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Deputies claim Alexa called 911 on man beating girlfriend; Amazon says it didn’t

Deputies in New Mexico are crediting Amazon’s personal assistant software, Alexa, with tipping authorities off last week to a violent confrontation between a man and his girlfriend – although Amazon says that’s not possible.

>> Read more trending news

Bernalillo County deputies were called around 10 p.m. MDT on July 2 to a home on Puntilla Drive in Tijeras. Deputies said a woman had been threatened and hit in the face with a handgun during a confrontation with her 28-year-old boyfriend, Eduardo Barros. Her child, who was also in the home, was uninjured.

Deputies said that during the attack, Barros asked his girlfriend if she called the Sheriff’s Office.

“This question, based on the victim’s statements, prompted a smart home device known as ‘Alexa’ to contact law enforcement,” deputies said in a news release. “In the 911 recording, the victim can be heard yelling, ‘Alexa, call 911.’”

Deputies said they found Barros barricaded inside the home when they arrived. Authorities attempted to negotiate with Barros to bring him out of the home but eventually used a police K-9 unit to get him out, deputies said.

Barros faces charges including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a household member.

“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said. “This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.”

Whether Alexa actually called authorities, however, is up for debate.

Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Hass told the Albuquerque Journal that it would have been impossible for the virtual assistant to call authorities.

“Alexa cannot call 911,” she told the newspaper. “That feature is not supported and does not work.”

Trery Forgety, director of government affairs and information and security issues for NENA: The 911 Association, echoed Hass while speaking with The New York Times.

“I have not heard of an Alexa device being a problem from a 911 perspective because they do not have native telephone capabilities,” he told the newspaper.

Here are 25 Amazon Prime Day tech deals you can’t miss

Amazon Prime Day 2017 is finally upon us.

>> Diamonds, luggage and more non-tech Amazon Prime Day deals to watch out for

The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes.

>> Read more trending news

>> Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale?

Amazon released a list of some of the hottest 30-hour deals and bundles on tech products, including its own smart speaker.

>> Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod

Here are 25 tech deals pulled from Amazon’s Monday press release:

  1. Save 50 percent on Amazon Echo, only $89.99
  2. Save $15 on Echo Dot, only $34.99
  3. Save $30 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $89.99
  4. Save $40 on Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, only $89.99
  5. Fire 7, our best-selling tablet, only $29.99
  6. Prime members who haven’t yet tried Amazon Music Unlimited can add four months of the full catalog streaming service for just $0.99 when buying Echo devices, Fire TV streaming media players or Fire tablets
  7. Save $75 on Echo Show and Arlo Security Camera bundle
  8. Save 30 percent on Echo Dot and TP-Link Smart Plug bundle
  9. Save $50 on August Smart Lock
  10. Echo Dot and Sony XB10 bundle, under $70
  11. Save big on Sony XB950B1 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones
  12. Save 45 percent on Libratone One Click portable Bluetooth speakers
  13. Save up to 50 percent on select video games, consoles and accessories
  14. Save up to 40 percent on PC gaming laptops, desktops and accessories
  15. Save 30 percent on RepRap Guru 3D Printer
  16. Save 50 percent on two-pack of Tile Slim Phone Finders
  17. Save big on Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-6 + Digital HD [Blu-ray]
  18. Newly released Element 55-inch 4K Ultra HD smart LED TV – Amazon Fire TV Edition, only $399.99
  19. 25 percent off select TCL smart TVs, starting at $119.99 for a 28-inch
  20. 32-inch 720p TCL TV, only $99.99
  21. 40-inch 1080p TCL TV, only $199.99
  22. 55-inch premium brand 4K smart LED TV, only $599.99
  23. Get 15 percent back on select Samsung TVs, audio and more on Prime Day with an Amazon Prime credit card
  24. Save more than 30 percent on Furbo Dog Camera with Interactive Treat Tossing, HD Wi-Fi Cam and 2-Way Audio
  25. Save 20 percent on Jackery Bolt 10050 External Battery Pack

Diamonds, luggage and more non-tech Amazon Prime Day deals to watch out for

Amazon Prime Day isn’t just about snagging the best deals on tech

>> Here are 25 Amazon Prime Day tech deals you can’t miss

>> Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale?

