<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.com en-usWed, 17 Oct 2018 07:55:56 -0700Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:55:56 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[YouTube Back Up After Users Report Outage ]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 20:07:29 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/youtube_generic_1200x675.jpg

We can apparently get our YouTube on again.

An outage late Tuesday prompted users worldwide to report on social media the video streaming website was down.

YouTube in a tweet later confirmed that the site was back up and running. 

The outage sparked a flurry of comments on social media, even prompting police to tweet out: "Please don't call 911 - we can't fix it."

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP
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<![CDATA[500,000 Google+ Accounts Possibly Compromised, Google Says]]> Mon, 08 Oct 2018 10:41:50 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/New+Image19.JPG

A bug in the Google+ social media service left about 500,000 user accounts open to being compromised, though there is no evidence anyone's personal information was misused, the company said Monday.

Google said it was shutting down the consumer portion of Google+, which it acknowledged had not caught on with the general public. (The company said 90 percent of all user sessions lasted 5 seconds or less.)

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused," Google said in a blog post.

The bug was patched last March. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google decided at the time not to disclose it to the public, which the company also addressed in the blog.

"Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance," it said. 

As part of a broader security review, Google said it would limits developers' access to certain Gmail data, as well as to call logs and messaging on Android phones.

The news comes less than two weeks after Facebook acknowledged its own breach, potentially exposing data on some 50 million users

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Cloned Accounts Message Is Fake; Don't Spread the Hoax]]> Mon, 08 Oct 2018 07:37:18 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-5861135321.jpg

A hoax that is gaining ground on Facebook has some worried about a new possible hack of the social network. Facebook says to disregard the message. 

The hoax works by targeting a user's inbox on Messenger, with the message making it appear like the user could have a cloned profile. 

Here's how it works: You receive a message from an existing Facebook friend telling you they've received a friend request from you. Then it says to check your account and to forward the message to all your friends. If you do pass the message along to your friends, the hoax spreads like an old school chain email or letter.

The message may look like this: ”Hi....I actually got another friend request from you yesterday...which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears...then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too....I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”

It's not the first time a cloning hoax has surfaced. A similar scam happened in the summer of 2016.

Facebook told NBC 7 that if you get a message such as this from an existing Facebook friend, just ignore it and don't forward it to anyone.

If you're concerned, you can check to make sure there isn't a duplicate account in your name.

Facebook officials said that despite all the hoax messages, there hasn't been an unusual increase in cloned accounts recently.

If someone is impersonating your account, though, you can report them to Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/help/fakeaccount.

Photo Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Bright Rocket Contrails Light Up SoCal Sky After SpaceX Launch Tonight]]> Sun, 07 Oct 2018 20:23:32 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Capture533.JPG

UPDATE: Read about the successful launch here.

SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday evening from Vandenberg Air Force base, carrying an Argentinean satellite and marking the first time the Falcon 9 booster returns to land at Vandenberg AFB.

The Falcon 9 is a two-stage launch vehicle, meaning it is made up of two parts that carry the payload to orbit.


  • First Stage: The booster, or first stage, is what carries the payload for roughly the first 2 minutes and 40 seconds of the launch.
  • Second Stage: The second stage is what the payload is attached to. When the stages separate, the second stage carries the payload to orbit while the booster returns for landing.


The first stage for this launch is a recycled booster that flew the Iridium 7 launch in July. That booster landed on a drone ship in the Pacific. For Sunday's launch, the booster will be landing back at Vandenberg AFB for the first time, on a newly constructed landing pad near the launch site.

Liftoff is currently scheduled for 7:21 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday. Sunset at Vandenberg is 6:38 p.m. Pacific Time, so there is a chance we could see an illuminated contrail at the very end of the first stage's burn and the start of the second stage's burn. Regardless of illuminated contrail, SoCal residents may get to see something a bit different from the "traditional" Vandenberg launch: the return.

