Amazon launches Instant Pickup service targeting students

Woman takes a packet of nuts and chocolates out of an Amazon self-service lockerImage copyright Amazon Image caption Amazon is offering certain "essential" items for pickup from self-service lockers within two minutes

Amazon has launched a service in the US offering daily "essentials" for collection within two minutes of ordering.

The items available in Instant Pickup[1] include snacks, cold drinks, smartphone chargers and Amazon devices.

The move poses a threat to bricks-and-mortar convenience stores, but one expert questioned its appeal.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has criticised Amazon on Twitter for harming other retailers.

Instant Pickup

The new service will enable Prime and Prime Student members to use the Amazon app to order items they need urgently from a curated collection of popular products.

Amazon employees at the pickup points then process the order, and it will be available to collect from a self-service locker within two minutes.

For now, the service will be available at only one location in each of:

  • Los Angeles
  • Berkeley
  • Atlanta
  • Ohio
  • College Park, Maryland

The online retail giant already operates 22 manned pickup locations on or near university campuses in the country.

Moving offline

Over the past two years, Amazon has been making an increasing play for offline bricks-and-mortar shops - from the physical book shop Amazon Books[2], launched in Seattle in 2015, to its acquisition of the grocery chain Whole Foods in June[3].

"They're making a play for convenience stores, but ultimately, you have to think of the logistics involved," Ronan Hegarty, news editor of the Grocer magazine, told the BBC.

"How many people would live within two minutes of the pickup point, and would they really want to do this?To me, it sounds fantastic.

"You might actually pass a shop selling [what you need] on the way to the pickup point.

"I don't think it's going to stop a chain like 7-Eleven in its tracks just yet."

Image copyright Twitter

On Wednesday, the president tweeted:"Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers.Towns, cities and states throughout the US are being hurt - many jobs being lost!"...

References

  1. ^ Instant Pickup (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ physical book shop Amazon Books (www.ibtimes.co.uk)
  3. ^ grocery chain Whole Foods in June (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Trump tweets cartoon of train hitting CNN reporter

Trump train runs over CNNImage copyright Twitter Image caption The tweet was deleted 30 minutes after being posted at 07:00 New York time

US President Donald Trump has posted an image of a train hitting a CNN reporter three days after a hit-and-run left one person dead at a far-right rally.

The cartoon, which Mr Trump deleted after tweeting, depicts the cable network logo being run over by a "Trump Train" symbolising his supporters.

The president also apparently accidentally retweeted a post by someone calling him "a fascist".

Mr Trump is in New York where he faces a second day of protests.

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Media captionTrump:"Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs"

White House officials told NBC the train image - captioned "Fake news can't stop the Trump Train" - had been "inadvertently posted" and when "noticed it was immediately deleted".

In another presumably unintentional retweet, the US president shared - and then also deleted - a post by someone who said of him:"He's a fascist, so not unusual."

The Twitter user, @MikeHolden[1], had been commenting on a Fox report saying that Mr Trump could be planning to pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty[2] in July of racially profiling Hispanic people.

Mr Holden, of Burnley, England, promptly changed his Twitter bio to read:"Officially Endorsed by the President of the United States.I wish that were a good thing."

Asked by the BBC if he thinks the "endorsement" ended when Mr Trump deleted the tweet he laughed and said:"Oh, absolutely.I don't think he really meant to endorse it.

"I don't think he intended to say, 'yup, that's me, the big ol' fascist!'"

"I'm an internet nobody!" added Mr Holden, a 53-year-old IT consultant, adding the response has been "absolutely bananas".

"It's rare you get that kind of attention from the president, isn't it?" Mr Holden added.

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Media captionCritics see Confederate monuments as racially offensive

Mr Trump has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum since Saturday's so-called Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter-protester and 19 other people were injured when a car rammed the crowd.A 20-year-old man is facing murder and other charges.

Mr Trump did not immediately condemn the white supremacists, instead blaming "many sides" for "hatred, bigotry, and violence" in the university town.

