<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/techhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.pngNBC Bay Areahttp://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usTue, 26 Jul 2016 13:15:44 -0700Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:15:44 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[TechCrunch Falls Victim to Notorious Hacking Group]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:15:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_31488411400.jpg

The hacking group OurMine has added another noteworthy target to its list of victims.

The technology news website TechCrunch, headquartered in San Francisco, was breached Tuesday morning by the hackers Tuesday who pinned the following "important message" to the site's homepage: "Hello Guys, dont worry we are just testing techcrunch security, we didn't change any passwords, please contact us on https://ourmine.org/news/contact-us, Thanks."

The hackers followed up their initial ploy with a picture of the OurMine logo displayed prominently on the TechCrunch website before casting a green banner with their message along the homepage.

OurMine's message was posted around 4:20 a.m. PST and was taken down within two hours, according to The Guardian.

TechCrunch isn't the only victim of an OurMine attack. Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey have had their social media accounts breached in the past two months, The Guardian reported.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Back To School Laptops: Top Picks]]>Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:34:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TechTalker0722_MP4-146944855631300001.jpgShopping for a new computer before school resumes? NBC's Mark Barger has some of your best options.]]><![CDATA[More Pokemon Go Crawls Planned for San Francisco]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:03:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/072016_SFPokemon2.jpg

Pokemon Go has been the talk of the town for the past several weeks and despite the recent San Francisco crawl event that gathered over 9,000 fans, Pokemon enthusiasts still want more.

A new San Francisco Pokemon crawl event has surfaced Facebook and is being described as “the world’s first massive lure drop.” A lure drop is a technical term in the virtual game that can summon Pokemon creatures when thousands of players gather at multiple locations.

Although this event has not gathered as many RSVP’s as the previous one, San Francisco’s Sue Bierman Park is still expected to have over 500 Pokemon trainers.

Another Pokemon crawl is being held Friday night in the Castro, “Go on the Rainbow trail and catch some Pokemon,” stated the Facebook event. The event will begin near Dolores Park and will make its way to Lookout, where the entrance fee will be waived if you show your Pokemon app on your phone.



Photo Credit: Jennifer Gonzalez/ NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Former Tech CEO’s Probation Revoked For Domestic Violence]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 21:05:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chahal0723_0060_pc.jpg

After being granted probation and avoiding jail time for a 2013 domestic violence incident, a San Francisco Superior Court judge Friday trevoked the probation of a former tech CEO for a separate domestic violence incident.

Following a lengthy hearing that began in April, Judge Tracie Brown ruled that former RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal violated his probation and ordered him to surrender his passport, according to court documents.

In 2014, Chahal was sentenced to probation in connection with a 2013 domestic violence incident in which he was originally charged with 45 felony counts and two misdemeanors. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor domestic violence charges and avoided jail time, however, after a video used as evidence during the trial was deemed inadmissible because it was seized without a warrant.

Soon after, however, a new victim came forward, alleging Chahal assaulted her at his South Beach apartment back in September 2014. In light of the new allegations, prosecutors then moved to revoke Chahal's probation.

In the recent hearing, prosecutors presented evidence alleging that Chahal, angry about an argument the victim had with his security guard, kicked the victim 10 or 12 times as she lay on his bed.

They also alleged that Chahal took away the woman's phone when she tried to call 911 and then told her to leave the apartment.

The victim, who is not a U.S. citizen and is currently living in South Korea, was not present during any of the hearings. Her absence led to heated arguments between prosecutors and defense attorneys over what evidence can be admitted in the hearing.

Chahal's defense attorney James Lassart was not immediately available for comment.

Chahal is scheduled to appear for sentencing on Aug. 12.



Photo Credit: The Chronicle]]>
<![CDATA[Last VCR Manufacturer to Stop Production]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:25:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/Electronics+Recycled1.jpg

The once-revolutionary videocassette recorder is headed for the technological cemetery, 40 years after it first hit markets.

Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, released a statement Thursday that it will stop making VHS recorders at the end of the month, the Japanese Newspaper Nikkei reported.

The company, the only VCR manufacturer in the world, cited a lack of demand and difficulty acquiring parts.

While the company said it sold 15 million VCR units a year at its peak, only 750,000 were sold worldwide in 2015, the New York Times reported.

The VCR first awed the country in the 1950s, then costing around $50,000 each.

The recording device became increasingly popular in the 1980s, with VCRs in around 15 million homes by the end of 1984 and prices dropping to between $600 and $1,200.

However, the DVD quickly began to surpass videocassette sales after its introduction in 1995. Both hardware devices have increasingly declined since video streaming has taken hold.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fans Find Pokemon During SF Crawl]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 17:48:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*284/072016_PokemonCrawlSF1.jpgPokemon fever surged through thousands during the San Francisco Pokemon Crawl event. Throughout the city enthusiasts caught virtual creatures, explored the city and interacted with other trainers. Check out a few of the Pokemon fans caught. ]]><![CDATA['Pokemon Go' Could Generate Billions For Apple: Analyst]]>Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:50:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-546258766.jpg

Apple can thank the "Pokemon Go" phenomenon for the billions of sales expected to come into the company, CNBC reports.

