The Purple Campaign partners with Uber, Amazon to crack down on workplace sexual harassment

Josie_Desmarais/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A year ago, Ally Coll was working as a lawyer when her news feed began to fill up with #metoo posts.

She was surprised both by the volume of the posts and the fact that so many of them reminded her of her own experience when she was an 18-year old intern in the U.S. Senate.

"I was mostly struck by the stories that were being told, that they were speaking so publicly about experiences that I have had, that I know many of us have had, that have really remained in the shadows for so long," Coll told a handful of reporters at a private event on Tuesday in New York City. "I started thinking about my own experiences with sexual misconduct."

Coll would later recount her story of being sexually assaulted by her then boss, a 70-year old senator, to reporters from the Washington Post.

She said she identified with the lack of options for people who suffer workplace harassment right as she found herself close to the epicenter of the #metoo movement. David Boies, the head of her law fim, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, represented Harvey Weinstein, a longtime friend and client of his.

"I found myself in an unexpected #MeToo moment in my workplace. The New Yorker reported that my law firm had retained private investigators who targeted, lied to and secretly recorded conversations with women coming forward with allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein," Coll wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post, on The Purple Campaign's origins.

After working internally to create better workplace policies regarding sexual harassment and assault at the firm, she decided to commit herself full-time to the effort. She left the firm and co-founded The Purple Campaign.

Boies Schiller did not respond to request for comment from ABC News.

Thus, the Purple Campaign was launched a year ago with the ambitious goal of putting an end to "the systemic problem of workplace sexual harassment that exists across every industry in the United States."

On Tuesday, the campaign said it has partnered with Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and Expedia to develop a certification program for corporations to establish a policy regarding workplace harassment.

The companies will provide data, and some funding, to help develop a set of policies on normative behavior, effective employee training, internal reporting systems, fair investigation and adjudication procedures, measuring success and the intersectionality of workplace harassment.

The certification would be a third party check along the same lines as the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index that assesses companies' corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.

The Purple Campaign announcement was met with cautious optimism by experts.

"I’ve been in discussions with companies on how to show their bona fides. I think it’s a good effort towards that," civil rights lawyer Debra Katz, who represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at the time of her sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh told ABC News. "You can have a good policy, but if there’s a concern about retaliation," the policy is not enough.

"One would want to know what the reporting rate it is," Katz said, and "to see if people feel safe reporting."

Labor expert Harley Shaiken of the University of California, Berkeley, called it "an impressive first step," but said the biggest challenge to confronting harassment is to make sure that employees have "a voice and enough power to give that voice meaning."

The partnership with a company like Uber, which has tried to shed what has been described as its frat boy image of a company that runs outside the reach of regulators, also underscores the challenges.

In 2017, after Uber commissioned a workplace culture report by former attorney general Eric Holder, it ousted its co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick per the report's recommendations. The report also recommended an overhaul of the company's diversity and inclusion practices including creating the office of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, a role that is currently filled by Bo Young Lee.

Since the time, the company has tried to change its culture and its image as it prepared for an initial public offering earlier this year.

University of Michigan Law School professor and labor expert Kate Andrias told ABC News that sexual harassment policies cannot succeed in a vacuum.

"Any effort to combat sexual harassment in the workplace is a step in the right direction and these sorts of programs have, in other contexts, helped somewhat to improve labor practices and to reduce discrimination," she said.

"But until these companies commit to respecting workers' rights more generally -- for example by ending the use mandatory arbitration agreements altogether; by no longer misclassifying workers as contractors, thereby leaving them unprotected by many employment laws; and by no longer opposing workers' rights to collective bargaining -- problems are likely to persist," she said. "When workers lack basic rights on the job, it is much harder to speak out against sexual harassment and to pursue remedies."

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Boeing dedicates $50 million of pledged $100 million to the families of the victims of Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes

nycshooter/iStock(CHICAGO) -- Boeing on Wednesday announced that is will dedicate $50 million of pledged $100 million for relief to the families of the 346 people that were killed in the Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes.

"The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board," Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing CEO said in a statement. "Through our partnership with Feinberg and Biros, we hope affected families receive needed assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible."

This announcement came minutes before a husband and father testified before Congress about losing his wife and children in the Ethiopia crash.

Boeing's $100 million pledge came a week after U.S. Federal Aviation Administration pilots found a new potential issue with the 737 Max aircraft involved in both fatal crashes during a simulated flight last week, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The new flaw, traced to how data is being processed by the flight computer, affected pilots' abilities to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for the runaway stabilizer, sources told ABC News. The problem is not related to reported problems with an anti-stall system, called MCAS, but connected to a broader anti-stall system called "speed trim."

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LA home where Manson followers brutally killed the LaBiancas is now for sale

SondraP/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles home where Charles Manson's followers brutally killed a married couple is now for sale.

Grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary LaBianca were ambushed at their house on August 10, 1969. They were stabbed multiple times and the word "war" was carved on Leno LaBianca's stomach.

The killers also used their blood to scrawl on the couple's walls the words "Rise," "Death to Pigs" and "Helter Skelter" -- a reference to The Beatles' song and the phrase Manson wanted to use to ignite a race war.

