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Big Brother News Watch

May 26, 2022

Twitter to Pay $150 Million Fine Over Deceptively Collected Data + More

Twitter to Pay $150 Million Fine Over Deceptively Collected Data

The Washington Post reported:

Federal regulators Wednesday announced that Twitter will pay a $150 million fine to settle allegations that it deceptively used email address and phone numbers it had collected to target advertising, in one of the largest privacy settlements federal regulators have reached with a tech giant.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department said the company also will be banned from profiting off the “deceptively collected” data and be required to notify the more than 140 million users who were affected that it used their phone numbers and email addresses for advertising, according to a news release about the settlement.

And the company will be required to implement and maintain a new privacy program that will require the company to review the security risks of new products.

As backing for the settlement, the U.S. government filed a complaint against the company Wednesday in federal court in the Northern District of California, alleging that Twitter broke federal law as well as a 2011 order it reached with the FTC over allegations that it failed to safeguard personal information.

Report Shows FBI Spied on 3.3 Million Americans Without a Warrant, GOP Demands Answers

The Epoch Times reported:

Top House Republicans are demanding answers from the FBI after court-ordered information came to light showing that the federal agency had collected the information of over 3 million Americans without a warrant.

In a May 25 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) asked Wray to explain why his agency had wiretapped and gathered personal information on over 3.3 million Americans without a warrant.

Limited authority to gather foreign intelligence information is granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Historically, insight into how FISA has been used against American citizens has been limited and hidden behind classified reports.

Bill Blocking State, Local Vaccine Mandates Defeated

Associated Press reported:

Legislation that would have kept state or local governments from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into public places or private businesses was narrowly defeated Wednesday by a state Senate Committee.

Rep. Thomas Pressly of Shreveport had pitched the House-passed bill as a compromise. The Republican lawmaker said it kept government from imposing vaccine mandates on private businesses, while allowing private business owners to impose COVID-19 vaccination requirements if they feel such steps are needed to protect employees and customers.

The defeated bill had drawn opposition from both sides of the vaccine debate. Some wanted it to go farther by prohibiting business owners from imposing proof-of-vaccine mandates. Jill Hines, of a group called Health Freedom Louisiana, said the bill allowed private business owners to discriminate against people who have religious objections to vaccines.

The Elitists Who Want to Rule the World

The Daily Wire reported:

Klaus Schwab is the head of the World Economic Forum; he founded the organization in 1971. Each year, the WEF hosts a massive conference in Davos, Switzerland, with thousands of world leaders, diplomats and experts on various topics gathering to trade ideas about how best to cooperatively run the world.

This is the call to action for elitists the world over. They appoint themselves the representatives of global interests — without elections, without accountability — and then create mechanisms of national and international order to control citizens over whom they claim to preside.

Schwab and his rationalist buddies — brilliant businessmen and ambitious politicians, striving bureaucrats and myopic experts — will cure the world of its ills, so long as we grant them power. Or, more likely, so long as they seize power in the name of “stakeholders” to whom they are never answerable.

Sen. Marco Rubio Introduces Bill to End Punishment of Military Academy Members Over COVID Vaccine Refusal

The Daily Wire reported:

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Wednesday to protect military academy cadets from punishment over declining the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Defending Freedoms of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act would keep cadets from being punished or refused commission over COVID-19 vaccine non-compliance.

“It is outrageous to punish young men and women who want nothing more than to serve their nation,” Rubio said. “These are the types of ridiculous, unnecessarily punitive measures that discourage patriotic Americans from joining the military. The Academy should stop playing politics and focus on preparing cadets and midshipmen for their future service.”

The act follows the news of three U.S. Air Force Academy cadets who refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine being informed that they will not receive a commission as military officers when they graduate, according to the academy.

Austrian COVID Vaccine Mandate to Remain Suspended in Summer

Associated Press reported:

Austria’s coronavirus vaccination mandate has been suspended for another three months until the end of August. A parliamentary committee signed off Wednesday on an order from the health minister extending the suspension, the Austria Press Agency reported.