Laura Martin, managing director of investment firm Needham & Co., estimates that the smartphone game could generate $3 billion in revenue for Apple in the next 12 to 24 months as the game expands into more countries.

Martin attributes Apple's success to its ecosystem business structure and other revenue generators such as the App Store.

"The next genius that makes a hit game, Apple shares on that one too. So while this one may be transitory, Apple has an option on all future hit games over the iOS platform," Martin said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Pokemon Go Players Invade SF to "Catch Them All"]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:38:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/TLMD-Pokemon-go-EFE-636042181434231287w.jpg

An estimated 9,000 Pokemon Go players gathered late Wednesday in San Francisco in a hunt to "catch them all."

An event page that was started on Facebook over two weeks ago has over 8.9K accepted RSVP’s and 28,714 interested users for the so-called Pokemon Go crawl.

The crawl started at 6 p.m. at Dolores Park, then moved over the Embarcadero spanning across the piers, according to the Facebook post.

Here's a list of locations hosting special activities, food specials, dance parties, raffles and giveaways during the event:

Special Activities

  • The Razer Store located at the Westfield San Francisco Centre will have giveaways of their new Nabu Wearables, gaming hardware, logo patches, and iPhone 6 cases. The store will also be hosting an off-site costume contest. To win, post your picture on Instagram with your best gear and use the hashtag #pokecrawlsf and #Razer for a chance to win Nabu Wearable gear. 
  • SoMa StrEat Food Park will have food trucks and bars open with a reserved "barn" space just for Pokemon Go players. Raffles will be held throughout the night for all game users as well as a Pokemon themed dance party. 
  • The Myriad Market Hall will provide several charging stations for trainers losing battery life on their phones.
Food Specials
  • Antonik's BBQ will be serving $10 plates and sandwiches for all Pokemon Go trainers. 
  • The Myriad Market Hall will be hosting a variety of food deals based on the level and and Pokemon the player has caught. For those who are running out of battery on their cell phones can use one of their charging stations while they have a Pokemon themed drink with delicious food. Their deals include $10 Pokedelish bowls for level 10 and above and a free drink with a Pokedelish bowl for level 12 and above. The Myriad will also be giving away a free glass of champagne to players with a Snorlax, $6 Bloody Mary or Mimosa to trainers with an Aerodactyl and those in team Valor can get a Chai Latte (hot or iced) for $4. 
  • Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream will be at one of the start locations handing out free ice-cream to Pokemon game users. 
Special Pokemon Go Crawler deals
  • Lyft is offering a 20% off code to and from Dolores Park, StrEat Food Park, The Myriad, 18th and Mission and Harry Bridges Plaza. Simply use the code "SFOPOKEGO" to get a discounted ride from 5 p.m. - 2 p.m.
  • If you want to be prepared on battery life throughout the night, Ravpower has a special deal for trainers to get $4 off one of their portable chargers, make sure to use the code"PokemonG"
  • The Omni team will be in various locations on the suggested route giving away iTunes gift cards for all "Pokemon in-app purchases. Make sure to download the app and use the referral code "CATCHEMALL" to receive Pokecoins. The Omni ambassadors will be wearing all red Omni gear. 

A map has been posted to the Facebook event to guide Pokemon trainers on suggested routes to take during the nights activities.

The SF Police department has tweeted an image of a few safety tips to use throughout the night to keep the event fun.

The creator of the event, Sara Witsch also asked all attendees to be respectful, “Let’s all be considerate to the city allowing us to wander through its streets looking for invisible creatures. All in all, have fun and catch em’ all!” said Witsch on the Facebook event.



Photo Credit: EFE
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<![CDATA[Twitter Suspends Breitbart Editor Over Leslie Jones Abuse]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 03:46:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-543705532.jpg

Twitter said Tuesday it had permanently suspended the account of conservative provocateur and Breitbart.com tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, after reports he led the harassment campaign against "Ghostbusters" actor Leslie Jones, Reuters reported.

Jones retweeted and shared several abusive tweets she received Monday before telling her 250,000 followers she's quitting Twitter.

"I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the s**t I got today... wrong," she wrote. 

Other accounts had also been suspended, Twitter said. The social media giant has long come under fire for not doing enough to police abusive behavior on the messaging service.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Hilarity For Ch]]>
<![CDATA[Homeowner Opens Fire On 'Pokemon Go' Players]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 08:29:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_pokemonshooting0719_1920x1080.jpgA Florida man mistook teens playing "Pokemon Go" for burglars and opened fire on them outside his home. WESH's Gail Paschall-Brown reports.]]><![CDATA[Uber Accelerates Past 2 Billion Rides]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 04:27:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-generic1.jpg

Pedal to the metal seems to be Uber's new philosophy.

After taking nearly six years to accomplish 1 billion rides, the ride-hailing mogul based in San Francisco reached the 2 billion number just six months later, as reported by The Verge.

The milestone ride occurred on June 18. Well, technically, it was 147 rides that all started at the exact same time across 16 countries, according to CEO Travis Kalanick's Facebook page.