The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes, including a $499.99 deal on diamond stud earrings and big discounts on brands like Samsonite and Adidas.

>> Read more trending news

Ahead of the launch, Amazon released a list of some of the hottest 30-hour deals and bundles on tech products and non-tech products alike.

>> Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod

Here are 21 non-tech deals pulled from Amazon’s Prime Day sneak peek press release:

  1. Save 40-50 percent on Prime Exclusive clothing, handbags and more
  2. Save 30 percent on select clothing, shoes and more for men, women, kids and baby
  3. Save big on diamond stud earrings – 1 carat diamond stud earrings for 499.99 or ½ carat diamond stud earrings for $239.99
  4. Save up to 70 percent on select Samsonite two-piece spinner sets
  5. Save up to 40 percent on select furniture, mattresses and rugs
  6. Save 20 percent on nursery essentials
  7. Save $100 on the Bissell Multi Reach Cordless Stick Vacuum
  8. Save up to 40 percent on Radio Flyer, Crayola, K'NEX and more
  9. Save up to 30 percent on select Under Armour training gear
  10. Save 30 percent on select Adidas apparel
  11. Save up to 50 percent on select Callaway Golf products
  12. Skywalker Trampolines Jump N' Dunk Trampoline with safety enclosure and basketball hoop, 8-feet, only $119.99
  13. Save 30 percent on the Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard with accessories
  14. Save 25 percent or more on AmazonBasics – from office products to outdoor gear
  15. Get 20 percent back on thousands of items with an Amazon Prime credit card including select Disney Pixar Cars toys, select Thule jogging strollers and luggage, and select Yamaha musical instruments
  16. Save up to 50 percent on grocery items by Amazon, including Wickedly Prime and Happy Belly products
  17. Save 25 percent on Salt and Pepper Grinder Set from Willow &amp; Everett
  18. Save 20 percent on 6-Pack of Assorted Natural Chewing Gum from Simply Gum
  19. Save 35 percent on Mo+M Designer Cotton Baby Carrier from Mother’s on the Move
  20. Save 20 percent on 12-month Banner Cutout from Handmade Artisan Confetti Momma
  21. Save 20 percent off handmade from Kahili Creations

Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod

Of all the top-notch Amazon Prime Day deals being rolled out for the big 2017 sale, the Amazon Echo, with its limited $89.99 price tag, is arguably the best bargain so far.

» RELATED: Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale? 

But just before Amazon Prime Day’s official launch on Monday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET, Google slashed the price of its own smart speaker to $99, down from $129.

And when it comes to Apple’s HomePod, tech experts say interest in the anticipated smart speaker is on the rise.

» RELATED: 7 hidden perks of Amazon Prime you probably never knew about 

So, which device is right for you? We’ve compiled prices, expert and consumer reviews and more details to help you make your decision.

Amazon Echo

Usual price: $180

Amazon Prime Day deal: $89.99 (Amazon)

The e-commerce giant’s voice-activated smart speaker is one of its most popular products, offering consumers the ease of playing music, making appointments, getting reminders, reading news and much more through its virtual assistant, Alexa.

One of the product’s biggest perks is its compatibility with dozens of smart home devices, such as Belkin smart outlets and Honeywell smart thermostats.

» RELATED: 5 things you didn’t know about Amazon

Experts at CNET describe the Echo as an “undeniably futuristic” smart speaker “that can control your whole house.”

Consumers and experts alike have noted the Echo’s sometimes lackluster sound quality.

Overall, CNET editors rated the product 8.3 out of 10.

» RELATED: 5 ways to maximize your savings on Amazon 

Amazon’s smaller Echo Dot, normally priced at $49.99, will also be available for the low price of $34.99 for Prime members starting Monday.

Additionally, Amazon is offering the following Echo bundle deals:

  • Save $75 on Echo Show and Arlo Security Camera bundle.
  • Save 30 percent on Echo Dot and TP-Link Smart Plug bundle.

