Author: Taylor Hatmaker

2018 Midterms: 4 resources every voter should know about

TECHCRUNCH Voting in the U.S. can be confusing. By design, every state is different. On top of that, disinformation meant to discourage voting is rampant this election. Cut through the noise, arm yourself with the facts and vote. We’ve got resources to help you. 1. Fill out a sample ballot for your state If you’re not voting absentee or by mail, it’s helpful to have an idea of everything that’s on the ballot before you head into vote in person. Before you head to the polls, you can fill out a sample ballot through When We All Vote or an...

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Some law enforcement drones are dropping out of the sky

TECHCRUNCH The U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority is cautioning police departments and other emergency services to suspend operations of a specific drone model after some of the devices lost power unexpectedly and fell while in flight. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) safety warning applies to DJI Matrice 200 series drones, used by some emergency services in the U.K. The failures were first reported by West Midlands police department, though law enforcement in Norfolk, Devon, Cornwall and the West Midlands also uses DJI drones. Devon and Cornwall have grounded two affected drones out of their fleet of 20, according to the BBC. According...

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Facebook bans the Proud Boys, cutting the group off from its main recruitment platform

TECHCRUNCH Facebook is moving to ban the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization with ties to white supremacist groups. Business Insider first reported the decision. Facebook confirmed the decision to ban the Proud Boys from Facebook and Instagram to TechCrunch, indicating that the group (and presumably its leader Gavin McInnes) now meet the company’s definition of a hate organization or figure. Facebook provided the following statement: “Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve. We ban these organizations and individuals from our platforms and also remove all praise and support when we become aware of it. We will continue to review content, Pages, and people that violate our policies, take action against hate speech and hate organizations to help keep our community safe.” Even compared to other groups on the far right with online origins, the Proud Boys maximize their impact through social networking. The organization, founded by provocateur and Vice founder McInnes, relies on Facebook as its primary recruitment tool. As we reported in August, the Proud Boys operate a surprisingly sophisticated network for getting new members into the fold via many local and regional Facebook groups. All of it relies on Facebook — the Proud Boys homepage even links out to the web of Facebook groups to guide potential recruits toward...

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Alphabet exec Richard DeVaul is reportedly out after sexual harassment story

TECHCRUNCH As Axios first reported, Richard DeVaul, a director at the entity formerly known as Google X, has left the company. An incident involving DeVaul behaving inappropriately toward a Google interviewee was cited in a New York Times report centered on the sexual misconduct of Andy Rubin last week. The story recounts a 2013 incident during which DeVaul brought up his own polyamory in an interview with Star Simpson, a female hardware engineer. DeVaul reportedly invited Simpson to Burning Man. When she attended, DeVaul asked her to remove her shirt so that he could give her a massage. Simpson was...

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Twitter, why are you such a hot mess?

TECHCRUNCH Today, Jack Dorsey tweeted a link to his company’s latest gesture toward ongoing political relevance, a U.S. midterms news center collecting “the latest news and top commentary” on the country’s extraordinarily consequential upcoming election. If curated and filtered properly, that could be useful! Imagine. Unfortunately, rife with fake news, the tool is just another of Twitter’s small yet increasingly consequential disasters. Beyond a promotional tweet from Dorsey, Twitter’s new offering is kind of buried — probably for the best. On desktop it’s a not particularly useful mash of national news reporters, local candidates and assorted unverifiable partisans. As...

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Department of Justice launches a new hate crime resource portal

TECHCRUNCH Following an alarming week or domestic terrorism, the U.S. Department of Justice has consolidated resources and reporting tools for hate crimes into a single online hub. According to a DOJ press release, the new portal is meant to “provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals.” The new website can be found at https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the website on Monday at a D.C. law enforcement event focused on hate crime prevention. Rosenstein also announced $840,000 in grant money...

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Google Discover begins to replace the iconic search box on mobile

TECHCRUNCH It’s not broke, but Google is fixing it. As it announced last month, Google is rebranding Google Feed, its news landing page on Android and in the Google app, to be called Google Discover. Throwing minimalism out the window, Google Discover will replace the iconically spartan Google.com homepage on mobile. Discover is rolling out now on Google.com across both iOS and Android devices. For Android users, Discover is already baked into the interface, accessible by swiping right from the home screen. Anyone using the Google app on iOS or Android will also be met with the Discover homepage,...

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Texas has a long history of problems with Hart eSlate voting machines

TECHCRUNCH During early voting in some Texas counties, a handful of voters reported seeing their straight-ticket votes changed to endorse the opposing party. Others reported that an issue with the voting machines appeared to remove any selection for U.S. Senate altogether. The Texas Secretary of State’s office told TechCrunch that it has received “15-20 calls” from voters this week who reported being affected by the issue. All of those individuals caught the mistake and were able to correct their ballots before casting them, though that does not account for unreported instances in which voters did not notice the changed votes. In Texas, the Secretary of State serves as the chief elections officer. 🚨 ALERT: We have received multiple reports from voters who voted straight-ticket, then saw on a later screen that their votes were changed to that of the opposite party. You must check your ballot before casting to ensure it’s correct, and you can ask a poll worker for help. — Texas Civil Rights Project (@TXCivilRights) October 25, 2018 The issue is specific to Hart eSlates, electronic voting systems created by major voting machine vendor Hart Intercivic. The Secretary of State’s office maintains that this issue is “not due to a malfunction with the machine” but rather is a result of user error. Across Texas, 82 counties use Hart eSlate machines though only Harris, Travis, McLennan, Montgomery, Tarrant and Fort Bend...

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