Not only is Uber celebrating the achievement, but those 147 riders and drivers will be gifted with $450, a number symbolizing Uber's operation in 450 cities around the globe, Kalanick said.

Monday's announcement breeds optimism for Kalanick.

"It took five years to reach our billionth trip, six months to reach the next billion ... and we'll hopefully reach our third even more quickly," he said on Facebook.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Cemetery Welcomes 'Pokemon Go' Players]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:23:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pokemon+go+cemetery.jpgA Michigan cemetery is welcoming "Pokemon Go" players with open arms, but that isn't sitting well with some families who have loved ones buried there. WDIV's Nick Monacelli reports.]]><![CDATA[Pokemon Invade the Alamo]]>Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:25:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_alamopokemon0715_1920x1080.jpgWith Pokemon Go preoccupying people all over the country, the directors of the Alamo in San Antonio have noticed visitors paying more attention to their phones than to the history of the landmark.

Photo Credit: WOAI]]>
<![CDATA[Pokemon Go Ride Services Combat Distracted Driving]]>Mon, 18 Jul 2016 06:28:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_pokemondriving0715_1920x1080.jpgLaw enforcement agencies throughout the country are warning drivers not to use Pokemon Go while driving prompting "Pokemon Go Drivers" to offer their services to gaming customers.]]><![CDATA[PayPal Founder, Gay Entrepreneur to Speak at RNC Convention]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:28:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/495486464-peter-thiel-dealbook-conference.jpg

Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder and one of Silicon Valley's elite entrepreneurs, will be the first openly gay speaker featured at a national Republican convention in 16 years. His appearance comes as party leaders refuse to soften the GOP's formal opposition to gay marriage.

Thiel, who has been a staunch supporter of Donald Trump's run for the oval office, previously supported Ron Paul for president and has identified himself as a convervative libertarian in the past.

He has been a hearty donor for Republican candidates, including Ted Cruz during his run for attorney general and fellow techie Carly Fiorina in her failed bid for the Republican nomination. Thiel also founded a student publication while at Stanford University that focused on politics that stray from the conventional two-party system. 

There have been few openly gay speakers at the convention, the last being in 2000 when Rep. Jim Kolbe from Arizona nabbed a speaking spot when George W. Bush became the Republican nominee.  Steve Fong, an adovcate for a gay rights group, also gave a short speech in 1996. 

It's still unclear whether Thiel will be speaking about gay rights, although he has said in the past that he supports gay marriage and confirmed that he is a member of the LGBT community. The tech tycoon was outed against his will by Gawker Media, and secretely funded a lawsuit against the company earlier this year that saw it go bankrupt.

Other speakers will include four of Trump's children, Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin, and actor and former underwear model Antonio Sabàto Jr. College football star Tim Tebow will appear on stage, the campaign confirmed. 

Mark Geist and John Tiegen, survivors of the deadly 2012 attack on the American diplomatic consulate in Benghazi, Libya, will speak. 

Some of the GOP's biggest names are declining to participate in four-day convention, which begins on Monday. 

Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the party's two most recent presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, plan to skip the event, as does Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another Trump primary challenger. 

Many have taken the Bush family absence to indicate strong disapproval for Trump, whose brash and often times politically incorrect campaign style clashes with the so-called "compassionate conservatism" favored by the former presidents. 

Shrugging off such absences, Trump's team suggested the convention lineup would help highlight Trump's outsider appeal.

"We are totally over-booked. We have great speakers, we have winners, we have people that aren't only political people,'' Trump told Fox News Channel on Tuesday. We have a lot of people that are just champions and winners.''

He acknowledged in recent days that he'd stick a little closer to tradition. 

"Look, I have great respect for the institution of the conventions. I mean to me, it's very important. So we're not going to change the wheel,'' he said on Fox.

The program will feature people such pro golfer Natalie Gulbis, retired astronaut Eileen Collins, and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White. Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, author of the book, ``Lone Survivor,'' about a 2005 firefight in Afghanistan, will make an appearance, along with a Wisconsin sheriff, David Clarke, who is a vocal critic of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The convention will highlight religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr. and Haskel Lookstein, the New York rabbi who converted Trump's daughter Ivanka to Judaism. 

Trump does not forget his business relationships, giving speaking slots to real estate investor Tom Barrack and even the general manager for Virginia's Trump Winery, Kerry Woolard. 

In a nod toward party unity, Trump will feature several former presidential competitors, including Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The real estate mogul announced Friday that he had selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for New York Times, File]]>
<![CDATA[FCC Paves Way for Speedy Next-Generation 5G Networks]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 06:34:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mobile-World-Conference-GettyImages-511717806.jpg

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-frequency spectrum for the roll out of “5G” mobile, flexible and fixed-use broadband wireless applications and networks.

The move by U.S. regulators makes the United States the first country to set aside an ample amount of airwaves for lightening-fast fifth generation wireless technology.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks, the FCC said.

Companies including Verizon and AT&T already were moving closer to adopting 5G.

