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‘The Buck Stops With Mark’: Facebook Whistleblower Says Zuckerberg Responsible for System Harming Kids

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen stepped out of the shadows Sunday after months of working secretly with lawyers, journalists and lawmakers to build a case against the company she’d once thought to change from within—but now views as fundamentally threatening to the whole of humanity. Haugen was once against…

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/the-buck-stops-with-mark-facebook-whistleblower-says-z-1847797678
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dell Cameron

Apple, Amazon and others back groups trying to kill US climate legislation

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Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Disney are among the major companies backing corporate lobby groups and organizations that are battling a US climate bill, according to a report. That’s despite those companies all making pledges to reduce their impact on the environment.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the Rate Coalition are three of the lobbyist and business groups that oppose the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill, which includes measures to fight climate change. The Guardian reports that watchdog Accountable.US analyzed the groups to learn which companies have connections to them.

The Chamber of Commerce, the biggest lobbying group in the US, has said it would “do everything we can to prevent this tax-raising, job-killing reconciliation bill from becoming law.” The group’s board includes executives from the likes of United Airlines and Microsoft.

The board of the Business Roundtable includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. The group has said it’s “deeply concerned” about the bill and the increased taxes it would lead to for the rich. Google has also made political contributions in the past to individuals and organizations that have denied climate change.

The report notes that The Rate Coalition is set to release attack ads against the bill. That body’s members include Disney and Verizon (Engadget’s former parent company).

The support of lobbying groups that are attempting to kill the bill conflicts with the tech companies’ attempts to tackle the climate crisis. Apple, Google and Microsoft have all backed the Paris Agreement, for one thing. Apple and Microsoft promised to become carbon neutral and carbon negative respectively by 2030.

In 2019, Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos launched the Climate Pledge, which has a goal of hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and meeting the Paris Agreement benchmarks a decade early. Microsoft is among the 200+ companies that have joined the pledge. Disney, meanwhile, is aiming to reach net zero emissions for its direct operations by 2030.

Engadget has contacted Apple, Google and Microsoft for comment. The Guardian said that none of the companies it contacted rejected the stances of the groups they’re members of. None of them said they would re-assess their connections to those bodies either.

As Congress considers a vote on the #IIJA, we urge action to modernize the transportation network, reduce emissions and address the climate change crisis. The climate-focused elements included represent significant strides to turn ideas to reality. https://t.co/J1nHUGs1yC

— Amazon Public Policy (@amazon_policy) October 1, 2021

On Friday, Amazon expressed support for the infrastructure bill and the climate aspects of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. A spokesperson provided the following statement to Engadget:

Amazon believes both private and public sector leadership is required to tackle the global issue of climate change. That’s why we actively advocate for policies that promote clean energy, increase access to renewable electricity, and decarbonize the transportation system. In addition to advocating for these issues on a local, state, and international level, we have a worldwide sustainability team that innovates sustainable solutions for both our business and customers, as well as co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net-zero carbon 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Amazon has made bold commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, and we continue to encourage other companies to join us. We support investments in the Infrastructure and Build Back Better bills to lower emissions in key sectors like energy and transportation, and we believe these investments will help advance America’s carbon reduction goals. As we said earlier this year, we support an increase in the corporate tax rate to pay for things like infrastructure, and we look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness.

Update 1/10 12:22PM ET: Added Amazon’s statement.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-amazon-disney-microsoft-climate-bill-lobbyist-opposition-161736552.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

Here’s how the infrastructure bill would favor cheaper, US-made EVs

The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a wide-ranging overhaul of the current electric vehicle incentives as part of the infrastructure bill.

Enlarge / The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a wide-ranging overhaul of the current electric vehicle incentives as part of the infrastructure bill. (credit: Stadtratte)

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee released a markup of its proposed budget reconciliation bill. There’s a ton of information in the $3.5 trillion plan, but today, we’re interested in a small portion of the 645-page “Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations Relating to Infrastructure Financing, Green Energy, Social Safety Net, and Prescription Drug Pricing” section—specifically the parts that deal with incentives to decarbonize our vehicle fleet.

Beginning in 2010, the Federal government has incentivized people to buy or lease new plug-in vehicles by offering them a tax credit. The credit is based on battery size, starting at $2,917 for a vehicle with a 5 kWh battery and providing an additional $417 per extra kWh, topping out at $7,500. However, the credit only applies to the first 200,000 plug-ins sold by an OEM, at which point the credit begins to expire. To date, only Tesla and General Motors have sold enough plug-in vehicles to see their credits sunset.