The property listing on Redfin for the LaBianca's former home does not mention the gruesome double murder there, but does describe "breathtaking, unobstructed" views of downtown Los Angeles, Griffith Park and the San Gabriel Mountains.

The two-bedroom house was built in 1922 and sits on a .71 acre lot, the listing says.

"It's extremely peaceful, quiet and private," the Redfin listing agent, Robert Giambalvo, said in a statement released by the company to ABC News.

"The home is spectacular and its attributes far exceed an event that happened 50 years ago," Giambalvo said. "Nobody who has come to see it has asked about something that happened a long time ago. Someone came through yesterday who was born after 1969 and just kind of shrugged their shoulders over the past. It's ancient history for them."

The property was posted to Redfin on July 10 and is listed for $1,988,800.

The LaBianca murders came one day after the Manson followers carried out an attack at another Los Angeles home, killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate, hairstylist Jay Sebring, heiress Abigail Folger, writer Wojciech Frykowski and teenager Steven Parent.

The two days of grisly killings ignited fear throughout the city.

Manson and three of his followers were convicted in 1971 and sentenced to death, but the death sentences were commuted to life sentences when a California Supreme Court ruling abolished capital punishment in 1972. Manson died behind bars in 2017.

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Hot dog fans can relish a stay in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile with Airbnb

joshuaraineyphotography/iStock(CHICAGO) -- A hot dog may not be considered a sandwich, but now it can be a home.

Oscar Mayer is opening the doors of its infamous Wienermobile for the first time ever to give hot dog lovers a chance to book an overnight stay in the 27-foot hot dog on wheels through Airbnb.

This summer guests can call the Wienermobile home for the ultimate camp-out from Aug. 1 to 4 in the Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago.

According to the listing, which went live for bookings on National Hot Dog Day, the camper/RV has one bed, one bath and can sleep two guests.

Fans can request to book a one-night-only stay, which costs $136 per night.

Additional rules include: "Must love Oscar Mayer hot dogs, obviously. No mustard and definitely no ketchup on the furniture (but plenty on your dogs as you please)."

"Guests must be over the age of 12. Maximum of two guests for the overnight stay, and no gatherings of more than six people at the Wienermobile.

All Oscar Mayer and Airbnb ask of guests, "Be your best, not wurst, self" when enjoying a stay.

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FaceApp goes viral with old-age filter, but spurs privacy concerns

damircudic/iStock(NEW YORK) -- FaceApp is the latest viral trend that has everyone doing a double-take over how they might look 50 years in the future -- but users might want to take a closer look at the privacy policy first.

The popular free mobile app that instantly alters the appearance of a person's face -- adding wrinkles, sun damage and grey hair -- has blown up on social media, shared by hundreds including a long list of celebrities.

FaceApp uses a type of artificial intelligence to "transform your face" according to the iTunes app store.

But while social media feeds fill up with the instantly aged pictures, new security concerns have risen for the recently top trending free mobile app -- especially in the wake of recent social media scandals, where other platforms have been taken to task for giving away users' private information.

Critics have cautioned that the app could collect more than just the photos that are uploaded. According to the policy, FaceApp "cannot ensure the security of any information you transmit to FaceApp or guarantee that information on the service may not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed."

"FaceApp's privacy page also says they may share user content and your information with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies," ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis explained.

"It's a Russian company, so once you grant access," she added, "you are granting access to all of those companies."

There are currently 80 million FaceApp users.

FaceApp was developed by a small team from St. Petersburg, Russia and has not updated its privacy policy since 2017, when the app previously went viral after criticism for what some considered to be racist filters that lightened users' skin tones.

"You're getting the access to your phone so all of your contacts, all of your pictures. Once you allow that you are giving away everything," Jarvis said. "That's how they're paying for it, free isn't actually free, they're giving away your information."

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EU launches investigation into Amazon's use of 'sensitive data'

Amazon(LONDON) -- The executive body of the European Union has opened a formal investigation into whether Amazon's handling of data from independent sellers breaks anti-competition laws.

The European Commission will investigate Amazon's dual role as a retailer selling products and as a marketplace where independent sellers deal directly with customers.

The investigation will build on the commission's preliminary fact-finding mission, which found that "Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information - about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace."

These practices could breach European antitrust and competition laws on anti-competitive policies.

"European consumers are increasingly shopping online," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. "E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don't eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules."

The commission will investigate how Amazon uses the data of marketplace sellers and whether this breaches EU competition laws. They will in turn look at the "Buy Box" option, and whether this "sensitive data" is used to determine which sellers are chosen for the "Buy Box" option, which "seems key for marketplace sellers as a vast majority of transactions are done through it," the European Commission said.

If Amazon is proven to have broken EU competition laws, the company could face a significant fine.

Earlier this month, the EU fined Japanese company Hello Kitty $7 million for violating competition rules in the bloc.

In reaction to the news, an Amazon spokesperson said, "We will cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow."

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Ford builds a pickup truck emoji

fredrocko/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Henry Ford rolled out the first factory-built half-ton pickup truck in 1925. Fast forward 94 years and his company wants to break new ground on your smartphone screen by introducing a truck emoji.