There is a worldwide race to adopt 5G. South Korea and Japan plan to deploy it by the time they host the Olympics, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The European Commission, South Korea, China and Japan are all working on 5G research efforts.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pokémon Craze Around the Bay Area]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 12:20:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-5462587661.jpg

Pokémon have invaded once again, and they're everywhere.

The Pokémon Go game has become the most downloaded app in both Apple and Android app stores, surpassing Tinder, Twitter and Snapchat in downloads and active users.

But it's popularity doesn't come without risks. Law enforcement everywhere is asking gamers to have fun, but pay attention to their surroundings as well.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Nintendo Plans Retro 'Mario,' 'Zelda' Console]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 02:04:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NES_Classic_2.jpg

If you're of a certain age and miss the video games of the 1980s, Nintendo has a Christmas gift for you.

The video game company said Thursday it will release the "NES Classic Edition" on Nov. 11, a $59.99 system that comes loaded with 30 vintage Nintendo games.

Among the highlights are all three "Super Mario" games, two "Zelda" titles, two "Castlevania" entries and two installments from the "Donkey Kong" franchise. 

Nintendo described the new console as a "near-identical mini replica" of the original NES; this one, though, connects to TVs via a more-modern HDMI port.

While classic Nintendo games have been available on other platforms - either legally or via the download of illicit "ROM" files from the Internet - this is the first time Nintendo has stepped into the retro games market with a dedicated piece of hardware. 

The complete list of games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • BUBBLE BOBBLE
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr. 
  • DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • FINAL FANTASY
  • Galaga
  • GHOSTS’N GOBLINS
  • GRADIUS
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros. 
  • MEGA MAN 2
  • Metroid
  • NINJA GAIDEN
  • PAC-MAN
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • SUPER C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.  2
  • Super Mario Bros.  3
  • TECMO BOWL
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link



Photo Credit: Nintendo of America]]>
<![CDATA[Pokémon Go Seeks Community Manager in SF]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 16:51:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Pokemon-Go-Screenshot.jpg

Head’s up Pokémon Go fans! If you have a passion for social media, marketing and catching Pokémon, then you might want to get your resume ready.

Pokémon Go is looking to hire a global community manager in San Francisco.

“Our Niantic Labs Marketing team seeks a candidate to scale our social media marketing and grow our global Pokémon Go communities,” the job listing says.

But having the skills to grow communities online isn’t the only requirement to be considered for the position.

The company is seeking for an individual who is an “avid Pokémon player and fan, with knowledgeable and deep expertise in the franchise.”

In fact, on the job listing it’s not only noted as a requirement but as well as a key skill.

Check out the requirements on the job listing.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Security Robot Injures Boy at Stanford Shopping Center]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 13:01:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0712-2016-SecurityRobot.jpg

A 16-month-old boy is recovering after a security robot apparently ran over his foot at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California.

The boy's mother, Tiffany Teng, said her son, Harwin Cheng, was just a few inches in front of her when he bumped into the robot at the shopping center Thursday. Teng said her son fell down and the 300-pound robot ran over his foot.

"The robot did not stop at all, kept moving forward and ran over his right foot," Teng said. "I started screaming."

Teng said the robot was about to run over the boy's other foot when her husband pulled him away.

Paramedics checked the boy and found swelling, but no broken bones.

The robots have been used for about a year at the shopping center. They are created by Mountain View-based Knightscope.

"This is a horrific accident, but we believe the technology and the machines are incredibly safe and we will continue to do our best to make sure that they are," said Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope vice president of marketing and sales.

Stephens said Knightscope has machines operating all over California and have logged 35,000 hours with no incidents. The company is now investigating what may have gone wrong at the Stanford Shopping Center accident.

Teng questions why the robot was roaming the mall without supervision if it was not able to detect a small child.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Pokemon Go]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:05:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-546258766.jpg

Pokémon have invaded once again, and they're everywhere. Since the Pokémon Go app launched on iOS and Android in America on July 6, people have been catching the creatures anywhere from the Empire State Building to the bathroom.

The Nintendo franchise, which first garnered massive popularity when it launched in the late 1990s, is making a comeback. Pokémon first became a cultural phenomenon at the turn of the millennium, producing multiple spin-off games, trading cards, movies and a television show.

Pokémon Go is the franchise's newest addition, and the free game has been sweeping the country since its launch. It became the most downloaded app in both Apple and Android app stores, surpassing Tinder, Twitter and Snapchat in downloads and active users.

All this happened before the game was a week old and had yet to launch globally.

How does the game work?
Pokémon Go can't be played stationary, or least very well. The augmented reality game uses your phone's GPS and camera to find virtual Pokémon creatures in your neighborhood. The app tracks user location and uses notable real-life landmarks as "Pokéstops" where players can collect Poké Balls and capture Pokémon. So instead of catching Pokémon in the traditional digital landscape, players are forced to get off their couches and explore the real world to capture Pokémon and engage in virtual battles. As players move around they encounter different Pokémon depending on the time and their location.

Once you reach level 5, you can join one of three "teams" and have your Pokémon battle other players' at "gyms." Here's a good explainer on how that works to start. 

