract in exchange for a brand-new model. Amazingly, the manufacturer is trying to frame this as environmentally responsible. But it smells like planned obsolescence and desperation from where I'm sitting. Ford knows that electrics require far less labor to produce. By also retaining/recycling the most-expensive component (the battery) it can effectively maximize profitability on a three or four-year turnaround. For now, the updated leasing scheme is limited exclusively to all-electric products (e.g. Ford Lightning or Mach-E "Mustang") sold in 37 individual states. But the long wait times for new EVs and Ford's desire to expand the plan through the rest of the year effectively means it'll be national by the time most people take ownership.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Snapchat+ is a new $4 monthly subscription service for 'passionate' users

Engadget - 11 hours 21 min ago

Snap is launching an optional subscription service offering "exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features," it announced. The $4 a month service is aimed at "passionate" snapchat users and launching this week in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The exclusive features are modest to start with, including the ability to change the app icon, see who re-watched a story and pin a friend to the top of your chat history as a "BFF," Snapchat SVP Jacob Andreou told The Verge. Some of those features like BFF will only be available to subscribers, but others may filter over to the main Snapchat app.

Snap relies mainly on its advertising model for revenue, so the new service is a break from that. It also makes money selling hardware like its Spectacles smart glasses and new Pixy drone, but that revenue is relatively small change compare to its ad business. The company recently announced a hiring freeze during its last earnings report and saw its stock price plunge dramatically over the last two months. 

Solo Stove's fire pits are up to 45 percent off for July 4th

Engadget - 11 hours 38 min ago

If you missed Solo Stove's Memorial Day sale, you have another chance to pick up one of the fire pits for less ahead of the July 4th holiday. Solo Stove has knocked up to 45 percent off fire pits again, so you can grab the Ranger for $200, the Bonfire for $220 and the Yukon for $400. These are some of the best prices we've seen on Solo Stove's devices, and if you want to get all of the things you'll need to use the fire pit in your backyard, a number of bundles have also been discounted, too.

Shop Solo Stove July 4th saleBuy Ranger at Solo Stove - $200Buy Bonfire at Solo Stove - $220Buy Yukon at Solo Stove - $400

We've recommended Solo Stove fire pits a few times in the past as they are solid alternatives to standard fire pits. All of the models actively channel smoke away from you while you're using it thanks to their double-walled design that pulls hot air through vent holes and back into the fire. This keeps flames hot while reducing smoke and creating fine ashes.

Two out of the three Solo Stove models are also fairly portable, so you can bring them with you on a camping trip or to a party without much hassle. The 38-pound Yukon, however, is probably best left in a semi-permanent spot in your backyard. And while you don't need any accessories to use these fire pits, there are some that might make the experience even better. For example, the essential bundle includes the fire pit of your choice plus a stand and lid. The backyard bundle includes all of those things, too, plus a shield that keeps pops and embers from escaping and a weather-resistant cover.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Hyundai shows off its Ioniq 6 electric vehicle for the first time

Engadget - 11 hours 47 min ago

Hyundai has revealed the design for Ioniq 6, its upcoming electric vehicle that was inspired by the Prophecy concept EV it showed off in 2020. It retains the Prophecy's futuristic elements without looking like it was a prop made for a sci-fi movie, with its aerodynamic profile and clean lines. Hyundai says the vehicle will have an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.21 — most modern cars have an average drag coefficient of 0.25 or 0.3 — thanks to its low nose and active air flaps, among other elements. Its elliptical wing-inspired spoiler and slight boat-tail structure help make it more aerodynamic, as well. 

Inside, the Ioniq 6 has a cocoon-shaped interior that's trimmed in sustainable materials, such as eco-process leather or recycled PET fabric for its seats. The company's modular platform for electric vehicles enabled its designers to stretch the car's dimensions and give it a completely flat floor for more legroom and space. For its entertainment and navigation system, it has a modular touchscreen dashboard with a 12-inch touchscreen display and a 12-inch digital cluster. 

HyundaiHyundai

The automaker has yet to announce the EV's specs, but to give you an idea, the Ioniq 5 has a 72.6-kWh battery that can deliver up to 300 miles of range. It also boasts 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque and the capability to go from 0 to 60 MPH in under 5 seconds. Hyundai will reveal the Ioniq 6's full specifications and features during its world premiere in July.

Most of Amazon's Eero 6 routers are on sale ahead of Prime Day

Engadget - 12 hours 3 min ago

We're fast approaching Prime Day, one of the biggest online shopping events of the year, but Amazon isn't waiting to slash the prices of some of its own products. The company has discounted several Eero 6 routers exclusively for Prime members. The standard Eero 6, for instance, is down from $89 to $71 for Prime members. That matches the lowest price we've seen to date.