For launch, look towards the west-northwest from the LA area and watch for a bright light that is rapidly climbing into the sky. After the stages separate, we may see another light as the booster turns around and starts flying back towards Vandenberg AFB. This light will be flying in the opposite direction of the launch. Residents closer to Vandenberg may hear a sonic boom as the booster approaches.

SpaceX may again attempt to recover the payload fairings in a giant net attached to a boat. These fairings protect the satellite from the forces of the atmosphere during launch, and are ejected after the stages separate.

<![CDATA[Internal Drama at Facebook Over VP Who's Friend of Kavanaugh]]> Fri, 05 Oct 2018 09:47:37 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/961820848-Joel-Kaplan-Facebook.jpg

A Facebook vice president's public support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has set off an internal revolt in the company, sources told NBC News.

Hundreds of employees have complained on message boards and in company emails about Joel Kaplan, vice president for global public policy, making a surprise appearance at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. The two are longtime friends since they both served in President George W. Bush's White House.

Some employees said it gave the impression Facebook backed Kavanaugh, and it prompted a company town hall to be scheduled for Friday.

It's the latest controversy for the tech giant, which recently revealed the biggest data breach in its history and had the founders of Instagram leave the company amid frustrations with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Musk Taunts SEC as 'Shortseller Enrichment Commission']]> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 20:17:58 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Musk-Elon.jpg

Elon Musk on Thursday lashed out at the Securities and Exchange Commission, taking to Twitter to mock the “incredible work” of the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.”

“Just want to [say] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” the Tesla Motors CEO wrote on Twitter.

The jabs were posted just days after the billionaire tech entrepreneur reached a proposed settlement with the SEC over yet another series of tweets Musk sent in August, NBC News reported.

Those August tweets said Musk was considering taking Tesla private and that he had “funding secured” for such a transaction. That caught the attention of the SEC, which last week sued Musk, alleging that the tweet and others Musk sent were false and misleading to investors.

Under the proposed settlement, announced on Saturday, Musk would step down as board chairman at Tesla while remaining CEO, and he and Tesla would each pay $20 million in penalties.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA['Snapcrap' Hopes to Help Clean Up San Francisco Streets]]> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 09:05:43 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/snapcrap.JPG

No, Snapcrap isn't a weird bathroom parody of Snapchat.

The new app released on Tuesday to iOS users is trying to help clean up the dirty streets of San Francisco, according to its developer Sean Miller, a San Francisco engineer who moved from Vermont to South of Market in 2017 and immediately took notice to the feces, needles and trash cluttering walkways.

Miller says he didn't know anyone when he moved to the city to work for Plivo, so he decided to move into a communal living space, The Negev, on the "somewhat notoriously filthy" 6th Street in SoMa.

That's when he got the idea for Snapcrap.

"A lot of people at the house would joke about the situation because it's obviously a bit comical, but we also realized it's a really serious problem and frankly it's a health hazard," Miller told NBC Bay Area.

The new app lets users snap a photo of the area in San Francisco that needs to be cleaned up, and then sends a report to the city's 311 hotline.

While the city has its own app that allows users to request sidewalk cleaning and report other defects like manhole covers, graffiti and tree maintenance, Miller says the SF311 app isn't a good experience. 

"It takes so many clicks to actually submit a ticket. We wanted to build a simple mobile app that would simplify the process and remove as much friction as possible," Miller said.

A spokesperson for the City of San Francisco's Public Works Department, Rachel Gordon, says the city's SF311 app already has all the key features but the city has taken a look at the Snapcrap app after it was brought to department's attention.

Miller said he put the Snapcrap idea on the back burner for over a year, but he's finally had enough and wanted to help.

NBC Bay Area found that the city’s 311 system received a dramatic increase in the number of complaints concerning a lack of cleanliness across the city. Complaints about trash increased 40 percent, human waste complaints swelled 96 percent, and complaints concerning used drug needles spiked 228 percent.

"A couple months ago I was still getting really frustrated seeing this stuff everyday and hearing people complain about it that I just decided to build the damn thing. I figured that if myself and all of my friends and housemates wanted it there must be a bunch of other people that would find value in it as well," Miller continued.