The game has sparked privacy concerns.
On the digital front, some users were concerned about the game's access to its player's Google information. Many Pokémon Go users sign in to the game with a Google account. Though using Google is not an uncommon login method, the app asked players to allow Nintendo full account access. This allows the company access to any user information on Google, including email, documents, photos and search history.

This poses a security risk for user information, especially if the game, which has millions of users, were to get hacked.

Niantic, the game's San Francisco-based developer, released a statement on its website Tuesday acknowledging the privacy concern, but said the app itself only accesses basic information, despite asking for full access.

The company said Google verified the game has not collected any additional information. Niantic released an update Tuesday to fix the error so that the app will only request the basic Google account information it needs.

Users can also opt to log onto the game with a Pokémon account, but the site to sign up has been so overwhelmed by the recent demand that it has been shut for maintenance.

The game's popularity has also prompted safety warnings from law enforcement across the country.
Though the app opens with a warning to players to be wary of their surroundings, players have reported accidents or injuries that occurred because they were not looking up from their phones when off wandering.

While some crazy stories about the game have proven to be hoaxes, players have nevertheless encountered trouble when trespassing or wandering into dangerous places in pursuit of Pokémon.

Two men in the San Diego area were hospitalized after falling down a cliff while playing.

Police in Oregon reported receiving a call that a man had been stabbed while walking and playing the game on his phone. 

The Missouri police department also wrote in a Facebook post that they arrested three teens for armed robbery, writing that they believe the teens lured victims to their location through Pokémon Go. The game allows users to leave modules in the game that attract Pokémon, and subsequently players on the prowl to catch the creatures.

In Wyoming, a teenager found a dead man's body floating in a river when she was searching for water Pokémon. Other bodies have since been spotted by Pokémon hunters in California and New Hampshire.

Some places designated as landmarks in the game are asking players to show respect and refrain from playing at their locations.
Though the game allows users to capture Pokémon all over the country, some places, like the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., have asked players to look up from their phones. The museum's communications director told The Washington Post the they are looking into getting the Holocaust Museum excluded from the game.

National Mall and Memorial Parks officials in D.C. also posted to their Facebook page asking players to be respectful of the memorials.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Families Sue Facebook Over Palestinian Attacks]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 17:34:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

JERUSALEM - Israeli and American families of victims of Palestinian attacks filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network is providing a platform for militants to spread incitement and violence, their lawyers said Monday.

Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, filed the suit on behalf of the five families in New York federal court late Sunday, alleging that Facebook is violating U.S. anti-terrorism laws by providing a service to militant groups that assists them in ``recruiting, radicalizing, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks.''

The lawsuit focuses on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and which has fought three wars against Israel since the Palestinian group overran the coastal territory in 2007. Hamas, an armed group sworn to Israel's destruction, has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

The five families in the lawsuit lost relatives in attacks over the last two years. Four were dual Israeli-American citizens while one victim was an American tourist.

``Facebook can't sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can't serve as a social network for Hamas,'' said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the Israeli lawyer who is representing the families.

The suit comes amid a 10-month outburst of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has seen scores of Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli civilians and troops.

Israel says the violence is being fueled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement on social media while the Palestinians see it as the result of frustrations over nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation and a lack of hope for their own state.

Since mid-September, 34 Israelis and two American tourists have been killed in Palestinian attacks. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed during the same time. The majority of the Palestinians are said by Israel to have been attackers. The rest were killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is the family of Taylor Force, a 28-year-old U.S. veteran who was visiting Israel in March when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. Other plaintiffs include the family of Richard Lakin, an educator and coexistence advocate who was shot on a Jerusalem bus last October, and relatives of Naftali Fraenkel, an Israeli teenager who was kidnapped and killed while hitchhiking in the West Bank two years ago.

Lakin's son, Micah Lakin Avni, said the goal of the lawsuit was to get Facebook and other social media companies to ``take responsibility'' for the content floating around their sites.

Avni said that his father was hospitalized for two weeks before he died, and during that time, Avni sat by his bedside trying to figure out what had happened. He said that in his research, he was shocked to see how much violent content was on Facebook. He said Hamas-related pages praised the attack and posted a video re-enactment. One of the attackers, he said, posted a ``martyr's'' last will and testament.

``On Facebook, it's a free for all, because nobody has really called them to task,'' he said.

Facebook had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, saying it had not yet received a copy. But in a statement, it said people need to ``feel safe'' when using Facebook.

``There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook,'' it said. ``We have a set of Community Standards to help people understand what is allowed on Facebook, and we urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.''

The case is among a handful to argue that U.S. anti-terrorism laws should take precedence over the provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which normally shield online companies for liability for what their users post.

It is not clear whether the lawsuit will succeed. The court may rule that freedom of expression precedes anti-terror laws. Moreover, while the attackers in the five incidents had links to Hamas, the militant group has stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks, suggesting the assailants acted on their own.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the case ``appears to be a more compelling complaint'' than other similar suits filed in recent months.

He said the most interesting argument is that beyond saying Facebook served as a conduit for hate speech, it says the service played a role in specific attacks. ``This case will be well worth watching,'' he said.

