Google has been jumping through the required hoops to bring its ultra-fast Internet service Google Fiber to San Jose, but hasn t yet committed to providing it.However, San Jose officials expect that well before summer s end, the tech giant will announce it s going ahead with gigabit-speed Internet in the city.It remains possible that Google would decide not to provide Fiber service in San Jose, but its work to date on the project suggests it will commit to the service.On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council unanimously approved Google s plan to reduce negative impacts from construction of a fiber-cable network, and council also gave Google the OK on site leases for five more huts to house cable and equipment.One additional important approval will come later this summer, for an agreement that Google will pay the city s projected $7 million in permitting and inspecting costs on the project for the following three years, said city spokesman David Vossbrink.Vossbrink said that well before that agreement goes to the council for approval, Google is likely to announce officially that it will bring Fiber to San Jose.Google appears very eager to move quickly, Vossbrink said.Based on the City approvals they ve already secured, the level of their investment and effort to get the project to this point, and their other actions needed to proceed, we re very optimistic that the Fiber  project is very close to beginning construction.Photo: The Google logo  KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images Tags: city council, construction, Google, google fiber, microtrenching, San Jose, trenching
Google s new Home virtual assistant device, Amazon s Echo device and Apple s Siri may break federal child-protection law and expose the companies to millions of dollars in potential fines.That s the conclusion of an investigation by The Guardian newspaper, published Thursday.Both Echo, which houses Amazon s Alexa virtual assistant, and Google s Home, which houses Assistant, are marketed at children, the paper pointed out.In a video promotion for Echo, a pre-teen girl is shown asking her father about the new device, asking, Is it for me?This is part of the initial wave of marketing to children using the internet of things, Jeff Chester, executive director of privacy group the Center for Digital Democracy, told The Guardian.Recording children in the privacy of the home is genuinely creepy, and this warrants additional investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and states,  Khaliah Barnes, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the paper.Under the law, companies can t store young children s personal information, including voice recordings, without verifiable parental consent.Although all three companies store audio files of voice requests in the cloud, none of them use a COPPA-approved method to seek consent beforehand, The Guardian reported.Breaking the act can bring fines up to $16,000 per violation, the paper said, noting that Yelp in 2014 paid $450,000 after it admitted to collecting kids personal information without telling their parents or receiving consent.The federal trade agency specifies that fines can depend on number of children affected and the size of the company – and Amazon has sold some 3 million Echo devices in the U.S. and Apple has sold more than 100 million iPhones, according to The Guardian.Amazon, Google and Apple told the Guardian that they comply with the act, with Apple adding, We don t target kids, according to the report.Of course, one can ask Siri what Cookie Monster is.
Billionaire venture capitalist and beach-miser Vinod Khosla has thrown his backing – in spirit at least – behind billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel s effort to shut down gossip website Gawker.But in a Twitter thread overflowing with snide comments, Khosla s show of support got him smacked by a local tech journalist for spelling Thiel s name wrong.Venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems co-founder Khosla is famous for his Silicon Valley roles and estimated $1.5 billion net worth.And he is infamous for his drawn-out battle to block the unwashed masses from crossing his multi-million-dollar Half Moon Bay-area property to get to the beach.Thiel, who had been outed in 2007 by Gawker as gay, was recently revealed as the man with the money behind former wrestler Hulk Hogan s sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker, which netted Hogan a $140 million award from the trial jury, threatening the website with oblivion.Thiel put up $10 million to support Hogan s suit.On Thursday, Khosla took to social media in response to an article about Thiel by Kara Swisher on tech website Recode.Click bait journalists need to be taught lessons.San Francisco Chronicle business columnist Thomas Lee got huffy, too: Spare us the ethics lessons man, he tweeted at Khosla.