Officials said on Tuesday that the mandate for people aged 18 and over, which became law in early February but hasn’t yet been put into effect, would remain suspended. They said a commission of experts had concluded that enforcing it currently would not be proportionate and therefore was unjustified.

The plan was for police to start checking people’s vaccination status in mid-March, for example during traffic stops. But the government suspended the mandate only a week before its enforcement was due to begin, arguing that there was no need to implement it as things stood.

Global Firms Warn of Sluggish China Demand Due to Lengthy COVID Curbs

Reuters reported:

Two months into harsh COVID-19 lockdowns that have choked global supply chains, China’s economy is staggering back to its feet, but businesses from retailers to chipmakers are warning of slow sales as consumers in the country slam the brakes on spending.

Car sales in the world’s largest auto market have slowed dramatically, gamers are buying fewer consoles, and people are unwilling to replace their existing smartphones, laptops and TVs, as prolonged COVID curbs crimp spending power and put more people out of jobs.

“The current China lockdowns … has implications to both supply and demand,” said Colette Kress, chief financial officer at U.S. chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA.O), which forecast on Thursday a $400 million hit to gaming sales from China’s stringent coronavirus restrictions.

Google Urged to Stop Collecting Phone Location Data Before Roe v. Wade Reversal

Ars Technica reported:

More than 40 Democratic members of Congress called on Google to stop collecting and retaining customer location data that prosecutors could use to identify women who obtain abortions.

Specifically, Google should stop collecting “unnecessary customer location data” or “any non-aggregate location data about individual customers, whether in identifiable or anonymized form. Google cannot allow its online advertising-focused digital infrastructure to be weaponized against women,” lawmakers wrote. They also told Google that people who use iPhones “have greater privacy from government surveillance of their movements than the tens of millions Americans using Android devices.”

Google obtains detailed information “from Android smartphones, which collect and transmit location information to Google, regardless of whether the phone is being used or which app a user has open,” they wrote.

While Android users have to opt into this data collection, “Google has designed its Android operating system so that consumers can only enable third party apps to access location data if they also allow Google to receive their location data too. In contrast, Google is only able to collect location data from users of iPhones when they are using the Google Maps app,” the lawmakers wrote.

Congress Has Introduced 50 Digital Asset Bills Impacting Regulation, Blockchain and CBDC Policy

Forbes reported:

The 118th Congress has reached a milestone of seeing 50 bills and resolutions that have been introduced so far which cover the crypto regulatory landscape in a variety of ways.

The number of bills does not even include draft legislation on stablecoins from either Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) or Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), nor a much-discussed but not yet public bill that would cover the entire digital asset regulatory sphere from Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Based on research completed at the Value Technology Foundation (VT VT +1.5%F), a 501(c)(3), the 50 bills identified are broken into six different categories.

The categories include crypto taxation, central bank digital currency (CBDC), crypto clarity on the regulatory treatment of digital assets and digital asset securities, supporting blockchain technology, and issues of sanctions, ransomware, and implications involving either China or Russia’s use of blockchain or cryptocurrency, and access and limitations on use of crypto by U.S. elected officials.

Apple’s Digital State ID Cards Are Now Available for Maryland Residents

The Verge reported:

Apple’s Wallet app now supports Maryland state IDs and driver licenses, marking it as the second state after Arizona to gain the digital identification feature (via MacRumors). Residents of the Free State can now use their iPhone or Apple Watch at certain TSA checkpoints at participating airports, including Baltimore / Washington International and Reagan National.

 The iPhone won’t carry a “picture” of the card, only a means to transmit info to a receiving device — and you use biometrics to confirm the information being sent to the device.

This is just a start for the digital ID revolution, and there’s going to be a bit of confusion along the way. So if you’re looking forward to a future where you wouldn’t need to carry a wallet, then adoption will be key.

There has been concern that once law enforcement is able to access information via these devices, the attention comes to your iPhone, and they may ask for you to hand your phone over even though that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

Facebook Owner Meta Updates Its Privacy Policy

BBC News reported:

Meta says the changes are designed to make it easier to understand how customers’ information is used. The company has previously been criticized by regulators and campaigners for its use of customers’ data.

