Senators preparing bill to deal with online political advertising

Amid growing concern over Facebook’s sale of political ads to Russians, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner have formally called for new legislation to enhance the transparency of online political advertisements, CNN has learned.

Klobuchar and Warner sent a letter to their colleagues on Thursday inviting them to co-sponsor legislation that would among other things require all major digital platforms to keep a public record of groups or individuals that make ad buys of more than $10,000.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, was sent out shortly after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company would share the ads it inadvertently sold to Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 election with the House and Senate intelligence committees, and would make a number of changes to its platform related to political ads, including adding disclosures to such advertising.

A source familiar with the issue told CNN that Facebook is planning to deliver the information concerning the 3,000 ads “in a matter of days.”

The Senators said the Federal Election Commission had failed to take sufficient action to address online political advertisements and that current law did not adequately address advertising on platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

While FEC and Federal Communications Commission rules create what Klobuchar and Warner termed “a robust disclaimer and public access regime” on advertising which airs on television and radio, the senators noted that Facebook “faces far fewer obligations.”

Klobuchar and Warner say their legislation would address that. Specifically, they said in their letter, it “would require digital platforms with 1,000,000 or more users to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by a person or group who spends more than $10,000 aggregate dollars for online political advertisements.”

“The file would contain a digital copy of the advertisement… a description of the audience the advertisement targets, the number of views generated, the dates and times of publication, the rates charged, and the contract information of the purchaser,” the letter stated.

“Additionally, this legislation would require digital platforms, in addition to broadcast, cable and satellite providers, to make reasonable efforts to ensure that electioneering communications are not purchased by a foreign national, directly or indirectly,” the letter said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Senator Warner’s last name.

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Wells Fargo CEO faces a grilling from Elizabeth Warren

Get ready for Elizabeth Warren versus Wells Fargo, Part II.

The Senate Banking Committee revealed plans on Thursday to hold a new hearing on the Wells Fargo scandals on October 3.

CEO Tim Sloan, who took over during the bank’s fake-account fiasco, is likely to be grilled by Warren, a vocal critic of Wells Fargo, and her colleagues on the committee.

The Republican-controlled banking committee came under pressure to hold another hearing after the disclosure of a string of additional problems at America’s second-largest bank.

The first hearing, held last September, was triggered by Wells Fargo’s firing of 5,300 workers for creating 2 million fake accounts. Warren unleashed a verbal takedown of former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf that instantly went viral.

Since then, Wells Fargo has run into more trouble. The bank has uncovered as many as 1.4 million more fake accounts by digging deeper into its broken culture. Wells Fargo has also admitted to charging thousands of customers for car insurance they didn’t need. At least some had their vehicles wrongfully repossessed.

That’s not all. Wells Fargo has recently been accused of ripping off mom-and-pop businesses on credit card fees. Some former employees allege Wells Fargo fired them in retaliation for calling the bank’s ethics hotline.

Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has held up the scandals as evidence that regulators need to do more to hold the bank — and all big banks — accountable. She has begged Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen to remove much of Wells Fargo’s board, alleging these directors were asleep at the wheel during the fake-account disaster.

Yellen on Wednesday reiterated that Wells Fargo’s behavior was “egregious and unacceptable.” She said the Fed is “working very hard” to understand what went wrong and decide whether more punishments are warranted. (Regulators outside the Fed fined Wells Fargo $185 million last September for the fake-account scandal.)

Wells Fargo hopes to ease the outrage from lawmakers by arguing it’s taken meaningful action to fix its internal problems. “We welcome the opportunity to further update the Committee about the progress Wells Fargo has made,” the bank said in a statement.

Wells Fargo has in fact done a lot since last fall. Not only was Sloan put in charge, but former Fed official Betsy Duke has been tapped to take over as chairman of the board on January 1. Wells Fargo overhauled the management of its retail bank and clawed back more than $180 million from senior execs. The bank has also revamped the unrealistic sales goals that fueled the unauthorized opening of bank and credit card accounts.

Isaac Boltansky, policy analyst at investment firm Compass Point Research, said Sloan should benefit because he wasn’t at the helm during the fake-account scandal. He predicted Sloan will be far better prepared for his grilling than Stumpf was last fall.

“That hearing was a train wreck,” Boltansky said.

Critics argue the latest controversies show Wells Fargo hasn’t done enough. The Wells Fargo scandals also undercut efforts by President Trump and Republicans to rip up rules they claim are hindering big banks.

Wells Fargo still faces a slew of investigations, including from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

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Apple Watch Series 3 is having connectivity issues

The new Apple Watch hasn’t shipped yet, but it’s already running into some issues.

Apple on Wednesday confirmed the new Apple Watch Series 3 is having problems connecting to LTE networks.

“We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular,” an Apple spokesperson told CNN Tech. “We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”

The built-in cellular connection, a first for the Apple Watch, has been a major selling point for the Series 3.

The watch is designed to rely less on the iPhone, and lets users answer calls, get texts, talk to Siri and access third-party apps without being tethered. Soon, users will be able to stream Apple Music from the device.

The tech giant unveiled the Series 3 last week, alongside the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

The latest watch also has a bigger focus on fitness and health. For example, it alerts users when it detects an elevated pulse. In addition, it’s launching an Apple Heart Study later this year with Stanford Medicine to identify irregular heart rhythms.

The Series 3, available in stores starting Friday, will cost $329 without cellular and $399 with cellular.

It works with the four major carriers in the U.S. Subscription plans start at $10 monthly,

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FEMA vows to remain in Keys for as long as needed after Irma

As the recovery process from Hurricane Irma continues for residents in the Florida Keys, thousands have already applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A mobile FEMA unit is set up on Simonton Street in Key West with representatives on site to help answer questions and guide survivors through the process.

