Yearly Archives: 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google will pay $170 million to settle allegations its YouTube video service collected personal data on children without their parents’ consent.

The company agreed to work with video creators to label material aimed at kids and said it will limit data collection when users view such videos, regardless of their age.

Some lawmakers and children’s advocacy groups, however, complained that the settlement terms aren’t strong enough to rein in a company whose parent, Alphabet, made a profit of $30.7 billion last year on revenue of $136.8 billion, mostly from targeted ads.

Google will pay $136 million to the Federal Trade Commission and $34 million to New York state, which had a similar investigation. The fine is the largest the FTC has levied against Google, but it’s tiny compared with the $5 billion fine against Facebook this year for privacy violations.

YouTube “baited kids with nursery rhymes, cartoons, and more to feed its massively profitable behavioral advertising business,” Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a tweet. “It was lucrative, and it was illegal.”

The federal government has increased scrutiny of big tech companies in the past two years — especially questioning how the tech giants collect and use personal information from their billions of customers. Many of the huge Silicon Valley companies are also under antitrust investigations aimed at determining whether the companies have unlawfully stifled competition.

Kids under 13 are protected by a 1998 federal law that requires parental consent before companies can collect and share their personal information.

Tech companies typically skirt that by banning kids under 13 entirely, though such bans are rarely enforced. In YouTube’s lengthy terms of service, those who are under 13 are simply asked, “please do not use the Service.”

Yet many popular YouTube channels feature cartoons or sing-a-longs made for children. According to the FTC, YouTube assigned ratings to its video channels and even had a “Y″ category directed at kids ages 7 or under, but YouTube targeted ads to those kids just as they would adults.

The FTC’s complaint includes as evidence Google presentations describing YouTube to toy companies Mattel and Hasbro as the “new Saturday Morning Cartoons” and the ”#1 website regularly visited by kids.”

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. But when it came to complying with the law, he said, “the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids.”

According to the settlement, Google and YouTube will get “verifiable” consent from parents before they collect or use personal information from children. The company also agreed not to use data collected from children before.

YouTube has its own service for children, YouTube Kids. The kids-focused service already requires parental consent and uses simple math problems to ensure that kids aren’t signing in on their own.

YouTube Kids does not target ads based on viewer interests the way the main YouTube service does. But the children’s version does track information about what kids are watching in order to recommend videos. It also collects personally identifying device information.

On Wednesday, Google said that starting early next year, YouTube will also limit personalized ads on its main service for videos meant for kids. Google is relying on video creators to label such items, but will employ artificial intelligence to help.

YouTube won’t seek parental consent there, however, even on videos intended for children. YouTube is avoiding that precaution by instead turning off any personal tracking on those videos, saying it will collect only what is needed to make the service work. For such videos, YouTube also won’t offer features like comments and notifications.

Videos made for kids will still feature ads — just not the targeted, personal ads that generally bring in the most money for video creators.

“I think there has been a general anxiety of the kids and family community of creators on YouTube for quite some time,” said Chris Williams, CEO and founder of pocket.watch, a studio that works with many popular YouTube child stars, including Ryan ToysReview.

Pocket.watch helps YouTube stars expand beyond the streaming site and find new lines of business, from consumer products to network TV shows. Williams expects that business to become more important. But YouTube will still be the big way to build an audience, he said.

“It represents a part of the puzzle for your brand growth, a big one,” he said.

The settlement now needs to be approved by a federal court in Washington. As with the Facebook settlement, the FTC vote was 3-2, with both Democrats opposing it as too weak.

Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the settlement won’t turn YouTube into a safe place for children and “makes clear that this FTC stands for ‘Forgetting Teens and Children.’”

A coalition of advocacy groups that helped trigger the investigation said the outcome will reduce behavioral advertising targeting children.

Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said the settlement “finally forced Google to confront its longstanding lie that it wasn’t targeting children on YouTube.”

But he said the “paltry” fine signals that politically powerful corporations can break the law without serious consequences.