WhatsApp and some other products are not covered by the update.

Meta says the changes won’t allow it to “collect, use or share your data in new ways.” There are, however, two changes to the way that users can control how their information is processed.

A new setting will give people more control over who can see their posts by default. And existing controls over which adverts users can see are consolidated into a single interface.

Facebook Blasts Apple Power in Newly Released Comments to Government

The Hill reported:

Meta slammed Apple’s market power in the mobile app industry in comments for a federal agency’s report on the app ecosystem released Thursday.

Meta’s stance escalates the feud between the two industry heavyweights and puts Facebook’s parent company in opposition to the industry groups trying to defend the competitiveness of the app market as the Biden administration cracks down on tech giants’ power.

In 19 pages of comments, Meta almost entirely focuses on criticizing Apple. The multibillion dollar company, which is itself the target of a key federal antitrust lawsuit, paints a picture of Apple as a behemoth that is constraining Meta’s ability to expand.

China and Europe Are Leading the Push to Regulate AI — One of Them Could Set the Global Playbook

CNBC reported:

As China and Europe try to rein in artificial intelligence, a new front is opening up around who will set the standards for the burgeoning technology.

In March, China rolled out regulations governing the way online recommendations are generated through algorithms, suggesting what to buy, watch or read. It is the latest salvo in China’s tightening grip on the tech sector and lays down an important marker in the way that AI is regulated. While China revamps its rulebook for tech, the European Union is thrashing out its own regulatory framework to rein in AI, but it has yet to pass the finish line.

With two of the world’s largest economies presenting AI regulations, the field for AI development and business globally could be about to undergo a significant change.

May 25, 2022

Remote Learning Apps Shared Children’s Data at a ‘Dizzying Scale’ + More

Remote Learning Apps Shared Children’s Data at a ‘Dizzying Scale’

The Washington Post reported:

Millions of children had their online behaviors and personal information tracked by the apps and websites they used for school during the pandemic, according to an international investigation that raises concerns about the impact remote learning had on children’s privacy online.

The educational tools were recommended by school districts and offered interactive math and reading lessons to children as young as prekindergarten. But many of them also collected students’ information and shared it with marketers and data brokers, who could then build data profiles used to target the children with ads that follow them around the Web.

Those findings come from the most comprehensive study to date on the technology that children and parents relied on for nearly two years as basic education shifted from schools to homes.

What the researchers found was alarming: nearly 90% of the educational tools were designed to send the information they collected to ad-technology companies, which could use it to estimate students’ interests and predict what they might want to buy.

Opponents of Federal Vaccine Mandate Seek Rehearing

Associated Press reported:

A federal appeals court is being asked to reconsider its decision allowing the Biden administration to require that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month vacated a lower court ruling blocking the mandate and ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the policy, which was ordered by President Joe Biden in September.

However, that 2-1 ruling by the appellate panel doesn’t take effect until May 31. On Saturday, opponents of the mandate, led by a group called Feds for Medical Freedom, filed a petition asking that the April ruling be vacated and that the full 17-member court hear new arguments in the case.

On Monday, the 5th Circuit asked the government to respond by June 2; it was unclear if the court would take any action before then.

Top Privacy Researchers Urge the Healthcare Industry to Safeguard Patient Data

STAT News reported:

Patient data might be the biggest business you’ve never heard of. As a STAT investigation published Monday revealed, data brokers are quietly trafficking in Americans’ health information — often without their knowledge or consent, and beyond the reach of federal health privacy laws.

This market in medical records has become highly lucrative — $13.5 billion annually —  thanks to advances in artificial intelligence that enable the slicing, dicing and cross-referencing of that data in powerful new ways.

But the building of these algorithms often sidelines patient privacy. And researchers who’ve been tracking these erosive effects say it’s time to reform how health data is governed and give patients back control of their information.

