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Bill Gates Praises India’s Sweeping Digital ID System as a Model for Other Nations

Reclaim the Net reported:

India’s digital ID system may have its critics among those opposed to the digitization of people’s identities, but it has received praise from Bill Gates as one of the country’s innovations that are “changing the world.”

Gates, as well as EU and UN officials, refers to such systems as digital public infrastructure (DPI) — a buzzword for the introduction of digital ID and payments by 2030.

Gates announced on his blog that he is visiting India, and made sure to note that the Gates Foundation is involved in what he calls “efforts that are saving millions of lives.”

This is a reference to India’s production of another of Gates’ “passions” — vaccines. As for DPI, Gates expressed his “admiration” for the country’s massive biometric identity DPI component, Aadhaar, and the fact that over 12 billion transactions are processed by it.

Supreme Court Questions Florida and Texas Social Media Laws on First Amendment Grounds

CNN Business reported:

The Supreme Court on Monday appeared to have deep concerns of state laws enacted in Florida and Texas that would prohibit social media platforms from throttling certain political viewpoints.

The high-stakes battle gives the nation’s highest court an enormous say in how millions of Americans get their news and information, as well as whether sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok should be able to make their own decisions about how to moderate spam, hate speech and election misinformation.

The state laws ban online platforms from removing posts that express opinions, such as political content. States say the laws are necessary to keep the social media platforms from discriminating against conservatives.

One of the central themes of debate that emerged during the course of the arguments was whether social media companies are engaged in First Amendment-protected activity when they moderate content, such as by deplatforming users for posting misinformation or hate speech.

Cruz, GOP Senators Double Down on Anti-Central Bank Digital Currency Legislation

FOXBusiness reported:

Senate Republicans are determined to restrict the Federal Reserve’s ability to create a so-called central bank digital currency, setting the stage for making the debut of a digital dollar an issue for the 2024 presidential campaign, FOX Business has learned. Conservative lawmakers have been doubling down on their opposition to a central bank digital currency (CBDC), arguing the federal government could weaponize the technology by using it to spy on Americans’ financial activity and potentially restrict access to their money.

The Biden administration has sanctioned the Fed to conduct extensive research into the issuance of a CBDC as a way to make payments cheaper and more accessible to Americans, although no decision has been made to implement one.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, told FOX Business that he and four Senate colleagues, including Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Ted Budd, R-N.C., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., will sponsor a new bill called the Central Bank Digital Currency Anti-Surveillance State Act.

The legislation, which Cruz will introduce in the Senate on Monday, says the Federal Reserve lacks the authority to issue a CBDC, a digital version of the dollar, to Americans without authorization from Congress.

Why Healthcare Has Become a Top Target for Cybercriminals

The Seattle Times reported:

When a cyberattack hit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center late last year and exposed the personal data of nearly a million patients, many were caught off guard, stunned a breach could infiltrate such a large and highly resourced healthcare organization.

But those working in computer security weren’t surprised. In recent years, they’ve watched other hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country get hit by similar attacks, some of which have crashed systemwide operations and caused delays in patient procedures or tests, or rerouted ambulances to other emergency rooms.

Cyberattacks of all sorts have plagued large corporations, small businesses and individuals for decades now, but in the past several years, health care has become a top target, according to federal and local cybersecurity experts. These organizations hold a massive amount of patient data — including medical records, financial information, Social Security numbers, names and addresses. They’re also among the few businesses that stay open 24/7, meaning they might be more likely to prioritize avoiding disruptions and, therefore, more likely to pay a hacker’s ransom.

In December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that the medical data of more than 88 million people was exposed in the first 10 months of 2023. The department also saw a 93% increase in large, healthcare-related breaches reported to the agency between 2018 and 2022.

Mark Zuckerberg Is Arguing He Can’t Be Held Liable for Kids’ Instagram Addiction Just Because He’s the Boss. He May Be Right.

Insider reported:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is arguing he can’t be held personally liable for accusations that his platforms have led to kids being addicted to social media — and he may have a point.

