April has been a bad month for self driving cars, as both a driver and pedestrian have died from accidents. Leo says that California is giving Google a permit for a self driving car called WayMo, which will have no safety driver. The irony isn't lost on Leo, and while he believes that self driving cars are better than human control, they're never going to be 100%. There's more testing that needs to be done and they should have a safety driver until the bugs are ironed out.
This Week in Tech News
The IRS e-filing system was down for part of the day on tax day, which is a little strange. It is the busiest day of the year, but the IRS knew that ahead of time. A lot of people using software do the e-filing, such as TurboTax, H&R Block, IRS Direct Pay, and others were unable to file electronically.
Read more at arstechnica.com.
(Disclaimer: TurboTax is a sponsor)
Now that pin numbers have been associated with credit cards via the chip, the major credit card companies have announced that effective today, they will no longer require a signature when using a credit card. Leo says that's not only not surprising, but merchants rarely check anyway. But those who do, can still require it for their own records.
In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has continued apologizing for allowing user data breaches that violated people's privacy. The problem though, according to Leo, is that he's been apologizing for the same thing since college. He's really learned nothing.
News has come out the US Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of press, influencers, and bloggers to just keep track of what they report in pertaining to National Security. Leo says that this is something that we should be vigilant in watching because it could be very easy to misuse such data.
The internet used to be filled with jokes for April Fool's, but that trend has been on the decline lately. Even Google, the company that would always do very elaborate pranks on April Fool's Day has backed off from it. Google did do at least one thing, however. Google Maps has a "Where's Waldo" game you can play. Google also announced "Google Cloud Hummus."
We now have evidence that cell phone radiation can cause cancer in male rats. It is not cause for concern yet, as we are waiting for recommendations from the FDA and others. As always with these kinds of studies, the rats were exposed to a lot of radiation over two years. The original federal studies from the US National Toxicology Program, which uses labels to suggest how strong the evidence is, labeled the evidence "equivocal." That's the second lowest on the scale that the NTP uses, meaning there wasn't enough evidence to really make a connection.
The driver of the Tesla Model X that crashed on March 23rd did have the autopilot mode engaged. This comes after Uber's deadly crash with a pedestrian, where it has been determined that the self-driving car had not been operating safely. Tesla responded that the driver should have put his hands on the wheel to intervene. Strange curves and barriers can cause problems for the autopilot mode. It's important that any safety driver stay alert when the car is in self-driving mode.
It's tax time and Leo says that this is the time of year for what's called the "IRS Tax Scam." Users may get an email or voicemail with a warning that the police are coming to arrest you unless you pay your tax bill. Don't fall for it. The IRS will not contact you via voicemail, email or text message. The IRS only uses the US Mail.