Category Archives: Technology

silicon valley & technology news

Why is Austin an Attractive Hub for Many Tech Companies?

Austin, Texas, is not California’s Silicon Valley technology corridor. But companies from Silicon Valley and other major U.S. hubs are taking notice of Austin’s growing tech scene. Austin’s lower cost of living and doing business, combined with its smaller size, are just a few reasons that people are attracted to the area. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee explains other reasons that tech companies are opening up shop there.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Sets Course for Popular Social Media Site

Now that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken publicly about the firm’s data controversy, the chief question remains whether the changes he outlined will be enough to restore the public’s trust in the social media giant.

 

In a series of media interviews this week, Zuckerberg went into full damage control mode about how the company handled user data when it discovered in 2015 that 50 million users’ data had been shared with Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy that advises political campaigns, thus breaking the company’s rules.

 

He apologized. He called the recent controversy “a major breach of trust.”

 

What now?

 

Congressional leaders have already called on Zuckerberg to testify in Congress — something that Zuckerberg appeared willing to do, according to the interviews, if he was “the right person.”

 

Some Facebook critics argue the firm, which relies on advertising revenue, isn’t able or willing to curtail practices that may improve users’ privacy but potentially hurt its bottom line. The company needs some sort of regulatory oversight, they say, or new laws about users’ personal data.​

But for now, Zuckerberg outlined a series of measures that would limit the amount of data collected on users, something that many privacy advocates have argued for. The firm’s revenue model, he said, is here to stay.

 

“I don’t think the ad model is going to go away because I think fundamentally, it’s important to have a service like this that everyone in the world can use, and the only way to do that is to have it be very cheap or free,” Zuckerberg told the New York Times.

Going back to 2014

Facebook plans to turn the clock back to 2014, before it changed its rules stopping a developers’ ability to tap into users’ friends’ data.

 

With the help of forensic auditors, the company plans to investigate all “large apps” — “thousands,” by Zuckerberg’s estimate, that scooped up data then.

 

This includes users whose data was gathered by a researcher and given to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook plans to inform affected users. Cambridge Analytica has denied that it improperly used user data.

If a developer doesn’t want to comply with Facebook’s audit, Facebook will ban it from the social network, Zuckerberg said.

 

“Even if you solve the problem going forward, there’s still this issue of: Are there other Cambridge Analyticas out there,” Zuckerberg told the Times. “We also need to make sure we get that under control.”

 

Remove access to data

In addition, the company plans to remove a developer’s access to a person’s data if someone hasn’t used the developer’s app in three months. And the company plans to reduce the amount of information collected when users sign in.

 

Finally, the company says it plans to make it easier to see who has access to their data and to revoke permissions. The moves are intended to curtail what critics have long complained about Facebook’s role in enabling the ongoing collection of more data on users than is needed.

 

Feeling ‘uncomfortable’

Zuckerberg told Recode that Facebook, with more than two billion users, has become so big and important in the lives of many around the world that he doesn’t always feel comfortable making blanket decisions.

“I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California at an office, making content policy decisions for people around the world,” he said. “Things like where is the line on hate speech?”

He has to make the decisions he said, because he runs Facebook.

“But I’d rather not.”

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Sets Course for Popular Social Media Site

Now that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken publicly about the firm’s data controversy, the chief question remains whether the changes he outlined will be enough to restore the public’s trust in the social media giant.

 

In a series of media interviews this week, Zuckerberg went into full damage control mode about how the company handled user data when it discovered in 2015 that 50 million users’ data had been shared with Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy that advises political campaigns, thus breaking the company’s rules.

 

He apologized. He called the recent controversy “a major breach of trust.”

 

What now?

 

Congressional leaders have already called on Zuckerberg to testify in Congress — something that Zuckerberg appeared willing to do, according to the interviews, if he was “the right person.”

