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Twitter bans sharing ‘private’ images and videos without consent

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Twitter has expanded its private information policy to include media, banning users from sharing photos or videos of a private individual without their permission. The company notes that tweeting such images can violate someone’s privacy and potentially lead to harm against them.

Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021

The Twitter Safety team wrote in a blog post that although anyone can be impacted by private media being shared, it “can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents and members of minority communities.” If someone reports a photo or video that violates the policy, Twitter will remove the media and take action based on its enforcement options. Those include downranking the visibility of the tweet in replies and search results or telling the person who posted it to delete the tweet. Twitter also has the right to permanently suspend users who violate the policy.

There are some exceptions to the policy. It doesn’t cover private media of public figures or others if a photo or video, and the text in the tweet, “are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.” In other words, if it’s newsworthy, Twitter may allow the media to remain on the platform. The company will consider factors such as whether the images are available elsewhere, such as on TV or in newspapers.

That said, if the goal of sharing private photos or videos of public figures “or individuals who are part of public conversations is to harass, intimidate or use fear to silence them,” Twitter might remove the media. The abusive behavior and non-consensual nudity (i.e. revenge porn) policies still apply.

Twitter has long banned sharing private information about other people, such as addresses, phone numbers, ID or financial information (in other words, doxing someone). It also doesn’t allow users to intimidate others by threatening to release such details. The company says it will start enforcing the private image rule today and that the new measure is part of its work to bring its safety policies in line with human rights standards.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/twitter-private-photos-videos-personal-information-privacy-145228097.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

‘Final Fantasy’ meets ‘Fortnite’ is more fun than it should be

Fortnite and Final Fantasy. A doomed pairing of the most lucrative recent gaming phenomenon with one of the most storied video-game franchises spanning over 30 years? I love Final Fantasy, mostly. I’m lukewarm on Fortnite and the battle royale format in general. With Metroid Dread, Shin Megami Tensei, Alan Wake Remastered and Deathloop on my to-do list, why am I still glued to a free-to-play mobile game?

Probably because it’s expanding the already very-expanded Final Fantasy VII universe. The game that got the sequel CGI movie, the remake, multiple mobile games and more. And yet, barring a smart intro movie that cribs from the opening scenes of FF7R, you won’t see the protagonists (or antagonists) of the iconic RPG — though you’ll be able to cosplay as them.

In First Soldier, you play as, well, recruits looking to become the first Soldier — a specific top-class army member. Cloud, from FFVII, is introduced in the original as “Soldier, First Class” and this game takes everything back 30 years to the early formation of Shinra Corp’s military finest.

The setting, then, is a battle royale to see how augmented soldiers fare against each other (and whatever beasts come their way in the process). The battleground is a surprisingly expansive map on the outskirts of Midgar — while also featuring many of the major landmarks of Midgar’s sectors. Aerith’s church and childhood home is there to be shot at, as is the arena, Sector 7’s markets, the abandoned trainyard and more. The battle theme of FF7 kicks in as helicopters swarm into the area, dropping off recruits. It still gets me excited every time.

The grounds are littered with guns, from handguns to sniper rifles, as well as materia (magic orbs that offer both offensive and support capabilities) and even pretty rare summoning spells. I’ve yet to summon anything so far. There are also potions to pick up and help extend your chances of survival.

These are the baseline weapons and items. Differentiating itself from Fortnite — if not all BR games; we see you Apex and Warzone — you can also choose a job role, a la most RPGs. This mostly affects your special ability, your melee weapon and how you attack with it. Warrior is a straight-shooting class with a sword and a rush special that closes distance so you can wallop your rivals before they can get a shot in. Monks have the ability to heal themselves when they mete out damage, while Ninjas get an extra jump and the ability to hide in stealth mode for a few seconds.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier

Sorcerers come with a special ability that supercharges MP recovery for more regular offensive (and healing spells), while the ranger reloads guns faster than the others — and has a very convenient Assess skill that will mark threats around you even when they’re out of sight.

Each feels slightly different to play with, but there’s a pleasant balance to the different roles, though both soldier and monk suffer from having to rely on their melee attack for their advantages.

Let me say this outright; you should play First Soldier with a gamepad. Fortunately, I’m testing out Backbone, a third-party connected controller for iPhone that means I was already in a good place to aim my guns and spells. Magic casting controls are a bit messy — you’ll need to hold down an L-trigger while pressing another collar button to unleash one of three spells you may have picked up. Those melee attacks, which all job classes have, are really hard to land on your enemies, regardless of whether you’re using a gamepad or touch controls. Hopefully, the devs are able to finesse melee attacks as the game progresses. 