Buy Eero 6 at Amazon (Prime exclusive) - $71

As with the other models, the Eero 6 is a mesh router. The price is for a single node. The router supports WiFi 6 with speeds of up to 900Mbps and the ability to connect more than 75 devices. Amazon says the device will cover up to 1,500 square feet. The company's TrueMesh tech prioritizes traffic to certain devices — a TV streaming a movie in 4K will require much more bandwidth than a smart thermostat, for instance. With the Zigbee smart home hub, which is built in, Eero 6 will connect Zigbee-compatible devices to Alexa.

Several other Eero models have dropped to new all-time low prices. Among them is the Eero 6+, which is $90, down from $139. This model supports speeds up to a gigabit and has two 1Gbps Ethernet ports. You may also get faster connectivity thanks to support for 160 MHz client devices.

Buy Eero 6+ at Amazon (Prime exclusive) - $90

The Eero Pro 6 also costs less than it ever has to this point. Amazon has lowered the price from $229 to $148. The device can cover 2,000 square feet and it supports speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Buy Eero Pro 6 at Amazon (Prime exclusive) - $148

In addition, the Eero Pro 6E is on sale. It's down to $179, which is $120 off the regular price. As the name suggests, this router supports the WiFi 6E protocol and more than 100 connected devices. It provides speeds of up to 1.3Gbps over WiFi and 1Gbps via Ethernet. Each node covers up to 2,000 square feet. Along with Zigbee products, you can use the Eero Pro 6E as a home hub for Thread devices (Pro 6 has Thread support too.)

Buy Eero Pro 6E (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $179

Get the latestAmazon Prime Dayoffers by following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribing to the Engadget Deals newsletter.

An 'iPhone Moment' Isn't Easy to Come By. But We Keep Trying - CNET

CNET News - 12 hours 17 min ago
Fifteen years after the original iPhone debuted, we're still searching for that next big thing.

Spending All Night With the First iPhone - CNET

CNET News - 12 hours 17 min ago
When the first iPhone went on sale 15 years ago phone history was made. I was there to write the first CNET review.

Look back at CNET's original iPhone review - CNET

CNET News - 12 hours 17 min ago
Reading CNET's original iPhone review it's crazy and crazy fun to see what we (and Apple) got right, what we missed, and how much phones have changed since then.

Samsung's Galaxy S22 Gives Me Battery Anxiety, But I Like It Anyway - CNET

CNET News - 12 hours 18 min ago
The Galaxy S22's battery life could be better, but everything else about the phone is great.

Firefox can now automatically remove tracking from URLs

Engadget - 12 hours 25 min ago

Mozilla's latest Firefox browser release has a new feature that prevents sites like Facebook from tracking you across websites, Bleeping Computer has reported. Called Query Parameter Stripping, it automatically removes strings of characters added to the end of an URL that allow Facebook, Hubspot, Olytics and other companies to track your clicks and serve targeted ads.

You've likely noticed these queries when you click on a link that comes from Facebook, for example. Rather than showing "https://www.engadget.com/example.html," it might show something like "https://www.engadget.com/example.html?fbclid=aa7-V4yb6Yfit_9_Pd" (not a real example). 

That jumble of characters after the question mark is a query parameter that can tell a company you've clicked on a link, helping them profile you for ad targeting. If you enable the stripping feature in the latest version of Firefox, it'll remove those characters before loading the URL, so Facebook will be none the wiser. It works via a blocklist and covers Olytics, Drip, Vero, HubSpot, Marketo and Facebook. 

To enable the feature, you simply select "Strict" for "Enhanced Tracking Protection" in the Privacy & Security settings. That doesn't work in Private Mode, but you can turn it on there too by typing "about:config" in the address bar, searching for strip and setting the 'privacy.query_stripping.enabled.pbmode' option to true, as Bleeping Computer points out. 

'Ms. Marvel' Episode 4 Recap: City of Lights, Daggers and Famous Cameos - CNET

CNET News - 12 hours 42 min ago
The Disney Plus series takes Kamala home, but there's more fights on the way. Check out the Easter eggs, comic links and that massive cliffhanger. (Spoilers!)

The Morning After: Google tries keeping political campaign emails out of Gmail spam

Engadget - 13 hours 1 min ago

Google’s Gmail has generally rigorous spam filters, but they can sometimes be too rigorous. Google is working on a way to ensure emails from US political campaigns reach users' inboxes instead of automatically getting tagged as spam.

The company has asked the Federal Election Commission for approval on a plan to make emails from "authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC" exempt from spam detection. That said, missives will still have to abide by Gmail's rules on phishing, malware and illegal content. Google spokesperson José Castañeda told Axios: “We want Gmail to provide a great experience for all of our users, including minimizing unwanted email, but we do not filter emails based on political affiliation."

