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Tech News Today for June 14, 2017

Tech News for Wednesday June 14, 2017

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have announced plans to draft new federal legislation for self-driving cars. Facing increasing pressure from carmakers, senators and representatives are compiling a legislative package on autonomous technology that we could see as early as this summer. Companies like Uber, Waymo, and others are now depending on various state-level regulations for testing, but many would like a common regulatory framework. David McCabe from Axios says members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees from the left and the right are not only concerned with the safety of the driverless cars on the road, but also how much data they're collecting and how the companies plan to keep that data safe. Read more at axios.com.

Facebook’s Safety Check feature is designed to let those close to a natural disaster check in so those outside of the area know that their loved ones are ok and accounted for. Facebook is taking the feature one step further by including a new feature to allow for fundraising related to the disaster. A user would have the option to either collect for a registered nonprofit or for a personal fundraiser to help out during the difficult time. Human moderators will review each of them before they go live to ensure that everything is on the up and up. Read more at buzzfeed.com.

TechCrunch has a piece today about the “paradoxical panic” that Safety Check risks inducing upon its users by pushing those who aren’t anywhere near a disaster to check in so their friends know that they are safe. To a greater extent, the author posits that Facebook has in turn flipped societal norms to where no one can feel like their loved ones are safe unless they happen to remember to check Facebook’s “safe” box during a disaster. Might this cause undue panic and stress on Facebook users? Read more at techcrunch.com.

Google is sneaking its way into more of our personal files. Google Drive will soon be able to back up your entire computer. The company announced a new file management and storage solution that syncs not just the files you create and upload using Google docs and Google photos, but all your files wherever you keep them on your PC. Starting on June 28th, the tool will be able to completely recreate your desktop folder system in drive so it's accessible everywhere. Business Class G Suite customers will get this capability later this year. For personal storage, 100 gigabytes is $20 a year. 1 terabyte is $100 a year. And 20 terabytes is only $299 a month. Read more at theverge.com.

Google is looking to take its smartphone hardware production in more of a vertical direction, and it's hired an Apple chip architect to aid in its own production of chips for the Pixel line. Manu Gulati, an eight year veteran at Apple that helped lead the company’s efforts in developing its own chips, has transitioned to Google to be its Lead SoC architect, according to his LinkedIn profile. Google has long been rumored to move in this direction, and it looks like they may now have just the person to make it a reality. Read more at theverge.com.

Instagram will now give creators tools to make it easier to be transparent when one of your posts is sponsored. The new paid partnership tag on posts and stories will also allow instagrammers to track the reach of their posts, presumably to keep them from going to other social networks to get paid to hawk other people's stuff. And businesses will see shared reach and engagement metrics, presumably so they can decide who to keep paying to promote their stuff. A standardized format will also likely please the FTC who has been cracking down lately on posts that have been paid for, but not clearly marked as an ad. A new report from marketing firm Mediakix said 93 percent of posts promoting a brand did not meet the standards put forth by the Federal Trade Commission. Read more at business.instagram.com.

Tech News Today with Megan Morrone and Jason Howell streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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