New story in Technology from Time: Europe’s New Privacy Law Takes Effect Today. Here’s How the World Is Handling Digital Rights

The European Union’s much-vaunted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this week. But Europe isn’t the only entity trying to balance digital freedoms with citizens’ privacy rights.

These five facts look at the state of data privacy laws around the world.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the updated replacement to Europe’s 1995 Data Protection Directive, one that’s taken almost a decade to get across the finish line.

At its heart, GDPR provides European citizens with the tools they need to better control the data collected about them. Under the law, from May 25 onwards, firms anywhere in the world that collect data on E.U. citizens need to offer users the option to see the information collected about them, and to move or delete that information. Firms will also be required to report any data breaches within 72 hours.

There are numerous other GDPR regulations that companies will need to comply with as well. But the basic idea behind the law is to orient companies read more

New story in Technology from Time: Self-Driving Uber ‘Saw’ Pedestrian but Did Not Brake Before Fatal Crash, Investigators Say

(DETROIT) — The autonomous Uber SUV that struck and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March spotted the woman about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled, according to federal investigators.

In a preliminary report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that emergency braking is not enabled while Uber’s cars are under computer control, “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior.”

Instead, Uber relies on a human backup driver to intervene. The system, however, is not designed to alert the driver.

In the crash, the driver began steering less than a second before impact but didn’t brake until less than a second after impact, according to the preliminary report, which does not determine fault.

A video of the crash showed the driver looking down just before the vehicle struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg read more

New story in Technology from Time: French President Emmanuel Macron Takes on Facebook and Other Tech Firms Over Regulation

(PARIS) — French President Emmanuel Macron took on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other internet giants Wednesday at a Paris meeting to discuss personal data protection and taxes as France pushes for tougher European regulations.

Macron welcomed Zuckerberg and the leaders of dozens of other tech companies, including Microsoft, Uber, and IBM, at a “Tech for Good” conference meant to address how they could use their global influence for the public good.

The meeting came as Facebook, Google and other online giants are increasingly seen by the public as predators that abuse personal data, avoid taxes and stifle competition.

Macron, who also met privately with Zuckerberg at the presidential Elysee palace, said beforehand that he would keep asking the Facebook co-founder to make “commitments.”

“France defends the idea of tough regulations” such as a 3 percent digital tax on tech companies’ gross revenue in the European Union, Macron said, adding read more

New story in Technology from Time: Robocalls Have Become an Epidemic. Do These 2 Things Now to Stop Them

How many times a day do you pick up the phone, only to have it be a recording? Or worse, a spam call pushing a sale?

Robocalls have become an epidemic, with roughly 3.4 billion placed nationwide in April alone, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. Those affected are receiving over 10 calls a month, on average.

Robocalls can be broken down into three categories. There are legitimate calls from places like your pharmacy saying your prescription is ready for pick-up. Spam calls from organizations that, at one point, you’ve given your information to (like charities). The final, and potentially most troublesome, are scam calls—illegal calls aimed at defrauding you.

These scam calls are on the rise, with fraudsters using sneaky methods to get you to answer your phone.

According to Nomorobo, a telecom service company behind a robocall blocking app, reported read more

New story in Technology from Time: European Union Grills Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Over His ‘Digital Monster’

(BRUSSELS) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced tough questions from European Union lawmakers Tuesday over what one of them branded Zuckerberg’s “digital monster,” and he apologized for the way the social network has been used to produce fake news, interfere in elections and sweep up people’s personal data.

At a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels, legislators sought explanations about the growing number of false Facebook accounts and whether Facebook will comply with new EU privacy rules, but many were left frustrated by Zuckerberg’s lack of answers.

After short opening remarks, Zuckerberg listened to all the questions first, and then responded to them all at once. There was no back-and-forth with lawmakers, as happened during his testimony in front of the U.S. Congress last month.

As a result, he was able to avoid giving some answers and ran out of time to provide others.