“Privacy is an elusive concept, but the potential harms when it’s taken away or when it’s lost — those are critically important to understand,” Eric Perakslis, chief science and digital officer of the Duke Clinical Research Institute said Tuesday at the 2022 STAT Health Tech Summit in San Francisco. “And if we can’t figure out privacy in some way with a law we should be figuring out what those harms are and making them illegal.”

Nets Unwilling to Give Kyrie Irving Long-Term Contract Extension, per Report

CBS Sports reported:

To say the Brooklyn Nets‘ season was a disappointment would be a massive understatement. This is a team that, entering the season was considered title favorites. But where they actually ended up was being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics — still the only team this postseason that didn’t win a single game.

Given everything that transpired with Kyrie Irving this season, primarily his refusal to get vaccinated, and his injury history overall, it’s not surprising that Brooklyn is taking a more cautious approach with the All-Star guard going forward. With COVID-19 cases spiking again across the country, there’s the possibility that New York could reinstate its vaccine mandate, which could potentially sideline Irving again.

Signing him to a long-term extension comes with some risks, but so too does not giving him an extension. If Irving declines his player option and the Nets come to the table with a new contract he doesn’t like, Brooklyn would be taking the gamble of losing him for nothing.

Irving has about a month left to decide if he wants to opt in on the final year of his contract. This also means the Nets have the same amount of time to decide what they want to do with him going forward. If Irving opts in, it will only push the issue further down the road to the summer of 2023. But if he opts out and becomes an unrestricted free agent, it’ll force Brooklyn to make some tough decisions about the future of this team.

Face Masks Are Now Required Again at Many Philadelphia-Area Schools

CNN reported:

The School District of Philadelphia reinstated face masks in schools, a month after masks were made optional, due to an uptick in cases in the area, the district announced.

School districts in neighboring Montgomery County have also reinstated face mask policies after the county was “designated as high risk,” said a tweet from the Norristown Area School District.

Princeton University Has Disgraced Itself by Firing Free Speech Hero Joshua Katz

Newsweek reported:

“It is our collective responsibility not to shrug our shoulders” or accept “the normalization of untruths,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told Princeton’s 2022 Class Day on May 23. That same day, Princeton’s Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of its President Christopher L. Eisgruber, fired star classics professor Joshua Katz after nearly 25 years of employment.

In July 2020, in the wake of George Floyd‘s killing, Katz criticized a Princeton faculty letter demanding preferential treatment for minority faculty members, the disbanding of Princeton’s security, and the creation of faculty panels to police colleagues’ work for supposed racism.

Katz was immediately branded a racist and ostracized by his colleagues. Eisgruber condemned him for having used his freedom of speech “irresponsibly.”

Earlier this month, Eisgruber recommended Katz’s termination to Princeton’s Board. He and other university officials have sheepishly denied that it had anything to do with Katz’s public speech and instead insist that it resulted from a personnel matter dredged up from 16 years ago that just happened to resurface at the exact moment the speech issue emerged.

Iowa Legislature Prohibits COVID Vaccine Mandates for K-12 School, College, Licensed Childcare

KMTV 3 News Now reported:

Iowa children will not face a requirement to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for attendance in school, college or a childcare center under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.

The bill would not allow mandates for attendance at any licensed childcare center, elementary or secondary school or postsecondary school before July 1, 2029.

Republican senators voted 29-16 to approve House File 2298. The bill passed the House on Feb. 28 on a vote of 57-36. The bill needs Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature to become law.

Almost 4,000 Fined for Breaking Mask Rules on London Transport

The Guardian reported:

Almost 4,000 people were issued with fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) for not wearing a face-covering on public transport in London when it was compulsory to do so, and thousands more were prevented from traveling or told to leave the capital’s network, official figures show.

Mandatory wearing of masks on Transport for London (TfL) services was put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings stopped being a condition of carriage from Feb. 24 this year after the shift in the government’s approach towards living with coronavirus.

The release of the data coincides with the publication of a report that has laid bare the partying culture within Downing Street at the same time, where officials discussed how they “got away with” drinks parties.