 

Some Facebook critics argue the firm, which relies on advertising revenue, isn’t able or willing to curtail practices that may improve users’ privacy but potentially hurt its bottom line. The company needs some sort of regulatory oversight, they say, or new laws about users’ personal data.​

But for now, Zuckerberg outlined a series of measures that would limit the amount of data collected on users, something that many privacy advocates have argued for. The firm’s revenue model, he said, is here to stay.

 

“I don’t think the ad model is going to go away because I think fundamentally, it’s important to have a service like this that everyone in the world can use, and the only way to do that is to have it be very cheap or free,” Zuckerberg told the New York Times.

Going back to 2014

Facebook plans to turn the clock back to 2014, before it changed its rules stopping a developers’ ability to tap into users’ friends’ data.

 

With the help of forensic auditors, the company plans to investigate all “large apps” — “thousands,” by Zuckerberg’s estimate, that scooped up data then.

 

This includes users whose data was gathered by a researcher and given to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook plans to inform affected users. Cambridge Analytica has denied that it improperly used user data.

If a developer doesn’t want to comply with Facebook’s audit, Facebook will ban it from the social network, Zuckerberg said.

 

“Even if you solve the problem going forward, there’s still this issue of: Are there other Cambridge Analyticas out there,” Zuckerberg told the Times. “We also need to make sure we get that under control.”

 

Remove access to data

In addition, the company plans to remove a developer’s access to a person’s data if someone hasn’t used the developer’s app in three months. And the company plans to reduce the amount of information collected when users sign in.

 

Finally, the company says it plans to make it easier to see who has access to their data and to revoke permissions. The moves are intended to curtail what critics have long complained about Facebook’s role in enabling the ongoing collection of more data on users than is needed.

 

Feeling ‘uncomfortable’

Zuckerberg told Recode that Facebook, with more than two billion users, has become so big and important in the lives of many around the world that he doesn’t always feel comfortable making blanket decisions.

“I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California at an office, making content policy decisions for people around the world,” he said. “Things like where is the line on hate speech?”

He has to make the decisions he said, because he runs Facebook.

“But I’d rather not.”

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Black Identity, Technology in US Celebrated at Afrotectopia Fest

Being black and working in the tech industry can be an isolating experience.

New York nonprofit Ascend Leadership analyzed the hiring data of hundreds of San Francisco Bay-area tech companies from 2007 and 2015 and issued a report last year, detailing the lack of diversity in tech.

Based on data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ascend found that the black tech professional workforce declined from 2.5 percent in 2007 to 1.9 percent in 2015. The outlook was even bleaker at the top. Despite 43 percent growth in the number of black executives from 2007 to 2015, blacks accounted for 1.1 percent of the total number of tech executives in 2015.

“You’re one in a sea full of people that just don’t look like you,” said Ari Melenciano, a graduate student in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. Melenciano decided to do something about it and created Afrotectopia.

Recently held at NYU, the inaugural 2-day festival brought together black technologists, designers and artists to discuss their work and the challenges of navigating the mostly white world of technology and new media.

“It’s really important for us to be able to see ourselves and build this community of people that actually look like us and are doing amazing things,” Melenciano said.

Glenn Cantave, founder and CEO of performance art coalition Movers and Shakers NYC, was on hand to demonstrate the group’s use of augmented reality and virtual reality, with apps that address racism and discrimination.

“My parents told me from a very young age that ‘You will not be treated like your white friends. There are certain privileges that you do not have,'” said Cantave. “It’s affected my conduct, it affects how I navigate spaces. I stay hyper-aware of my surroundings at all times, in terms of safety.”

Cantave and his team are working on an augmented reality book for children entitled, White Supremacy 101: Columbus the Hero? The book will contain various images that become animated when viewed with an augmented reality app. Each excerpt is intended to be a counterpoint to traditional history lessons which tell American history from a white perspective.

“If these false narratives are perpetuated for generations in the future, you’re going to have a collective consciousness that doesn’t see black people as human beings,” Cantave said. “You see it with mass incarceration, you see it with police brutality, you see it with unsympathetic immigration policy.”