Technology giant Apple, already hit with a $625 million patent-infringement award, will have to shut down iMessage and FaceTime if the company that won the award succeeds in an additional court action.Apple in February was ordered to pay Nevada holding company VirnetX $625 million over infringement of four patents addressing secure communications.On Wednesday, VirnetX asked an East Texas federal district court to block Apple from operating its messaging and video-chat apps, and to add another $190 million to the award because Apple was a poster child for unreasonable litigation, according to Law 360.VirnetX has been referred to as a patent troll, a label describing a company existing solely to win patent-infringement awards and settlements without producing products.However, VirnetX claims Apple s patent infringement damaged business opportunities for VirnetX s video-chat and messaging apps, according to Law 360 s report.The suite of apps, called Gabriel, appears to be available by subscription on the company s website.East Texas district courts are notoriously friendly toward patent trolls, with almost half of U.S. patent-infringement lawsuits filed in the district, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Apple told Fortune magazine in February it planned to appeal the $625 million verdict.The Cupertino firm in 2013 had complained to the Federal Trade Commission that it was the world s biggest target for patent-infringement suits, having been dragged into court 92 times in the previous three years.Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple headquarters in Cupertino Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group Tags: $625 million, Apple, FaceTime, imessage, lawsuit, patent infringement, patent troll, Patents, VirnetX
The new-age taxi company has heard your complaints.It knows you don t like surge pricing, so it s experimenting with getting rid of it.Instead, the company has decided to just hide the fact, to make it less transparent that you are in effect paying a surge price.The company has moved away from identifying surge pricing to users with its UberPool service, Quartz reported.That service attempts to create ad hoc carpools of Uber users heading in similar directions at the same time.Instead of showing Pool users the lightning bolt symbol that indicates when surge pricing is in effect or notifying them that they are paying some multiple of Uber s regular rates, the company just gives them a simple price quote.But by testing the service multiple times during the day, Quartz was able to show that Pool prices weren t fixed, that the company s surge pricing was still basically in effect, it just wasn t alerting users to the fact.Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber s New York operations, confirmed to Quartz that prices for UberPool do fluctuate depending on demand, but the company isn t showing users how much extra they re paying during peak periods.The reason people don t like surge pricing, the Quartz report seems to imply, is not because they feel like they re being gouged by the company when they most need a ride, or that Uber appears to be taking advantage of their desperation.As Quartz puts it, surge pricing puts friction in the market — and that s bad.And really, what s best for Uber is best for everybody, right?Photos: File photo of an Uber decal displayed in the the window of a car owned by a part-time Uber driver.
Newly formed and lavishly funded Toyota Research Institute is poised to buy Google s scary-robots factory, a report has claimed.Google in 2013 bought Boston Dynamics, whose unsettling robots have become creep-factor YouTube stars.The company had received tens of millions of dollars in military funding until Google bought it.Google, which now falls under parent firm Alphabet, has been trying to unload the robot unit, according to a March article in Bloomberg, reportedly over its low potential to produce commercial products within a few years, along with lack of cooperation between the unit s executives and Google engineers, and concerns from Google s public relations team.Now, the ink is nearly dry on a deal to sell Boston Dynamics to Toyota s artificial intelligence and robotics group, the Toyota Research Institute, according to Tech Insider, which based its report on an unnamed source.Officially launched in November, Toyota s institute received initial funding of $1 billion, according to a January news release from Toyota.The push within Google to rid itself of its relatively new acquisition began in earnest in February, according to Bloomberg, when a video of hulking, bipedal robot Alex refusing to be cowed by a bullying human raised fears about what the public might think.After the division s latest robot video was posted to YouTube, in February, Google s public-relations team expressed discomfort that Alphabet would be associated with a push into humanoid robotics, the article said.Not that the public hadn t already been creeped out by Boston Dynamics machines – last year, the world was introduced to Spot, a dog-like quadruped that looked like it could lay waste to a pack of Rottweilers in a matter of moments.Then there was Cheetah from 2012, another four-legged robot, which had a top speed slightly higher than that of Usain Bolt, the world s fastest man.Tech Insider said Google and Toyota didn t respond to requests for comment on the reportedly imminent sale.Photo: Screenshot from Boston Dynamics video of Atlas, its humanoid robotTags: Boston Dynamics, Google, Pentagon, robots, youtube