Zuckerberg‘s legal team was in court in Oakland, California, this week over a string of lawsuits filed against Meta and him personally by parents and schools that allege his actions and Meta’s have harmed children by causing social media addiction, NBC Bay Area reported.

Zuckerberg has requested he personally be dropped from the two dozen lawsuits, which were filed by people from over a dozen states. A ruling in the billionaire’s favor would excuse him from being held personally liable but would not dismiss the cases against Meta.

The lawsuits claim that Zuckerberg’s actions and inaction led to social media addiction and accused him of ignoring warnings that Facebook and Instagram were unsafe for kids.

Vending Machine Error Reveals Secret Face Image Database of College Students

Ars Technica reported:

Canada-based University of Waterloo is racing to remove M&M-branded smart vending machines from campus after outraged students discovered the machines were covertly collecting facial-recognition data without their consent.

The scandal started when a student using the alias SquidKid47 posted an image on Reddit showing a campus vending machine error message, “Invenda.Vending.FacialRecognitionApp.exe,” displayed after the machine failed to launch a facial recognition application that nobody expected to be part of the process of using a vending machine.

The Reddit post sparked an investigation from a fourth-year student named River Stanley, who was writing for a university publication called MathNEWS.

Stanley sounded the alarm after consulting Invenda sales brochures that promised “the machines are capable of sending estimated ages and genders” of every person who used the machines — without ever requesting their consent.

‘Disinformation on Steroids’: Is the U.S. Prepared for AI’s Influence on the Election?

The Guardian reported:

Examples of what could be ahead for the U.S. are happening all over the world. In Slovakia, fake audio recordings might have swayed an election in what serves as a “frightening harbinger of the sort of interference the United States will likely experience during the 2024 presidential election”, CNN reported.

In Indonesia, an AI-generated avatar of a military commander helped rebrand the country’s defense minister as a “chubby-cheeked” man who “makes Korean-style finger hearts and cradles his beloved cat, Bobby, to the delight of Gen Z voters”, Reuters reported. In India, AI versions of dead politicians have been brought back to compliment elected officials, according to Al Jazeera.

But U.S. regulations aren’t ready for the boom in fast-paced AI technology and how it could influence voters. Soon after the fake call in New Hampshire, the Federal Communications Commission announced a ban on robocalls that use AI audio. The FEC has yet to put rules in place to govern the use of AI in political ads, though states are moving quickly to fill the gap in regulation.

The U.S. House launched a bipartisan task force on Feb. 20 that will research ways AI could be regulated and issue a report with recommendations. But with partisan gridlock ruling Congress, and U.S. regulation trailing the pace of AI’s rapid advance, it’s unclear what, if anything, could be in place in time for this year’s elections.

Forget Voice Prompts — I Just Answered a Phone Call Using Nothing but My Eyes

TechRadar reported:

Back in October, I reported on Honor’s Apple Vision Pro-style eye-tracking technology, which had just been teased in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it segment at Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Summit. At the time, Honor used a series of animations to demonstrate how and why this eye-tracking tech might be used, but at MWC 2024, I was able to get hands-on (or eyes-on?) with this decidedly Blade Runner-esque smartphone feature.

Billed as an imminent upgrade for the newly announced Honor Magic 6 Pro flagship, this eye-tracking tech is tucked away inside the phone’s Magic Capsule digital pop-up, which is essentially Honor’s take on Apple’s Dynamic Island.

By leveraging the Magic 6 Pro’s front-facing camera tech and facial recognition smarts, Magic Capsule is able to recognize the users’ eyes and draw navigational information from the direction of their gaze. I took the feature for a spin at MWC 2024, where I was able to answer a phone call using nothing but my eyes.

Indeed, certain app-based eye-tracking functions have already begun rolling out on Chinese versions of the Honor Magic 6 Pro, with international versions of the device — which are set to begin shipping from March 8 — confirmed to receive eye-tracking “in the future.”