Other critics, including dissenting Democratic Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, said too much responsibility was being placed on video creators to classify their own content as kid-oriented, and thus limited to less-lucrative ads. They say that potentially allows Google to turn a blind eye as some try to cheat the system to make more money through ad revenue sharing.

Andrew Smith, the FTC’s consumer protection director, acknowledged that concern as valid, but said YouTube “has strong incentives to police its platform” to avoid further action.

Google is already under a 2011 agreement with the FTC that barred it from mispresenting its privacy policy and subjected the company to 20 years of regular, independent privacy audits. Google was fined $22.5 million in 2012 for violating that settlement when the FTC found it improperly used tracking cookies on Apple’s Safari browser.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — El reggaetonero puertorriqueño Ozuna encabeza por segundo año consecutivo la lista de nominados a los Latin American Music Awards, con nueve menciones que incluyen artista del año y artista masculino favorito. El “Rey de la Bachata” Romeo Santos y el astro del trap boricua Bad Bunny le siguen de cerca con ocho candidaturas cada uno, mientras que el rapero Anuel AA recibió siete.

La Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizárraga obtuvo cinco nominaciones, Marc Anthony, Maluma, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee y Sebastián Yatra cuatro y con tres figuran Becky G, Rosalía, Pedro Capó, Wisin & Yandel, DJ Snake y Drake.

 

ALAMEDA, California, EE.UU. (AP) — El receiver Antonio Brown no estaba con los Raiders de Oakland cuatro días antes de su primer partido de la temporada, en medio de reportes de que podría ser suspendido por un altercado con el gerente general Mike Mayock.

Mayock dijo al inicio de la práctica el jueves que Brown no se encontraba en las instalaciones de los Raiders y que no estaría entrenando un día después de publicar en redes sociales una carta del gerente general en la que detallaba casi 54.000 dólares en multas.

“Lo haré breve y conciso”, comentó Mayock. “Antonio Brown no está en el edificio hoy, no estará en el entrenamiento. No tengo más información para ustedes ahora mismo. Cuando tenga algo y sea apropiado, todos la recibirán. Pero es todo por hoy”.

Horas antes, la cadena ESPN reportó que los dos habían tenido un altercado el día anterior por la publicación de la carta y que los Raiders planeaban suspender a Brown. Los equipos tienen el derecho bajo el convenio colectivo para suspender a los jugadores hasta por cuatro partidos a causa de una conducta nociva para el equipo.

Una suspensión también invalidaría los más de 29 millones de dólares en garantías en las próximas dos temporadas, incluidos en el contrato de Brown con los Raiders.

“No voy a hablar de eso ahora”, señaló el entrenador Jon Gruden. “Tendremos un anuncio oficial más tarde”.

Gruden dijo que estaba frustrado por la situación pero que el equipo está listo para arrancar la temporada sin Brown, en caso de que sea necesario. Los Raiders pasaron gran parte del campamento de entrenamiento sin la presencia de Brown debido a una congelación en las plantas de los pies y una disputa con la NFL por su modelo de casco.

Es el suceso más reciente de una primera temporada dramática en Oakland para Brown, quien aún no juega un partido con su nuevo equipo.

Los Raiders adquirieron al productivo receiver luego de una separación controversial con Pittsburgh. Oakland sólo cedió selecciones de la tercera y quinta ronda del Draft por el jugador y le dieron un aumento considerable con un nuevo contrato por tres años y 50,125 millones de dólares.

    MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas (Reuters) – Debris extended for miles and floods covered much of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, in what the archipelago’s prime minister called one of the worst disasters to ever strike the island nation.

    Emergency workers struggled to reach victims as search and rescue operations continued into Wednesday ands the scope of the damage and humanitarian crisis unfolded.

    “We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,” Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told a news conference. “No effort or resources will be held back.”

    News media reported early on Wednesday that some storm victims remained stuck on rooftops, waiting for rescue. The official death count of seven is expected rise in the coming days.