This means that, in a rather un-Final Fantasy way, you’ll come to depend on your guns for most of your kills. But hey, getting that sniper headshot kill is a thrill. Killing other players or monsters, opening chests and surviving through the rounds will level up your character through the match itself. This adds to your attack damage and increases your HP, meaning you should also last longer. It also rewards proactive play and exploration, and not just trying to survive to the final area.

As you might expect from a free-to-play battle royale game, there are season passes available for purchase. These offer up skins, banners, emotes and more cosmetic goodies for wannabe Soldiers. Even without a pass, you can earn a few rewards by fulfilling “rank” criteria during the battles. Gain stars, level up your rank — which is unrelated to leveling up your individual job ranks — and you’ll gain access to a smattering of wardrobe options or chocobo-raising items. I’m currently wearing a moogle hat, please say hi.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier

Square Enix

Yes, there’s also a chocobo rearing mini-game buried inside First Soldier, and you’re able to summon your favorite steed to the battles as a very handy transport option. It isn’t the only way to speed around levels, however. There are also cars and bikes to get you within the battle arena. The shrinking arena damages anyone outside its perimeter, but you’re able to persist with potions and healing spells and hopefully make it to safety.

The only drawback growing, as I play, is the fact that my leveling up has no tangible effect on my performance in the game — which is true of most battle royale games. The appeal is that each new battle isn’t affected by the round before it, but then chasing these goals (play two rounds as a warrior; make 300 pts of damage with a shotgun; visit Corneo’s mansion) soon tires. What exactly is the point?

For now, the point is that First Soldier skirmishes are entertaining, and the difficulty curve isn’t too brutal. I’ve won a few rounds, out of 75 players, and come second a handful of times. One colleague told me that early iterations of battle royale games are often filled with bots to juice the numbers (and offer up some encouraging early wins) but I will not let him take this tiny victory away from me.

Hopefully Square Enix has plans to offer more levels, weapons and events to spice it up. There are some limited-edition bosses throughout the Midgar level. I’ve managed to best two of them, but I’ve also been felled by Tonberry — a notoriously powerful monster from the Final Fantasy series— a few too many times. Maybe I should try fighting him as a ninja…

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is out now on Apple App Store and Google Play.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/final-fantasy-meets-fortnite-the-first-soldier-review-140024318.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mat Smith

Samsung will build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Texas

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Samsung has committed to build a chip-making factory in Texas, just as the US starts to push for the expansion in semiconductor production within the country. The Korean tech giant will be investing $17 billion into the new facility, which will manufacture high-end and advanced chips for smartphones, 5G and artificial intelligence, among other applications. According to The Wall Street Journal, construction for the factory is scheduled to begin next year, while production within the facility is expected to start in the second half of 2024. 

The US government has been taking steps towards boosting semiconductor production in the US, following the global chip shortage caused by shuttered plants and the high demand for PCs and other devices during the pandemic. This issue continues to have a huge impact across industries — just this year, automakers like GM and Ford had to suspend or cut production in their US plants due to supply constraints. 

Samsung scouted locations in Arizona, New York and Florida for the new project and also considered Austin, where it has an existing factory. It ultimately chose Taylor, Texas for this new facility due to the generous tax breaks and incentives it offered, as well as the city’s capability to do rolling blackouts and providing electricity to certain facilities in the case of power outage. 

Kim Ki-nam, chief executive of the Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division, said in a statement:

“As we add a new facility in Taylor, Samsung is laying the groundwork for another important chapter in our future. With greater manufacturing capacity, we will able to better serve the needs of our customers and contribute to the stability of the global semiconductor supply chain. We are also proud to be bringing more jobs and supporting the training and talent development for local communities, as Samsung celebrates 25 years of semiconductor manufacturing in the US.”

Source: https://www.engadget.com/samsung-17-billion-chip-factory-texas-054150875.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Rockstar apologizes for broken GTA remasters and pledges to fix bugs

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Rockstar Games has apologized for the shoddy quality of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition. It plans to fix “the unexpected technical issues” and improve the three games in the collection.

“We want to sincerely apologize to everyone who has encountered issues playing these games,” the publisher said. “The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect.” The first update is scheduled to arrive in the coming days and it will “address a number of issues.”

An update regarding the unexpected technical issues with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. https://t.co/YP4pkOLQmGpic.twitter.com/AsfYPuMI0d

— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) November 19, 2021

It didn’t take long for players to start sharing clips of bugs and glitches on social media after the remastered collection of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas arrived last week. Digital Foundry took a deep dive into GTA III and found there were “issues that are so blatant and jarring and ridiculous, it’s hard to understand how the game made its way through quality control.”