On Monday he sought to clarify his views, denouncing the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name.

But in the process he took a moment to demean a CNN reporter.

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Media captionRacism in the US:Is there a single step that can bring equality?

Asked by journalist Jim Acosta why he had waited so long to condemn the hate groups, Mr Trump responded:"I like real news, not fake news."

Pointing the finger at the White House correspondent, he added:"You are fake news."

Mr Trump frequently targets the so-called "fake news media" in tweets to his nearly 36 million followers.

In May he shared a clip of himself pummelling professional wrestler with a CNN logo[3] superimposed on his face.

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Media captionPost-war US anti-Nazi film makes comeback

Late on Monday, Mr Trump also retweeted a post from an account linked to one of his supporters known for fuelling conspiracy theories, such as "Pizzagate"[4].

The post by Jack Posobiec linked to a story from an ABC affiliate and said:"Meanwhile:39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths.No national media outrage.Why is that?"

The Pizzagate conspiracy theory claimed Hillary Clinton's campaign chief was running a paedophile ring out of a pizza parlour in Washington.

Mr Trump awoke for the first time as president in Trump Tower on Tuesday, tweeting that it "feels good to be home".

He arrived at the Manhattan skyscraper on Monday night amid throngs of protesters calling for his impeachment.

Three people were arrested, and police expect further demonstrations on Tuesday.

Late-night show hosts turned their fire on Mr Trump on Monday night.

The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon, who usually avoids political polemic, rebuked the president.

"The fact that it took the president two days to clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful," Mr Fallon said on his NBC show....


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Image copyright Twitter Image caption The clip was originally submitted to a pro-Trump forum on the social media site Reddit

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DJI drones to gain privacy mode after US Army ban

DJI's Go appImage copyright DJI Image caption DJI's Go app is set to gain a privacy mode before the end of September

The world's best-selling drone-maker is adding a privacy mode to its aircraft to prevent flight data being shared to the internet.

The announcement comes a fortnight after it emerged[1] that the US Army had prohibited its troops from using the Chinese firm's equipment because of unspecified cyber-security concerns.

DJI told the BBC that it had already been working on the new facility, but had speeded up development after the ban.

The mode should be launched next month.

"It will provide an enhanced level of data assurance for security flights, such as those involving critical infrastructure, commercial trade secrets, governmental functions or other similar options," the Shenzhen-headquartered company added in a blog[2].

Disabled features

DJI previously faced security fears in 2016 after a member of its staff told reporters[3] that the firm had repeatedly shared customer data with the Chinese authorities.

The company issued a clarification shortly afterwards[4], saying a junior member of its team had "misspoke" and that it only handed over information if there was a valid legal request from Beijing or any other government.

Image copyright DJI Image caption DJI's drones are the best-selling brand in North America

DJI says it is unable to collect flight logs or captured images anyway, unless users opt to share the information via its Go apps, which are used to track and control its aircraft.

But the latest move is designed to provide further reassurance.

If the privacy mode is enabled, however, users will lose access to several features including the ability to:

  • livestream videos to YouTube
  • automatically install map and geofencing boundary updates, which are designed to prevent owners flying within banned zones
  • receive notifications about newly issued flight restrictions from the authorities

As a consequence, DJI said it might not be able offer the new mode in countries where pilots are required by law to have the latest information.

New memo

The US armed forces decided in July that using DJI's drones posed "operational risks", leading the US Army to detail its ban on 2 August.

The memo said that its use of the aircraft[5] should cease, all DJI apps should be uninstalled from its computers and that all batteries and storage media should be removed from the drones while they were kept in storage.

However, the SUAS news site - which was the first to reveal the development - has since reported on a follow-up memo dated 11 August.

It indicates the army will grant exceptions[6] to the ban once a DJI plug-in to its own drone software has been properly vetted....