But technology offers an opportunity to change that, according to Idris Brewster, creator of the app and CTO of Movers and Shakers NYC.  

“Augmented reality and virtual reality … really provides us with a unique opportunity to use very immersive technology and tell a story in a very different and engaging way,” Brewster said.

Public response has been positive. “It’s blown the kids’ minds just to see animations. A lot of kids will be like, ‘Wow, this is like Harry Potter,'” he said.

Brewster also works as a computer science instructor at Google, where in 2016, blacks made up 1 percent of the company’s U.S. tech workers. He wants to see more minorities become tech creators, not just end users.

“There’s algorithms being created in our world right now that are detrimental to people of color because they’re not made for people of color,” Brewster said. “We need to start being able to figure out how we can get our minds and our perspectives in those conversations, creating those algorithms.”

Virtual reality filmmaker Jazzy Harvey attended Afrotectopia to present her virtual-reality film, Built Not Bought, which profiles the custom-car enthusiasts of south central Los Angeles.

Harvey said she felt greater creative freedom working with the new medium. “There’s no rules, and the fact that I have no rules and no restrictions … I get to choose which story is worth telling,” Harvey said.

Afrotectopia panelists and attendees tackled a variety of topics including digital activism, entrepreneurship and education, but ultimately, it was about getting everyone in the same room together.

“To come into a space where you don’t have to assimilate culturally, you can just be yourself and talk the way that you actually talk and really have people that can connect with you culturally is so important,” Melenciano said. “Especially when you’re talking about things that you’re passionate about like tech, it’s a space where we’re so often dismissed from.”

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Black Identity, Technology in US Celebrated at Afrotectopia Fest

Being black and working in the tech industry can be an isolating experience.

New York nonprofit Ascend Leadership analyzed the hiring data of hundreds of San Francisco Bay-area tech companies from 2007 and 2015 and issued a report last year, detailing the lack of diversity in tech.

Based on data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ascend found that the black tech professional workforce declined from 2.5 percent in 2007 to 1.9 percent in 2015. The outlook was even bleaker at the top. Despite 43 percent growth in the number of black executives from 2007 to 2015, blacks accounted for 1.1 percent of the total number of tech executives in 2015.

“You’re one in a sea full of people that just don’t look like you,” said Ari Melenciano, a graduate student in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. Melenciano decided to do something about it and created Afrotectopia.

Recently held at NYU, the inaugural 2-day festival brought together black technologists, designers and artists to discuss their work and the challenges of navigating the mostly white world of technology and new media.

“It’s really important for us to be able to see ourselves and build this community of people that actually look like us and are doing amazing things,” Melenciano said.

Glenn Cantave, founder and CEO of performance art coalition Movers and Shakers NYC, was on hand to demonstrate the group’s use of augmented reality and virtual reality, with apps that address racism and discrimination.

“My parents told me from a very young age that ‘You will not be treated like your white friends. There are certain privileges that you do not have,'” said Cantave. “It’s affected my conduct, it affects how I navigate spaces. I stay hyper-aware of my surroundings at all times, in terms of safety.”

Cantave and his team are working on an augmented reality book for children entitled, White Supremacy 101: Columbus the Hero? The book will contain various images that become animated when viewed with an augmented reality app. Each excerpt is intended to be a counterpoint to traditional history lessons which tell American history from a white perspective.

“If these false narratives are perpetuated for generations in the future, you’re going to have a collective consciousness that doesn’t see black people as human beings,” Cantave said. “You see it with mass incarceration, you see it with police brutality, you see it with unsympathetic immigration policy.”

But technology offers an opportunity to change that, according to Idris Brewster, creator of the app and CTO of Movers and Shakers NYC.  

“Augmented reality and virtual reality … really provides us with a unique opportunity to use very immersive technology and tell a story in a very different and engaging way,” Brewster said.

Public response has been positive. “It’s blown the kids’ minds just to see animations. A lot of kids will be like, ‘Wow, this is like Harry Potter,'” he said.