Miller designed the app to open straight to the camera, allowing users to quickly snap a photo of the area and automatically grab their location and autofills the rest of the 311 ticket form.

"I see poop" is one of the random automated comments that Miller designed to fill out the required comment section on the city's form. He said he wanted to make reporting public health issues fun for the community.

"The app is extremely basic right now, but I plan to add a bunch of other features soon. I think a crap map would be pretty funny," Miller said.

Miller says he also plans to put Snapcrap on Google Play store for Android users in the future.

Snapcrap is not affiliated with Snapchat and NBC Bay Area has reached out to Snapchat for comment due to the similarity in the app design. 

Photo Credit: Snapcrap
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<![CDATA[Maker Faire Takes Over Balboa Park]]> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 15:55:57 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Maker+Faire+San+Diego+2018+1003.jpg

Amazing machines, futuristic ideas, a beautiful venue and food will bring “makers” from across the country to San Diego’s own 2018 Maker Faire this weekend.

A “maker” is a name given to inventors, DIYers, artisans, and anyone who likes to create or teach, according to the Maker Faire website.

Over 200 local and regional makers will display their creations at this year's faire at Balboa Park.

There will be 12 exhibits in Balboa Park throughout the weekend. These areas will showcase creativity in science and technology, engineering, and arts and crafts.

Most exhibits will be inside nearby museums, including the Museum of Man, the Natural History Museum, and the Fleet Science Center. There will be workshops, guest speakers and hands-on activities like soldering.

Admission into the Maker Faire will give full admission to all participating museums.

Comic-Con will host MAKE the Museum. Fans can help create what they think the Comic-Con Museum should look like.

The new museum will be in the 1935 Federal Building. Comic-Con Museum plans to host a museum by day and a very unique fan community venue by night.

But this faire won’t just be inventions, machines, and drones, there will also be food trucks, music, beer and more. To view a complete map or to plan your day, visit its website.

Single day passes start at $21, and weekend passes start at $31. Active-duty military, student and child discounts are available. To see all ticket prices, see the event’s ticket page.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Maker Faire recommended guests to carpool or parking at Inspiration Point, then taking the green tram into the heart of the event. Tram hours of operations are from 9:00 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To see all the makers being featured, view the faire’s Meet the Makers site.

Photo Credit: Maker Faire San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Marketplace Introduces AI Technology ]]> Wed, 03 Oct 2018 14:07:01 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/Facebook+Marketplace.jpg

Facebook Marketplace is celebrating its second anniversary Wednesday, and announcing new technology to propel its growth and empower Facebook’s 2.23 billion monthly users to buy and sell goods.

Los Angeles-based lifestyle blogger Meredith Greenberg makes about $500 per month flipping goods she purchases on Facebook Marketplace. She takes old items and turns them from shabby to chic. 

“I use Marketplace to help me find and sell items that I restore and flip – from wine coolers, to coffee tables, to chairs and more,” said Greenberg. “Meeting people through Marketplace has also led to more custom work for me. For example, I connected with a couple on Marketplace who bought a coffee table from me. They loved it so much, we stayed in touch so I could share other pieces with them!”

Facebook says "more than one in three people on Facebook in the U.S. shop on Marketplace every month for everything from new shoes to baby gear to cars and apartments."

Furniture and electronics are top sellers on Facebook Marketplace, but it’s vehicle purchases that are emerging as one of the most popular categories worldwide, according to Facebook spokesperson Erin Landers.

Car listings from local car dealerships were introduced on the platform one year ago and have helped propel interest.

Facebook is bringing more technology to the platform.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping consumers buy and sell faster by improving the quality of photos and Messenger conversations. Some of the new features help with price range suggestions and auto-categorization.

Using AI, the Facebook Marketplace automatically categorizes an item based on the photo and description so that the user does not have to.

Facebook is also testing technology and camera features that will recognize products and similar listings of interest.

Reporting tools and a ratings system have helped make buying and selling safer online, such as badges that were introduced for sellers to confirm their identify.