Google Home

Usual price: $129

One-week bundle offer with Chromecast: $99.99 (eBay)

Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, Google paired its $129 smart speaker with the popular $135 Chromecast streaming stick for a $99.99 bundle on eBay. The deal is marketed to last one week.

Though not as widely popular as Amazon Echo, the device that started the smart speaker trend, Google Home is gaining traction as the speaker with the “bigger brain,” due to its integration with Google’s search engine.

» RELATED: The best ways to send money online — comparing Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay and more 

According to TechRadar, if the Google Home keeps up its pace, it might catch up to the Amazon Echo.

Other perks include high sound quality and more personalized virtual assistance than the Echo and integration with Chromecast, which makes for easy, high-quality digital entertainment, according to CNET.

Still, Google’s smart assistant does need some help, consumers and experts say, arguing that changing your tone and using different words to ask a specific question often confuse the virtual assistant.

» RELATED: Cheeto shaped like Harambe the gorilla sold for $100,000 on eBay 

CNET editors also rated the Google product 8.3 out of 10. 

Apple HomePod

Price: $349 (Apple)

In addition to providing Alexa-like information on news, weather, reminders and more, Apple’s HomePod, with virtual assistant Siri, features wireless access to Apple’s Music library and a stellar musical experience.

» RELATED: The hottest products, iOS 11 features announced at Apple’s big developer conference 

The speaker won’t actually hit the market until December, but according to experts who played around with the HomePod at June’s big developer conference, “Apple has done a remarkably good job finding ways to get its speaker to feel like it’s filling a room with sound.”

The tiny speaker, according to The Verge, manages to put other smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, to shame.

» RELATED: 7 hidden iPhone tricks you probably never knew about 

But experts can’t attest to the smart speaker’s “smart” qualities just yet. The integration with Siri didn’t seem to work at the June conference.

Unimpressed by the malfunctioning Siri integration, Tech Radar experts described the HomePod as “the wild card from Cupertino.”

» RELATED: iPhone 8 leak confirms wireless charging, but reveals Apple’s expensive secrets 

Still, experts are waiting to fully weigh in until the speaker hits the market in December.

Jayden K. Smith: Why you should ignore hoax spreading on Facebook

If you use Facebook, you might have recently been told to ignore a friend request from a Jayden K. Smith because he’s a hacker, but the whole thing is a hoax.

>> Read more trending news

The warning, making the rounds on Facebook Messenger, claims that a person named Jayden K. Smith is sending out friend requests and will be able to hack into the accounts of any users who accept.

“Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request,” the message says. “He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks.”

The warning is just the latest in a hoax that has persisted for years, according to the urban legend and internet rumor debunking Snopes.com

“Variants of these messages are circulated endlessly, with different names swapped in and out as various pranksters decide to play jokes on people they know by inserting their acquaintances’ names and addresses into the warning in place of the existing information,” according to Snopes.

 ThatsNonsense.com, another anti-internet scam website, said that simply adding someone as a friend on Facebook will not compromise your accounts. It’s recommended that people do not add friends if they are strangers.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Hackers target European businesses, banks, services in new cyberattacks

Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk was one of multiple European companies to fall victim Tuesday to a cyberattack as Ukrainian government officials reported a “large-scale hacker attack” across the country.

>> Read more trending news

Attacks were also reported in several other countries, Russia cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement, including the United States, Russia, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map

Snapchat is introducing a new way to locate your friends with the Snap Map. 

The social media platform announced the news this week, revealing that the location-sharing feature will allow friends to find each other or anyone in the world using its map. 

>> Read more trending news

“We've built a whole new way to explore the world! See what's happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure,” the company said in a statement

So how does it work?

Pinch your Snapchat camera home screen to access it. The feature, which only updates when you open the app, allows users to scan the page, spotting friends no matter where they are on the globe. 

RELATED: Snapchat update allows you to create stories for groups of friends

Your friends will pop up as ActionMojis, users as cartoons, and you can tap on one to watch their story or send them a direct message. 

There are also snaps that don’t show up as ActionMojis. Instead, they appear as circular thumbnails. These posts are from other Snapchat users, and areas that are red indicate a lot of people are snapping from one place.

