<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usFri, 15 Dec 2017 08:25:54 -0800Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:25:54 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mountain View to Add 10,000 Homes, New Offices]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:37:52 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mv_housing_1212_1070269.JPG

Mountain View city leaders late Tuesday unanimously approved a housing plan that would add nearly 10,000 new homes to the city's North Bayshore neighborhood.

The new plan has the support of tech behemoths, including Google, which is headquartered in North Bayshore. Looking to expand its footprint in Mountain View, Google wants housing as part of the future development.

Tuesday night's vote has paved the way for a massive redevelopment, including a campus of offices and roughly 2,000 affordable housing units.

Many community groups say this plan could serve as a blueprint for addressing the Bay Area’s housing crisis.

"It’s a precise plan, and it’s a land use policy change that is unlike almost anything that has ever been done before," Mountain View Mayor Ken Rosenberg said.

In 2015, Mountain View began to re-examine its land use policy in its North Bayshore neighborhood. The area may be home to some of tech’s global giants, like Google, but there was no mandate for actual housing.

The new project changes that.

"It will be more than, well, about 30 percent more housing in Mountain View," said Carl Guardino, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. "So, that’s another reason why it’s getting so much attention."

The group's report found that between 2010 and 2015 the region created about 367,000 jobs but added only 57,000 new homes. Guardino said California tax laws actually penalize cities for adding homes. 

Pilar Lorenzana, of Silicon Valley at Home, said Tuesday's vote was critical because it "shows that even our small to mid-size cities know that they have a responsibility and a role in helping our region address our collective housing crisis."

A broad coalition of private and community groups, even the school district, have advised the city on the plan. 

"It’s going to really be critical in offering a more affordable housing choice for people who work not just in Silicon Valley, but the Bay Area," Lorenzana added.

A lot has to hapen before any ground is broken, however.

Developers will now work with the city and Google to come up with a master plan, which may involve more public hearings.

NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists to Closely Monitor SpaceX Launch]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:59:37 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Scientists_to_Closely_Monitor_SpaceX_Launch.jpg

If the SpaceX launch goes off as planned on Tuesday it will have no fewer than four experiments put together at NASA Ames -- experiments that will help both astronauts in space and those of us here on Earth. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Law Firm Buys Plane to Dodge Bay Area's Living Costs]]> Sun, 10 Dec 2017 23:42:37 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72304456.jpg

A Texas law firm had a novel approach to the Bay Area’s oppressive living costs: It shelled out $3 million on a private plane to ferry patent lawyers to clients based here.

Instead of hiring local lawyers, who would then have to live in a region marred by soaring rent and home prices, Houston-based Patterson and Sheridan bought a nine-seat Gulfstream G200 jet to bring their employees to Silicon Valley once a month, the Business Insider reported.

Though expensive, their approach is also cheaper than relocating Texas lawyers to this part of Northern California, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The median rent in San Francisco is $4,450, while the median home value comes in at a whopping $1.2 million, according to Zillow. Prices in San Jose are lower, but not less daunting. Zillow found that the median rent is $3,300 and median home value is $934,000.

Prices in both cities are forecast to rise in the coming year.

By contrast, the median price of Houston homes is $324,900 and median rent is $1,500, Zillow reports.

"The young people that we want to hire out there have high expectations that are hard to meet," Bruce Patterson, a partner at the firm, said to The New York Times. "Rent is so high they can't even afford a car."

Each flight costs the intellectual property law firm $1,900 per passenger and totals to $2,500 per hour in operating costs, the Houston Chronicle reported. Lawyers work while traveling so their hours are billable and help the company protect lawyer-client privilege, which is harder to do when arriving early at an airport, checking in bags and waiting in a security line.

The firm doesn’t view the plane as a luxury, and only flies it when it is full, partners said to the Chronicle. It also helps them recruit young lawyers who are eager to work with the world’s leading tech brands, but are put off by the Bay Area’s living costs.