    “We can expect more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information,” Minnis told a news conference.

    “Marsh Harbor has suffered, I would estimate, in excess of 60 percent damage to their homes,” Minnis said, referring to the port on Great Abaco.

    “The Mud, as we know, has been completely destroyed or decimated,” he said referring to a shantytown known as the Mud and the Peas.

    Aerial video of the Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island showed miles of flooded neighborhoods, pulverized buildings, upturned boats and shipping containers scattered like toys. Many buildings had walls or roofs partly ripped off.

    “Victims are being loaded on flatbed trucks across Abaco,” said one Twitter poster with the handle @mvp242, describing a rain-blurred photograph of limp bodies strewn across a truck bed. Other Twitter messages said whole communities were swept away.

    Dorian’s winds had diminished to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, the hurricane grew in size and picked up speed.

    Forecasters said it would come dangerously close to Florida’s east coast on Wednesday, where more than a million people have been ordered evacuated.

    Dorian packed sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 kph) and was moving north-northwest at 8 mph, as it churned about 90 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida, the NHC said in a 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) advisory.

    “On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight,” a 5 a.m. NHC advisory said.

    Hurricane-force winds had expanded to 60 miles from the storm’s core. “Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days,” the NHC said.

    Heavy rains and storm surge waters moving inland could cause life-threatening flash floods, the NHC said. The risk extended from Jupiter, Fla., to Surf City, N.C. Tornadoes are possible along the Florida coast until tonight, with the risk later moving to Georgia and South Carolina.

    LONG LISTS OF MISSING

    With telephones down on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, residents posted lists of missing loved ones across social media.

    A single Facebook post by media outlet Our News Bahamas seeking the names of missing people had 1,600 comments listing lost family members since it went live on Tuesday morning.

    The exact toll in the Bahamas will not be clear until the storm passes and rescue crews can get to devastated areas, said Theo Neilly, the Bahamian consul general in Washington.

    “We expect it to be very devastating and the damage to be extreme,” Neilly said. Dorian has battered the Bahamas for the past three days.

    As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said, in the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas.

    Food may be required for 14,500 people in the northern Bahamas’ Abaco Islands and for 45,700 people in Grand Bahama, the U.N. World Food Programme said in a statement. The preliminary estimates were based on an assessment by representatives of Caribbean nations, the WFP and other groups.

    The U.S. Agency for International Development said on Twitter it was air-lifting critical relief items, such as plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and water containers, from Miami to the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard said four of its helicopters were assisting in humanitarian efforts.

    Dorian, which killed one person in Puerto Rico before striking the Bahamas on Sunday, is tied for the second-strongest Atlantic storm to make landfall with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

    Tropical-storm-force winds and rain squalls were already lashing parts of the Florida coast early on Wednesday, and hurricane force winds are possible today. The winds and heavy surf is likely to hit the Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina coasts by late on Thursday. More than a million people were ordered to evacuate coastal counties in those states.

    President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for South Carolina on Tuesday, freeing funds, other federal resources and manpower to assist during the storm and aftermath recovery. Emergencies have already been declared in Florida and Georgia.

    Reporting by Dante Carrer in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas; Zachary Fagenson in Jacksonville, Florida; Gabriella Borter in Titusville, Florida; Peter Szekely and Matthew Lavietes in New York;, Rich McKay in Atlanta; Idrees Ali in Washington: Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; and and Rebekah F. Ward in Mexico City; editing by Larry King

    GUANGZHOU, China. Otra vez entre los mejores 16 del mundo.

    Un triple del armador Gary Browne restando apenas 5.1 segundos le dio una sensacional y dramática victoria a la selección de Puerto Rico 67-64 sobre Túnez para sellar su pase a la segunda ronda de esta Copa Mundial de FIBA, y así colarse entre los mejores 16 equipos de esta competencia.

    Fue un enorme bombazo de Browne que levantó la emoción entre sus compañeros de equipo y el grupo de fanáticos boricuas que estuvo alentando al equipo desde el silbato inicial.