Related: Snapchat’s latest update includes limitless snaps and more

The update comes in addition to the app’s existing location geofilters. If you are not interested in making your location known, use the “Ghost Mode” button. With this function, you can still access the map, but others won’t be able to find you on it. 

Or you can select “My Friends” or “Select Friends” to choose exactly who can view where you are. 

The feature may raise concerns for parents, but USA Today reported that Snapchat addressed those concerns in a statement:

“The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works. With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time. It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat.”

Take a look at the video below to learn more. 

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigns as CEO, report says

The co-founder of ride-sharing company Uber has reportedly resigned as CEO.

According to The New York Times, Travis Kalanick is stepping down “after a shareholder revolt made it untenable for him to stay on at the company.”

>> Read more trending news

>> Click here or scroll down for more

Researchers: Millions of detailed voter records found unprotected on the internet

The personal information of nearly all of America’s 200 million registered voters was left unprotected in an online database discovered last week by a cybersecurity firm in what the company described as the “largest known data exposure of its kind.”

>> Read more trending news

The database, owned by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics, included names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, voter registration details and “data described as ‘modeled’ voter ethnicities and religions,” according to UpGuard, the firm that uncovered the information.

“Along with home addresses, birth dates and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity,” reported Gizmodo, which also reviewed the data.

In all, it encompassed 1.1 terabytes of information covering 198 million potential voters.

"With this data, you can target neighborhoods, individuals, people of all sorts of persuasions," Chris Vickery, the UpGuard cyber risk researcher who discovered the database, told The Washington Post. "I could give you the home address of every person the RNC believes voted for Trump."

Vickery found the database while searching for vulnerable data sources online as part of his job. It was not clear whether anyone other than Vickery downloaded the information, or how long it was online and unprotected.

"What is alarming about this now is that I believe it's the first time RNC IDs and model data have been exposed," veteran GOP political data strategist Matt Oszcowski told The Post. "This is not just a list of people; this is unique proprietary information which gives away (Republican) strategy and informs on targeting and methodology."

In a statement released to Gizmodo, Deep Root founder Alex Lundry said the company took responsibility for the mistake and said it happened when the company updated its security settings on June 1. Vickery found the information on June 12.

“Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access,” Lundry told Gizmodo. “Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked.”

Read more on UpGuard.com

Facebook adds fundraising option to Safety Check, among other updates

Facebook’s Safety Check feature will soon allow users to start fundraisers to directly help victims of a particular crisis.

» RELATED: Facebook introduces rainbow reaction to celebrate LGBT Pride Month 

The upgrade is one of four new updates coming to the tool, Facebook announced last week.

According to TechCrunch, fundraising could potentially mean big business for the social media conglomerate.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook’s personal fundraisers have a 6.9 percent plus 30 cent fee that flows into payment processing, vetting and security, TechCrunch reported.

Facebook nonprofit fundraisers have fees of 5 to 5.75 percent. With the new fundraising update, Facebook fundraisers could get even more attention.

» RELATED: Facebook accused of helping advertisers target ‘insecure’ teens 

In addition to the fundraising tool, Safety Check will include the Community Help feature on desktop, which launched on mobile earlier this year, for users to find and give help in terms of food donation, shelter and transportation.

The third update includes a feature for people to add a personal note when marking themselves as safe during a crisis to “reassure friends” and “provide more context.”

» RELATED: Facebook users can now use GIFs in the comment box

And lastly, Facebook will be integrating informational crisis descriptions into the feature for more context about the disaster. Information will feed from NC4, a third party global crisis reporting agency.

The Safety Check feature, first introduced in 2014, has been activated more than 600 times and has notified people that their loved ones are safe more than one billion times, according to Naomi Gleit, vice president of Social Good at Facebook.

Gleit said she and her team hope the latest Safety Check updates continue to help keep the community safe.

» RELATED: Facebook to hire 3,000 to review videos of crime and suicide 

The new improvements will be rolling out in the “coming weeks” for U.S. users.

Click here to read the full news release.

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