Patterson and Sheridan is "still able to offer companies and inventors lower costs because most of the patent work is done in Houston, where commercial real estate is 43 percent cheaper, salaries 52 percent lower, and competition for technical talent far less fierce," according to the Chronicle.

In fact, the frequent flights to California helped the firm bring Intuit, Western Digital and Cavendish Kinetics on board as new clients. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Companies Hire Models to Attend Holiday Parties: Report]]> Sun, 10 Dec 2017 08:57:22 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-511604371.jpg

A report of Bay Area tech companies hiring models to act as guests at lavish holiday parties is raising concerns.

The Bloomberg report suggests that some Silicon Valley companies are hiring models from agencies like Cre8 Talent to act as guests. They’re paid up to $200 an hour to attend, and they'd have to sign non-disclosure agreements, the report said.

Some question if the trend is sending the wrong message, especially amid a national debate about sexual misconduct in the workplace that has brought to light the alleged abuse by men in positions of power in Hollywood, politics, businesses, news and elsewhere.

Female and male models are hired to liven up parties and help break the ice and encourage attendees out of their shells, according to a Cre8 Talent spokesperson. They aren’t paid to flirt, Cre8 told NBC Bay Area.

Cre8 Agency sent 25 women and 5 men, all good-looking, to hang out with "pretty much all men" who work for a large gaming company in San Francisco on Dec. 8, Cre8 President Farnaz Kermaani told Bloodberg.

Los Angeles-based Models in Tech, a company that allows people to hand select who they’d like to hire, usually get inquiries for hosts or presenters, CEO Olya Ischukova told NBC Bay Area.

Ischukova says her agency typically focuses on trade shows, including The International Consumer Electronics Show, where booths feature a type of brand ambassador and help with “check in, giveaways, raffles or some games.”

Models in her employ are not hired simply as guests at parties, but occasionally, Ischukova says the company receives some unusual requests.

"They required models to wear Pink Panther leather suits, so … we have to deny this request,” she said. "Because I politely explained this is not what we do."

Kym McNicholas, a journalist who has covered tech culture for 20 years, says she doesn’t think that hiring models for a party is anything new, but she believes it demonstrates impropriety.

"I know I shouldn't be shocked, but I am shocked simply because we've come a really long way this year in terms of really bringing to the forefront … the issues we have with diversity, acceptance and even sexual harassment," McNicholas said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bitcoin Tops Record $19K, Falls Back Down]]> Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:00:09 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17333419571929.jpg

Bitcoin surged past $19,000 for the first time Thursday before falling sharply from its record high.

In trading on the Coinbase exchange, the digital currency hit a high of $19,340 after soaring through $12,000 on just Tuesday night. After hitting the record high Thursday, bitcoin fell more than 20 percent from that level to $15,198.63. At 12:02 p.m. New York time, the cryptocurrency traded at $16,260.01.

Despite its wild ride, bitcoin now has a market value of more than $270 billion, meaning it would rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500.

The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File]]>
<![CDATA['Secret Sister Gift Exchange' Is an Illegal Scam: BBB]]> Thu, 07 Dec 2017 06:26:16 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-630083944.jpg

Two holiday schemes have made their way back to social media and people are still falling for them.

The "Secret Sister Gift Exchange" and the "Wine Exchange" programs are getting a lot of traction this time of year. The Better Business Bureau calls them a pyramid scheme.

Here's an example of how it works. One post on Facebook had a user promoting the Secret Sister Gift Exchange by asking ladies to send one gift and promising they will receive 36 gifts in return. All you have to do is message this person for more information.

At first glance the post may look harmless, but a response to the post indicated the consumer reported she hadn't received anything in the mail.

Another user said on Facebook, "Send one gift and get 6+ gifts back." Someone else responded by saying "I did this about two weeks ago, and have not gotten a thing."

The same scheme appears true with the "Wine Exchange" program: Send one bottle of wine and you'll get 6 to 36 bottles in return.

