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Facebook-Backed Diem Aims to Launch Digital Currency Pilot Later This Year

CNBC reported:

Facebook wanted to revolutionize finance with a global digital currency — then came the regulators.

First proposed in June 2019 with the name libra, the token was initially intended to be a universal currency tied to a basket of sovereign currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the euro.

But after facing strong opposition from regulators around the world, the organization overseeing the project lost major backers including Visa and Mastercard. The group eventually watered down its plans, opting for multiple “stablecoins” backed one-to-one by different government-backed currencies, as well as one multi-currency coin.

Big Brother Watches as EU Unveils Plan to Control Use of Artificial Intelligence

RFI reported:

The EU is hoping to catch up with the U.S. and China in a sector that includes fields such as voice recognition, health insurance and law enforcement.

The bloc is trying to learn the lessons after missing out on the internet revolution and failing to produce any major competitors to match the giants of Silicon Valley or their Chinese counterparts.

But there have been competing concerns over the plans, with both big tech and civil liberties groups arguing that the EU is either overreaching or is not going far enough.

This Has Just Become a Big Week for AI Regulation

MIT Technology Review reported:

Today the EU released its long-awaited set of AI regulations, an early draft of which leaked last week. The regulations are wide ranging, with restrictions on mass surveillance and the use of AI to manipulate people.

But a statement of intent from the US Federal Trade Commission, outlined in a short blog post by staff lawyer Elisa Jillson on April 19, may have more teeth in the immediate future. According to the post, the FTC plans to go after companies using and selling biased algorithms.

A number of companies will be running scared right now, says Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington, who works on technology and law. “It’s not really just this one blog post,” he says. “This one blog post is a very stark example of what looks to be a sea change.”

Surveillance Helped These Countries Fight COVID. A New Realm of Risks Await.

Politico reported:

During the chaotic first months of the pandemic, countries like Taiwan and South Korean were held up as models for rolling out aggressive tracking to identify everyone who came into contact with infected people to contain coronavirus spread and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed.

The test-trace-isolate protocol worked. But a year later, many human rights activists and lawyers worry the high-tech intervention set a bad precedent. Governments rushed to gather and examine vast data stores without proper consultation, exposing sensitive, private information to the public in the process. 

Lessons learned (or not learned) from the contact-tracing efforts may shape the next big health-tech privacy challenge: vaccine passports.

Coronapas: The Passport Helping Denmark Open Up After COVID

BBC reported:

Digital certificates are seen as Europe’s route out of lockdown, and the EU wants to have its scheme in place across all 27 member states by the end of June.

… Zoos and theme parks were the first to handle Denmark’s corona passports. Copenhagen Zoo is already bustling with families, and you could almost forget there is still a pandemic. 

I watched as a long queue formed outside and entrance staff checked the phones of visitors. “We had to establish these new checkpoints,” says spokesman Jacob Munkholm Hoeck. “We’ve put a lot of resources into this. That’s the downside. But it is running smoothly.”

“It makes you feel more safe,” one parent in the queue told me.