    Tras el canastazo de Browne, Túnez tuvo un último intento para igualar la pizarra, pero el tiro de Makram Ben no llegó al aro, dando paso a una eufórica celebración entre los jugadores en el tabloncillo y en las gradas. Este es el primer pase de Puerto Rico a una segunda ronda desde Indianápolis 2002.

    Ahora, el conjunto se trasladará el jueves a la ciudad de Wuhan para enfrentar a Serbia e Italia a partir del viernes. España acompañará a los boricuas. Los mejores dos de esta ronda avanzarán a los mejores ocho.

    Primer parcial

    Puerto Rico tuvo un frío inicio ofensivo con apenas seis puntos en los primeros cinco minutos, pero la defensa mantuvo cerrado el marcador (11-6). La ofensiva despertó en la segunda parte del segmento. Un avance de 6-0, con cestas de Gary Browne, David Huertas e Isaiah Piñeiro, le dio la primera ventaja, 17-16. Los boricuas cerraron al frente el parcial, 19-18. Jorge Brian Díaz aportó siete puntos.

    Segundo parcial

    La historia del comienzo del primer segmento se repitió en el segundo. Divorciados del aro en los primeros tres minutos, los boricuas cayeron atrás (24-19) con un rally de Túnez de 6-0. Pero la segunda unidad de Puerto Rico despertó con un avance de 9-0, incluyendo un triple de Gian Clavell, para recuperar la delantera 28-24. El buen momento de los boricuas continuó y con seis puntos al hilo aumentaron la ventaja 36-28, la más grande del juego. Puerto Rico dominó la primera mitad, 38-32.

    Tercer parcial

    Por primera vez en el juego, la labor defensiva de los boricuas no ejecutó con la misma intensidad de los parciales anteriores. Túnez anotó 23 puntos en el parcial para recuperar la ventaja.

    Un triple de Mohamed Hadidane quebró un empate a 50-50 y Omar Abada agregó dos tiradas libres para cerrar el parcial con ventaja 55-52. Renaldo Balkman ayudó en el segmento con cinco puntos.

    Cuarto parcial

    Túnez abrió el periodo  con cinco puntos al hilo y logró su mayor ventaja en el juego (60-52).  Pero una cesta de Balkman y un triple de Huertas trajeron a Puerto Rico de nuevo en el juego (60-57), levantando el entusiasmo entre los seguidores boricuas. Tras una sequía ofensiva, en la que apenas anotaron dos puntos en casi cinco minutos, los boricuas igualaron la pizarra con cesta de Collier y triple de Huertas (64-64) restando apenas 1:37 por jugar. Y fue cuando vino el triple de Browne para darle la ventaja 67-64 con apenas 5.1 segundos, provocando una mayor euforia entre los boricuas sentados detrás del banco de Puerto Rico.

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 120 U.S. military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6 billion to help build or enhance 175 miles (282 km) of the border wall with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

      Earlier this year, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

      The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget and the Pentagon has said it could use $3.6 billion from the budget.

      In March, the Pentagon provided Congress with a broad list of projects that could be affected, but did not provide details.

      On Tuesday, Pentagon officials said 127 would be affected and the first $1.8 billion would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. The second tranche would come from deferred military projects inside the United States, the officials said.

      Elaine McCusker, the deputy under secretary of defense comptroller, said construction could begin as early as within 100 days on land owned by the Defense Department, such as the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona.

      There are more than 4,500 active duty and National Guard troops on the border.

      Lieutenant General Andrew Poppas, director of operations at the Joint Staff, said he expected that building the wall would reduce the number of troops needed on the border.

      Trump made the border wall a major 2016 campaign promise. The wall, which critics have called a political stunt, is part of his hardline immigration policies that are central to his 2020 re-election bid.

      “Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritized projects based on effects on readiness and consistency with the national defense strategy,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

      Hoffman added that the specific projects affected would be released after lawmakers were notified of the decision.

      The announcement was criticized by Democratic lawmakers.

      In a conference call with U.S. House of Representatives Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed her phone conversation with Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the decision earlier in the day.

      “My view of it is that stealing money from military construction, at home and abroad, will undermine our national security, quality of life and morale of our troops, and that indeed makes America less safe,” Pelosi said, according to an aide.

      She said she told Esper that Trump was negating the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the aide said.

      “This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

      Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan; Editing by Tom Brown and Grant McCool

        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Saturday to cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt for Americans, but offered no details on how it would be financed.

        Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, said in a statement that under his plan, the government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies. The proposal, he said, would also repeal some elements of the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged.

        “In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick,” said Sanders. “That is unacceptable. I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay.”

        According to Sanders, medical debt is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy, with more than half a million Americans filing due to medical expenses each year. He said the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill made it difficult to discharge medical debt by imposing strict means tests and eliminated fundamental consumer protections for Americans.

        “It also trapped families with medical debt in long-term poverty, mandated that they pay for credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy, and increased the need for expensive legal services when filing a case for medical bankruptcy,” the senator said.

        Sanders is seeking the Democratic nomination, along with more than a dozen other candidates, for the right to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020.

        Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Dan Grebler

          TITUSVILLE, Fla. (Reuters) – Hurricane Dorian became the strongest storm in modern records to hit the northwestern Bahamas and is expected to pound the islands with up to two days of torrential rain, high waves and damaging winds as parts of Florida evacuated before it took aim at the U.S. mainland.

          The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Dorian was over Abaco as a Category 5 storm on Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 180 miles per hour (285 km per hour) and gusts of more than 200 mph (322 kph).

          Millions of people from Florida to North Carolina were bracing to see whether Dorian avoids a U.S. landfall and, as predicted, veers north into the Atlantic Ocean after hitting the Bahamas. Even a glancing blow from one of the strongest storms ever to menace Florida could bring torrential rains and damaging winds, and “a Florida landfall is still a distinct possibility,” the Miami-based NHC warned.

          Bahamas residents reported trees snapping and docks being destroyed before the brunt of the storm arrived. The pummeling was expected to last for hours as the hurricane slowed to just 1 mph, “prolonging its catastrophic effects,” the NHC said.

          On Great Guana Cay, just off Great Abaco Island, waves began washing over low-lying parts of the tiny 9-mile (14-km) strand of land that is only about a quarter-mile wide by mid-morning, resident Tom Creenan said.

          Although some residents left for Nassau and elsewhere days ago, some 200 to 300 are riding out the storm on Great Guana Cay, where power was already out and forecasters are predicting up to 2 feet (61 cm) of rain and 23-foot (7-meter) storm surges.

          “The other day the prime minister came out and said everybody in Abaco should leave,” Creenan said by phone. “But there’s no place to go.”

          “This is the strongest hurricane that’s ever hit in the Bahamas,” Creenan said. “I grew up in Florida, so I’ve been through Andrew.”

          Hurricane Andrew slammed into eastern Florida in 1992 as a category 5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, obliterating the town of Homestead.

          That state was taking no chances with Dorian and four Florida counties, including Palm Beach County, issued mandatory evacuations for some residents, including those in mobile homes, on barrier islands and in low-lying areas. Other coastal counties have announced voluntary evacuations.

          U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Sunday that the storm would likely impact the eastern seaboard from Florida to North Carolina.

          “Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever,” he wrote on Twitter.

          The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is moving food, water and generators into the southeastern United States, said acting Administrator Peter Gaynor.

          “When it comes to response, we are more than ready to deal with anything that Dorian delivers us this year, or any other storm that may come this season,” he told CNN.

          Meanwhile, a new tropical storm has formed southwest of Mexico and is expected to become a hurricane on Monday. Tropical Storm Juliette is 455 miles (735 km) from Manzanillo, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), the NHC said on Sunday.

          Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Titusville; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Zachary Fagenson in Jacksonsville; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Dale Hudson and Daniel Wallis

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