Friday, December 6, 2019

Jeff Bezos says Amazon is writing its own facial recognition laws...

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company is developing a set of laws to regulate facial recognition technology that it plans to share with federal lawmakers. In February, the company, which has faced escalating scrutiny over its controversial facial recognition tech, called Amazon Rekognition, published guidelines it said it hoped lawmakers would consider enacting. Now Amazon is taking another step, Bezos told reporters in a surprise appearance following Amazon’s annual Alexa gadget event in Seattle on Wednesday. “Our public policy team is actually working on facial recognition regulations; it makes a lot of sense to regulate that,” Bezos said in...

Amazon’s Alexa-powered ambitions contradict its promises to protect your privacy

During an event at its Seattle headquarters on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled 15 new gadgets — many of which are integrated with its artificially intelligent voice assistant Alexa — including a pretty ridiculous Alexa-enabled ring (yes, for your finger) called Echo Loop, a kind of intriguing set of Alexa earbuds dubbed Echo Buds, and a pair of Alexa eyeglasses called Echo Frames. But the day’s keynote presentation, delivered by top Amazon executive Dave Limp, began on a now-familiar note for Big Tech companies adjusting to a new era of media and regulatory scrutiny: a nod to the idea that they want...

Vox Sentences: Call and response

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. The White House “transcript” of the Trump-Zelensky call is released; a mountain glacier in Italy is on the verge of collapse. A quid pro quo? Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images As President Trump promised on Twitter yesterday, the White House released a transcript — well, sort of — of the president’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in...

The Trump administration just inked another deal making it harder to...

The Trump administration signed an agreement Wednesday that could require immigrants coming to America through Honduras to seek asylum there, regardless of whether they’re seeking help from the United States under international torture agreements or the asylum system. The administration signed a similar agreement with El Salvador on Friday and another with Guatemala in July. Neither has gone into effect yet. Together, the three countries are the source of most migrants crossing the southern border. The terms of Wednesday’s agreement, which are not yet public, allow the US to send migrants back to Honduras, in addition to El Salvador and...

Welcome to the June issue of Vox’s The Highlight

Facebook, and by extension, Instagram, doesn’t let weapons companies or retailers advertise the use or sale of firearms. But the rule doesn’t apply to gun influencers. In this month’s cover story, we go inside the world of the hired guns who have emerged to fill the gap: a sea of women whose cheery posts posing in athletic wear with gun pockets can skirt the rules. Also in this issue, we explore the distinctly human need for speed; talk with journalist Anna Fifield’s on her jaw-dropping revelations about the misunderstood life of Kim Jong Un; look at a social club for...

Scientists: humans are rapidly turning oceans into warm, acidifying basins hostile...

Without the world’s oceans, climate change would actually be much worse. The oceans directly absorb about a quarter of the CO2 we have been spewing into the atmosphere. They also take in most of the heat generated by global warming. And they have been a buffer against even greater warming. But though they protect us, the oceans also are in great distress, as a sweeping new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly shows. “The ocean has been acting like a sponge, absorbing heat and carbon dioxide to regulate global temperatures, but it can’t keep up,” IPCC...

How WeWork’s “fiasco” could threaten Silicon Valley’s rich and powerful

The knives are out for Silicon Valley’s most controversial investor. WeWork’s plummeting valuation and the ouster of its CEO Adam Neumann on Tuesday has unleashed new frustration with SoftBank, whose name has become shorthand for the debate about whether Silicon Valley is indeed in a financial bubble. SoftBank, WeWork’s largest outside shareholder, is just one of the thousands of investors who back startups in Silicon Valley. But none have reshaped the entire landscape of tech investing like SoftBank has, and so how it fares carries enormous weight in Silicon Valley. Three years ago, SoftBank raised $100 billion — an enormous...

Vox Sentences: The dam breaks on impeachment

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. House Democrats start an impeachment inquiry; Puerto Rico prepares for another tropical storm after avoiding an earthquake. “No one is above the law” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Tuesday evening — a watershed event that might not ultimately lead to the president’s impeachment, but starts a process that could...

The WeWork CEO’s outsize power is one reason the company is...

WeWork is drowning in the near-unfettered power it gave its CEO and founder Adam Neumann. The coworking startup, which now calls itself The We Company, recently postponed its IPO amid declining valuation — it’s now worth just a third of the $47 billion valuation it achieved earlier this year — and is facing impending layoffs as public investors question its poor corporate governance, unproven business model, and a slew of bad decisions. Now, in an extraordinary move, Neumann is stepping down. Part of WeWork’s problem is something it has in common with a number of other highly valued tech startups:...

1.3 million winners and 2.8 million losers from Trump’s new overtime...

The five-year fight to expand overtime pay to millions of workers is over. The Department of Labor just released the final rule that will require businesses to pay overtime wages to a much larger group of employees if they work more than 40 hours a week. It’s a win for the estimated 1.3 million workers who will now be compensated for putting in long hours — but it’s a bitter defeat for the 2.8 million others who would’ve also gotten overtime under the original rule proposed by the Obama administration. It's here--the new DOL overtime rules, which look to...