If the budget reconciliation bill passes as is, the current tax credit (known as 30D) goes away, to be replaced by several new purchasing incentives for greener, more efficient vehicles.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/09/house-infrastructure-bill-includes-new-tax-credits-for-new-and-used-evs/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

Biden’s cybersecurity summit shows interdependence of government and industry

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After assembling a team of tough-minded regulators to take on big technology companies, the Biden administration on Wednesday called on many of those same companies to work with the federal government to address a growing wave of cyberattacks.

Driving the news: A White House summit between President Biden and tech leaders Wednesday, including the CEOs of Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, concluded with a raft of announcements of new cybersecurity projects and spending plans.


  • Microsoft said it would spend an additional $20 billion over five years on “security by design” and offer $150 million in technical services to federal, state and local governments.
  • Google plans to spend $10 billion over five years on zero-trust programs and other measures to bolster software supply chains and open-source security.
  • Amazon said it would offer the public free access to the same “security awareness training” it provides its employees.
  • IBM said it would train 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills over three years and partner with 20 historically Black colleges and universities to create cybersecurity leadership centers.
  • Apple said it was starting a new program to enhance supply chain security.

Why it matters: Defending the U.S. against cyberattacks and cybercrime is too big a problem for either government or industry to solve on their own.

Yes, but: It’s an awkward moment for the White House to be trying to partner with tech companies that the executive branch is also pursuing with antitrust lawsuits and investigations.

Of note: Facebook was the one tech giant without a seat at the White House table Wednesday.

  • The company is fresh off a confrontation with the Biden administration over the spread of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform.
  • But Facebook is also the primary online touchpoint for tens of millions of Americans in their personal lives, and any broad cybersecurity project might benefit from the company’s participation.

Between the lines: Some observers saw the White House meeting as a signal from Washington to the industry that it needed to take strong voluntary action or face a new wave of regulatory or legislative mandates.

  • Many in industry believe that baked-in government rules could hamstring companies trying to adapt to a rapidly changing cybersecurity environment.
  • But others view some additional regulation as inevitable.
  • IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Axios Today he supports new cybersecurity disclosure requirements for private companies. “Disclosures will go a long way because once it’s transparent, everyone will improve,” he said.

Our thought bubble: This needn’t be an either/or scenario. Rules can help set minimum security standards, while direct action against cyberattacks will likely need both the industry’s technical prowess and the government’s international reach and offensive capabilities.

The summit also covered ways to protect supply chains and critical infrastructure, cyber insurance for businesses, and a pressing shortage of workers in the sector, where “nearly half a million public and private cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled,” according to a White House statement.

The bottom line: The most successful cyber defense plans are the ones you don’t hear much about, because the attacks and disasters they foil never become news. That’s why it will take a while before we know whether this week’s announcements have any impact — and the less news you see, the more you can assume they’re working.

Source: https://www.axios.com/cybersecurity-summit-biden-government-industry-e8185e32-0346-40e5-af4f-6cd79f93cbb9.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Scott Rosenberg

Crypto lobbyists face defeat with House set to block tax rule changes

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House Democrats on Tuesday were poised to block attempts to scale back digital currency tax rules tucked into President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, in a new setback for crypto industry advocates fighting the proposal.

The House Rules Committee, which drafts the terms of debate for bills headed to the floor, agreed to a process that would prohibit any amendments from being considered for the infrastructure bill. The full House was scheduled to vote to lock in the procedure Tuesday afternoon. The plan would also set up a floor vote on the infrastructure package by Sept. 27.

The House was set to close the door to infrastructure bill changes despite calls from Democrats and Republicans to pare back the cryptocurrency tax proposal that the Senate passed as part of the legislation earlier this month.

At issue in the fight are proposed requirements that would force cryptocurrency exchanges and other firms to report transaction information to the Internal Revenue Service, similar to rules in place for stock brokers. As drafted, industry lobbyists and sympathetic lawmakers say the plan threatens technological innovation and the viability of a growing sector of the U.S. economy.

Crypto industry groups are now considering other legislative vehicles to revise the policy, after being blindsided by its inclusion in the infrastructure bill. One possibility is Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package, said Michelle Bond, CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets.

“The industry’s biggest test will lie in efforts to forge positive relationships in Washington,” Bond said.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/24/crypto-lobbyists-house-tax-rule-infrastructure-506756
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kellie Mejdrich

DARPA’s PROTEUS program gamifies the art of war

The nature of war continues to evolve through the 21st century with conflict zones shifting from jungles and deserts to coastal cities. Not to mention the rapidly increasing commercial availability of cutting-edge technologies including UAVs and wireless communications. To help the Marine Corps best prepare for these increased complexities and challenges, the Department of Defense tasked DARPA with developing a digital training and operations planning tool. The result is the Prototype Resilient Operations Testbed for Expeditionary Urban Scenarios (PROTEUS) system, a real-time strategy simulator for urban-littoral warfare.