What’s more, Rockstar pulled the PC version of the bundle soon after launch to “remove some data files that were unintentionally included in the new versions of these games” (those are believed to include files related to the infamous San Andreas “Hot Coffee” mod). The collection was available to buy again a few days later. Rockstar Launcher services were unavailable for over a day too, making the collection and the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online unplayable during that time.

Soon after Rockstar announced the release date for the trilogy in October, it removed the original versions the games from digital storefronts. Now, the classic versions of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas are returning to PC as a bundle on the Rockstar Store. Players who buy the remastered trilogy on PC by June 30th will receive the originals at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, Rockstar has asked everyone to refrain from attacking developers on social media. “We would kindly ask our community to please maintain a respectful and civil discourse around this release as we work through these issues,” it said. Grove Street Games, which is behind ports of several other Rockstar titles, worked on these remasters.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/gta-trilogy-patch-remaster-rockstar-games-195157534.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

Tesla app outage locked some owners out of their cars

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Tesla’s app server went down a few hours ago, leading to a worldwide app outage that left owners unable to connect to their cars. For those who’ve been mostly dependent on their phones instead of their keycards, that means being locked out of their vehicles. Electrek first reported the issue after receiving complaints from Tesla owners on Friday night, and for a while it seemed like the problem only affected drivers in North America. But then, an owner from Seoul, South Korea tweeted at Elon Musk about getting a server error on their app, to which the Tesla CEO replied that he’s “checking” it out.

Checking …

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2021

Other tweets show owners calling for roadside assistance and delaying their plans for the night. The outage came shortly after the automaker rolled out an update to its application, which Electrek said includes a feature that Tesla had issues implementing. It’s unclear if that was connected to the outage, since Musk has yet to follow up on his initial response. Regardless, it looks like the outage is starting to get resolved. Downdetector received as many as 543 reports a few hours ago, but now they’re down to less than a hundred. 

Being locked out of vehicles could be an ongoing problem as automakers move to cloud services and increase reliance on smartphone apps. As this situation showed, however, it’s still wise to carry around a keycard/keyfob as backup just in case.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/tesla-app-outage-locked-owners-out-025004678.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Streamlabs accused of copying material for its console streaming platform

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Streamlabs is coming under fire for material used to launch Xbox streaming platform — and beyond. As Eurogamerreports, rivals have accused the company of copying web material, naming schemes and possibly functionality. Lightstream, for instance, noted that the initial website for Streamlabs Studio was extremely similar to its own, including (as streamer iamBrandon discovered) the user reviews. Streamlabs said this was an “error” that put placeholder text on a live site, and the planned copy was now in place.

That’s only the start of the accusations, however. OBS complained that Streamlabs used OBS as part of its broadcasting software name (Streamlabs OBS, or SLOBS) despite being asked not to. While Streamlabs has technically honored the terms of the GPL license used for OBS, it allegedly “disregarded the spirit” of open source software. Elgato, meanwhile, even implied Streamlabs’ Stream Deck was borrowing at least the name (if not features) from its Stream Deck Mobile app.

We’ve asked Streamlabs for comment. However, the plagiarism accusations have already led to a significant backlash. Top streamers Pokimane and Hasanabi have both threatened to stop using Streamlabs’ products (and in Pokimane’s case, remove her name from the platform) if it didn’t address the situation. Simply put, Streamlabs might lose some of its best-known customers if it doesn’t act quickly.

🤡 Hey, can I copy your homework?

▽ Yeah, just change it up a bit so it’s not obvious you copied.

🤡 Bet. pic.twitter.com/xODY5uDZeP

— Lightstream (@Lightstream) November 16, 2021

Source: https://www.engadget.com/streamlabs-accused-of-copying-lightstream-obs-140742760.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

Artists, activists demand concert venues drop Amazon’s palm-scanning tech

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Concert operators may like Amazon’s palm recognition system, but some performers and activists are less than thrilled. A group of 200 artists and 30 rights groups has penned an open letter demanding the Red Rocks amphitheater, its ticketing provider AXS and AEG (AXS’ parent company) “immediately cancel” contracts to use Amazon One scanning at any venue. They also want the firms to ban all biometric surveillance at those events.

The opponents to Amazon’s palm tech include figures you’d recognize, such as Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. The groups include organizations ranging from the immigrant-oriented United We Dream through to the Tor Project. The digital rights group Fight for the Future is leading the initiative. 

The letter contributors are worried Amazon might send palm data to government agencies hoping to track activists and marginalized people, particularly in light of its past collaborations with police. They’re also concerned thieves might steal info from the cloud, and see AEG as inconsistent after it condemned the use of facial recognition in 2019.