The BBB is urging consumers not to believe the hype.

Gift exchanges are popular this time of year, but according to the U.S. Postal Service, this type of gift chain is illegal. It falls into the "chain letter" category.

"They don't work because the promise that all participants in a chain letter will be winners is mathematically impossible," the postal service said.

So if you're looking for a fun gift exchange activity, this one isn't the way to do it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Breakthrough Prizes Awards $22 million to Top Scientists]]> Sun, 03 Dec 2017 20:47:34 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bt+awards-1203.jpg

The red carpet rolled out Sunday night in Silicon Valley, and while there were plenty of celebrities on hand, the real stars were scientists.

The sixth annual Breakthrough Prizes, known as "the Oscars of science," took place at NASA Ames in Mountain View, celebrating achievements in math, science and medicine.

Morgan Freeman hosted the ceremony, and he was joined by many other stars, including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Wiz Khalifa and Kerry Washington.

Twelve men and women were honored for their work with a total of $22 million in prize money.

Co-founder of the ceremony, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said the goal is to bring awareness to scientific and innovative achievements, which "shape our future."

“The world needs their inspiration and their reminder that, even though it doesn’t always feel that way, we are making steady progress toward building a better future for everyone," he said.

Each Breakthrough Prize came with a $3 million check, and the New Horizon winners took home $100,000 each.

More than 11,000 entries from 178 countries were received in the 2017 installment of the global competition.

The awards show aired live on the National Geographic channel.

The 2018 Breakthrough Prizes winners:

  • Life Sciences: Joanne Chory, Don W. Cleveland, Kazutoshi Mori, Kim Nasmyth, and Peter Walter
  • Fundamental Physics: Charles L. Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David N. Spergel, and the WMAP Science Team
  • Mathematics: Christopher Hacon and James McKernan
  • New Horizons in Physics: Christopher Hirata, Douglas Stanford, and Andrea Young
  • New Horizons in Mathematics: Aaron Naber, Maryna Viazovska, Zhiwei Yun, and Wei Zhang
  • Third Annual International Breakthrough Junior Challenge: Hillary Diane Andales

Photo Credit: National Geographic channel]]>
<![CDATA[Hawaii Tests Warning Siren in Case of North Korea Nuclear Attack]]> Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:16:22 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+HAWAII+ATTACK+SIREN+THUMB.jpg

Hawaii tested a warning siren Friday in case of an impending nuclear missile attack. The test comes after North Korea tested a missile that experts believe has the capability to reach the United States mainland. The warning system has not been used since the Cold War.

<![CDATA[#BoycottSanFrancisco: Viral Fallout From Steinle Verdict]]> Fri, 01 Dec 2017 16:10:51 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tweets1.JPG

Shock waves from a not guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle murder case on Thursday exposed a deep political chasm and generated a viral hashtag, #BoycottSanFrancisco.

Steinle, 32, was strolling along Pier 14 with her father on July 1, 2015 when she was fatally shot in the back. A Mexican man, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was charged with the crime, but insisted it was an accident. He was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday, and found guilty only of being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The fact that Garcia Zarate is an undocumented immigrant, who had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth time, has drawn the ire of politicians and citizens alike, fanning the flames of an immigration debate. A lot of the finger-pointing has been directed at the city of San Francisco because its sanctuary city policy allows officials to decline cooperating with federal deportation efforts.

That’s what led Garcia Zarate to be released from San Francisco’s jail despite a federal request to detain him for deportation several weeks before Steinle was killed.

In the hours after the jury made its decision, thousands of Twitter users – on both sides of the aisle – vented their frustration on Twitter, using the hashtag #BoycottSanFrancisco.

Some people urged others not only to cancel travel plans to San Francisco, but also to stop spending money in California. One Twitter user labeled the city by the bay an “American disgrace.”

Yet another said that the anger is not about immigrants, but “illegal immigrants,” and found San Francisco “guilty of murder.”