Tightening COVID Net, Beijing Deals out Punishments, Stark Warnings

Channel News Asia reported:

China’s COVID-hit capital Beijing further tightened its dragnet on the virus with zero community transmission as the target, punishing workplaces that flout rules or circumvent curbs and imploring residents to police their own movements.

Since late April, the city of 22 million has wrestled with dozens of new cases a day. While these have been mostly in quarantine areas, a handful have been found in the community at large, illustrating the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the challenges that poses to the world’s most stringent pandemic containment policies.

This week, the city has stepped up quarantine efforts and clamped down on workplace attendance, with more districts issuing work-from-home requirements or guidance. That followed an inspection tour on Monday by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan — in charge of China’s COVID-19 response — during which she called for more thorough measures to sever transmission chains.

Germany to Loosen COVID Entry Rules Over the Summer

Associated Press reported:

Germany’s health minister says the government plans to suspend a pandemic rule requiring people to show proof of vaccination, a negative test result or recent recovery from COVID-19 to enter the country over the summer.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told the Funke newspaper group in comments published Wednesday that the rule, which applies to everyone age 12 and above regardless of where they are traveling from, will be suspended from June 1 to the end of August.

Confirmed coronavirus case numbers have declined steadily in Germany in recent weeks, and most restrictions have been lifted.  However, the government last week announced plans to spend another 830 million euros ($889 million) to buy vaccines that would help the country deal with a series of possible variants in the fall.

Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition Tool Coming to Apps, Schools

Reuters reported:

Clearview AI is expanding sales of its facial recognition software to companies from mainly serving the police, it told Reuters, inviting scrutiny on how the startup capitalizes on billions of photos it scrapes from social media profiles.

Sales could be significant for Clearview, a presenter on Wednesday at the Montgomery Summit investor conference in California. It fuels an emerging debate over the ethics of leveraging disputed data to design artificial intelligence systems such as facial recognition.

Clearview’s usage of publicly available photos to train its tool draws it high marks for accuracy. The United Kingdom and Italy fined Clearview for breaking privacy laws by collecting online images without consent, and the company this month settled with U.S. rights activists over similar allegations.

Instead of online photo comparisons, the new private-sector offering matches people to ID photos and other data that clients collect with subjects’ permission. It is meant to verify identities for access to physical or digital spaces.

Amazon Installs ‘Creepy’ AI Cameras to Monitor More Delivery Drivers, Report Says

Insider reported:

Amazon is putting artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cameras in more delivery vans in a move that privacy activists called “creepy,” “intrusive” and “excessive” after rolling them out in the U.S. last year, The Telegraph reported.

The cameras monitor how drivers in the U.K. perform on the road and issue voice alerts if they speed or brake sharply and will score drivers accordingly. Two cameras are being installed on Amazon vans in Britain, one facing the driver and the other aimed at the road.

Big Brother Watch called for the installations to be put on hold, The Telegraph reported. Silkie Carlo, director of the U.K.-based privacy campaign group, said: “Amazon has a terrible track record of intensely monitoring their lowest wage earners using Orwellian, often highly inaccurate, spying technologies, and then using that data to their disadvantage.”

Amazon rolled out its AI cameras in the U.S. last year and used them to decide drivers’ pay and whether to keep them on.

May 24, 2022

RFK Jr., Others, Speak at Facebook ‘Censorship’ Rally + More

RFK Jr., Others, Speak at Facebook ‘Censorship’ Rally

The Epoch Times reported:

With the advancement of digital technology and social media, people easily have the freedom to share what they have to say to others across the globe — or can they?

A large group of people, including some influential names, attended a rally outside of Facebook’s headquarters on May 19, organized by the grassroots group Humanity Against Censorship.

Rally-goers held signs denouncing Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

U.S. Postal Service Wants to Provide Digital ID and Collect More Biometric Data

Reclaim The Net reported:

In a new report on the role of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in identity verification, the Office of the Inspector General for the agency has pushed for it to have an expanded role in the collection of biometric data and the rollout of digital ID.