When the PROTEUS program first began in 2017, “there was a big push across DARPA under what we call a sustainment focus area, and that included urban warfare,” Dr. Tim Grayson, director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, told Engadget, looking at how to best support and “sustain” US fighting forces in various combat situations until they can finish their mission.

PROTEUS screen

DARPA

The PROTEUS program manager (who has since departed DARPA), Dr. John S Paschkewitz, “came to the realization that the urban environment is really complex, both from a maneuver perspective,” Grayson said, “but also going into the future where there’s all this commercial technology that will involve communications and spectrum stuff, maybe even robotics and things of that nature.”

Even without the threat of armed UAVs and autonomous killbots, modern urban conflict zones pose a number of challenges including limited lines of sight and dense, pervasive civilian populations. “​​There’s such a wide range of missions that happen in urban environments,” Grayson said. “A lot of it is almost like peacekeeping, stabilization operations. How do we… help the local populace and protect them.” He also notes that the military is often called in to assist with both national emergencies and natural disasters, which pose the same issues albeit without nearly as much shooting.

“So, if someone like the Marines or some other kind of sustainment military unit had to go conduct operations in a complex urban environment,” he continued, “it’d be a limited footprint. So, [Paschkewitz] started looking at what we refer to as the ‘what do I put in the rucksack problem.’”

“The urban fight is about delivering precise effects and adapting faster than the adversary in an uncertain, increasingly complex environment,” Paschkewitz said in a DARPA release from June. “For US forces to maintain a distinct advantage in urban coastal combat scenarios, we need agile, flexible task organizations able to create surprise and exploit advantages by combining effects across operational domains.”

PROTEUS itself is a software program designed to run on a tablet or hardened PDA and allow anyone from a squad leader up to a company commander to monitor and adjust the “composition of battlefield elements — including dismounted forces, vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), manned aircraft and other available assets,” according to the release. “Through PROTEUS, we aim to amplify the initiative and decision-making capabilities of NCOs and junior officers at the platoon and squad level, as well as field-grade officers, commanding expeditionary landing teams, for example, by giving them new tools to compose tailored force packages not just before the mission, but during the mission as it unfolds.”

But PROTEUS isn’t just for monitoring and redeploying forces, it also serves as a real-time strategy training system to help NCOs and officers test and analyze different capabilities and tactics virtually. “One of the beauties of [PROTEUS] is it’s flexible enough to program with whatever you want,” Grayson said. It allows warfighters to “go explore their own ideas, their own structure concepts, their own tactics. They’re totally free to use it just as an open-ended experimentation, mission rehearsal or even training type of tool.”

But for its design flexibility, the system’s physics engine closely conforms to the real-world behaviors and tolerances of existing military equipment as well as commercial drones, cellular, satellite and Wi-Fi communications, sensors and even weapons systems. “The simulation environment is sophisticated but doesn’t let them do things that are not physically realizable,” Grayson explained.

The system also includes a dynamic composition engine called COMPOSER which not only automate the team’s equipment loadout but can also look at a commander’s plan and provide feedback on multiple aspects including “electromagnetic signature risk, assignment of communications assets to specific units and automatic configuration of tactical networks,” according to a DARPA press release.

PROTEUS EMSO Wizard

DARPA

“Without the EMSO and logistics wizards, it’s hard to effectively coordinate and execute multi-domain operations,” Paschkewitz said. “Marines can easily coordinate direct and indirect fires, but coordinating those with spectrum operations while ensuring logistical support without staff is challenging. These tools allow Marines to focus on the art of war, and the automation handles the science of war.”

Currently, the system is set up for standard Red vs Blue fights between opposing human forces though Grayzon does not expect PROTEUS to be upgraded to the point that humans will be able to compete against the CPU and even less likely that we’ll see CPU vs CPU — given our current computational and processing capabilities. He does note that the Constructive Machine-learning Battles with Adversary Tactics (COMBAT) program, which is still underway at DARPA, is working to develop “models of Red Force brigade behaviors that challenge and adapt to Blue Forces in simulation experiments.”

“Building a commander’s insight and judgment is driven by the fact that there’s a live opponent,” Paschkewitz said in June. “We built ULTRA [the sandbox module that serves as the basis for the larger system] around that concept from day one. This is not AI versus AI, or human versus AI, rather there is always a Marine against an ADFOR (adversary force), that’s another Marine, typically, forcing the commander to adapt tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and innovate at mission speed.”