If you used to spend time on Myspace or Tumblr, there s a good chance your login credentials — your user name, email address and in many cases your password — are available to anyone who wants to buy them as part of a package deal.Security researchers recently discovered more than 360 million Myspace credentials in an online forum for hackers and another 65 million Tumblr credentials in a marketplace on the dark web, according to published reports.Both are requiring affected users to change their passwords, but the stolen credentials could be a danger to consumers who use the same users names and passwords on multiple sites.Both sets of credentials appear to come from hacking attacks that took place in 2013 or earlier, so they don t include more recently created accounts.Passwords used on the site were apparently stored in the clear and are accessible in the hacker database.By contrast, passwords in the Tumblr cache were salted and hashed a process that adds random data to passwords and then cryptographically scrambles them, making them harder to crack.Time, which now owns Myspace, on Tuesday acknowledged the breach that led to the loss of the credentials.Yahoo-owned Tumblr acknowledged its breach earlier this month, but didn t disclose how many accounts were affected.On Monday, Motherboard, citing security researcher, Troy Hunt, put a number on it: 65,469,298 unique accounts.The breaches are only the latest examples of wide-scale security compromises.Earlier this month, for example, LinkedIn acknowledged that a 2012 breach was much bigger than it initially reported, with some 117 million passwords compromised.Hunt runs a web site called Have I Been Pwned that allows web users to see if their credentials have been compromised in one or more of the recent breaches.Myspace logo courtesy of Myspace .Tags: linkedin, MySpace, passwords, Privacy, Security, security breach, tumblr
The future, apparently, will be ruled by imaginary friends —  chat bots that lack physical form but can do everything from ordering the perfect pair of shoes to comforting us in times of trial.We will interact with these bots via voice and by text, and their artificial intelligence AI and comprehensive knowledge about everything we do will give them the power to know us better than we know ourselves.Who better to develop the best imaginary friend than Google, world leader in AI and keeper of a bottomless wealth of information about each of us?Danielle, and other bots Google plans to release soon, will be able to have conversations, but not at a human-to-human level yet, he said.You can actually create one with your own personality if you feed in your blog, that expresses your style and personality and ideas, and the bot will adopt those, Kurzweil said.Even the you-bot won t be ready for fully human-quality chatting till 2029 when bots reach our level, Kurzweil said.They ll be indistinguishable from human intelligence, he said.Photo: Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil Helene DeLillo Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, blog, chat bot, Danielle, Google, Ray Kurzweil
And the company is now making it easier to find out what data about you is being stored – and used to sell targeted advertising – from your searches and browsed content, to voice commands, to your YouTube choices, and your movements around the world.We know that from research, users are curious or concerned about what data Google has about them, Google product manager Guemmy Kim told CNN.A year ago Google announced My Account, a central location for personal-data storage and privacy settings.The company s Kim admitted then that having had the settings scattered around different locations made it hard for users to manage their personal data.On Wednesday, the firm announced that Google app users can now say, OK, Google, show me my Google account to go directly to the My Account portal for privacy settings and storage.Soon, that shortcut will be applied to Google search, with signed-in users able to go to My Account by typing their name in the search box, the company said.What Google didn t mention in the announcement were the specifics of the data it stores, and which can be accessed – and deleted – via My Account.Audio recordings of voice search on Google are kept and such searches have tripled on mobile devices in the past two years, according to the company , along with searches and browsed content from Google Chrome and other apps, location history, and YouTube searches and viewing history.
We will give Apple engineers the benefit of the doubt and assume they weren t inspired to create new drop-protection technology for iPhones by throwing cats out of a fourth-story window.Yet the method they ve proposed in a new patent application for keeping dropped phones from breaking bears a remarkable resemblance to the behavior of a plunging cat, which can orient itself mid-air for the safest landing, on its feet.Smart phones with cover glass may be particularly vulnerable when the cover glass impacts the ground.They may be much less vulnerable if a metal or plastic portion of the housing of the smart phone impacts the ground first or instead.So, just as Whiskers stays safest in a fall by landing on her paws, the iPhone can protect itself by landing on its edge.To accomplish that, Apple inventors Fletcher Rothkopf, Colin Ely and Stephen Lynch propose techniques including a sliding or spinning mass inside the phone to change the orientation of the device as it falls.Photo: Cat landing on its feet Wikimedia Commons/ColKorn1982 Tags: Apple, break, cats, dropped, fall, Fletcher Rothkopf, iPhone, patent, protect