#BoycottSanFrancisco also amplified calls for a border wall, which some dubbed #KatesWall, while praise was heaped on President Donald Trump, who plans to crack down on illegal immigration.

On the flip side, however, some on Twitter pointed out that the movement would mean people would have to give up popular services from Silicon Valley, including Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb, YouTube, Netflix – and ironically even Twitter.

Still others asked why #BoycottLasVegas never became a trending topic after 58 people were gunned down by Stephen Paddock, a U.S. citizen.

The viral thread also became a place where people pitted one race against the other.

The attacks on San Francisco and other cities with similar immigration policies began moments after the jury acquitted Garcia Zarate.

President Donald Trump called the verdict a “complete travesty of justice,” and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded cities like San Francisco scrap immigration policies barring cooperation with federal deportation efforts.

Conservative politicians and celebrities such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and actor James Woods lambasted the city.

City officials pushed back and vowed to stand behind their so-called sanctuary city policy. It’s what led Garcia Zarate to be released from San Francisco’s jail despite a federal request to detain him for deportation several weeks before Kate Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015. He had been deported five times before.

“San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city,” said Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee.

It was among the first U.S. cities to establish a sanctuary law in 1989 as part of a national wave of cities adopting policies to help Central American refugees.

Since then, San Francisco has consistently been an early adopter of some of the most immigrant-friendly policies nationwide, expanding protections to residents living in the country without documentation.

Hundreds of cities have similar policies, which Trump, Sessions and others blame for Steinle’s death.

Prosecutors had charged Garcia Zarate with murder, assault and being felon in possession of a firearm. He called the shooting an accident. He said he found a gun under a chair on the pier and it fired when he picked it up.

San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia urged jurors to convict him of first-degree murder. Jurors also considered and rejected second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

They did convict him of the firearm charge, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it would "ultimately remove" Garcia Zarate from the country.

 Before the shooting, he had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and had been transferred to San Francisco’s jail in March 2015 to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana. The sheriff’s department released him a few days after prosecutors dropped the marijuana charge, despite a request from federal officials to detain him for deportation.

“San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle,” Sessions said in a statement Thursday night. “I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.”

ICE Deputy Director Thamos Homan said the city’s policy “is a blatant threat to public safety.”

At the time of the shooting, then-candidate Trump and others pointed to Steinle’s death as reasons why the country’s immigration laws should be tightened.

The president called the verdict “disgraceful” Thursday. And Friday on social media, Trump said, “The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court.”

“His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL,” Trump tweeted.

Former President Barack Obama had kept his Republican predecessor’s policy of allowing U.S. immigration officials to ask local police to detain people suspected of living in the country illegally for up to 48 hours.

Defense attorney Francisco Ugarte called the verdict a “vindication for the rest of immigrants.”

“From Day 1, this case was used as a means to foment hate, to foment division and to foment a program of mass deportation,” he said. “It was used to catapult a presidency along that philosophy of hate of others.”

Jurors left the courtroom Thursday without comment, and the judge sealed their identities.

Steinle’s father, Jim, told the San Francisco Chronicle that “justice was rendered, but it was not served.”

“We’re just shocked — saddened and shocked ... that’s about it,” he said in an interview described as the family’s last.

Michael Cardoza, a longtime San Francisco Bay Area lawyer, said the prosecutor overreached asking for a first-degree murder conviction, which would have meant that Garcia Zarate intended to kill Steinle despite strong evidence that the bullet ricocheted around 90 feet before striking Steinle.

Cardoza said a better case could have been made to convince jurors that Garcia Zarate had a “reckless disregard for human life” and to convict him of second-degree murder.

Garcia, the deputy district attorney, declined to comment. Alex Bastian with the district attorney’s office said the verdict “was not the one we were hoping for” but that prosecutors respect the jury’s decision.