But Aaron Mackey, a legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a U.S. group promoting civil rights in the digital world, said he believed the lawsuit would fail.

He said the plaintiffs would have to prove that Facebook was ``actively participating'' in terrorist attacks. He also said the Communications Decency Act provides a ``broad shield'' of protection for online platforms like Facebook.

"What they are really asking for is for Facebook to not provide service to certain individuals or to certain parts of the world because they're afraid of the speech that might result,'' he said. Any attempt to impose broad filters on expression would ``sweep up a whole lot of legitimate speech'' as well, he said.

The suit comes as Israel is considering how to contain what it sees as rampant Palestinian incitement on social media. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is preparing a bill meant to rein in content seen as incitement on social media and earlier this month, he said Facebook had become ``a monster,'' adding that the company had ``some of the victims' blood'' on its hands.

Shurat Hadin has challenged Facebook in courts in the past. Last year, it demanded an injunction to have Facebook remove and block incitement to violence. A decision is pending.

Such lawsuits are not unprecedented.

The father of a young woman killed in the Paris massacre last November is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter, claiming that the companies provided ``material support'' to extremists in violation of the law. A similar case was brought against Twitter in January by the widow of a contractor killed in an attack on a police training center in Jordan.

Associated Press writer Daniella Cheslow in Tel Aviv, Israel contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Pokemon Go' Leads to Injuries]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 14:10:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/Pokemon+Go.jpg

Beware: "Pokemon Go," a new smartphone game based on cute Nintendo characters like Squirtle and Pikachu, can be harmful to your health.

The "augmented reality" game, which layers gameplay onto the physical world, became the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Players already have reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world — eyes glued to their smartphone screens — in search of digital monsters.

Mike Schultz, a 21-year-old communications graduate on Long Island, New York, took a spill on his skateboard as he stared at his phone while cruising for critters early Thursday. He cut his hand on the sidewalk after hitting a big crack, and blames himself for going too slowly.

"I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokemons nearby to catch," he says. "I don't think the company is really at fault."

REAL WORLD, VIRTUAL CREATURES

The game was created by Niantic Inc., a San Francisco spinoff of Google parent Alphabet Inc. that previously became known for a similar augmented-reality game called "Ingress."

To play, you fire up the game and then start trekking to prominent local landmarks — represented in the game as "Pokestops" — where you can gather supplies such as Pokeballs. Those are what you fling at online "pocket monsters," or Pokemon, to capture them for training. At other locations called "gyms" — which may or may not be actual gyms in the real world — Pokemon battle one another for supremacy.

Naturally, the game has also induced people to post pictures of themselves on social media chasing creatures in all sorts of dangerous situations.

Zubats and Paras have appeared on car dashboards. Caterpies have been spotted at intersections. Police in Darwin, Australia, have even asked players not to waltz into their station, which of course is a Pokestop in the game.

"You don't actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs," the Northern Territory Police Fire and Emergency Services said on its Facebook page, followed by a warning to gamers.

"It's also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street."

Unsuspecting gamers using the app were reportedly robbed by four people in Missouri, according to police in Missouri, NBC News reported

Four people in a black BMW with a handgun were arrested early Sunday morning following an armed robbery report. The suspects, police said in a statement, used the app to lure the victims.

In a separate incident, a 19-year-old girl in Wyoming girl discovered a dead body floting in a river when she went in search of a "water-type Pokemon," according to NBC station KCWY.

Ankle injuries, mishaps with revolving doors and walking into trees have been among the painful results.

Kyrie Tompkins, a 22-year-old freelance web designer, fell on the sidewalk and twisted her ankle while wandering in downtown Waterville, Maine, on Thursday night.

"It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole," she says. Her parents had to drive her and her fiancé home.

As an upside, players get more exercise than usual and can learn more about the historical landmarks incorporated into the game as Pokestops. Digital signposts describe their significance in the real world.

A NEW SOCIAL MEDIUM

And players are actually meeting face to face, despite the fact they arrived at nearby high schools, water towers and museums by staring at their screens.

Lindsay Plunkett, a 23-year-old waitress in Asheville, North Carolina, made a point on Friday of parking six blocks away from the restaurant where she works, instead of the usual three. "Just so I could get some more Pokestops on the way," she says.

She's still nursing a bruised shin from the previous night, when she and her boyfriend spent hours wandering downtown in the rain. She tripped over a cinder block that had been used as a doorstop at a local women's museum.

But she's got something to look forward to. Soon, she'll be traveling cross country to California with a friend. That means more chances to encounter Pokestops and Pokemons "the whole way," she says.

At least the game has one failsafe — you can't hatch digital eggs while driving. That requires slower in-person movement in the real world. "It doesn't count as walking if you're going more than 20 miles per hour, so that's good, I guess," Plunkett says.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Gets Account Hacked]]>Sat, 09 Jul 2016 22:32:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/mas-ricos-10.jpg

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is latest victim in a string of high-profile social media hackings, with the prankster who hacked the mogul's account bragging that he did it as a way of "testing" the site's security. 