“A lot of our response has to do with dealing with everybody in the general public and helping them understand what kind of disaster assistance they need,” FEMA representative Kevin Sur said.

For many, it’s overwhelming. Many are dealing with FEMA for the first time, waiting in long lines just to apply for assistance. They’ll have to wait another week before they’re contacted by a representative.

Part of the challenge is that many Keys residents live on boats, many of which were destroyed in the storm.

“We’re going to need to know, not only the address of the marina, but we need to directly specify where their boat was — we need to know what dock, what slip — so that we can, you know, identify them and speed their recovery,” FEMA representative James Taylor said.

FEMA’s mobile unit will soon become a disaster recovery center, with the promise of being there as long as it is needed.

Elaine Duke, acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, recently visited the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center with Gov. Rick Scott. She assured residents that FEMA will continue to receive funding to help residents return to normal.

“We have no indication that we won’t have everything we need from Washington, D.C.,” she said.

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Nest branches out with alarm system and face-detecting doorbell

Nest wants to keep you from being robbed, as well as help you track your kids and let your dog out to pee at 3 a.m.

The Alphabet-owned company announced a trio of new products on Wednesday, all designed keep your home safe with a combination of motion sensors and constant video monitoring. They include optional face detection to tell who is outside your house, ringing your doorbell, or making waffles in your kitchen.

It’s launching Nest Secure, a home alarm system, Nest Cam IQ, a new version of its outdoor camera, and Nest Hello, a doorbell that includes a tiny security camera. Nest is also adding the ability to talk to Google Assistant through its indoor camera.

Nest Secure security system

The Nest Guard is the hub of the security system. It looks like a decapitated Google Home with a keypad on top, and replaces the usual wall-mounted security keypad. If triggered, the Guard blares its internal alarm.

Use one of the so-called Nest Tags — discs with NFC sensors that go on a keychain — to disarm and arm the system instead of entering a code. If you give a tag to a friend or dog walker, you can program it to only work during certain hours. You can also turn it on and off with the Nest app, or go ahead and enter a code with your human fingers.

In addition to the motion sensor in the Guard, the separate Nest Detect door and window sensors can send alerts to the app or trigger the alarm, as well as detect people walking by. The Detect looks like a little robot finger with a button for a nail, which you can press if you want to open a door without triggering the entire alarm system.

There will be an option for professional round-the-clock monitoring by MONI but no prices have been announced. The Nest Secure system, available in November, will cost $499 for the base, two tags and two door sensors. Extra tags cost $25 each, and sensors are $59 each.

A doorbell that watches

The Nest Hello doorbell looks like an Amazon Dash button and features a camera that can see who’s at the door. You can get alerts when anyone is at your door and watch them from the app. It will also have optional face detection.

The idea is far from original. Startup Ring currently dominates the connected doorbell market, and August announced its own version earlier this week. To stand out, Nest is adding a Naptime option to mute the ringer for a spell. There’s also an option to reply to the person standing outside with a canned response like “You can leave it, thanks!” in the usual Nest robotic voice.

The device won’t be out until sometime next year, and Nest did not release a price.

Face detection comes to the outdoor camera

Nest Cam IQ outdoor includes features recently added to the company’s indoor camera. It can tell the difference between people and things, and can zoom in and follow subjects. If you pay for the optional Nest Aware service, the camera adds face detection, which uses the same technology found in Google Photos. Nest says its face-library is stored separately from Google’s on Nest’s own servers.

The $349 device looks the same as the earlier version, but now you have to drill a hole to connect the power cable, which can be an extra layer of security or a bigger hassle.

Same aesthetic, new direction

It’s been a busy year for the 7-year-old company, which released a cheaper version of its thermostat last month and updated indoor camera in May. However, it has been slow to release original products.

After it was acquired by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion, Nest struggled with internal drama and complaints about founder and CEO Tony Fadell’s management style. Fadell resigned in 2016, and now the company is being led by Marwan Fawaz, who was previously a technical adviser to home security company ADT.

So far the devices appear to be faithful to the Nest brand. They all work together via the app, and have that Nest look. Clean, rounded and boring, like how sci-fi movies imagine rich people live in the future.

Your home is secure, but how about your data?

A house outfitted with Nest products can gather a ton of data about its occupants, including faces if the cameras use face-detection. Michele Turner, a general manager at Nest who has overseen development of the security devices, says the company has gone to great lengths to keep that data safe. In addition to adding “extra layers of encryption,” Nest has gone through a Google security audit.

“Google’s security is probably some of the best in the world, and everything we do passes their security audit,” Turner told CNN Tech. “We execute to their standards.”

The company also will not use or sell the information it collects, says Turner.

“Your data is private. We are fanatical about that.”

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Bill Gates sorry about control-alt-delete

Bill Gates is sorry that he made it so annoying to log in to your computer.

The billionaire Microsoft co-founder admitted Wednesday that the Control-Alt-Delete function used to start up Windows computers is an awkward maneuver.

“If I could make one small edit, I’d make that a single key,” Gates said Wednesday on a panel at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City.

It’s a confession Gates has made before. In 2013, he blamed IBM for the issue.

“We could have had a single button. But the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give us our single button,” Gates said at a Harvard University event at the time.

Users can press a single key to log in — not three — on Apple’s Mac computers.

The tech luminary, along with his wife, is the co-chair of the world’s largest private charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The couple teamed up with dignitaries like President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New York on Wednesday to promote their new Goalkeepers report, which tracks progress on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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