February 9, 2015

Samsung has confirmed that its "smart TV" sets are listening to customers' every word, and the company is warning customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets.

The company revealed that the voice activation feature on its smart TVs will capture all nearby conversations. The TV sets can share the information, including sensitive data, with Samsung as well as third-party services.

The news comes after Shane Harris at The Daily Beast pointed out a troubling line in Samsung's privacy policy: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

Samsung has now issued a new statement clarifying how the voice activation feature works. "If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search," Samsung said in a statement. "At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

The company added that it does not retain or sell the voice data, but it didn't name the third party that translates users' speech.

Update, Feb. 10: Samsung has updated its policy and named the third party in question, Nuance Communications, Inc. Meghan DeMaria

1:20 a.m.

Using a metal detector, an amateur treasure hunter made an incredible discovery in a Scottish field.

Mariusz Stepien was searching for objects near the village of Peebles, south of Edinburgh, when he found several items dating back to the Bronze Age, including jewelry and a sword. He told The Associated Press he began "shaking with happiness," and "felt from the very beginning that this might be something spectacular and I've just discovered a big part of Scottish history."

He was right. Archaeologists from the Scottish government's Treasure Trove Unit spent 22 days digging up artifacts from the field, and on Monday, they announced that this was only the second Bronze Age hoard ever excavated in the country. With Stepien and a few of his friends looking on, the archaeologists uncovered rings, buckles, the axle caps from a chariot, and a horse harness.

This was a "nationally significant find," Emily Freeman, the head of the Treasure Trove Unit, told AP. "It was an amazing opportunity for us to not only recover bronze artifacts, but organic material as well. There is still a lot of work to be done to assess the artifacts and understand why they were deposited." The items, as well as some dirt from the field, are now at the National Museums Collection Center in Edinburgh. Catherine Garcia

12:13 a.m.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is concerned that the country is going "the wrong way" when it comes to the coronavirus, as the number of new cases has almost doubled in the last 24 hours.

Since Monday, 1,397 new infections have been reported by France's health ministry and 14 people have died. During a press conference in Montpellier on Tuesday, Castex said the "epidemiological situation . . . is deteriorating," as "about 25 new clusters are identified every day compared to five three weeks ago."

A ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people has been extended to Oct. 30, and Castex called on local authorities to also lengthen mask requirements. Nationwide, people must wear face coverings while inside government offices, stores, and on public transportation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 30,000 people have died of the coronavirus in France. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's pick of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate got a positive reception from Democrats. But what about the Republicans hoping to defeat President Trump this fall? Well, the GOP operatives behind the Lincoln Project approve, they signaled in a new ad released just hours after Biden announced his pick.

"Joe Biden is the president for this moment," the ad's female narrator says. "Standing with him, Kamala Harris, a strong voice for a better America. Daughter of immigrants, a passion for justice, a happy warrior in the battle for the soul of America. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is the America we believe in, where hard work means more than family wealth, where compassion and kindness are strengths, not weaknesses. This is the America of our better angles. ... Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — it's time."

You can disagree with the Lincoln Project's politics — or not even really understand their politics — but you have to admire their speed. Peter Weber

August 11, 2020

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar won Tuesday's primary in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, defeating four challengers, including one who received millions in donations.

Her closest challenger was Antone Melton-Meaux, a mediation lawyer who used the millions he raised to outspend Omar by a two-to-one margin on TV ads, Politico reports. The website Open Secrets, which tracks campaign donations, said more than $2.5 million was spent by outside interests in an attempt to defeat Omar.

Omar was first elected in 2018, along with three other progressive women of color — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — dubbed "The Squad." She faced criticism in 2019 from members of the left and right when she made comments about Israel that some called anti-Semitic; Omar later apologized. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

Marjorie Taylor Greene, an adherent of the right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory who has previously expressed racist views in videos, won Tuesday's Republican primary runoff in Georgia's 14th Congressional District.

Greene, the owner of a construction company, defeated John Cowan, a neurosurgeon. She will face off against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, an IT specialist, in November. The district is considered a Republican stronghold.

In June, Politico reported that Greene uploaded videos to her Facebook page in which she made derogatory comments about Black people, Muslims, and the Jewish philanthropist and investor George Soros. Her remarks were condemned by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), but he did not take sides in the House race. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

There are a few things Sarah Palin wants Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to know about life as a vice presidential candidate.

On Instagram, Palin said she learned a lot of lessons when she was the late Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008. Her first piece of advice? "Out of the chute, trust no one new," she said, adding, "Fight mightily to keep your own team with you — they know you, know your voice, and most importantly are trustworthy." Palin also suggested Harris "connect with media and voters in your own unique way. Some yahoos running campaigns will suffocate you with their own self-centered agenda, so remember, YOU were chosen for who YOU are."

Palin said when she was on the campaign trail, her favorite thing was the "ropeline," which allowed her to shake hands with and hug supporters. Each interaction, she said, "melted my heart, energized my soul, and gave me the utmost hope in the greatest country on Earth!" These were pre-pandemic times, so it's not likely that Harris will be able to greet people the way Palin did, but if she does she must "be sincere in looking in their eyes, understanding why they're there, never forgetting they represent the innumerable Americans putting their trust in you to serve for the right reasons." Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

The Colorado attorney general's office on Tuesday announced it has launched a civil rights investigation into the Aurora Police Department's "patterns and practices," following several high-profile cases of alleged excessive force and misconduct.

This review began several weeks ago, a spokesperson said, and is separate from an investigation into the 2019 death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, an unarmed Black man who died after officers used a chokehold on him. Earlier Tuesday, McClain's family filed a lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department and paramedics who injected him with ketamine.

Last week, a video went viral showing Aurora officers holding a Black family at gunpoint, after the officers mistakenly thought the family was in a stolen car. As they all lay face down on the pavement, one of the children is heard sobbing and screaming, "I want my mother!" The department later apologized, and interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson said there will be a review of how officers are trained to conduct high-risk stops. Catherine Garcia

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