Technology

Biden Issues Executive Order to Restrict Personal Data Sales to China and Russia
Technology

Biden Issues Executive Order to Restrict Personal Data Sales to China and Russia

President Biden issued an executive order Wednesday seeking to restrict the sale of sensitive American data to China, Russia and four more countries, a first-of-its-kind attempt to keep personally identifying information from being obtained for blackmail, scams or other harm.The president asked the Justice Department to write rules restricting the sale of information about Americans’ locations, health and genetics to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, as well as any entities linked to those countries. The restrictions would also cover financial information, biometric data and other types of information that could identify individuals and sensitive information related to the government.The White House said this kind of sensitive data could be used for blackmail, “especial...
Instagram and Facebook Subscriptions Get New Scrutiny in Child Safety Suit
Technology

Instagram and Facebook Subscriptions Get New Scrutiny in Child Safety Suit

The New Mexico attorney general, who last year sued Meta alleging that it did not protect children from sexual predators and had made false claims about its platforms’ safety, announced Monday that his office would examine how the company’s paid-subscription services attract predators.Attorney General Raúl Torrez said he had formally requested documentation from the social media company about subscriptions on Facebook and Instagram, which are frequently available on children’s accounts run by parents.Instagram does not allow users under 13, but accounts that focus entirely on children are permitted as long as they are managed by an adult. The New York Times published an investigation on Thursday into girl influencers on the platform, reporting that the so-called mom-run accounts charge fol...
What to Know About the Supreme Court Case on Free Speech on Social Media
Technology

What to Know About the Supreme Court Case on Free Speech on Social Media

Social media companies are bracing for Supreme Court arguments on Monday that could fundamentally alter the way they police their sites.After Facebook, Twitter and YouTube barred President Donald J. Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol, Florida made it illegal for technology companies to ban from their sites a candidate for office in the state. Texas later passed its own law prohibiting platforms from taking down political content.Two tech industry groups, NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, sued to block the laws from taking effect. They argued that the companies have the right to make decisions about their own platforms under the First Amendment, much as a newspaper gets to decide what runs in its pages.So what’s at stake?The Supre...
A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men
Technology

A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men

The ominous messages began arriving in Elissa’s inbox early last year.“You sell pics of your underage daughter to pedophiles,” read one. “You’re such a naughty sick mom, you’re just as sick as us pedophiles,” read another. “I will make your life hell for you and your daughter.”Elissa has been running her daughter’s Instagram account since 2020, when the girl was 11 and too young to have her own. Photos show a bright, bubbly girl modeling evening dresses, high-end workout gear and dance leotards. She has more than 100,000 followers, some so enthusiastic about her posts that they pay $9.99 a month for more photos.Over the years, Elissa has fielded all kinds of criticism and knows full well that some people think she is exploiting her daughter. She has even gotten used to receiving creepy mes...
Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.
Technology

Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.

Why It Matters: A factory that has divided a town.Tesla’s decision to settle in Grünheide, which is in the state of Brandenburg, and the speed with which the factory was built — 861 days — has been a point of pride for local politicians in a country known for its onerous permitting processes.The factory, which opened two years ago, has also become an important driver of growth in the state, long one of the most economically challenged in Germany. Brandenburg recorded economic growth of 6 percent in the first half of 2023, largely driven by the 11,000 jobs at the plant and dozens of suppliers that have sprung up around it.But many local residents contend the plant has disrupted a quality of life that drew them to Grünheide, and say it threatens the air and water quality.Some said that Tesla...
Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles
Technology

Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles

In December 2022, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the key maker of the world’s most cutting-edge chips, said it planned to spend $40 billion in Arizona on its first major U.S. hub for semiconductor production.The much ballyhooed project in Phoenix — with two new factories, including one with more advanced technology — became a symbol of President Biden’s quest to spur more domestic production of chips, the slices of silicon that help all manner of devices make calculations and store data.Then last summer, TSMC pushed back initial manufacturing at its first Arizona factory to 2025 from this year, saying local workers lacked expertise in installing some sophisticated equipment. Last month, the company said the second plant wouldn’t produce chips until 2027 or 2028, rather than 20...
OpenAI Completes Deal That Values the Company at $80 Billion
Technology

OpenAI Completes Deal That Values the Company at $80 Billion

OpenAI has completed a deal that values the San Francisco artificial intelligence company at $80 billion or more, nearly tripling its valuation in less than 10 months, according to three people with knowledge of the deal.The company would sell existing shares in a so-called tender offer led by the venture firm Thrive Capital, the people said. The deal lets employees cash out their shares in the company, rather than a traditional funding round that would raise money for business operations.OpenAI, which declined to comment, is now one of the world’s most valuable tech start-ups, behind ByteDance and SpaceX, according to figures from the data tracker CB Insights.The deal is another example of the Silicon Valley deal-making machine pumping money into a handful of companies that specialize in ...
The Antitrust Enforcers Aimed at Big Tech. Then Came the Backlash.
Technology

The Antitrust Enforcers Aimed at Big Tech. Then Came the Backlash.

The South Korean government unleashed a wave of panic across the internet industry: The country’s antitrust regulator said it would enact the toughest competition law outside Europe, curbing the influence of major technology companies.The Korea Fair Trade Commission, with the backing of President Yoon Suk Yeol, said in December that it planned to make a proposal modeled after the 2022 Digital Markets Act, the European Union’s landmark law to rein in American tech giants. This bill also seemed to target South Korea’s own internet conglomerates just as much as the Alphabets, Apples and Metas of the world.The commission said the law would designate certain companies as dominant platforms and limit their ability to use strongholds in one online business to expand into new areas.Then last week,...
SpaceX Postpones Launch of Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander
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SpaceX Postpones Launch of Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander

Another month, another try at the moon — but not on Wednesday.SpaceX announced the postponement on Tuesday night of the scheduled launch of a private robotic lunar lander.The spacecraft, built by Intuitive Machines of Houston, is on top the rocket on the launchpad. Weather conditions were favorable but a technical issue led to the delay of its flight by at least a day. The next attempt will be Thursday at 1:05 a.m. Eastern time.If all goes well then, it will set up the first American spacecraft to land softly on the moon’s surface since the Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972. It will also be the latest private effort to send a spacecraft to the moon.Why was the launch postponed?The Intuitive Machines lander, named Odysseus, was scheduled to launch at 12:57 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday on a SpaceX...
When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See
Technology

When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See

In the darkest moments of a family tragedy, when the playwright Mona Pirnot couldn’t find the strength to verbalize her feelings to her boyfriend or her therapist, she tried something a little unorthodox: She typed her thoughts into her laptop, and prompted a text-to-speech program to voice them aloud.It was a coping mechanism that also sparked a creative pivot: Pirnot’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Lucas Hnath, is also a playwright, with a longtime interest in sound and a more recent history of building shows around disembodied voices. His last play, “A Simulacrum,” featured a magician re-creating his side of a conversation with Hnath, whose voice was heard via a tape recording; and his play before that, “Dana H.,” featured an actress lip-syncing interviews in which the playwright’s mothe...