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an amazon echo recorded a family’s conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

david limp, amazon senior vice president of devices, presses an echo dot in san francisco on march 2, 2016. (jeff chiu/ap)a family in portland, ore., received a nightmarish phone call two weeks ago.“unplug your alexa devices right now,” a voice on the other line said. “you're being hacked.”apparently, one of amazon.com's alexa-powered echo devices in their house had silently sent recordings to the caller without the family's permission. the person, who happened to be an employee of the husband, was in the family's contact list.“my husband and i would joke and say, 'i'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying,' ” a woman who identified herself only by her first name, danielle, told kiro 7, a news station covering seattle and western washington state.“we...





trump signs law rolling back dodd-frank rules created in response to financial crisis

president trump on thursday signed into law a bill that rolls back banking regulations passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, declaring it a “big deal for our country.”the measure, which passed the house earlier this week, leaves the central structure of the post-financial-crisis rules in place, but it makes the most significant changes to weaken the dodd-frank banking regulations since they were passed in 2010. it exempts some small and regional banks from the most stringent regulations and also loosens rules aimed at protecting the biggest banks from sudden collapse.at a signing ceremony at the white house, trump said the legislation “rolls back the crippling dodd-frank regulations that are crushing community banks and credit unions nationwide. they were in such trouble. ...





trump’s twitter account violated the first amendment. here’s what that means for the rest of twitter.

president trump violated the constitutional rights of americans when he blocked some of his twitter followers after they criticized him politically, a federal judge ruled wednesday.the ruling by u.s. district judge naomi buchwald identifies, for the first time, parts of trump's twitter account as a public forum that is subject to first amendment protections.but in many ways, the ruling raises many more questions about the extent of those first amendment obligations. here's what you need to know to get up to speed.what did the judge's ruling say?trump cannot legally block his twitter followers for political reasons, the judge ruled, because that would amount to “viewpoint discrimination” by a government official in a public forum.that's a lot to unpack. but the essential idea is t...





new privacy rules could spell the end of legalese — or create a lot more fine print

mark zuckerberg, ceo of facebook, faced questions from european lawmakers this week about privacy. (dario pignatelli/bloomberg news)san francisco — silicon valley companies for months have been rewriting their privacy policies to make them clearer in time for a friday deadline — the day europe ushers in sweeping new privacy laws that could affect users worldwide.the new law could spell the end of legalese — of an era of signing away your rights with a single click, experts said. but it could also have the opposite effect, of creating more longer, more confusing explanations.the european law, called the general data protection regulation (gdpr), requires that companies use plain language to communicate how they process people’s data. it also mandates that firms obtain explicit cons...





pravda: elon musk’s solution for punishing journalists

tesla chief executive elon musk delivers a speech at the paris pantheon sorbonne university in 2015. (francois mori/ap)for months now, elon musk, the billionaire inventor trying to colonize mars, tunnel under los angeles and make electric vehicles mainstream, has been seemingly preoccupied with another obsession: the media.what began as frustrated swipes at the press during earnings calls last year blossomed into full-blown fury on wednesday when musk attacked the “holier-than-thou” media on twitter for a litany of perceived abuses. among them:disproportionately covering automobile deaths involving tesla.improperly highlighting injuries at his factory.and helping to elect donald trump.the biased coverage has conspiratorial roots, musk claimed, the result of an advertising alliance betw...





why the trump administration wants to make it easier for elon musk’s spacex and others to get to space

president trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the white house on march 8, 2018. (photo by jabin botsford/the washington post)president trump wants to go back to the moon. but the way to do that would be very different from the 1960s-era apollo program.instead of being driven by a cold war space race against the soviet union, the united states instead is trying partner with a growing commercial space industry that has drawn the attention of the white house.in a new policy directive to be signed thursday, the white house vowed to streamline old regulations that it said hampered space companies for years, allowing them to grow and prosper. that, in turn, would help the white house meet its goal of returning to the lunar surface.in a call with reporters, a senior white house official said...





