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Technology

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As we head into the weekend, many of us will get a weekly notification on our phones showing how many hours a day we spend on our devices.

Have you ever gotten one of these reports and were shocked at how much time you spend on your phone?

If so, it's not just you — the average American adult spends more than four hours a day on their phone. But at what point does it become an addiction?

Updated August 18, 2021 at 11:47 AM ET

BEIJING – The client dinner in July began like any other: with copious amounts of alcohol and no other women present.

"Look how good I am to you," the female employee later recalled her male manager telling their clients when she arrived at the meal. "I brought you a beautiful girl," she remembered him saying.

She says the last thing she remembered that night was crying while her manager lay on top of her.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The average American adult uses their phone around four to five hours every day. Stacey Vanek Smith and Darian Woods from NPR's Indicator podcast wondered, at what point does this qualify as an addiction?

Elon Musk has gotten a lot of things wrong. He's blown deadlines, pissed off regulators, driven away talented employees, and made unfulfilled promises that ran the gamut from unrealistic to absurd.

The loud noises you may hear blasting from your electronic devices this afternoon are no cause for concern.

At 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the federal government will test two emergency alert systems on televisions, radios and certain cellphones across the country.

While the debate over mandated "vaccine passports" rages on, a growing number of employers, businesses and venues are demanding proof of vaccination. That's making it increasingly important for workers and customers to carry documentation that can be whipped out whenever the need arises.

Jenny Park landed recently at Los Angeles International Airport from New York and planned to take an Uber home to her place in the Highland Park neighborhood.

Before she ordered the car, she was hit with sticker shock: the trip would be $150, or about half the price of her flight from New York.

"Roll my eyes to the back of my head until I can't roll them anymore," Park said. "Like literally that's how I felt."

She tried Lyft. The fare was not much different.

Both ride-hailing apps predicted cars would not reach Park for a half hour.

Busy week? I had news meetings, family stuff, and interviews, of course. And then I got a call from an officious, digitized voice that said they were the IRS. It informed me they've noticed suspicious activity on my account. Not a good start to the day.

Soon, more bad news. A call from a similar-sounding robo-voice — maybe they're siblings — said they've noticed suspicious activity on my credit card account.

But good news, a minute later: a peppy, friendly, recorded voice, told me my spotless driving record entitled me to receive a great new deal on car insurance.

Apple unveiled plans to scan U.S. iPhones for images of child sexual abuse, drawing applause from child protection groups but raising concern among some security researchers that the system could be misused, including by governments looking to surveil their citizens.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now we meet a pioneer in fashion tech. That is the name for an emerging industry that incorporates computers into apparel. Anouk Wipprecht has been working on this since she was a teenager in the Netherlands.

Facebook has blocked a team of New York University researchers studying political ads and COVID-19 misinformation from accessing its site, a move that critics say is meant to silence research that makes the company look bad.

The researchers at the NYU Ad Observatory launched a tool last year to collect data about the political ads people see on Facebook. Around 16,000 people have installed the browser extension. It enables them to share data with the researchers about which ads the users are shown and why those ads were targeted at them.

Facebook says the company mistakenly blocked Jamaican gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah from Instagram.

Just seconds ago, you were walking across the city street. You headed to the ramen shop for a quick bite. You open your eyes, delirious and confused, and find yourself collapsed in the middle of the crosswalk. People are walking right past you as you reach out for help. No one can see you. In your pocket you find a black pin with an ornate skull and crossbones design.

If you're Jeff Bezos, you're not going to have some random dude manage your money and hope for the best. You're not gonna open up a Robinhood account and risk it all on meme stocks like GameStop. You're going to hire the type of investor who has a Ph.D. in mathematics and drives a Bugatti, a go-getter who wakes up with a turmeric latte and pores over satellite images of factories in Asia to predict the earnings of some 3D-printing company most of us have never heard of. We're talking about the best of the best in finance.

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama may get a second chance to vote on whether to form the company's first unionized warehouse in the United States.

A federal labor official has found that Amazon's anti-union tactics tainted this spring's election sufficiently to scrap its results, according to the union that sought to represent the workers. The official is recommending a do-over of the unionization vote, the union said in a release.

Angela McNamara's first hint that her Facebook account had been hacked was an early-morning email warning that someone was trying to log into her account.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Five major social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, took no action to remove 84% of antisemitic posts, a new report from the Center to Counter Digital Hate (CCDH) found.

Despite promising to crack down on antisemitic hate, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok did not act on these posts even as they were flagged through the existing tools used for reporting malignant content.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Who's a good boy at the Olympics?

The Field Support Robot is a good boy!

The black-and-white high-tech contraption made its debut earlier this week as one of a handful of robots designed to streamline the Tokyo Olympic Games. And it can be seen again — essentially playing fetch — during the track and field throwing events over the weekend.

Let's face it: Nobody likes spoilers.

Whether it's with sports, reality TV, Jeopardy or that series you've been watching since season one, something so simple as a tweet or a Facebook post from a family member can ruin it for you in less than 30 seconds.

JERUSALEM — Israeli spyware company NSO Group has temporarily blocked several government clients around the world from using its technology as the company investigates their possible misuse, a company employee told NPR on Thursday.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Depending on whom you ask, the stock trading app Robinhood has either democratized Wall Street trading or launched a generation of unsavvy investors who have become addicted to the promise of quick cash.

The tension looms as Robinhood is set to make its debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the symbol HOOD, raising the profile of a company that has become a household name during the pandemic – while also attracting intense regulatory scrutiny.

Employees at the video game studio Activision Blizzard walked off the job Wednesday following an explosive lawsuit that detailed rampant sexual harassment and gender discrimination inside the California company.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 8:05 PM ET

Google and Facebook will require U.S. employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to the company's offices, the tech giants said on Wednesday.

In a blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the vaccine mandate would apply to its U.S. offices in the coming weeks and would be required eventually for other locations.

For all the socializing that can't happen this year at the Olympic village because of COVID-19 restrictions, Olympic TikTok is giving everyone (those in Tokyo and those stuck at home) a socially distanced way to connect.

President Biden just signed a national security directive aimed at boosting defenses against ransomware attacks and the hacking of critical infrastructure like energy, food, water and power systems.

The directive sets performance standards for technology and systems used by private companies in those sectors — though it can't force those companies to comply.

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