Trump threatens US officials who gave information to the Ukraine case whistleblower

In a private meeting with US staffers at the United Nations on Thursday, President Donald Trump ranted about the “spies” within his administration who gave information to the whistleblower in the Ukraine case and mused about punishing them the way “we used to do in the old days” — seemingly alluding to the practice of executing spies for treason.

“Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call — heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw — they’re almost a spy,” Trump reportedly told the staffers, …

36 years ago today, one man saved us from world-ending nuclear war

On September 26, 1983, the planet came terrifyingly close to a nuclear holocaust.

The Soviet Union’s missile attack early warning system displayed, in large red letters, the word “LAUNCH”; a computer screen stated to the officer on duty, Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, that it could say with “high reliability” that an American intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had been launched and was headed toward the Soviet Union. First, it was just one missile, but then another, and another, until the system reported that a total of five Minuteman ICBMs had been launched.

“Petrov had to make a decision: Would …

Jeff Bezos says Amazon is writing its own facial recognition laws to pitch to lawmakers

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 …

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 …

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 July. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett,