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Your kids may be treating video games like banks and playing with real money. The government has questions

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Your kids may be treating video games like banks and playing with real money. The government has questions

A federal agency announced it’s monitoring video games that include in-app purchases, digital currencies and external marketplaces often used by children.

Games that include these features can effectively operate as banks of sorts but aren’t subject to the same types of regulations or protections, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report released last week. The agency also questioned whether children or parents were aware of the vast amount of data gaming companies collect.

“For several years, the most popular video games have included immersive virtual worlds that offer the storage and exchange of valuable assets,” CFPB wrote. “Gaming companies have created digital marketplaces that facilitate the buying, selling, and trading of these assets with limited consumer protections, which has led to potentially harmful practices for players including financial losses due to theft and scams.”

For years, video games like the mega-hit “Fortnite” have allowed users to make microtransactions — small, optional fees players can pay to obtain items or other features. In many cases, users must purchase in-game currencies bought with real dollars — similar to tokens purchased at brick-and-mortar spots like Dave & Buster’s or Chuck E. Cheese.

CFPD reported that video games like Fortnite could be children’s introduction to banking. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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GOATS, GOOGLE AND GAMES: THE FUTURE IMPACT OF A TECH GIANT’S PUSH TO TRAIN AI TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES

CFPB warned that digital currencies, purchased items and other assets can amount to a “considerable value” in terms of real money. But those closed markets aren’t subject to regulations meant to protect asset holders. 

“Banking and payment services that facilitate the storage and exchange of valuable assets generally provide consumer protections, including recourse after unauthorized transactions,” CFPB wrote in its report. “Yet operators of gaming and virtual worlds typically emphasize a ‘buyer beware’ approach.”

The agency was particularly worried about children, who may be using these markets without their parents knowing.

“For many young people today, gaming may be their introduction to financial activity,” CFPB wrote. “For example, gaming provides young people the opportunity to learn about earning currency, managing assets, and making purchases.”

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Lego Fortnite website displayed behind video game logo

A CFPB report warned that video games with features like in-app purchases and digital currencies behave like banks but aren’t subject to the same regulations. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NOW THAT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAN CLONE VOICES, VIDEO GAME ACTORS MUST WEIGH THEIR OPTIONS

“Gaming companies may view young players as an opportunity to create lifelong consumers early,” the report continued.

Because players can accumulate assets in these video games worth considerable sums of real money, gamers could face a significant financial loss if their accounts are hacked or if they fall prey to scammers.

Those risks have increased as the value of gaming assets has risen, according to CFPB. But players might have limited recourse since traditional banking and payment system protections don’t apply.

“In complaints to the [Federal Trade Commission] and CFPB, several players reported hacking attempts, account theft, scams, unauthorized transactions, and losing access to game currencies and virtual items, but they received limited recourse from gaming companies,” the bureau wrote. Gaming companies often put “the burden on individual players to avoid these scams and phishing attempts.”

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Child plays the video game Fortnite

CFPB warned that many video games collect a massive amount of data, a fact parents of young players may be unaware of. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, publishers can also collect significant information about their users, including location data, social media data and behavioral interactions, “such as how a player responds to personalized incentives,” according to the CFPB report.

“There is risk that gamers may be harmed when their data is sold, bought, and traded between companies, including for purposes outside of game play,” the report continued. “Additionally, the vast accumulation of data collected from consumers by gaming companies raises questions as to whether privacy rules are being adhered to and whether consumers, especially young ones and their parents, are fully aware of how their data is being collected and used across the industry.”

Ultimately, CFPB didn’t indicate it was taking action against the video game industry, instead noting that it’s “monitoring” the situation.

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Elon Musk’s xAI raises $6 billion to fund its race against ChatGPT and all the rest

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Elon Musk’s xAI raises $6 billion to fund its race against ChatGPT and all the rest

Elon Musk founded xAI last summer, and today it announced raising $6 billion in funding, saying it will help bring the startup’s “first products to market, build advanced infrastructure, and accelerate the research and development of future technologies.”