We’ve asked AEG and Red Rocks operators for comment. There are no guarantees the letter will convince anyone to drop Amazon One. The tech theoretically helps get people into a venue sooner, and might reassure concertgoers nervous about physical contact while the pandemic lingers. The objectors have some support, though — US senators are also worried Amazon might abuse palm data. The combined pressure might make life uncomfortable for palm scanning’s backers, even if they ultimately decide to move forward.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/artist-rights-groups-protest-amazon-palm-tech-100024591.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

1Password 8 is now officially available for Windows

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1Password’s latest major update is now out of early access and is officially available for Windows 11. The version, called 1Password 8, features a brand new design and new productivity and security capabilities. Company chief experience officer Matt Davey said 1Password created a whole new design language dubbed Knox for the project to help ensure consistency across devices. As we mentioned in the past, categories have moved from the sidebar to a dropdown menu, and you’ll also see new icons and the option to switch to dark mode.

The new version was built to be faster than its predecessor, with a feature called Quick Access that gives you a way to find and use saved credentials even when the 1Password app isn’t open. There’s also a new Item Catalog feature that guides you through the process of viewing or adding items, and smart suggestions that recommend matches as soon as you type in your search term. 

On the security front, 1Password 8 comes with a new Watchtower Dashboard that helps you identify weak or compromised passwords and inactive two-factor log-ins. You’ll also be able to restore deleted items, which can be extremely helpful for when accidents happen, and you’ll be able to share log-in details with anyone through Psst! The company introduced the password-sharing feature in October, giving you a way to safely share logins with co-workers or clients even if they don’t have an account themselves.

1Password also made the latest version available for early access on Macs in August, a couple of months after early access came out for Windows. It has yet to announce when general availability will be open for Mac users, but it did say in the past that it expects to release 1Password 8 for Apple’s OS later this year.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/1-password-8-officially-available-windows-140021850.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series updated to One UI 4 with new Android 12 features

Following a beta launch in September, Samsung has released its One UI 4 software with new features from Android 12 like the Privacy Dashboard. As usual, owners of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone lineup, including the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra, will be first in line to receive it. 

The biggest change with the new skin is how it looks. One UI 4 now allows a more customized experience with new color palettes and widgets, along with a wider range of emoji features, GIFs and stickers. That sounds very much like Android 12’s Material You, except it’s not auto- or AI-generated. 

Samsung's Galaxy S21 series updated to One UI 4 with new Android 12 features

Engadget

The other difference from before is around security. Following the lead of Android 12, Samsung is introducing a Privacy Dashboard that brings all settings and controls into one place. For example, it will show when an app is attempting to access your camera, microphone or other sensor, and why it needed that data.

Other features include access to Samsung’s extended ecosystem of devices and third-party apps. That will ensure a “seamless experience” when using non-Samsung apps like Google Duo, the company said. It’s also promising a uniform look across devices like the Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Tab.

Since the release of One UI, Samsung has been trying to get the latest versions of Android onto its high-end smartphones as quickly as possible. It’s fair to say it’s done that here, as Google released Android 12 less than a month ago onto its Pixel 3 devices. One UI 4 is available starting today for Galaxy S21 device, “and will soon arrive to previous Galaxy S and Note series as well as Galaxy A series, foldables and tablets,” the company said. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/samsung-galaxy-s21-phones-get-update-to-one-ui-4-110031121.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

Rockstar pulls the remastered GTA trilogy on PC

The PC version of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition seems to have some serious issues at the minute. The bundle — a remastered collection of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas arrived on Thursday. However, at the time of writing, the Rockstar Games website says “this title is currently unavailable in your country or region.” Console players can still buy it on the Xbox, PlayStation and Switch digital stores.

A screenshot of the Rockstar Games website indicating that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition is

Rockstar Games

According to Kotaku, those who bought the title on PC before it disappeared are unable to play it at the minute. Rockstar removed the older versions of the three games from PC storefronts before the collection arrived.

Adding to the publisher’s woes, the Rockstar Launcher has been out of commission for around 24 hours “for maintenance” — not a great look when Rockstar just released a new collection of some of its most notable games. That means Rockstar’s PC games like Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online are unavailable. The store, cloud services, downloads and authentication systems are also down.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on restoring services for the Rockstar Games Launcher and supported titles.

— Rockstar Support (@RockstarSupport) November 12, 2021

“We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on restoring services for the Rockstar Games Launcher and supported titles,” Rockstar wrote on Twitter early Friday morning. Engadget has contacted Rockstar Games for comment.

Some fans have expressed disappointment at the quality of remasters, with screenshots of glitches and videos of bugs popping up. One player posted a video of a rainstorm in San Andreas that made it difficult to see anything around CJ. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/gta-trilogy-remaster-pulled-pc-rockstar-games-192133431.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

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