Photo Credit: Facebook Marketplace]]>
<![CDATA[Scam Robocalls Are On the Rise, and Help May Be on the Way]]> Wed, 03 Oct 2018 09:14:09 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/161*120/robocalls+nbc+responds-1.jpg

As unwanted calls continue to proliferate, many mobile phone users have simply stopped answering the phone. But new technology is on the horizon that could sharply cut the number of scam and spam calls we all receive daily.

Fraudulent calls — frequently originating overseas — have spiked sharply since 2017. In a study published this month, tech analyst First Orion projected by next year, nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be scam calls. Of those, First Orion researchers say more than 90 percent will use caller ID "spoofing" — displaying a fake call-back number — to trick potential targets.

NBC Bay Area wanted to know, why is the problem of spam calls getting worse? How do fraudulent callers spoof caller ID? Why don't phone companies simply shut them down? And, what is the government doing to stop scammers? The answers we found are complicated, but there's also hope of a solution on the horizon.

An explosion of unwanted calls
Most of the calls from scammers and fraudsters are made with auto-dialers, and are known as "robocalls." Irvine-based tech firm YouMail estimates 4.2 billion robocalls were placed nationwide last month, amounting to about 13 calls per phone user.

Ethan Garr, Vice President of anti-spam calling firm TelTech, tells NBC Bay Area the numbers are staggering.

"Over 3,000 calls are being made every second to Americans," Garr said.

TelTech makes an app called RoboKiller. The company was awarded a $25,000 prize from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its spam call-fighting technology.

Garr tells NBC Bay Area the surge in caller ID spoofing by spam callers has conditioned most of us to simply stop answering our phones.

"I would guess 40 percent of the calls you get, you can trust the caller ID," He said.

We asked Garr how scammers spoof caller ID. He said it's pretty easy.  TelTech also makes SpoofCard, an app that lets any mobile phone user choose any number to show up on a call recipient's caller ID. Garr says it's pretty simple, because caller ID is a decades-old technology.

"It was an add-on into the phone system," Garr said. "It wasn't something that was invented so people could manipulate it or change it. It was a way for people to see who was calling, but it got co-opted over time."

Unfortunately, scammers were among those doing the co-opting of caller ID.

The robocall problem - it's complicated
For years, YouMail has tracked the rapid rise in computer-dialed phone calls.  It offers apps to help phone users block them. CEO Alex Quilici says the reluctance of most people to stop answering unknown calls has only made scammers more determined.

"They're clever, and they want to get through, so they're picking random numbers to call," Quilici said. "People are not answering the calls any more, if they can help it. They just assume, 'This is a number I've never seen before; I'm not going to pick up the phone.' So the bad guys try to call more and more numbers, to try to get through. It's a little bit of a death spiral for the phone network."

So, why can't the U.S. government simply ban all robocalls? 

Eric Troutman, an attorney with Womble Bond Dickinson, tells us it's not that simple.

"We need to have a better definition of what a 'robocall' is," Troutman said.  "When I think about what a robocall is, I think a scam, pre-recorded call; generally, random-fired, and probably by some bad actor overseas someplace. You might think that a reminder call to go pick up your pills at the pharmacy is a robocall."

Troutman represents clients such as banks that auto-dial fraud alerts, and pharmacies that use robocalls to inform patients of prescription refills. He welcomes tougher federal laws for scammers, but not a robocall ban.

"What is it that we're actually trying to prevent?" Troutman said. "Is it that we're trying to prevent American businesses from contacting their customers with account-specific information that their customer needs? I don't think so."

Troutman, who also writes for and edits telecom law website TCPAland.com, is a critic of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. He says the 1991 law — written long before widespread mobile phone and internet use — is badly in need of replacement.

"Congress needs to focus on scammers," Troutman said. "When we've got a lot of noise out there, trying to shift the focus from bad actors to legitimate American businesses, you're going to get a lot of push-back when it comes time to draft that statute."