So far, xAI has launched Grok, a supposedly edgier version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT available via X, formerly known as Twitter, where the chatbot is currently only available to X Premium subscribers.

Funding in this round came from several sources, according to xAI, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Saudi Arabian Prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Last year, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that xAI was looking to raise up to $1 billion in equity investments, and a few months ago, The Financial Times reported it was seeking up to…. $6 billion. Musk denied that report at the time.

Continuing on in the AI race for chips, talent, and technology won’t be cheap — big tech firms have dumped billions into AI startups like Anthropic in addition to the resources Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta are pouring into AI projects of their own.

Outside of xAI and OpenAI, Musk said he would “prefer to build products outside of Tesla” when it comes to AI and robotics unless he gets more control. Tesla shareholders will start voting this week on whether to restore Musk’s $56 billion pay package ahead of its annual meeting on June 13th.

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Windows will soon let you grab text from your Android photos

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Windows will soon let you grab text from your Android photos

Phone Link (called Link to Windows on the phone side) lets you sync calls, messages, notifications, and images — and cast your entire phone — from your Android phone to your Windows computer. It also works in a more limited fashion with iOS devices, which only sync notifications, messages, and calls over Bluetooth.

Phone Link will now let you select and copy text from images synced from your Android phone.
Screenshot: Nathan Edwards / The Verge

The Windows Snipping Tool got text extraction last year around the same time Phone Link got image share notifications, so it’s been possible for a bit to extract text from phone photos with the Snipping Tool. This update just saves you a step and lets you do it in-app. The feature is live in Phone Link 1.24051.91.0 and I gave it a quick test in Insider Preview Build 22635.3646 (Beta Channel).

In my testing, the OCR was decent, though it made more errors than either Samsung or Apple’s text extractors with the same photo of a book page. For longer passages you’re probably better off enabling cross-device copy and paste, extracting the text on your phone, and sending it to your PC that way.

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How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

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How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Ever stumbled upon a web page so informative you wished you could keep the entire thing, not just what’s visible on your screen? Well, you’re in luck. Today, we’re diving into the nifty trick of capturing a full-page screenshot that’s way bigger than your iPhone screen’s real estate. 

When you took a screenshot in iOS 16 and earlier, you would normally get an option to save it as a PDF. As of iOS 17, you will see a Save to Photos option. This will let you save the full page of your screenshot as an image instead if you’d like. This only takes a couple of steps. Here’s how to save a full-page screenshot as an Image in iOS 17. Now, if you own an Android, you can perform the same steps. To learn how, click here. 

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A woman on her iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: HOW TO CHANGE CAMERA ZOOM LEVELS ON YOUR IPHONE

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How to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone

  • Open a website in a browser like Safari or Chrome that you want to capture as a full-page screenshot
  • Press the Power and Volume Up buttons simultaneously to take a screenshot. You will see a preview of the screenshot in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Tap on the preview to open the screenshot editor. You will see two options at the top: Screen and Full Page
  • Tap on Full Page to see the entire page of the screenshot or click Screen just to see the visible part of the screen
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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  • You can use the slider on the right to scroll through the full-page screenshot. You can also crop, annotate or share the screenshot.
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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  • To save the full page or the screen as an image, tap Done in the upper left corner.
  • Then click Save to Photos
  • Now, open the photos app
  • You can view it in the Screenshots album in the Photos app or in the All Photos album if iCloud Photos is turned on in Settings > Photos.
How to save full-page screenshots as images on your iPhone

Steps to screen capture a full-page image on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: TRY OUT THESE 10 SIRI HIDDEN HACKS ON YOUR IPHONE TODAY

Kurt’s key takeaways

Taking a full-page screenshot is more than just a cool trick; it’s a productivity booster. Whether you’re saving articles for later reading, capturing online receipts or preserving a digital moment, this feature is a game-changer. So next time you’re faced with a page that’s too good to trim, remember these steps and capture it all.

What unique uses do you think full-page screenshots could help you with in your daily tasks or special projects? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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