Your Must-See News Headlines for Today, June 14

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Amazon Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

Is Amazon recording your children’s voices and storing that data permanently? The company is now facing lawsuits accusing them of doing just that. A viral video showing what appeared to be the most terrifying amusement park ride on earth is exposed as a fake. And you’ll never believe what NASA has discovered on the surface of Mars!

Here’s what you need to know in your daily roundup:


TOP STORY: Amazon Accused of Creating Permanent Recordings of Children’s Voices

Amazon is back in the hot seat over its smart speakers. We all know that “Alexa” and the “Echo” are listening in the background, waiting for us to say specific words that will “wake up” the speaker. But two lawsuits now accuse Amazon of violating users’ privacy by recording and permanently storing children’s voices.

The lawsuits allege that Amazon is saving recordings without the consent of parents. They also argue that the company will be able to “track a child’s use of Alexa-enabled devices in multiple locations and match those uses with a vast level of detail about the child’s life, ranging from private questions they have asked Alexa to the products they have used in their home.”

An Amazon spokesperson released a statement insisting that the company has “strict measures and protocols” to protect the privacy of its customers.

Meanwhile, child advocacy groups have called on the Federal Trade Commission to look into Amazon’s “Echo Dot Kids Edition,” arguing that the device collects and stores sensitive data. Amazon, however, says the device is meant as a learning device. It’s described on the website as a tool to “play music, hear stories, call approved friends and family, and explore a world of kid-friendly skills.”


OFF-BEAT: A ‘Star Trek’ Logo Was Spotted on the Surface of Mars

Fans of the “Star Trek” franchise are going to get a special thrill out of this. NASA has discovered a symbol on the surface of Mars that looks just like the Starfleet logo.

The image was recorded by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying the red planet and looking for evidence of water since 2006. NASA’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment team at the University of Arizona noticed the image and shared it on social media.

The team explained that the shapes on Mars’ surface were shaped by dunes, lava, and wind. The scientists said that after a long-ago eruption, “lava flowed out over the plain and around the dunes, but not over them. The lava solidified, but these dunes still stuck up like islands… Eventually, the sand piles that were the dunes migrated away, leaving these ‘footprints’ in the lava plain.”

The team says that the image that looks like it belongs in “Star Trek” was “only a coincidence.” You can see more about NASA’s orbiter and the history of the mission here.


WHAT’S BUZZING THAT HAS EVERYONE TALKING: Doctored Video of the ‘Gyro Drop’ That Made the Ride Look Downright Terrifying Goes Viral

The Lotte World amusement park in South Korea has a ride called the “Gyro Drop.” It has been one of the main attractions since 1998. Riders are dropped 230 feet down, at a speed of 142 miles per hour. Participants wear virtual reality goggles that show a “futuristic landscape” during the drop.

It sounds like a thrilling ride on its own. But a doctored video made it look as if the ride was MUCH scarier than in reality. The clip had a lot of people fooled and it went viral on Thursday.

In the video, it appeared that riders were dropped from bungee cords and swung around in circles before being lifted back up. The video was even the top result on YouTube for several hours before it was identified as a fake. Read more here.


DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

June 14, 1777: The Continental Congress approved the design of the official American flag. The governing body ruled on that day “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The legend goes that Betsy Ross designed and sewed the flag. This has never been proven nor decidedly disproven.

Additional stars and stripes were added to the flag as new states were added to the union. But Congress made the decision in 1818 to revert back to the original 13 stripes, and that going forward, only stars would be added to the flag, according to History.com.

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