Technological impediments and solutions
The other major challenge to blocking scam calls is the aging, sprawling national telephone system. Alex Quilici with YouMail told us that makes any effort to stop spam callers a daunting task.

"There are 3,000 [phone] carriers in the U.S.," Quilici said. "There are multiple billions of phone calls every day. To roll out something like that is a pretty massive undertaking."

The good news is the major players in telecommunications are trying. Right now, a consortium of technology engineers, phone service providers, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission are developing a sweeping update to caller ID. Known by the acronyms STIR and SHAKEN, the caller ID authentication standards will make it much more difficult for spam calls to get through.

Here's how it might work: calls from someone using a verified phone line, approved by a certification authority, could show up on your phone screen with something like a green checkmark. That way, you'll know the caller ID can be trusted. 

Conversely, calls that come in through scammers' preferred routes, such as unverified overseas phone services, will be flagged. You might see a red "X" or a "caller not verified" message with their caller ID. Or, your mobile carrier might be able to block all such calls before they get to your phone.

The new caller ID authentication standards could be rolling out to our phones as early as next year. While the measures should reduce the number of unwanted calls we get, it won't stop them altogether. Ethan Garr with TelTech says we can count on scammers' persistence and greed.

"They hate us," Garr said. "They don't care about us. They don't think of us as humans. They want to get to us. They want to steal from us."

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<![CDATA[17 Charged in $1M Apple Store Theft Ring]]> Fri, 28 Sep 2018 06:35:07 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AppleStoreFile.JPG

Robbery suspects have been arrested following a series of grab-and-go thefts at Apple stores in California that spanned across 19 counties, including many in the Bay Area, officials announced Thursday.

Seven people were arrested in Oakland Tuesday night for alledgedly entering Apple retail stores in hoodies and grabbing products on display before fleeing. The losses totaled more than $1 million, according to the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. 

The suspects were booked in the Alameda County Jail and another suspect was take into custody in Sonoma County. Nine other arrest warrants were issued to the rest of the suspect and the investigation is ongoing, Becerra said.

"Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals. Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking," said Becerra.

Becerra filed charges for conspiracy to commit grand theft against the individuals in Fresno, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties.

The thefts occurred in Alameda County, Butte County, Contra Costa County, Fresno County, Kern County, Los Angeles County, Marin County, Monterey County, Orange County, Placer County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Sonoma County and Ventura County, according to the attorney general.

The latest Apple store theft occurred Tuesday afternoon in Emeryville, according to police. A group of roughly six to eight people swarmed the store and grabbed an unknown amount of Apple products before taking off from the scene.

Tuesday's theft comes on the heels of similar crimes that have taken place recently at Apple Stores located in Bay Area cities such as Santa Rosa, Walnut Creek, Corte Madera and Burlingame.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Gigantic Stratolaunch Aircraft in Photos]]> Thu, 27 Sep 2018 13:14:15 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/06-02-2017-stratolaunch-hangar-Strato1-%283%29.jpg An enormous aircraft designed to launch rockets into space from high altitude has undergone testing at Mojave Air & Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles. It made its first engine runs in September 2017. In December 2017, low-speed taxi tests were conducted, allowing the team to assess steering and stopping capabilities.

Photo Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp.]]>
<![CDATA[Feds’ New Tool to Combat Opioid Crisis: Data]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 14:04:24 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+SF+OPIOID+STORY.00_00_02_18.Still010THUMB.jpg

Federal officials have a new tool to battle the opioid crisis: data. The Office of National Drug Control Policy's “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” program is using a web portal called the “OD Map” to track overdoses caused by opioids in real time. The program will help the agency target high-problem areas with resources and track the sources of the drugs.

<![CDATA['Fortnite' Craze: Parents Hire Tutors for Kids, Themselves]]> Sun, 23 Sep 2018 23:37:15 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fortniteGettyImages-1021203892.jpg

The soaring popularity of the video game "Fortnite" has led some parents to hire tutors to learn more about playing the game, NBC News reported

Chuck Cohn, the founder of Varsity Tutors, which offers online instruction on a variety of academic and non-academic subjects, said his company receives between 500 and 1,000 inquiries about the game everyday.