Brewster also works as a computer science instructor at Google, where in 2016, blacks made up 1 percent of the company’s U.S. tech workers. He wants to see more minorities become tech creators, not just end users.

“There’s algorithms being created in our world right now that are detrimental to people of color because they’re not made for people of color,” Brewster said. “We need to start being able to figure out how we can get our minds and our perspectives in those conversations, creating those algorithms.”

Virtual reality filmmaker Jazzy Harvey attended Afrotectopia to present her virtual-reality film, Built Not Bought, which profiles the custom-car enthusiasts of south central Los Angeles.

Harvey said she felt greater creative freedom working with the new medium. “There’s no rules, and the fact that I have no rules and no restrictions … I get to choose which story is worth telling,” Harvey said.

Afrotectopia panelists and attendees tackled a variety of topics including digital activism, entrepreneurship and education, but ultimately, it was about getting everyone in the same room together.

“To come into a space where you don’t have to assimilate culturally, you can just be yourself and talk the way that you actually talk and really have people that can connect with you culturally is so important,” Melenciano said. “Especially when you’re talking about things that you’re passionate about like tech, it’s a space where we’re so often dismissed from.”

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Zuckerberg Apology Fails to Quiet Facebook Storm

A public apology by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg failed Thursday to quell outrage over the hijacking of personal data from millions of people, as critics demanded that the social media giant go much further to protect user privacy.

Speaking out for the first time about the harvesting of Facebook user data by a British firm linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg admitted Wednesday to betraying the trust of its 2 billion users and promised to “step up.”

Vowing to stop data leaking to outside developers and to give users more control over their information, Zuckerberg also said he was ready to testify before US lawmakers — which a powerful congressional committee promptly asked him to do.

With pressure ratcheting up on the 33-year-old CEO over a scandal that has wiped $60 billion off Facebook’s value, the initial response suggested his promise of self-regulation had failed to convince critics he was serious about change.

“Frankly I don’t think those changes go far enough,” Matt Hancock, Britain’s culture and digital minister, told the BBC.

“It shouldn’t be for a company to decide what is the appropriate balance between privacy and innovation and use of data,” he said. “The big tech companies need to abide by the law, and we are strengthening the law.”

In Brussels, European leaders were sending the same message as they prepared to push for tougher safeguards on personal data online, while Israel became the latest country to launch an investigation into Facebook.

The data scandal erupted at the weekend when a whistle-blower revealed that British consultant Cambridge Analytica had created psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users via a personality prediction app, developed by a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan.

The app, downloaded by 270,000 people, scooped up their friends’ data without consent — as was possible under Facebook’s rules at the time.

‘Breach of trust’

Facebook said it discovered last week that Cambridge Analytica might not have deleted the data as it certified, although the British firm denied wrongdoing.

“This was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNN, after publishing a blog post outlining his response to the scandal.

“Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

With Facebook already under fire for allowing fake news to proliferate during the U.S. election, Zuckerberg also said “we need to make sure that we up our game” ahead of midterm congressional elections in November, in which American officials have warned Russia can be expected to meddle as it did two years ago.

Cambridge Analytica has maintained it did not use Facebook data in the Trump campaign, but its now-suspended CEO boasted in secret recordings that his company was deeply involved in the race.

WATCH: Facebook Under Fire for Data Misuse

And U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, is reportedly looking into the consultant’s role in the Trump effort.

‘Abused and misused’

Zuckerberg’s apology followed a dayslong stream of damaging accusations against the world’s biggest social network, which now faces probes on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Washington on Thursday, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged Zuckerberg to testify without delay, saying a briefing a day earlier by Facebook officials had left “many questions” unanswered.

“We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people,” said a statement from the panel, calling for a hearing “in the near future.”

America’s Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Facebook over the scandal, while Britain’s information commissioner is seeking to determine whether it did enough to secure its data.