“PROTEUS enables commanders to immerse themselves in a future conflict where they can deploy capabilities against a realistic adversary,” Ryan Reeder, model and simulation director, MCWL Experiment Division, said in a statement. “Commanders can hone their battlefield skills, while also training subordinates on employment techniques, delivering a cohesive unit able to execute in a more effective manner.

Technically, DARPA’s involvement with the PROTEUS program has come to an end following its transfer to the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab where it is now being used for ADFOR training and developing new TTPs and CONOPS. “My guess is they will mostly use it for their own purposes, as opposed to continuing to develop it,” Grayson said. “The Warfighting Lab is less focused on technology and more focused on our future force, concepts and what are our new tactics.”

Source: https://www.engadget.com/darpa-proteus-program-gamifies-the-art-of-war-162033175.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Tarantola

The FCC releases its first mobile broadband map

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its first-ever mobile broadband coverage map. The tool allows you to compare the LTE and voice coverage areas of the country’s four largest carriers, showing where you can expect to see wireless download and upload speeds of at least 5 Mbps and 1 Mbps, respectively.

The data you see on the map is accurate as of May 15th, 2021, and you can use the tool to compare what coverage looks like in your area away from the often misleading and confusing maps offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company). The tool is the result of last year’s Broadband DATA Act, which requires the FCC to collect and release robust data comparing different wired, fixed-wireless, satellite and mobile broadband service providers. To compile the map, the FCC collected standardized propagation information from the carriers. It also asked the public to help.

For too long the FCC has not had truly accurate broadband maps. But we’re changing that. Starting right here and now. This is the first-of-its-kind wireless coverage map the agency has produced. And we’re just getting started. More to come.https://t.co/FhgddIgRfh

— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) August 6, 2021

“This map provides a preview of how the mobile data the FCC will collect under the standards set by the Broadband DATA Act will look when mapped,” the agency said. “Never before have maps been created using these new, standardized mobile data specifications, which will improve the uniformity and consistency of broadband availability data collected by the FCC.”

The map isn’t perfect. For example, you can’t see the extent of each carrier’s current 5G buildouts. But it’s hard to overstate just how much of an improvement this new tool is over what the FCC offered previously. To put things into context. In 2019, Microsoft estimated that 163 million Americans couldn’t access the internet at or above broadband speeds. Meanwhile, the FCC put that number closer to 25 million. 

That discrepancy was the direct result of how the FCC compiled its data at the time. It relied on Form 477 filings from the service providers, which could include errors and exaggerations. FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the new mobile broadband map is just the start of what the agency has planned on that front.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/fcc-mobile-broadband-coverage-map-182120461.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Igor Bonifacic

President Biden wants half of new vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2030

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President Biden is throwing more of his weight behind electric cars. Biden is signing an Executive Order that sets a target for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to have some form of zero-emissions driving, whether it’s a pure EV, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The move is meant to not only promote clean transportation and limit climate change, but help the US “outcompete” a Chinese car industry that’s quickly shifting toward electrified vehicles.

In sync with the order, the EPA and NHTSA will outline how they plan to undo the Trump administration’s rollbacks of emissions and fuel efficiency standards. The two agencies will collaborate using standards built on the “momentum” from an agreement between California and automakers BMW, Ford, Honda, Volvo and VW. The EPA’s proposed rules would take effect in the 2023 model year, while the NHTSA’s would arrive in the 2024 model year. The team-up would have the standards mesh until model year 2026.

The Biden administration has rallied support from domestic brands for the effort. Ford, GM and Stellantis have declared a “shared aspiration” to meet the 2030 target and otherwise support Biden’s vehicle electrification policies.

It’s a significant goal. EVs have represented about 2 percent of US car sales for the past three years, according to the International Energy Agency and Pew Research. While the pandemic might have played a role in limiting 2020 sales, meeting the 2030 target would fundamentally transform the US car market, not to mention the charging infrastructure needed to support it.

However, it might drag behind some states, not to mention car makers. California and Massachusetts will ban all sales of new gas-based cars by 2035. GM also plans to exclusively sell EVs by that year, while Ford will go completely electric in Europe by 2030. Brands like Volvo and Stellantis’ Fiat badge have also committed to full electrification by 2030. However ambitious the Biden plan might be, it could seem relatively modest in some respects.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/president-biden-2030-ev-target-134025373.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

State Department monitoring internet outages in Iran amid protests

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The State Department on Wednesday said it was monitoring reports of internet outages and slowdowns in Iran amid ongoing anti-government protests spurred by a water shortage in the country. State …

Source: https://thehill.com/policy/international/565321-state-department-monitoring-internet-outages-in-iran-amid-protests
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Celine Castronuovo

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