Everything we work on at Google—all the data and information we create, details of what we do, how we operate, and our plans for the future—is at a minimum, confidential, the guidelines say.Such policies are widespread in the Silicon Valley tech sector, said lawyer Chris Baker, who is representing the former Nest worker, whom he wouldn t identify.Tech companies are more likely to be over-inclusive in what they consider to be confidential.A statement posted to the website of Baker s practice, Baker & Schwartz, refers to the reported effort to restrict Nest workers from speaking out as a witch hunt.A March 2015 internal labor board memo from board lawyer Richard Griffin appears to support the complaint against Google and Nest.Employees right to criticize an employer s labor policies and treatment of employees includes the right to do so in a public forum, Griffin wrote.According to news website The Information, which revealed Thursday the labor board complaint filed May 18, Google security manager and former State Department special agent Brian Katz told Nest employees at a recent meeting that they should report to the company colleagues they suspected of leaking information to the media.Photo: Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell  Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group Tags: Brian Katz, complaint, confidentiality, Google, labor relations board, Security, workplace
Now, it turns out that on the subject of artificial intelligence, the big head is saying one thing and a smaller head another.Artificial intelligence underlies a huge portion of the technology firms such as Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon are working with now and planning for the future.From virtual assistants to predictive search results, self-driving cars to industrial robots, software that can make decisions and find solutions based on massive data inputs and complex algorithms is becoming ever more important to the companies, and ever more entrenched in citizens lives.Physicist Stephen Hawking in October warned on Reddit that advanced AI could threaten humanity s existence, not out of malice but out of competence.Hawking suggested that super-intelligent machines might view humans the way we see ants, and the technology might not think twice before wiping out hordes of us in pursuit of the most effective solution to a problem.First, the big one: Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet and former Google CEO.Yes, particularly since the environment includes us humans.The big red button would be part of a system for effective intervention should an intelligent machine exhibit unhealthy independence, the paper suggested: Safe interruptibility can be useful to take control of a robot that is misbehaving.Photo: Screenshot from video of Atlas, the humanoid robot made by Boston Dynamics, a company Google bought but is reportedly poised to sell.Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, DeepMind, elon musk, Eric Schmidt, Google, red button, robots, Stephen Hawking
Stat in March reported that 12 high-level managers, engineers and scientists had left Verily over the previous year, some staying within Google, others signing on with competitors.Academics Walt and Ionnadis cast doubts on the device s hypothetical capabilities, with Walt saying that while Verily was good at measuring things like pulse, temperature and activity level, it wasn t so good at the chemistry and biology.The website reported that four former Verily workers said that in recent months the tricorder had been viewed inside the company more as a way to generate buzz than as a viable project.As for the glucose-sensing contact lens, which according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin was the idea that launched Verily, one former Verily manager told Stat the lens was slideware – techie talk for a product that exists only in PowerPoint.Critics, according to Stat, charge that tears don t accurately represent blood-glucose levels, but a Verily research partner told the website that steady progress was being made in the research.Verily s $1 billion baseline health study aims to collect data from 10,000 people over five years to discover markers for diseases.But Ionnadis called the size of the study a speck of dust compared to other research projects tracking hundreds of thousands of people.The Stat report noted two lower-profile Verily projects that may produce positive results: a robotic surgery endeavor with new imaging technology, and an abdominal glucose monitor.Photo:  From the original Star Trek TV program, from left, Leonard Nimoy as Commander Spock, William Shatner as Captain Kirk, DeForest Kelley as Doctor McCoy and James Doohan as Commander Scott AP Photo/Paramount Television, File Tags: Andrew Conrad, contact lens, David Walt, Diabetes, diabetics, Google, health, John Ionnadis, life sciences, Stanford, Star Trek, Stat, tricorder, Tufts, Verily
If the savings fall short of the promised maximum, was the advertising deceptive?Nest s own data showed that advertised energy savings from its sleek, pricey thermostat were overblown, plaintiffs told Northern California U.S. District Court in San Jose on June 3.On May 18, a former Nest employee filed a U.S. labor board complaint claiming to have been fired for posting employees complaints about Fadell on Facebook.The suit calls Nest s thermostat a fancy, overpriced gadget that fails at even the most basic function of a thermostat: accurately gauging and controlling temperature.Depositions of Nest employees have shown that its website and advertising were undeniably saturated with the 20 percent claim,' Darisse said in a filing, according to Law360.In an April filing obtained by SiliconBeat, Nest argued that Darisse had rushed into court after just three months with the thermostat, based only on a feeling the device hadn t delivered the savings he says he believed he d been promised.The company also noted that Darisse s proposed lead lawyer for the class action is his brother-in-law.Nest contends that the claims made in some of its advertising referred to potential savings.Nest argues further that Darisse has no standing to represent the class of Nest buyers because his wife bought the thermostat and he is therefore not a purchaser.