Photo Credit: Twitter
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<![CDATA[Facebook Targets Fremont Property For Expansion]]> Thu, 30 Nov 2017 23:09:10 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/facebook_fremont_1130_945431.JPG

Facebook is expanding again, this time to the East Bay.

Video from NBC Bay Area's Sky Ranger shows where the social media network wants to put hundreds of its workers.

The Menlo Park-based company is leasing two big office buildings in the Ardenwood district of Fremont, near the eastern end of the Dumbarton Bridge.

The buildings total nearly 200,000 square feet of space.

In July, Facebook also announced plans to expand its presence in Menlo Park.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Delivery Robots Clear First Legislative Hurdle in SF]]> Thu, 30 Nov 2017 10:20:17 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-57240754.jpg

Legislation that would require companies testing delivery robots in San Francisco to get a permit was approved unanimously in committee Wednesday.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Norman Yee in response to concerns that delivery robots might pose a threat to pedestrians and create safety issues, was originally proposed as a ban on the mobile delivery devices shortly after one company launched them on city sidewalks.

The proposal was backed by pedestrian advocacy groups but ran into opposition from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, who argued that the city should not ban potentially innovative technologies.

The current plan will allow up to three companies to obtain 180 day permits for testing up to three devices each in designated light industrial areas of the city.

The devices will not be allowed to exceed a top speed of 3 miles per hour and must have a human operator on hand at all times. They will be required to yield to pedestrians and bicycles and obey traffic signals and come equipped with headlights and warning sounds to alert pedestrians.

Yee, a vocal advocate for pedestrian safety, today said that some advocates have urged him to just go directly to the ballot with a ban, but he prefers to wait to see whether the measure passes the Board of Supervisors.

He expressed a sense of urgency in getting the measure passed, however, before the new technology is well established.

"We need to get ahead of the curve," he said. "People say, why not wait? Well, I cannot wait."

The legislation will be voted on by the full board in December.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Deactivated Trump's Twitter Says It Was a 'Mistake']]> Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:44 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1129-2017-TwitterContractor.jpg

Mystery no more. The contractor who deactivated President Donald Trump's Twitter account for 11 minutes earlier this month has been identified by Tech Crunch as Bahtiyar Duysak.

The 20-something agreed to an interview with TechCrunch at his hometown in Germany. The interview, published Wednesday, can be viewed here.

Duysak, who was assigned to Twitter's customer support, told Tech Crunch the event was a "mistake." He said during his last day someone reported Trump's account, which he then decided to start the process of shutting down the president's account as a throwaway gesture before he bid Twitter farewell, according to TechCrunch.

He never thought Trump's account would actually get deactivated.

"If I am involved in this, then I really apologize if I hurt anyone," he said during the interview. "I didn’t do anything on purpose."

The incident captured headlines, set social media on fire, got the president to tweet about it and prompted the San Francisco-based company to conduct an internal review. Duysak has been called a so-called internet legend. He's even been nominated by the internet for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I don’t think he thought it was going to be such a big deal," TechCrunch reporter Tito Hamze said from Newark on Wednesday night.

Duysak is German of Turkish descent. He was a former member of the Turkish student association at Cal State East Bay.

He said he identified himself now because he doesn’t want to be looking over his shoulder any more.

"I just want to continue an ordinary life. I don’t want to flee from the media," he told TechCrunch. "I want to speak to my neighbors, I want to speak to my friends."

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed Duysak is a former employee and provided the following statement Wednesday:

"We won’t have a comment on a former employee. We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again. To protect our internal security measures, we don’t have further details to share at this time."

Read more at Tech Crunch.

Photo Credit: Tech Crunch
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<![CDATA[Ex-Stanford Players Help Teams with VR Company]]> Mon, 27 Nov 2017 20:13:52 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ex_Stanford_Players_Help_Teams_with_VR_Company.jpg
NBC Bay Area's Colin Resch examines how former Stanford players are using virtual reality to help professional sports teams.
<![CDATA[Cyber Monday Sets Online Sales Records]]> Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:58:27 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cyber_Monday_Sets_Online_Sales_Records.jpg

Adobe, which tracks 155 trillion transactions, says purchases on Cyber Monday will break online sales records. Business and technology reporter Scott Budman reports.