congress to roll back post-crisis financial rules as banks post record profits

the banking industry made record profits in 2018, a federal agency reported tuesday, as congress prepares to roll back banking rules put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.banks reported $56 billion in profits during the first quarter of 2018, up 27.7 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the federal deposit insurance corporation. even without the corporate tax cuts president trump and congressional republicans passed last year, the banks would have still reported a 12 percent jump in quarterly profits to $49.4 billion. both figures surpass the industry’s previous record for quarterly profits, the $48.1 billion the industry posted during the second quarter of 2017.the data “shows the banking industry is exceptionally healthy and poised to continue driving a ...





congress approves plan that will weaken dodd-frank banking regulations

the house on tuesday passed a plan to roll back banking regulations passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, sending the bill to president trump to sign.the measure leaves the central structure of the post-financial-crisis rules in place, but it would make the most significant changes to weaken the dodd-frank banking regulations since they were passed in 2010. it would exempt some small and regional banks from the most stringent regulations, and would also loosen rules aimed at protecting the biggest banks from sudden collapse.the measure is nearly certain to become law after its passing in the house, 258 to 159, on tuesday with nearly all house republicans and 33 democrats voting for it. the senate approved the bill in march with bipartisan backing, and white house officials said ...





trump violated the constitution when he blocked his critics on twitter, a federal judge rules

president trump's decision to block his twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the first amendment, a federal judge ruled wednesday, saying that trump's effort to silence his critics is not permissible because the digital space in which he engages with constituents is a public forum.the ruling rejects administration arguments that the first amendment does not apply to trump in this case because he was acting as a private individual. in a 75-page decision, judge naomi buchwald said trump, as a federal official, is not exempt from constitutional obligations to refrain from "viewpoint discrimination.""no government official — including the president — is above the law," wrote buchwald for the u.s. district court for the southern district of new york.[no, ...





parents who went to court to evict their unemployed 30-year-old son did the right thing.

michelle singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column the color of money. her award-winning column is syndicated by the washington post writers group and is carried in dozens of newspapers nationwide. follow @singletarym





uber shutting down self-driving operations in arizona

national transportation safety board investigators examine a driverless uber suv that fatally struck a woman in tempe, ariz. (ntsb/ap)uber said wednesday that it is shutting down its self-driving vehicle operations in arizona and laying off nearly 300 employees there.the move comes two months after one of its cars hit and killed a pedestrian and nearly a year and a half after gov. doug ducey (r) taunted officials in california for putting “the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation.”the company is working with local and state officials in pennsylvania and hopes to begin testing again in pittsburgh this summer.that timeline immediately came under dispute, with pittsburgh mayor william peduto saying uber’s cars would only be allowed back on the ...





trump’s twitter account violated the first amendment. here’s what that means for the rest of twitter.

president trump violated the constitutional rights of americans when he blocked some of his twitter followers after they criticized him politically, a federal judge ruled wednesday.the ruling by u.s. district judge naomi buchwald identifies, for the first time, parts of trump's twitter account as a public forum that is subject to first amendment protections.but in many ways, the ruling raises many more questions about the extent of those first amendment obligations. here's what you need to know to get up to speed.what did the judge's ruling say?president trump cannot legally block his twitter followers for political reasons, the judge ruled, because that would amount to “viewpoint discrimination” by a government official in a public forum.that's a lot to unpack. but the essential...





rice, the staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change

rice grows in a paddy in tay mo village, outside hanoi, in may 2012. (kham/reuters)human-caused greenhouse gas emissions threaten to make rice less nutritious, scientists said in a study released wednesday, raising a worrying possibility about the staple food item for billions of humans.rice, the scientists found, contains lower levels of key vitamins when grown amid high concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most common of the greenhouse gases driving climate change.“if we do nothing, then yes, there is this potential for profound negative impacts on human health,” said kristie ebi, a public health researcher at the university of washington in seattle and one of the authors of the study, which also involved researchers at institutions in china, japan, australia and the united...