The Google co-founder, now CEO of the firm s parent company Alphabet, has invested more than $100 million in his company Zee-Aero, located beside Google s headquarters in Mountain View.But it s what s happening in Hollister that presents a view of a possible future in which commuters leave traffic-clogged roadways far below, to cruise quietly to work under electric power, up in the sky.Two of Zee-Aero s prototype flying cars are taking to the air regularly, for testing, from an aircraft hanger in Hollister, according to the Bloomberg report, which it said was based on interviews with 10 people close to the company.Page, as one might expect, isn t putting all his golden eggs in one basket.He s also funding Mountain View s Kitty Hawk, competing against Zee-Aero in the flying-car space, Bloomberg reported.Globally, some dozen firms are working on flying cars, but Zee-Aero and Kitty Hawk are the closest to a viable product, according to Bloomberg.Indeed, NASA last year released slides from a concept study for autonomous, electric flying taxis, and identified Silicon Valley as an early adopter area because of its heavy traffic, large incomes and high rates of embracing new technology.The air taxis could cruise at up to 200 miles per hour, according to NASA.Page had endeavored to keep secret his involvement in the two flying car companies, but Zee-Aero, which is currently seeking aerodynamics, controls and IT engineers, has publicized its work to a limited extent, saying on its website that it s working on better ways to get from A to B. Kitty Hawk is also hiring engineers, according to postings on Glassdoor, including one for a mechanical engineer specializing in recovery systems.But considering the 30,000-plus annual roadway deaths in the U.S., 90 percent caused by human error, and Bloomberg s report that Google self-driving car godfather Sebastian Thrun heads Kitty Hawk, it appears likely that Page is angling toward autonomy in his air-space pioneering.
Like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, the $400 million awarded to Apple in a patent-infringement case against Samsung is a moving target.The $400 million in damages derive from a 2012 jury verdict in federal court in San Jose, in a suit by Apple alleging Korea s Samsung had copied the look and feel of the iPhone.The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in March it would hear Samsung s appeal of the award amount.On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief to the Supreme Court, asking justices to void the $400 million award and send the case back to a lower court to determine if a new trial is needed.The central question regarding the award amount, according to the justice department brief, is whether a company that includes someone else s patented design in a product with multiple components should be liable for all the profits it made from selling the product.Samsung has argued that it should be liable only for profits attributable to a specific design that violated a patent, not an entire phone, and that the law should be interpreted to impose liability related to components of the phones, rather than the phones themselves, according to the brief.The department came down on Samsung s side on the component argument, and blasted a federal circuit court ruling that had upheld the jury award.The Federal Circuit s contrary approach, under which the relevant article of manufacture is invariably the entire product as sold, would result in grossly excessive and essentially arbitrary awards.Under that approach, when the plaintiff s patented design is applied to a component of a multi-component product, the award will turn substantially on the scope and profitability of other components as to which no infringement occurred.Where the relevant article of manufacture is a component or portion of a multicomponent product, the infringer s total profit for that article may be less than its profit for the finished item of sale.In support of its argument, the department cited case law including a 1920 court ruling that selling a refrigerator with a patent-violating latch didn t make the manufacturer liable for all the profits it made from from sales of the refrigerator.It s unclear whether Samsung had presented to the San Jose jury evidence supporting its contention that the design features at issue were components of a phone rather than a phone as a whole, the brief said.Photo illustration: An iPhone held up in front of the Apple logo AFP/Getty Images Tags: $400 million, Apple, Department of Justice, design, Justice Department, lawsuit, patent infringement, samsung, SCOTUS, U.S. Supreme Court
The wraparound display substantially increases the available display area that can be used for display of icons, data, images, video and such.Apple iPhone product design manager Scott Myers invented the design.Eliminating buttons would both free up surface space and make the phone more app-friendly, the patent suggested.In the last few years, the functionality of portable electronic devices has increased exponentially, the patent said.Unfortunately, this popular form factor leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or, at best, configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality.Glass would be used for the exterior because wireless signals can pass through it, and the glass surface would act as a touch screen.Although the patent calls glass  strong and stiff, it does not specify what type of glass would be used to deter breakage.Areas of the glass could be obscured to conceal the internal workings for aesthetic reasons, according to the patent.The new design, of course, is not necessarily going to be adopted by Apple, which, like most major technology firms, obtains many patents that do not result in products.IMAGE: A drawing from the patent for a new glass iPhone with a wrap-around screen U.S. Patent and Trademark Office  Tags: Apple, Glass, iPhone, new, patent, Scott Myers, wrap-around, wraparound