The hacker seemingly gained access to Dorsey's Twitter on Saturday and posted a video directing users to Ourmine.org, a website affiliated with a hacker group. 

The same OurMine group claimed credit for thr hacking of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's account and Google CEO Sundar Pichai's social media accounts. 

The tweets, which also linked to a Vine video advertising OurMine, were quickly scrubbed from Dorsey's account. 



Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES]]>
<![CDATA[Video Streaming Apps to Combat Police Violence]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 18:58:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/suicidio+periscope.jpg

In the wake of a flood of news about police beatings, especially dealing with the African-American community, tech companies find themselves on the front line of the battle.

The battle for transparency — that's what Zachary Norris, executive director of Oakland’s Ella Baker Center for Human Rights calls it.

“Police violence against people of color is epidemic,” he says.

According to Norris, streaming services like Facebook Live — used to record and post video of the deadly shooting of Philando Castile — and Periscope can be extremely helpful.

In fact, the Ella Baker Center worked with the ACLU on another streaming app, called “California Justice.” It’s a free download from the app store, and in addition to letting you record an interaction with one touch, it will automatically upload the footage to the ACLU, in case your phone gets broken or taken away.

Look for more of these interactions to be recorded. Police officers tell us they know they’re being watched more closely.

It’s technology likely to lead to more transparency.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/File]]>
<![CDATA[NASA to Deploy Flying Laboratory]]>Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:19:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/205*120/07-07-2016-dc-8-nasa-1.jpg

When it comes to research, NASA's DC-8 jetliner is the only way to fly.

The plane resembles a typical commercial airliner from the outside, except for the giant NASA logo on its tail. But inside, it's loaded with cutting-edge tools that will be used to study greenhouse gases during a 26-day journey this summer that will take its crew around the world.

The Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission route includes a flight over the North Pole, then New Zealand, the tip of South America and on to the Arctic. Science instruments aboard the NASA DC-8, based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, will collect information about greenhouse gases and other particles in the atmosphere.

"The flight path is one of the most exhilarating things that a person will get to experience," said Steven Wofsy, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Harvard University and ATom's project scientist. "You really get this sense of the atmosphere as a commons of the world because you're flying over the polar ice cap and then two days later you're in Hawaii and you're flying into the deep tropics with all of the amazing weather phenomena that occur there, and it's all one atmosphere."

The airliner can travel at 40,000 feet for up to 12 hours on the nearly monthlong voyage. ATom can zoom in for detailed measurements that are difficult to make using distant satellites in space, allowing researchers a chance to better understand hundreds of gases, including methane and ozone, in the atmosphere over oceans. The goal is to gain more information about Earth's climate and what the future might hold.

The plane will make up to 12 gentle descents to 500 feet above the ocean's surface, then climb back to 35,000 feet to get a wide range of samples at different altitudes. 

Each stopover will last about two days, provided time for rest and data analysis.

"You really have to think about it from the perspective of what's required from when the plane hits the ground to when the plane leaves," said Erin Czech, ATom's deputy project manager with the Earth Science Project Office at NASA's Ames Research Center. "We need to find people places to stay, make sure they have cars to drive around."

The first ATom flight is scheduled for the end of July. It's the first of four deployments that will take place over the next three years.

 

Interactive: About the DC-8 Airliner



Photo Credit: NASA
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<![CDATA[Tesla Model X Involved in Crash Allegedly in Autonomous Mode]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 19:32:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tesla-Model-X-SUV-AP_934450583964.jpg

Just when we were beginning to see lots of the new Tesla Model X's on the road, another crash — this one with the electric SUV reportedly in autonomous mode.

The accident was in Pennsylvania, and while the driver says his Model X was in autonomous mode, nobody was hurt.

Nonetheless, critics of hands-free driving are still hitting Tesla: “This is a huge red flag,” said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog. “The fact is, the technology is not ready for the road, and drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel, on the brake, and on the pedal."

Authorities are looking into whether or not the car was actually in autonomous mode, and we’ll likely hear a lot more about this technology in the weeks to come.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration plans to release new guidelines for operating self-driving cars later this month.

Scott drives on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Tech in Place in Rio]]>Tue, 05 Jul 2016 19:19:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cisco5.jpg

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will generate millions of high-tech interactions in August, and every tweet, every call, and every post will run through Silicon Valley.

Specifically, tech giant Cisco, which is, as you read this, assembling and testing the Olympic tech center in Rio.

"We are providing the core network equipment," Cisco’s Maria Dincel said.

NBC Bay Area caught up with Dincel in between trips to the Olympic tech center.

Rio has had plenty of pre-Olympic stumbling blocks, but Dincel says technology is not one of them.

"They're just finishing up with all the dress rehearsals," she said. "Everything looks really good. We are absolutely ready."

Fifteen-thousand athletes and hundreds of thousands of others will descend on the games over the next few weeks.

If you’re among them, and you have a smart phone, Cisco says don’t worry. They’re already there, and the high-tech plumbing is already in place.

