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Election 2018 Misinformation Roundup: ‘Problematic’ Text Messages and Doctored Mailers

[To help readers better understand the information landscape in this election season, journalists at The Times have been collecting examples of electioneering that have the potential to confuse or mislead voters. If you see a suspicious post or text, please take a screenshot and share it with us.]Texts from ‘Trump’It’s an old get-out-the-vote technique applied to a new medium. Voters in several battleground states are receiving text messages telling them that their ballots have not yet been received. The messages then invite recipients to visit a website run by the Republican National Committee, where they are asked to enter their email address and other information.Rebecca Mase, a…

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Strategies: The New iPhones Look Fine. But My Old One Is Better Than Ever.

Could this have been a case of planned obsolescence of a nefarious sort, the deliberate ruination of a perfectly good product to spur sales of a new one? I am not convinced that it was, although suspicions have been rampant for years that this kind of behavior might be standard for big tech companies. Facing widespread criticism, as well as lawsuits that are pending in California, Apple apologized late last year.In a statement at the time, the company said it had meant well and had merely been trying to keep phones working longer. Critically, Apple said it would offer expedited services at lower prices for owners of…

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California Tries New Tack on Gun Violence: Ammo Control

[Read: Once Banned, Now Loved and Loathed: How the AR-15 Became ‘America’s Rifle’]The purchase or sale of magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets has been illegal in California for nearly two decades. Possession also became criminal in the wake of the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, where the couple used 30-round magazines. That ban was recently overturned by the courts.Next July, California will begin requiring stores to conduct point-of-purchase background checks on ammunition buyers. Typically, background checks will not be required for people purchasing bullets at gun ranges for use on-site.New York is the only other state with a similar requirement, but its rollout has…

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California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law

WASHINGTON — California lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that would guarantee full and equal access to the internet — a principle known as net neutrality — in the biggest pushback yet to the federal government’s rollback of rules last year.The California bill is viewed as even stronger and more consumer-friendly than the original measures carried out by the Obama administration and abolished in December by the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission. It is sure to set up a fight between broadband providers, which say strict rules would increase their costs, and consumer groups, which seek to ensure that all traffic on the internet is treated equally.It is…

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Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves

“Here’s the thing about Vinod,” Mr. Kaul said. “He just doesn’t care.”‘You Could Say He’s Principled’Mr. Khosla was born in Pune, India, in 1955 and grew up the middle-class son of an army officer. He says his parents accepted his personality early on, though they also learned he could be a liability.“The priests would effectively say, ‘If you donate this much money, God will bless you.’ How crooked is that? If I ran into a priest, I’d say, ‘Oh, you’re a crook,’” Mr. Khosla says, recalling being 12 years old.After a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. at Stanford Graduate School…

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She Helped Crack the Golden State Killer Case. Here’s What She’s Going to Do Next.

Much to the frustration of her proud son, the genetic genealogist who helped crack the unsolved case of the Golden State Killer decided early in the investigation that she did not want to be named. “I was worried about my safety, which is why it’s taken me so long to come out of the closet,” said Barbara Rae-Venter.Last week, the 70-year-old former attorney, who lives in California, decided she was ready, allowing Paul Holes, a retired investigator at the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office to name her in a tweet:The response to the role she played in identifying Joseph DeAngelo, a former police officer, now charged with…

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Tech Industry Pursues a Federal Privacy Law, on Its Own Terms

WASHINGTON — Technology companies have taken plenty of hits on privacy this year. In May, Europe began enforcing a sweeping new law that lets people request their online data and restricts how businesses obtain and handle the information.Then in June, California passed its own law that gives people the right to know what information companies are collecting about them, why the companies are collecting that data and with whom they are sharing it — setting a privacy benchmark for the United States.Now top tech companies are going on the offensive.In recent months, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and others have aggressively lobbied officials in the Trump administration and…

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Feature: The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won

In early 2014, Pritzker traveled to Silicon Valley for a highly publicized listening tour. She hailed the tech industry as a model for government — a partner, not an antagonist. Data, she proclaimed, was “the fuel of the 21st century.” Pritzker’s tour included visits to eBay, Google and the Menlo Park campus of Facebook, where she met again with Sandberg. The women discussed an array of issues, including consumer privacy and how to ensure that American tech businesses remained competitive around the world. Two former Obama administration officials told me that those conversations appeared to have shaped Pritzker’s early views on privacy. “Our goal at the Department…

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After a Fiasco, California Aims Again at Remaking the Power Grid

“This is not either-or, it’s not local versus regional — it’s getting the best out of both,” said Ralph Cavanagh, staff lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a longtime proponent of the measure. “You will use the existing system more efficiently.”For example, at certain times of the year, California produces more solar and wind energy than it can use, and must pay other states to take it to avoid overloading the system and causing blackouts. A regional grid would enable better coordination with other generation sources without additional payments.As for the potential for energy companies in coal states to send more power from fossil fuels…

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Nextdoor Is Betting a Social Network Can Still Be a Platform for Politics

When Hala Hijazi wanted her friends to meet London Breed, then a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, she invited the whole neighborhood.Ms. Hijazi, a community organizer and consultant, lives in the city’s Marina District and is a member of Nextdoor, the neighborhood social media site.She planned the meet-and-greet on the Marina’s bustling Chestnut Street and posted it on Nextdoor. One neighbor said he wouldn’t vote for Ms. Breed. She said another called the candidate “the worst.” Still others decided to vote for Ms. Breed after meeting her in person.“Nextdoor is organic and, sometimes, it is going to be raw,” Ms. Hijazi said.Ms. Breed won the mayoral…

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