Policy

Study says the US is quickly losing its entrepreneurial edge

Photographer: Daro Sulakauri/Bloomberg According to a new study conducted by the Center for American Entrepreneurship and NYU’s Shack Institute of Real Estate, the US may be losing its competitive advantage as the dominant nucleus of the startup and venture capital universe.  The analysis, led by senior Brookings Institution fellow Ian Hathaway and “Rise of the Creative Class” author Richard Florida, examines the flow of venture capital over 100,000 deals from 2005 to 2017 and details how the historically US-centric practice of venture capital has become a global phenomenon. While the US still appears to produce the largest amount of venture activity in the world, America’s share of the global pie is falling dramatically and doing so quickly. In the mid-90s, the US accounted for more than ...

Instagram prototypes handing your location history to Facebook

This is sure to exacerbate fears that Facebook will further exploit Instagram now that its founders have resigned. Instagram has been spotted prototyping a new privacy setting that would allow it to share your location history with Facebook. That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. Worryingly, the Location History sharing setting was defaulted to On in the prototype. The geo-tagged data would appear to users in their Facebook Profile’s Activity Log, which include creepy daily maps of the places you been. This commingling of data could upset users who want to limit Facebook’s surveillance of their lives. With Facebook installing its former...

NYC wants to build a cyber army

Empires rise and fall, and none more so than business empires. Whole industries that once dominated the planet are just a figment in memory’s eye, while new industries quietly grow into massive behemoths. New York City has certainly seen its share of empires. Today, the city is a global center of finance, real estate, legal services, technology, and many, many more industries. It hosts the headquarters of roughly 10% of the Fortune 500, and the metro’s GDP is roughly equivalent to that of Canada. So much wealth and power, and all under constant attack. The value of technology and data has skyrocketed, and so has the value of stealing and disrupting the services that rely upon it. Cyber crime and cyber wars are adding up: according to a report published jointly between McAfee and the ...

Until data is misused, Facebook’s breach will be forgotten

We cared about Cambridge Analytica because it could have helped elect Trump. We ignored LocationSmart because even the though the company was selling and exposing the real-time GPS coordinates of our phones, it was never clear exactly if or how that data was misused. This idea, that privacy issues are abstract concepts for most people until they become security or ideological problems, is important to understanding Facebook’s massive breach revealed this week.  The social network’s engineering was sloppy, allowing three bugs to be combined to steal the access tokens of 50 million people. In pursuit of rapid growth at affordable efficiency, Facebook failed to protect its users. This assessment doesn’t discount that. Facebook screwed up big time. But despite the potential that those access t...

Here is the SEC complaint against Elon Musk and Tesla

Update: There’s a live stream of the SEC press conference detailing the complaint: The Securities and Exchange Commission lodged a complaint today against Elon Musk following tweets sent last month by the CEO involving a planned private takeover of the electric car company at $420 a share. The filing from the Southern District of New York identifies the tweets as “false and misleading,” adding: Musk’s statements, disseminated via Twitter, falsely indicated that, should he so choose, it was virtually certain that he could take Tesla private at a purchase price that reflected a substantial premium over Tesla stock’s then-current share price, that funding for this multi-billion dollar transaction had been secured, and that the only contingency was a shareholder vote. In truth and in fac...

Protesters call on Salesforce to end contract with border patrol agency

A dozen or so people accompanied by a 14-foot, 800-pound cage gathered in downtown San Francisco Tuesday morning to protest Salesforce’s contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), the agency within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for enforcing the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. Today is the first day of Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual user conference that attracts some 200,000 people. The protesters claim Salesforce, which signed an agreement with CPB in March, is complicit in the actions of CBP and should be held accountable. “Salesforce has a moral and ethical obligation to end this contract,” one protestor shouted. The sign plastered to the front of the cage — a mock-up of those reportedly used in CB...

Singapore is the crypto sandbox that Asia needs

Singapore Blockchain Week happened this past week. While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The financial regulator openly discussed its views on cryptocurrency and plans to develop blockchain technology locally. For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia. Compared to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world, the regulators in Singapore are well-informed and more transparent about their views on blockchain and cryptocurrency. While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its...

Apple Watch and other hardware reportedly spared by new Trump tariffs

The latest round of Trump administration tariffs is set to affect a number of different industries. At least one category previously expected to be impacted, however, is likely to be spared, according to a new report from Bloomberg. According to anonymous sources, the tariffs impacting a slew of consumer electronics, running the gamut from the Apple Watch to Fitbit trackers to Sonos speakers, has not made it into the final language. That means, for this round at least, those products should be spared the tax that would drive up the cost of such imports. Trump administration tariffs have been the centerpiece of a looming trade war between the U.S. and China. Earlier today, China was reportedly set to cancel further trade talks, should the U.S. announce additional tariffs. They’ve been a dom...

Facebook rolls out photo/video fact checking so partners can train its AI

Sometimes fake news lives inside of Facebook as photos and videos designed to propel misinformation campaigns, instead of off-site on news articles that can generate their own ad revenue. To combat these politically rather than financially-motivated meddlers, Facebook has to be able to detect fake news inside of images and the audio that accompanies video clips. Today its expanding its photo and video fact checking program from four countries to all 23 of its fact-checking partners in 17 countries. “Many of our third-party fact-checking partners have expertise evaluating photos and videos and are trained in visual verification techniques, such as reverse image searching and analyzing image metadata, like when and where the photo or video was taken” says Facebook product manager...

Trump wants to just tariff the hell out of China

Another day, another whopper of a tariff. The Trump administration has been busy finalizing the rulemaking process to put 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, which will almost certainly affect the prices of many critical technology components and have on-going repercussions for Silicon Valley supply chains. That followed the implementation of tariffs on $50 billion of goods earlier this year. Now, President Trump, as reported by reporters on Air Force One this morning, has said that he is prepared to triple down on his tariffs strategy, saying that he is ready to add tariffs to another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods. Although the president has a flair for the dramatic in many of his policies, the China tariffs are one arena in which his rhetoric has matched the action...

How to watch Facebook and Twitter’s big hearings with Congress

On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will appear before Congress in the latest high profile hearings for tech on Capitol Hill. The main event will take place at 9:30 a.m. ET, as the pair of tech execs faces the defense and cybersecurity-minded Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Following that hearing, Dorsey will stick around for a chat with the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a hearing set for 1:30 p.m ET. For a thorough preview, you can catch Facebook and Twitter’s opening statements. In the Senate hearing, expect most of the discussion to focus on the company’s efforts to thwart coordinated efforts by US adversaries to influence domestic politics. Titled “Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms,&#...

Twitter is a Nazi haven for the same reason its CEO claims no bias

“From a simple business perspective and to serve the public, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform”. That’s Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s argument for why “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions” according to his prepared statement for his appearance at tomorrow’s hearing with the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce. But it’s also validates criticism of why Twitter is reluctant to ban Nazis, hate-mongers, and other trolls that harass people on the service: It makes money off of them. Twitter has been long-known to ignore reports of threats or abuse. It’s common to see people posting the screenshots of the messages they get back from Twitter saying that sexist, racist, homophobic, and violent remarks don’t violate its policies. Only when they ge...