One reason Gmail puts many campaign emails in the spam folder is other users often mark the missives as spam.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

HTC’s latest phone is a baffling one centered around the metaverseNo, not sure what that means either.TMAHTC

The HTC Desire 22 Pro supports HTC's Viverse ecosystem so users can visit communities using their browsers, even without VR devices. It's also compatible with the company's $499 Vive Flow VR headset and can pair with the device if users want to explore experiences, watch movies and TV or just access their apps in virtual reality.

The spec sheet is otherwise middling, and most of the metaverse / VR appeal comes from other HTC hardware.

Continue reading.

Airbnb is banning party houses permanentlyParty’s over.

Airbnb is permanently banning all parties and events at all host properties, globally. It follows a temporary 2020 ban it instituted to comply with COVID-related social distancing restrictions. "Over time, the party ban became much more than a public health measure," Airbnb said in a blog post. "It developed into a bedrock community policy to support our Hosts and their neighbors."

Continue reading.

Facebook and Instagram are blocking posts about mailing abortion pillsEven if they're outside the US.

If you post on Facebook or Instagram about being able to mail abortion pills, don't be surprised if you get a warning — or even get your account restricted. A tipster told Motherboard they were notified a minute after posting "I will mail abortion pills to any one of you" that their status update had been removed. When they tried to post it again later, they were banned. We replicated the restriction measure.

Continue reading.

NASA takes a step towards putting humans back on the MoonIts CAPSTONE launch will help NASA's space station safely orbit the Moon.TMANASA

Rocket Lab has successfully launched NASA's 55-pound CAPSTONE CubeSat that will eventually orbit the Moon — if all goes to plan. It's a small but important step in NASA's Artemis mission to send humans to the Moon for the first time since 1972. Rocket Lab used an Electron rocket with a special addition called the Lunar Photon upper stage, with enough power to send it into deep space. It's one of the smallest rockets to attempt to launch a payload to lunar orbit.

Continue reading.

Both of Valve's classic Portal games arrive on Switch todayThe $20 Portal Companion Collection includes the complete Portal experience.

Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct presentation, among a fewother things, revealed that the Portal Companion Collection is now out on Switch, priced at $19.99. The collection includes both the original Portal from 2007 as well as the more expansive, story-driven Portal 2. While the original Portal was strictly a single-player experience, Portal 2 has a split-screen co-op experience; you can also play this mode with a friend online as well.

Continue reading.

Best Desktop PC for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - 13 hours 17 min ago
We choose the best options for tower PCs, all-in-ones and desktop Macs you can buy right now.

Bowers & Wilkins debuts a redesigned version of its Px7 headphones

Engadget - 13 hours 17 min ago

Bowers & Wilkins first introduced the Px7 noise-canceling headphones in 2019, effectively replacing the PX in its personal audio line. Now the British company that's perhaps best know for its high-end home speakers has returned with a new version of the over-ear model. With the Px7 S2, Bowers & Wilkins has completely overhauled the Px7, from the design to the sound and the active noise cancellation (ANC). What's more, the company offers all of the upgrades with the same $399 price tag. 

The Px7 S2 features an "all-new construction" that Bowers & Wilkins says will keeps things comfy during longer listening sessions. More specifically, the company has opted for a slimmer shape and better cushioning in the earpads while trimming the overall weight. This new model is also available in three new color options: grey, blue and black. Physical controls are still available on the headphones, with buttons for power, volume, track controls and calls on the right side. A customizable button on the left earcup gives you quick access to noise canceling settings or a voice assistant. 

Inside, the company says it has built a new acoustic platform that powers 40mm drivers. Bowers & Wilkins further explains that the speakers were specifically built with "ultra-fast response" that's capable of hitting "every nuance" of the music you're listening to. The drivers are also angled to kepp "consistent distance" from your ear for a more natural soundstage. The company has developed its own digital signal processing (DSP) that can handle 24-bit streaming from your go-to music services with support for aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX, AAC and SBC codecs. 

In terms of ANC, the Px7 uses four microphones: two that measure the driver output and two that monitor ambient sound. The company says it has revised the noise-canceling algorithm as well for better performance. When it comes to calls, Bowers & Wilkins has changed both the microphone position and tweaked the digital signal processing to compete with noisy venues. ANC settings and transparency mode can also be activated in the company's Music App for the first time on its headphones, along with the ability to adjust the EQ as you see fit. Soon, the software will also allow you to stream music via an in-app player with an upcoming update. 

Bowers & Wilkins says the Px7 S2 will last up to 30 hours on a charge, though it doesn't specify if that's with ANC on or off. The company did explain that it upgraded the quick-charge feature from the previous model, giving you seven hours of listening time in 15 minutes. That's two more hours than before, in the same amount of time. 

Lastly, Bowers & Wilkins has teased its upcoming flagship headphone model, the Px8. Details are scarce for now, but the company says you can expect "reference-level" sound and "luxurious materials" for $549 later this year. If you can't wait for a new set of cans, the Px7 S2 is available starting today from the company's website and select retailers.  

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