"When customers started demanding a truck emoji, we knew we had to help make it happen," Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of automotive, said in a statement.

So last year, Ford submitted a proposal to the organization that reviews and approves new emojis. The Unicode Consortium short-listed the pickup truck emoji. If it's chosen, it'll be out in early 2020 on all platforms.

The automaker has even created a tongue-in-cheek video about developing the emoji:

Billions of emojis are sent daily, with cars, scooters, boats and even spaceships among the 3,000 available.

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Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit on display for first time in more than a decade

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Exactly 50 years since the launch of Apollo 11, the spacesuit astronaut Neil Armstrong wore during his 'giant leap for mankind' went on display Tuesday morning for the first time in over a decade.

The suit, with lunar dust still embedded in the fabric, was revealed alongside Vice President Mike Pence and members of Armstrong's family at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

"It is the single most human factor of the Apollo 11 mission," said Lisa Young, objects conservator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. "It's like a small, tiny spacecraft that kept the astronauts alive."
Young has worked on Armstrong's Apollo 11 suit for over two years preparing it for its grand debut. Since 2015, the Smithsonian has raised more than $700,000 through a 'Reboot the Suit' campaign to "conserve, digitize, and display" Armstrong's suit after it was placed in storage in 2006 to minimize signs of aging.

"It's really humbling," Young said. "It's really a privilege to work on the space suits."

The goal was not to make the suit look perfect, but as it was 50 years ago when it was on the moon. The flags on the shoulder of the Apollo 11 suits appear worn with marks, but the marks were there before liftoff due to a printing problem.

"Every little stitch, every little piece of land or dust, every marking tells a story and we want to make sure that those stories remain with the suit as long as we have the artifact in our collection," Young said.

The suit was designed by the International Latex Corporation in Dover, Delaware (ILC), best known for making consumer products such as Playtex bras and girdles.

"He could live, work, eat, drink, survive in the spacecraft space suit all the way back to earth and really tells the story of Apollo 11 and his job he did on the lunar surface," Young said of Armstrong.

The pressure suit is comprised of 21 layers, each one hand-built by seamstresses.

"Some of the seamstresses I've talked to are just still in amazement that they can come see their work 50 years later and that people are interested in it," Young said.

The suit will temporarily be on display near the 1903 Wright Flyer until the museum's "Destination Moon" exhibition is completed in 2022.

"I love to see people's reactions," Young said. "It's very emotional."

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Girl Scouts launches 42 new badges to mobilize girls to change the world

Girl Scouts of the USA(NEW YORK) -- The Girl Scouts have added more new badges and programs to help girls learn to make choices about how they want to experience and influence the world.

The 42 new badges were created exclusively for girls in grades K-12, the Girl Scouts of the USA said in a press release.

"The badges enhance the organization’s existing girl-led programming, offering girls everything from adventuring in the snow or mountains to learning how to use coding to solve problems they care about," the organization said in a press release. "Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls develop agency, challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, and build confidence in their leadership abilities."

"Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. "Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent."

The new offerings include an outdoor high adventure badge, which features two activity options for how the girls can decide to earn the badge.

"Giving girls choices is important for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and gender equality — research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s agency and decision-making abilities is key to improving their lives, communities, and the world," the Girl Scouts said.

Girls in grades 6-12 can also pursue nine new cybersecurity badges and three space science badges.

The "think like a citizen scientist" badge is part of the Girl Scout leadership journey for girls to participate in interactive activities and learn observation techniques; collect data and share findings with real-world scientists through an online network. After the experience, they use the skills to tackle a self-chosen community issue.

New programming includes 12 outdoor high adventure badges and 18 coding for good badges.

The "high adventure" badges, which are funded by The North Face, allow girls the chance to explore nature and try new activities including backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing and tree climbing. The activities are meant to build confidence, support for one another, risk-taking and time in nature.

These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths.

The "coding for good" badges, which are funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies, detail how each stage of the coding process provides opportunities to use skills for good. One of the activities will include coding "positive memes" to spread a message about a cause they care about.

There is both a "plugged-in and unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology."

Girl Scouts works with top organizations and content collaborators such as codeSpark, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), SciStarter, and Vidcode to weigh in on cutting-edge programs.

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Amazon Prime Day, Target's Deal Days kick off Monday

kasinv/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon Prime Day is here.

On July 15, get ready to shop one of the biggest sales of the summer on everything from electronics to your favorite fashion finds, all at deeply discounted prices.

This year, there are more than one million deals that will last for 48 hours.

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, don’t worry. You can still score some good deals at Target. The retailer's special two-day "Deal Days" event kicks off on Monday.

Deals up to 50% off on kitchenware, appliances, furniture, fashions, back to school offers and more are available on and the retailer's app, if you're looking to shop on the go.

The deals highlighted on day one of the sale include: "40% off select furniture and indoor rugs ... great deals on top kitchen brands, like Instant Pot, Kitchen Aid and more ... top floorcare items from Shark, Dyson, Hoover and more ... buy two, get one free on books."

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