His appearance came at a difficult time for Facebook. In March it was read more

New story in Technology from Time: Amazon Is Under Fire for Selling Controversial Facial Recognition Tech to Police

(SEATTLE) — The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency — the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon — to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

But privacy advocates have been concerned about expanding the use of facial recognition to body cameras worn by officers or safety and traffic cameras that monitor public areas, allowing police to identify and track people in real time.

The tech giant’s entry into the market could vastly accelerate such developments, the privacy advocates fear, with potentially dire consequences read more

New story in Technology from Time: Watch the Virtual Reality Recreation of the LSD Trip That Inspired the Whole Earth Catalog

In the spring of 1966, Stewart Brand did 100 micrograms of LSD and sat on top of a roof in San Francisco.

Perched there, he looked toward a curved horizon and imagined the spherical Earth and just how limited resources on our planet are. Out of that psychedelic drug-induced vision, he developed the Whole Earth theory. He campaigned for NASA to release satellite images of the Earth, and created the influential and generation-defining Whole Earth Catalog.

Author Michael Pollan explored the mysterious effects that psychedelic drugs like LSD have on the human mind in his latest book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. In a recent interview with TIME, he explained how these drugs can “break” patterns of repetitive thought and essentially “reboot the brain.”

“The biggest misconception people have about psychedelics is that these are drugs that make you crazy,” Pollan said. “We now have evidence that that does happen sometimes — but in many more cases, these are drugs that can make you sane.”

To accompany Pollan’s book, virtual reality Director Elijah Allan Blitz reimagined Brand’s trip in a virtual reality experience exclusively for TIME. Take a look below to see it in 360 or visit LIFE VR’s Samsung VR channel to see it in virtual reality.

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read more

New story in Technology from Time: Twitter Bots May Have Boosted Donald Trump’s Votes by 3.23%, Researchers Say

Twitter bots may have altered the outcome of two of the world’s most consequential elections in recent years, according to an economic study.

Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed this month. Their rough calculations suggest bots added 1.76 percentage point to the pro-“leave” vote share as Britain weighed whether to remain in the European Union, and may explain 3.23 percentage points of the actual vote for Trump in the U.S. presidential race.

“Our results suggest that, given narrow margins of victories in each vote, bots’ effect was likely marginal but possibly large enough to affect the outcomes,” according to authors Yuriy Gorodnichenko from the University of California at Berkeley and Tho Pham and Oleksandr Talavera from Swansea University in the U.K.

The research comes as members of the U.S. read more

New story in Technology from Time: 4 Apps That Will Help You Save Money Immediately

Everyone understands the sting of looking over your monthly bank statement and seeing a hefty charge for a subscription or service you don’t even use. But what’s worse is never noticing the extra fees associated with various purchases in your everyday life. Since we’re not all able to hire full-time financial pros to help us out, various apps have emerged in recent years to combat the problem. They work in the background, with little effort required from users, to figure out how to save a few dollars here and there in ways you won’t notice—until they add up to quite a bit more. Here are the best free apps for saving money you didn’t know you were wasting.


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Joy is a brand new app that cleverly utilizes some of the same psychological tricks of dating apps—but in order to help out your wallet rather than your love life. Joy offers you a virtual money coach tailored read more

New story in Technology from Time: Microsoft’s New Xbox Controller Is Designed for People With Limited Mobility

Microsoft has introduced an Xbox controller designed for people with limited mobility.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is meant to take into consideration the needs of gamers who might not be able to hold typical gaming controllers for long periods of time or reach all the necessary buttons, according to a statement from Microsoft. The new controller comes as the company makes an effort to be more inclusive toward all gamers.

“By taking an inclusive design approach and considerations of gamers who might not be able to reach all the bumpers and triggers or hold a controller for an extended period of time, for example, we were able to design a controller that provides a way for more fans to enjoy gaming,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said in a statement.

Developed in partnership with several medical organizations, including The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, along with several gamers who have limited mobility, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is made to be adaptable for each player’s read more