And parents aren't the only ones working with them. Joseph Armienti, one of Varsity's tutors, said he has a mix of children and adults working with him. 

“Some parents are trying to bond with their kids and have fun together,” Armienti said. “Other parents hire a tutor because their kids simply want to get better at the game as a hobby or even to be more popular in school.”

Photo Credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook to Scale Back Political Campaign 'Embeds']]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 19:20:58 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/facebook43.jpg

Facebook said on Thursday it would cut back the on-site support staff that it has provided in the past to political campaigns including President Donald Trump’s in 2016, NBC News reported.

Facebook said in a statement that it was pulling back that kind of help for political ads beginning with this year’s midterm elections, and would focus on providing free information to elected officials and campaigns through a website, politics.fb.com.

Brad Parscale, the campaign manager for Trump’s 2020 reelection effort, has said Facebook effectively embedded staff in the campaign’s offices in San Antonio two years ago, helping with technical advice on how best to reach voters with Facebook’s advertising platform.

Facebook has said it offered similar support to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and it likewise had helped other advertising customers, such as Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, as well as some commercial advertising clients.

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[New GM Owners Can Shop While They Drive]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:56:56 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/touchscreen.PNG

From the touchscreen in some new General Motors cars, drivers can now get directions, listen to articles and even order food.

The touchscreen features the new GM Marketplace and other apps which allow drivers to view restaurant menus and order food directly from the car.

The technology essentially turns your car into a smartphone.

General Motors said they developed the technology to keep drivers safe by keeping them off their phone while driving.

“Most of it is going to be more playback of radio and news articles, you're not necessarily going to be shopping while you're driving,” said Tony Maravill of Marvin K. Brown Cadillac in Mission Valley. “It's just basic, basic offers.”

But some doctors worry the touch screen technology will take the driver’s mind, hands and eyes away from the road and cause more accidents.

“Data has shown that hands-free is just as dangerous as hand-held,” Dr. Linda Hill of UC San Diego said.

General Motors said it developed the Marketplace technology with in accordance with the driver distraction safety guidelines.

The option is available in 2017 and 2018 vehicles with 4G LTE connectivity. 

The initial brands available with the technology are Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Wingstop, TGI Fridays, Shell, ExxonMobil, Priceline.com, Parkopedia, Applebee's, IHOP and deliver.com.

Cadillac is owned by General Motors.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Fight Wildlife Trafficking at San Diego Zoo Safari Park ]]> Sat, 15 Sep 2018 10:33:37 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_176452823758.jpg

Some of the brightest minds in technology and research are gathering at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California, to try to solve the world-wide problem of wildlife trafficking. 

Programmers, designers and more are participating in the Zoohackathon, a three-day event through the zoo, in partnership with the State Department.

An opening reception kicked off the weekend on Friday. During the hackathon on Saturday and Sunday, the hackers work to "create applications, systems, and tools to help reduce demand for trafficked wildlife products," according to the Zoohackathon site.

The hackers work around the clock for the 48 hours to try to implement the thoughts and ideas laid out by designers and researchers.

"You have animal and plant parts being traded illegally throughout the world. They have to be shipped somehow," said Stacey Johnson, corporate director of conservation and research for the San Diego Zoo. "Most of the shipping companies are using tracking systems of their own. So figuring out how we can examine them." 

Johnson said the hackers will also look into illegally posted animal and plant products online. 

Rhinos are of particular interest at the event, Johnson said. The wild animals are often poached for their horns. In Africa, the black rhino is critically threatened and the northern white rhino went extinct in the wild, with the only remaining ones living at a conservancy in Kenya.

The State Department said it believes technology can help end the cycle of buying and selling illegal wildlife products

When the event is over, the hacking teams pitch their ideas to judges and winners receive prizes. Those winners then have the opportunity to compete for prizes around the world.

Hacking events are also taking place over the weekend in Madrid, Mumbai and Uganda. New Delhi will host an event next weekend.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File]]>