New federal open internet rules just upheld by a court ruling could make Yahoo less attractive to bidders Verizon and AT, analysts say.If things continue on the current trajectory, we re looking at a world where Verizon or AT s hands could be tied with respect to how they use data that is the heart of the Yahoo strategy, analyst Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson told Reuters.On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld net neutrality rules prohibiting internet providers from blocking or slowing consumers web content flow.But it s another area of regulation within the rules that analysts believe could weaken Yahoo s appeal to leading bidders Verizon and AT Provisions covering data privacy would limit an internet provider s ability to collect user data and share it with advertisers and other third parties,  according to Reuters.And that s a problem for internet providers Verizon and AT, which  are primarily interested in Yahoo s advertising technology tools that leverage user data to deliver targeted ads, Reuters said.A company such as Google would be free to use the data a lot more liberally, Moffett said.The new rules would require Verizon, AT and other internet providers to obtain users opt-in consent before their data could be used.Either s ability to monetize Yahoo s content through targeted advertising may now be impaired, Moffett said in a note to clients Wednesday.Major cable and phone companies plan to appeal the D.C. court ruling to the full appellate court or Supreme Court and ask Congress to intervene, Reuters reported.Meanwhile, Citi analyst Mark May upped his rating of Yahoo stock from neutral to buy, raising his price target to $43 from $38, according to Barron s.  Photo: Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group Tags: AT, court ruling, Craig Moffett, MoffettNathanson, net neutrality, open internet, sale, Verizon, Yahoo
Like a paramedic who keeps pumping a patient s chest long after vital signs have vanished, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer struggled in vain to revive the firm even though it was little more than a cold, stiff corpse.That s the suggestion of a Wall Street Journal article the paper said is based on more than two dozen interviews with current and former employees, investors and people who worked closely with Mayer.Mayer and her executive team agreed to be more mindful about Yahoo s rising costs.Starboard Value renewed its campaign to put nominees on the Yahoo board, succeeding in April when Yahoo gave in and added Smith and three others.The article noted that Mayer s backers and critics acknowledge she was charged with a nearly impossible mission at Yahoo and brought fresh energy and talent to a company many had left for dead.Mayer spent her first two years at Yahoo launching new businesses and acquiring dozens of mobile software startups.Their engineers began building smartphone apps, and she also ramped up investment in web search, a long-neglected area, the article said.Mayer has said her work at Yahoo led to an important new revenue stream from mobile ads, which Yahoo had not sold before her arrival.Revenue remained stagnant, and profitability kept shrinking, the WSJ reported.Mayer s core mistake was believing she could reinvent the company, a former senior executive who departed Yahoo last year told the paper.
Apple has reportedly removed from its online store a deceptive app that was supposed to enlist the world in finding refugee ships at sea so migrants could be saved from drowning.And if reports casting doubt on the veracity of I Sea are accurate, Apple wasn t the only victim to be duped: the app received glowing coverage in major news outlets around the world.Crowdsourcing the search for migrants could save thousands of lives, and using I Sea to pitch in on the effort feels like a lot more active a way to help than sending donations, said a Boston Globe story Friday, which also noted on the con side that the app required users to provide their passport numbers.The app purportedly assigns users a section of open sea to observe, so they can tap a location where a migrant ship appears.Notice would then be sent to a rescue group.But on Sunday night, doubts began to arise.The app promises to show real-time images of an area of the Mediterranean Sea totaling 2.5 million square kilometers.In fact, the app uses static images from 2015 that are no help to refugees today, the news site s report said.The app s author was listed as a digital advertising firm, and the app was reportedly nominated for an advertising award, fueling speculation that I Sea is a publicity stunt.The Daily Dot said the app author had not responded to repeated requests for an explanation.Photo: Refugees and/or migrants arrive in Greece.Wikimedia Commons/Ggia Tags: App, Apple, I Sea, migrants, refugees