On Thursday, Israel’s privacy protection agency said it had informed Facebook of a probe into the Cambridge Analytica revelations, and was looking into “the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis.”

Meanwhile, European Union leaders were due to press digital giants “to guarantee transparent practices and full protection of citizens’ privacy and personal data,” according to a draft summit statement obtained by AFP.

A movement to quit the social network has already gathered momentum — with the co-founder of the WhatsApp messaging service among those vowing to #deletefacebook — while a handful of lawsuits risk turning into class actions in a costly distraction for the company.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee described it as a “serious moment for the web’s future.”

“I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused,” tweeted the British scientist.

“I would say to him: You can fix it. It won’t be easy but if companies work with governments, activists, academics and web users, we can make sure platforms serve humanity.”

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Zuckerberg Apology Fails to Quiet Facebook Storm

A public apology by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg failed Thursday to quell outrage over the hijacking of personal data from millions of people, as critics demanded that the social media giant go much further to protect user privacy.

Speaking out for the first time about the harvesting of Facebook user data by a British firm linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg admitted Wednesday to betraying the trust of its 2 billion users and promised to “step up.”

Vowing to stop data leaking to outside developers and to give users more control over their information, Zuckerberg also said he was ready to testify before US lawmakers — which a powerful congressional committee promptly asked him to do.

With pressure ratcheting up on the 33-year-old CEO over a scandal that has wiped $60 billion off Facebook’s value, the initial response suggested his promise of self-regulation had failed to convince critics he was serious about change.

“Frankly I don’t think those changes go far enough,” Matt Hancock, Britain’s culture and digital minister, told the BBC.

“It shouldn’t be for a company to decide what is the appropriate balance between privacy and innovation and use of data,” he said. “The big tech companies need to abide by the law, and we are strengthening the law.”

In Brussels, European leaders were sending the same message as they prepared to push for tougher safeguards on personal data online, while Israel became the latest country to launch an investigation into Facebook.

The data scandal erupted at the weekend when a whistle-blower revealed that British consultant Cambridge Analytica had created psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users via a personality prediction app, developed by a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan.

The app, downloaded by 270,000 people, scooped up their friends’ data without consent — as was possible under Facebook’s rules at the time.

‘Breach of trust’

Facebook said it discovered last week that Cambridge Analytica might not have deleted the data as it certified, although the British firm denied wrongdoing.

“This was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNN, after publishing a blog post outlining his response to the scandal.

“Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

With Facebook already under fire for allowing fake news to proliferate during the U.S. election, Zuckerberg also said “we need to make sure that we up our game” ahead of midterm congressional elections in November, in which American officials have warned Russia can be expected to meddle as it did two years ago.

Cambridge Analytica has maintained it did not use Facebook data in the Trump campaign, but its now-suspended CEO boasted in secret recordings that his company was deeply involved in the race.

WATCH: Facebook Under Fire for Data Misuse

And U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, is reportedly looking into the consultant’s role in the Trump effort.

‘Abused and misused’

Zuckerberg’s apology followed a dayslong stream of damaging accusations against the world’s biggest social network, which now faces probes on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Washington on Thursday, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged Zuckerberg to testify without delay, saying a briefing a day earlier by Facebook officials had left “many questions” unanswered.

“We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people,” said a statement from the panel, calling for a hearing “in the near future.”

America’s Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Facebook over the scandal, while Britain’s information commissioner is seeking to determine whether it did enough to secure its data.

On Thursday, Israel’s privacy protection agency said it had informed Facebook of a probe into the Cambridge Analytica revelations, and was looking into “the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis.”

Meanwhile, European Union leaders were due to press digital giants “to guarantee transparent practices and full protection of citizens’ privacy and personal data,” according to a draft summit statement obtained by AFP.

A movement to quit the social network has already gathered momentum — with the co-founder of the WhatsApp messaging service among those vowing to #deletefacebook — while a handful of lawsuits risk turning into class actions in a costly distraction for the company.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee described it as a “serious moment for the web’s future.”