<![CDATA[Online 'Typo Piracy' Can Dupe Consumers]]> Mon, 27 Nov 2017 09:48:49 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/costoco-typo-piracy.jpg

A man who made a one-letter typo in a web address for Costco found out what it means to become a victim of typo piracy.

Last year, while looking to visit the Costco website, Allen Stern unknowingly mis-spelled Costco in his browser.

"C-o-s-t-o-c-o. There's an extra "o" in there," he said.

Yet, Allen said the website that loaded looked legitimate.

"It even had the Costco logo and brand, so of course I thought it was Costco and I thought I had gone to Costco.com," he explained.

The page asked Allen to do an eight-question survey. As a "thank you," Allen was offered a free bottle of face cream if he paid shipping.

Allen called the Responds team after four $97 and $98 charges appeared on his credit card for a cosmetic "membership." He returned the cream and complained to Costco in writing.

"How could you do this? How could you support this? And, Costco wrote back and said, 'This wasn't us,'" Allen said.

We shared Allen's experience with technology analyst Carolina Milanesi, and we learned a new term: "typo piracy." That's what the tech world calls the misuse of misspelled web addresses to possibly rip you off.

"These people have no limits to how they try to get you," said Milanesi.

She said some sites collect a finder's fee for redirecting poor spellers to other sites. Some masquerade as a real site and dupe you into buying something.  The worst case is a typo that leads to a scam site or malware.

"You could end up having your identity stolen," she explained.

Milanesi said "typo piracy" is too complicated to fully unravel. But, the Responds team tried with "Cost-o-co."

First, we searched public registries and found that address registered in Russia to a person named Vladimir Snezko. That name is linked to other web addresses with typos: Marriiott.com, with an extra "i," Vrizon.com, missing an "e," and Southwesr.com, one letter off from Southwest.com.

When we loaded "Southwesr" it used southwest airlines' name and had a survey, just like the Cost-o-co site.

That's not the only similarity: Several people posted glowing comments on the southwesr page. Well, those same people also endorsed the cost-o-co page in the exact same order.

The real Southwest and the real Costco told us they have no connection to these sites. They never asked for the surveys or authorized the use of their name or logo.

So, we had questions for "Vladimir Snezko." The Responds team sent messages to Moscow, but never heard back.

When we cross-referenced the e-mail addresses Snezko used to register his sites we found more than 500 other websites, each off by just a letter or two from brand names like Google, Toyota, Disney, Fidelity, Sprint and eBay, each waiting to capitalize on your careless tap on a keyboard.

After we started asking questions, Southwesr shut down the survey.

So did Cost-o-co.  But it was too late for Allen. As it turns out, he works in digital advertising and internet security is part of his job. He's speaking up because he says if he fell for "typo piracy," anyone can.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Popular YouTube Videos May Have Psychologically Harmed Kids]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:20:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/youtube-logo.jpg

“Toy Freaks,” a popular YouTube channel followed by millions, was deactivated by the site last week for violating policies against child endangerment, NBC News reports.

The channel, run by single father Gregory Chism, was known for its videos featuring Chism playing pranks on his two daughters, both under 10 years old. But some of the videos seemed less like pranks and more unsettling, like ones featuring the children pretending to act like infants, spitting baby food on one another and pretending to urinate on themselves.

In one video, preserved by BuzzFeed News, the father drops a live frog into a bathtub where his daughters, dressed in swimsuits, are bathing, leaving one girl visibly distraught. In another, the older daughter feeds her sister baby food, which is then shown in close up being spit out into a bowl.

The channel was removed from the site after complaints the videos were disturbing, according to BuzzFeed News.