Scott tracks tech on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Dating Site Faces Probe Over Use of 'Fembots']]>Tue, 05 Jul 2016 07:57:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-4844780722.jpg

The parent company of infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, hit by a devastating hack last year, is now the target of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation, the new executives seeking to revive its credibility told Reuters.

The breach exposed the personal details of millions who signed up for the site.

The company faces U.S. and Canadian class action lawsuits filed on behalf of customers whose information was posted online, and allegations that it used fake profiles to manipulate some customers.

An Ernst & Young report commissioned by Avid and shared with Reuters confirmed that Avid used computer programs that impersonated real women, striking up conversations with paying male customers.



Photo Credit: Photo illustration by Carl Court/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Robot-Powered Burger Joint Makes a Beeline For SF]]>Sat, 02 Jul 2016 15:28:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/burger8.jpg

Move over, humans. A robot-operated restaurant is heading to the Bay Area.

Momentum Machines, a San Francisco-based startup, plans to launch a burger joint where fare is cooked, seasoned and wrapped by robots, Tech Insider reported.

The still unnamed restaurant will utilize what Momentum Machines built in 2012 — a machine that could churn out 400 burgers in an hour. The innovative appliance includes a stamper that grinds and stamps custom blends of meat, a vegetable slicer, an oven to toast the meat and bun, and a bagger to wrap the complete product.

Images released by the company show the machine “completely replaces all the sandwich labor in a restaurant.”

A Craigslist job ad that Momentum Machines posted about a month ago said that the restaurant will open at 680 Folsom Street. The ad described the burgers as “fresh-ground and grilled to order, served on toasted brioche, and accented by an infinitely personalizable variety of fresh produce, seasonings, and sauces.”

Momentum Machines was founded in 2009 by a group of engineers who wanted to bring together their love for food, technology and machines.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Reacts to Autonomous Tesla Crash]]>Fri, 01 Jul 2016 23:24:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Accidente-con-auto-Tesla-deja-un-muerto.jpg

One day after the world learned about the deadly crash of a Tesla Model S while in autonomous mode, the technology is under the microscope.

“It’s a serious problem and everybody needs to stop,” says Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog, who calls the accident “a wake-up call to regulators.”

The fact that the Tesla can, at least in part, drive itself has been controversial.

The idea of safety coming first in driverless cars was reiterated Friday.

“When there is a red flag, it’s time to pay close attention," Silicon Valley attorney Richard Alexander said. 

The family of Joshua Brown, the 40-year old killed in the crash, called him "most importantly, a loving son and brother.”

Even as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will look into the crash, tech giant Intel as well as BMW say they will work to bring driverless cars to the market in the next few years.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/File]]>
<![CDATA[Google Shakes Up Earthquake Search]]>Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:42:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+GOOGLE+EARTHQUAKES+PKG+-+00003505.jpg

It happens every time we feel an earthquake. “How big was it?” we ask.

Google’s latest search update will let you know the answer a little faster.

Instead of just recommending links from, say, the USGS, Google will give you seismic numbers and location, as soon as the next one hits.

“People always want to know what’s going on around them,” says Google’s Susan Cadrecha.

Now, they’ll know more quickly, with maps and safety tips, too.

And as for the USGS itself?

“More information will help you,” says geophysicist Brad Aagaard. “But, in a larger earthquake, we might lose power or have too many people searching at the same time.”

A legitimate concern, even though Google has a lot of server power.

When the next one hits, and the WiFi is good, type “earthquake” into your search engine, and be the first with results.

Scott shakes it on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Rio Olympics Provide a 'Target-Rich Environment For Hackers ]]>Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:44:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+OLYMPIC+HACKING+PKG+-+00003719.jpg

It’s not just athletes heading to the Olympic Games.

As Rio gets ready for the world to visit, hackers are getting ready, too.

According to the United States government, your private information is in danger, especially if you keep it on your smartphone, in Rio.

“It is a target-rich environment,” said Slawek Ligier of Silicon Valley security company Barracuda Networks.

Information like banking data, personal pictures and passwords — all the things we’ve gotten used to carrying with us everywhere we go — are extremely vulnerable if in the wrong hands.

So experts say, don’t trust the Rio Wi-Fi. Leave private information back home, off your phone.

Says Barracuda’s Ligier, "Your data could be compromised, obviously the data on that device could be stolen, which would lead to the loss of your information."

Scott tracks threats on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Investor Group Wants Less Dominance by Musk]]>Wed, 29 Jun 2016 05:45:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_744246684318.jpg

An investor group has requested that Tesla Motors add two independent directors to its board and separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, citing founder and CEO Elon Musk's dominance of the board in the wake of Tesla's proposed bid for SolarCity.

Musk is also the chairman and largest shareholder of SolarCity.

CtW Investment Group, which owns 200,000 shares of Tesla, has written a letter to the silicon-valley firm, demanding it implement five steps that would remedy Tesla's "underlying governance deficiencies."

Among them, CtW is calling for a declassification of the board so that stockholders may have an annual say on the election of all directors and revision of the corporate governance guidelines to forbid that immediate family members of board members serve concurrently on the board.



Photo Credit: AP]]>