uber shutting down self-driving operations in arizona

national transportation safety board investigators examine a driverless uber suv that fatally struck a woman in tempe, ariz. (ntsb/ap)uber said wednesday that it is shutting down its self-driving vehicle operations in arizona and laying off nearly 300 employees there.the move comes two months after one of its cars hit and killed a pedestrian and nearly a year and a half after gov. doug ducey (r) taunted officials in california for putting “the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation.”the company is working with local and state officials in pennsylvania and hopes to begin testing again in pittsburgh this summer.but that timeline immediately came under dispute, with pittsburgh mayor william peduto saying uber’s cars would only be allowed back on ...





uber shutting down self-driving operations in arizona

national transportation safety board investigators examine a driverless uber suv that fatally struck a woman in tempe, ariz. (national transportation safety board via ap)uber said wednesday that it is shutting down its self-driving vehicle operations in arizona and laying off nearly 300 employees there.the move comes two months after one of its cars hit and killed a pedestrian, and nearly a year and half after gov. doug ducey (r) taunted officials in california for putting “the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation.”most of those being laid off are safety drivers, among them rafaela vasquez, who was behind the wheel in march when the autonomous 2017 volvo struck elaine herzberg, 49, as she pushed a bicycle across a tempe thoroughfare.a video rel...





rice, the staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change

rice grows in a paddy field in tay mo village, outside hanoi, in may 2012.. (kham/reuters)human-caused greenhouse gas emissions threaten to make rice less nutritious, scientists said in a study released wednesday, raising a worrying possibility about the staple food item for billions of humans.rice, the scientists found, contains lower levels of key vitamins when grown amid high concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most common of the greenhouse gases driving climate change.“if we do nothing, then yes, there is this potential for profound negative impacts on human health,” said kristie ebi, a public health researcher at the university of washington in seattle and one of the authors of the study, which also involved researchers at institutions in china, japan, australia and the...





this is what starbucks' racial bias training is going to look like

rachel siegel is a national business reporter. she previously contributed to the post's metro desk, the marshall project and the dallas morning news. follow @rachsieg





what you need to know about 529 savings plans

graduates celebrate at new york university’s commencement ceremony at yankee stadium. (drew angerer/getty images)in the fall, my husband and i will have three children in universities: one in her second year of graduate school, one a junior in college and the other a first-semester freshman.when they are finished, not one of our children will graduate with any debt. none. nada.how did we do it without hitting the lottery or the scholarship jackpot?we started saving when our kids were wee little people, the last two before they could walk or talk. and the vehicle we used to save was a 529 plan.under a 529, if the money is used for qualified educational expenses, the earnings are not taxed.but despite the fact that this tax-advantaged savings plan has been around for 22 years, a recent sur...





spurned by trump and gop, coal baron don blankenship seeks a second chance in west virginia

former coal baron and u.s. senate candidate don blankenship has been spurned by president trump, defeated in the west virginia gop primary and lambasted for his former company’s safety record. yet blankenship, who received a private post-primary phone call from trump, won’t give up, announcing that he will run as the nominee of the constitution party and continue his campaign, launched from a prison cell, to prove he was wronged.blankenship was the chief executive of massey energy in april 2010 when an explosion killed 29 coal miners at the company’s mine in upper big branch, w.va. citing a litany of safety lapses, a judge in april 2016 sentenced him to a year in jail, the maximum for a misdemeanor, and fined him $250,000. the coal baron didn’t agree. in a 67-page manifesto titled ...





congress approves plan that will weaken dodd-frank banking regulations

the house on tuesday passed a plan to roll back banking regulations passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, sending the bill to president trump to sign.the measure leaves the central structure of the post-financial-crisis rules in place, but it would make the most significant changes to weaken the dodd-frank banking regulations since they were passed in 2010. it would exempt some small and regional banks from the most stringent regulations, and also would also loosen rules aimed at protecting the biggest banks from sudden collapse.the measure is nearly certain to become law after its passing in the house, 258 to 159, on tuesday with nearly all house republicans and 33 democrats voting for it. the senate approved the bill in march with bipartisan backing, and white house officials ...