In a statement emailed to NBC News, Chism said that YouTube updated its community guidelines on Nov. 16, and later that day the channel was terminated after users flagged the videos on the site’s “YouTube Kids" App. Chism said he was unaware his videos were being shown on the app.

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bezos Worth Over $100B After Amazon's Black Friday Rally]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:25:28 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Beff-Jezos-file.jpg

Amazon CEO and world’s richest person Jeff Bezos is now even richer, according to an estimate Friday by Bloomberg.

As CNBC reports, Bezos’ net worth surpassed $100 billion on Friday. Amazon shares hit a record on one of the year’s busiest shopping days, joining a broader Black Friday market rally.

Bezos, who founded Amazon, owns about 78.9 million shares of the company, according to a Nov. 14 filing. That stake alone is worth more than $93.5 billion as of Friday’s closing price of $1,186 a share.

In addition to Amazon, Bezos also invests in start-ups, owns The Washington Post and space company Blue Origin.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why It Matters]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:05:21 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_16_23.Still003.jpg

The FCC is set to dismantle rules requiring internet service providers to ensure consumers have equal access to all online content.

<![CDATA[Uber Hid Hack That Exposed 57M Users, Drivers]]> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:17:58 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_05_11.Still002.jpg

The cyberattack included 50 million Uber riders globally and 7 million drivers in the U.S.

<![CDATA[Bay Area Holiday Spending is 20% More Than U.S. Average]]> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:35:54 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Generic+Gifts+Generic+Holiday+Shopping.jpg

The holidays are here and for the Bay Area that means shelling out more money than elsewhere in the United States. 

According to a Deloitte annual retail report, people who live in this economically thriving part of Northern California are expected to spend 20 percent above the national average.

In 2017, holiday spending in the Bay Area amounts to $1,478, which is higher than $1,330 in 2016. By contrast, this year's national average is $1,226 and last year's was $998, the report found. 

Contributing factors include a larger number of people who have higher education — 72 percent in the Bay Area as compared to 58 percent nationally — as well as a higher average income — $89,000 versus $76,000. 

Deloitte found that 45 percent of people are likely to buy clothes, while 41 percent will purchase electronics and 37 percent will go for gift cards.

People receiving gifts, however, have different preferences. Forty-two percent want electronics, 35 percent want gift cards and 34 percent want clothing, the report showed.

An affinity for online shopping is a trend that has carried over from last year, according to Deloitte. People spend roughly 58 percent of their budgets online and about 39 percent in brick-and-mortar stores. 

At 60 percent, those who will make purchases on their phones are up 25 percent from last year's 35 percent, the report found.

With online purchases comes the need for shipping, and Deloitte says nearly 85 percent of consumers prioritize free shopping over fast deliveries.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's New $108 Million Visitor Center Now Open]]> Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:35:12 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11172017AppleCampus_803119.JPG

Apple fans and some neighbors who dealt with years of construction were given a first-time chance Friday to get close to the tech giant's new headquarters in Cupertino.

Visitors were given an augmented reality trip through the so-called Apple Spaceship campus. The tour let participants virtually see inside the building and even featured Apple employees walking around their new digs.

The tour is part of Apple's new $108 million visitor center now open to the public.

NBC Bay Area's business and tech reporter Scott Budman has more in the video report above.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[White Nationalist Spencer, Others Lose Twitter Verification]]> Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:56:37 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Richard-Spencer-supremacista-blanco.jpg

Richard Spencer and other prominent white nationalists have lost their official blue check marks on Twitter after the social media platform announced changes to its verification practices.

Twitter said Wednesday that its official verification of public figures' accounts had "long been perceived as an endorsement." The platform added that it is working on a new verification process and removing blue badges from "accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines."

After the series of tweets, Spencer said on his account, which has more than 79,000 followers, that he is "verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly white?"

Far-right activist Laura Loomer also lost her verification, saying it is "a form of censorship." Jason Kessler, organizer of the far-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, lost his badge as well.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File]]>