“I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused,” tweeted the British scientist.

“I would say to him: You can fix it. It won’t be easy but if companies work with governments, activists, academics and web users, we can make sure platforms serve humanity.”

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Experts: Uber SUV’s Autonomous System Should Have Seen Woman

Two experts say video of a deadly crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle shows the sport utility vehicle’s laser and radar sensors should have spotted a pedestrian, and computers should have braked to avoid the crash.

Authorities investigating the crash in a Phoenix suburb released the video of Uber’s Volvo striking a woman as she walked from a darkened area onto a street.

Experts who viewed the video told The Associated Press that the SUV’s sensors should have seen the woman pushing a bicycle and braked before the impact.

Also, Uber’s human backup driver appears on the video to be looking down before crash and appears startled about the time of the impact.

“The victim did not come out of nowhere. She’s moving on a dark road, but it’s an open road, so Lidar [laser] and radar should have detected and classified her” as a human, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles.

Sam Abuelsmaid, an analyst for Navigant Research who also follow autonomous vehicles, said laser and radar systems can see in the dark much better than humans or cameras and that the pedestrian was well within the system’s range.

“It absolutely should have been able to pick her up,” he said. “From what I see in the video it sure looks like the car is at fault, not the pedestrian.”

The video could have a broad impact on autonomous vehicle research, which has been billed as the answer to cutting the 40,000 traffic deaths that occur annually in the U.S. in human-driven vehicles.

Proponents say that human error is responsible for 94 percent of crashes, and that self-driving vehicles would be better because they see more and don’t get drunk, distracted or drowsy.

But the experts said it appears from the video that there was some sort of flaw in Uber’s self-driving system.

The video, Smith said, may not show the complete picture, but “this is strongly suggestive of multiple failures of Uber and its system, its automated system, and its safety driver.”

Tempe police, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the Sunday night crash, which occurred outside of a crosswalk on a darkened boulevard.

The crash was the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle. The Volvo was in self-driving mode traveling about 40 mph (64 kph) with a human backup driver at the wheel when it struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, police said.

The lights on the SUV did not illuminate Herzberg until a second or two before impact, raising questions about whether the vehicle could have stopped in time.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week that the SUV likely would not be found at fault.

But Smith said that from what he observed on the video, the Uber driver appears to be relying too much on the self-driving system by not looking up at the road.

“The safety driver is clearly relying on the fact that the car is driving itself. It’s the old adage that if everyone is responsible no one is responsible,” Smith said. “This is everything gone wrong that these systems, if responsibly implemented, are supposed to prevent.”

The experts were unsure if the test vehicle was equipped with a video monitor that the backup driver may have been viewing.

Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

An Uber spokeswoman, reached Wednesday night by email, did not answer specific questions about the video or the expert observations.

“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can,” the company said in a statement.

Tempe police have identified the driver as 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez. Court records show someone with the same name and birthdate as Vasquez spent more than four years in prison for two felony convictions — for making false statements when obtaining unemployment benefits and attempted armed robbery — before starting work as an Uber driver.

Tempe police and the NTSB declined to say whether the Vasquez who was involved in the fatal crash is the same Vasquez with two criminal convictions.

Attempts by the AP to contact Vasquez through phone numbers and social media on Wednesday afternoon were not successful.

Local media have identified the driver as Rafaela Vasquez. Authorities declined to explain the discrepancy in the driver’s first name.

The fatality has raised questions about whether Uber does enough to screen its drivers.

Uber said Vasquez met the company’s vetting requirements.

The company bans drivers convicted of violent crimes or any felony within the past seven years. Records show Vasquez’ offenses happened before the seven-year period, in 1999 and 2000.

The company’s website lists its pre-screening policies for drivers that spell out what drivers can and cannot have on their record to work for Uber.

 Their driving history cannot have any DUI or drug-related driving offenses within the past seven years, for instance. They also are prevented from having more than three non-fatal accidents or moving violations within the past three years.

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