The report suggests extending the provision of in-person biometric data collection to the 4,800 locations where the USPS already provides a Passport Acceptance Service to the U.S. Department of State. It also notes that the USPS could provide biometric and verification services to other government agencies.

In an example of how the USPS’s expanded verification services could be utilized, the report proposes that the USPS could provide online name and address validation to government agencies by providing these agencies with a “confidence level” that a person lives at a specific address. The USPS notes that this confidence level could be generated by querying national databases such as the USPS’s Address Management System (AMS), the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, and the USPS’s Informed Delivery database.

The President of Facebook’s Science Feedback Is Hiding in Paris, Terrified of Appearing in Court

The DisInformation Chronicle reported:

Emmanuel Vincent is a hunted man.

On June 24, an officer of the French Ministry of the Interior, acting under the terms of the Hague Convention, summoned him to a police station and served him papers to appear in court for posting false and misleading statements in his role as president of Science Feedback, a Facebook fact checking service. On top of this, the beleaguered nonprofit has weathered multiple critiques for posting politicized, biased opinions that call themselves “fact checks” — including a Wall Street Journal editorial that called out Science Feedback for attacking Johns Hopkins physician-researcher Marty Makary, after he wrote an essay predicting the arrival of COVID-19 herd immunity.

“This is counter-opinion masquerading as fact checking,” the Wall Street Journal wrote, noting that Dr. Makary never made a factual claim; he had made a prediction based on his analysis of available evidence.

If You Can’t Leave Facebook, Know These Facebook Privacy Settings

TechCrunch reported:

It will be news to no-one that Facebook has a poor reputation when it comes to protecting your data.

Most notably, the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal saw a whistleblower reveal that the personal data belonging to millions of Facebook users was collected without their consent by a British consultancy firm for targeting voters. Since then, the personal information of more than 533 million accounts was found posted on a dark web forum and Facebook was forced to admit that it stored “hundreds of millions” of account passwords in plaintext for years, plus several leaks of scraped user data.

These scandals have led to the #DeleteFacebook movement, which has seen some of Facebook’s most vocal critics mobilized against privacy invasion, including WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, who sold the messaging app to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014. But for so many deleting Facebook just isn’t that easy. Some have to use Facebook as part of their daily 9-to-5 grind, and some are obliged to stay to keep touch with family members who have yet to discover end-to-end encrypted messaging apps.

Samsung Is Investing $356 Billion in Chips, Biotech and AI

Engadget reported:

Many folks mainly associate Samsung with smartphones and TVs, but the company is looking at other parts of its business for long-term growth potential. In the five years to 2026, it will plow 450 trillion won ($356 billion) into strategic areas, with a focus on things like semiconductors, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

This marks Samsung’s largest investment pledge to date and it’s an increase from a 240 trillion won commitment it made last August. The figure is 30% more than the 330 trillion won the company invested in itself over the previous five-year period.

The Samsung Electronics division will use the funding to bolster its chip design and manufacturing process, according to The Korea Herald. The company is preparing to start making 3-nanometer chips to help it keep pace with TMSC. It’s also working on advanced chips for supercomputers, robots and AI purposes, and it plans to focus on the development of 6G tech.

Walmart Pulling Juneteenth Ice Cream After Social Media Backlash

The Hill reported:

Walmart is recalling its ice cream commemorating Juneteenth after it received heavy backlash on social media, with many critics calling out the company for using the holiday as a marketing scheme.

“Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope,” the packaging on the swirled red velvet and cheesecake flavored ice cream reads.

“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” Walmart said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. “However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”

May 23, 2022

11th Circuit Blocks Major Provisions of Florida’s Social Media Law + More

11th Circuit Blocks Major Provisions of Florida’s Social Media Law

The Washington Post reported:

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled it is unconstitutional for Florida to bar social media companies from banning politicians, in a major victory for tech companies currently fighting another appeals court ruling that allowed a similar law in Texas to take effect.

