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The UK’s Tech Backlash Could Change the Internet

British officials took a swipe at global internet giants Monday, suggesting rules that would require the companies to proactively remove content the government views as illegal or “harmful,” and giving the government the right to shut down offending sites. The proposals, contained in a 102-page white paper, are aimed at combating the spread of disinformation, hate speech, online extremism, and child exploitation. If enacted as described, they would constitute some of the most stringent and far-reaching restrictions on internet speech by a major western democracy. But critics said the proposals…

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Odds and Ends 

Apple addresses Spotifys claims, but not its demands

Two days after Spotify announced that it had filed a suit against Apple with the European Commission over anticompetitive practices, Apple today issued its own response of sorts. In a lengthy statement on its site called “Addressing Spotify’s Claims”, Apple walks through and dismantles some of the key parts of Spotify’s accusations about how the App Store works, covering app store approval times, Spotify’s actual cut on subscription revenues, and Spotify’s rise as a result of its presence on iOS. At the same time, Apple carefully sidesteps addressing any of Spotify’s demands:…

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Facebook Changes Its Ad Tech to Stop Discrimination

On Tuesday, Facebook reached a historic settlement with civil rights groups that had accused the company of allowing advertisers to unlawfully discriminate against minorities, women, and the elderly by using the platform’s ad-targeting technology to exclude them from seeing ads for housing, jobs, and credit—three areas with legal protections for groups that historically have been disenfranchised. After fighting back against the accusations for years, Facebook announced it will make significant changes to its platform so that advertisers can no longer target, or exclude based on characteristics like gender or race.…

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Odds and Ends 

Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse

The UK government has said it could legislate to require age verification checks on users of dating apps, following an investigation into underage use of dating apps published by the Sunday Times yesterday. The newspaper found It reports that one 13-year-old boy with a profile on the Grindr app was raped or abused by at least 21 men.  The Sunday Times also found 60 further instances of child sex offences related to the use of online dating services — including grooming, kidnapping and violent assault, according to the BBC, which covered the report.…

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The Last Place Big Tech Wants to Be Is on the Defense

So, it finally happened. A leading American politician has said aloud what many have whispering: it’s time to break up Big Tech. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren just fired the opening salvo and called for the federal government to take action: “Today’s big tech companies have too much power— too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.” To remedy…

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SF Is Bringing Back Banned Electric ScootersWith Limits

The scooters are back in town. Three months after ejecting the networks of shared, sidewalk-cluttering vehicles from the city, officials with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced today the two winners of its e-scooter pilot sweepstakes: Scoot and Skip. The city chose the companies from a crowded field of 12, which submitted a collective 800 pages in proposals on their operations, safety, and plans to extend the scooter bounty to San Francisco's neighborhoods. Skip and Scoot now have the right to operate at least 625 scooters each in the…

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Save the Scooters, Redesign the Streets, and Save San Francisco

The scooters have disappeared from San Francisco. In anticipation of regulations that took effect today, Bird, Lime Bike, and Spin have warehoused their fleets of the shared electric two-wheelers. They won’t be able to redeploy them unless the city grants them a special permit, which could take the better part of the month. Good riddance, many will say. The city should cap their numbers, control their behavior, or, better yet, incinerate the whole lot. They and their hubristic riders are a menace, terrorists of the sidewalk. That’s why I smear…

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China and the Children Will Save the Electric Car From Scott Pruitt’s EPA

Efforts to put cleaner cars on American roads are being threatened. In a few days, The New York Times reports, the Environmental Protection Agency will move to weaken the regulations that demand automakers producer cleaner and more efficient vehicles. The existing standards, which Barack Obama pushed for in 2012, demand each automaker nearly double the average fuel efficiency of its cars, to deliver 36 miles per gallon. But before President Donald Trump, EPA head Scott Pruitt, or anyone else can knock that number down, they must tangle with California. The…

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Apple’s Tim Cook Calls for More Regulations on Data Privacy

Cook speaks at Beijing forum following Facebook controversy Situation is so dire well-crafted regulation is needed: Cook Forum in Beijing on Saturday. His comments will ramp up pressure on Facebook Inc. and other technology companies that rely on the huge reams of data gathered from billions of people to power their products, services and sales. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg belatedly apologized for failing to better control its customers’ data following reports that it let Cambridge Analytica amass information on 50 million users. The social network’s shares have tumbled 14 percent following the…

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Bitcoin Newbies Are Getting Crushed While Old Timers Bemoan `Weak Hands

For Bitcoin investors, these are the times that try one’s soul. After surging to almost $20,000 in December following the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., the world’s largest cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value, plummeting to as low as $7,614 on Friday. It regained some ground on Saturday, rising 7.5 percent to $9,290.15 as of 2:58 p.m. in New York, according to Jamie Dimon to Nouriel Roubini have labeled as one of the biggest asset bubbles in history began showing signs of deflating. Selling by…

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Massive Cryptocurrency Heist Spurs Calls for More Regulation

At 2:57 a.m. on Friday morning in Tokyo, someone hacked into the digital wallet of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. and pulled off one of the biggest heists in history. Three days later, the theft of nearly $500 million in digital tokens is still reverberating through cryptocurrency markets and policy circles around the world. The episode, disclosed by Coincheck executives at a hastily arranged press conference on Friday night, has heightened calls for stricter oversight at a time when many governments are working out how to regulate the booming cryptocurrency exchange…

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Nordea’s Bitcoin Ban Leaves Financial Regulator Taking Back Seat

As Nordea Bank AB blazes a trail in Europe by banning its employees from trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the regulator is taking a back seat in a decision-making process it says is better left to the industry. Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority thinks “every institution must decide on the details of their internal regulations specifying the rules for their employees’ investments and trading,” spokesman Peter Svensson told Bloomberg, in response to questions about Bitcoin guidelines. The hands-off approach may surprise some who associate the Nordic region, and Sweden in particular,…

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Novogratz Halts Hedge Fund, Says Bitcoin May Drop to $8,000

Michael Novogratz, the former macro manager who’s turned into one of the biggest champions of bitcoin, shelved plans to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund and predicted that the digital money may extend its plunge to $8,000. “We didn’t like market conditions and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” Novogratz said Friday in a phone interview. “I look pretty smart pressing the pause button right now.” Novogratz, 53, said he told potential investors last week that he changed his mind, two days before his Galaxy Digital Assets Fund was due to…

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These scholars are going after Google, and it’s already a fight

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images You have to be a little flattered when a company as powerful as Google feels the need to go after you. “I think of it as a great compliment,” said Matthew Stoller, a fellow with Citizens Against Monopoly, a newly launched nonprofit organization. “What Google did is a reflection of their intellectual beliefs and their strength. You don’t suppress information if you’re winning the debate.” SEE ALSO: Yes, Amazon is convenient, but is it just too damn powerful? Citizens Against Monopoly is new because Stoller and…

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