References

  1. ^ fortnight after it emerged (www.suasnews.com)
  2. ^ added in a blog (www.mynewsdesk.com)
  3. ^ member of its staff told reporters (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ issued a clarification shortly afterwards (www.dji.com)
  5. ^ its use of the aircraft (www.bbc.co.uk)
  6. ^ will grant exceptions (www.suasnews.com)

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Web firm fights DOJ on Trump protesters

Protesters linked arms in the street on Inauguration DayImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters linked arms in the street on Inauguration Day

A US service provider is fighting government demands for it to hand over details of millions of activists.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) wants the IP addresses of all visitors - some 1.3 million - to a website that helped organise a protest on the day of President Trump's inauguration.

DreamHost is currently refusing to comply with the request and is due in court later this month.

The DOJ has not yet responded to requests for comment from the BBC.

It is unclear why it wants the IP addresses of visitors to website disruptj20.org, which organised a protest against President Trump on 20 January - the day of his inauguration.

"The website was used in the development, planning, advertisement and organisation of a violent riot that occurred in Washington DC on January 20, 2017," it wrote in its motion to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which sought to compel DreamHost to hand over the information.

It suggested that "a particular customer" was the subject of the warrant, but does not explain why it needed so much information on other visitors.

'Digital dragnet'

In a blog post on the issue, DreamHost said that, like many other online service providers, it was regularly approached by law enforcement about customers who may be the subject of criminal investigations.

But, it added, it took issue with this particular search warrant "for being a highly untargeted demand".

In addition to the IP addresses, DreamHost said that the DOJ requested the contact information, email content and photos of "thousands of visitors".

Civil liberties group The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is helping DreamHost fight its case, said:"No plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible."

A hearing on the issue is due on 18 August....

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GoFundMe removes campaigns for Charlottesville suspect

James Alex Fields Jr pictured at "Unite the right" rally before the car attack. Standing in a white polo shirt.Image copyright Reuters Image caption James Alex Fields Jr was arrested after a car rammed into protesters in Charlottesville

GoFundMe and other crowd-funding sites have taken a tough stance on campaigns for a man arrested following violence at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

GoFundMe removed some campaigns, saying they fell foul of its rules regarding hate speech and abuse.

James Alex Fields Jr, 20, is being held in police custody after a car rammed into a crowd of protesters.

One woman died in the incident, and 19 other people were injured.

GoFundMe had removed "multiple" campaigns for Mr Fields, a spokesman told Reuters[1].

"Those campaigns did not raise any money, and they were immediately removed," said director of strategic communications Bobby Whithorne.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo, fellow crowd-funding platforms, said they had not seen any campaigns in support of Mr Fields but added that they were monitoring the situation.

A check by the BBC found no evidence of such fundraising efforts on any of the three sites.

There are several GoFundMe campaigns in support of victims injured while protesting against the white nationalist march.

Charlottesville:Who is suspect James Fields?[2]

Trump condemns 'evil racism'[3]

Charlottesville white nationalists face backlash[4]

However, there are at least two campaigns in support of those who marched at Charlottesville at an "alternative" crowd-funding site called Rootbocks, which uses the slogan:"No Censorship.No Limits."

One seeks to gather funds for Nathan Damigo - the founder of a white nationalist group - to bring legal action against the city of Charlottesville.

The campaign argues that Mr Damigo's First Amendment rites were "violated" when he was arrested at the event.

About $9,000 (£6,900) has so far been raised out of a $50,000 goal.

Other technology sites are closely managing the discussion of incidents at Charlottesville.

Facebook said it would remove links to an article on a neo-Nazi website denigrating Heather Heyer - the woman who died - unless links to the piece condemned it.

The site in question, the Daily Stormer, was also forced to switch domain registrars twice in 24 hours after GoDaddy and Google both expelled it[5] from their services that allow customers to register web addresses.

Later on Monday, other tech platforms used by the site - including email newsletter provider Sendgrid and business software firm Zoho - said they had also terminated services....

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