In a detailed, 67-page opinion, the court rejected many of the legal arguments that conservative states have been using to justify laws governing the content moderation policies of major tech companies after years of accusations that the tech companies are biased against their political viewpoints.

Though the court struck down the most controversial aspects of the law, it did rule that some provisions could stand, including that people banned from the platforms should be able to access their data for 60 days.

Clearview AI Ordered to Delete Facial Recognition Data Belonging to UK Residents

The Verge reported:

Controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has been ordered to delete all data belonging to U.K. residents by the country’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO also fined Clearview £7.5 million ($9.4 million) for failing to follow the U.K.’s data protection laws.

It’s the fourth time Clearview has been ordered to delete national data in this way, following similar orders and fines issued in Australia, France and Italy.

Clearview claims its facial recognition database contains some 20 billion images scraped from public sources like Facebook and Instagram. It previously sold its software to an array of private users and businesses, but recently agreed to restrict itself in the US to selling to federal agencies and police departments following a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

DC Attorney General Sues Mark Zuckerberg Over His Handling of the Cambridge Analytica Incident

CNN reported:

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine sued Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, accusing the Facebook co-founder of misleading the public on the company’s handling of privacy and personal data in connection with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The suit, filed in D.C. superior court, represents Racine’s latest attempt to hold Zuckerberg personally liable after a judge rejected an attempt last year to name Zuckerberg as a defendant in an ongoing suit against Facebook over the same issue.

Racine’s office has been locked in a legal battle with Facebook for years over allegations the company failed to monitor third-party apps’ use of user data and failed to disclose the leak of data to Cambridge Analytica, the analysis firm used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, on a timely basis. In 2018, Facebook said Cambridge Analytica may have had data from as many as 87 million of its users.

Why We Need a Public Internet and How to Get One

The Verge reported:

For weeks, tech news has been dominated by billionaire Elon Musk’s attempts to buy (and subsequently avoid buying) Twitter. And since Musk announced his plans in April, people have debated whether it’s better for online social spaces like Twitter to remain publicly traded companies — where they’re under pressure from shareholders — or be owned by a single wealthy figure like Musk.

But Ben Tarnoff, author of the upcoming book Internet for the People, believes there’s a better way. Tarnoff’s book outlines the history of the Internet, starting with its early days as a government-run network, which was parceled out to private companies with little regard for users. It discusses common proposals like lessening the power of Internet gatekeepers with antitrust reform, but it also argues that promoting competition isn’t enough: there should also be a political movement advocating for local, noncommercial spaces online. I spoke with Tarnoff about what that means — and why it’s not as simple as breaking up (or cloning) Twitter.

YouTube Removes More Than 9,000 Channels Relating to Ukraine War

The Guardian reported:

YouTube has taken down more than 70,000 videos and 9,000 channels related to the war in Ukraine for violating content guidelines, including removal of videos that referred to the invasion as a “liberation mission.”

The platform is hugely popular in Russia, where, unlike some of its U.S. peers, it has not been shut down despite hosting content from opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny. YouTube has also been able to operate in Russia despite cracking down on pro-Kremlin content that has broken guidelines including its major violent events policy, which prohibits denying or trivializing the invasion.

Since the conflict began in February, YouTube has taken down channels including that of the pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov. Channels associated with Russia’s Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs have also been temporarily suspended from uploading videos in recent months for describing the war as a “liberation mission.”

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four Was About Liberalism, Not Totalitarianism, Claims Moscow Diplomat

The Guardian reported:

George Orwell’s dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four was written to describe the dangers of western liberalism — not totalitarianism — a top Moscow diplomat has claimed.

“For many years we believed that Orwell described the horrors of totalitarianism. This is one of the biggest global fakes … Orwell wrote about the end of liberalism. He depicted how liberalism would lead humanity to a dead end,” Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, said during a public talk in Ekaterinburg on Saturday.

Published in 1949, the book is seen as a cautionary tale warning of the consequences of totalitarianism and mass surveillance. Orwell is believed to have modelled the totalitarian government depicted in the novel on Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.