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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

Anonymous Claims to Have Stolen Huge Trove of Data From Epik, the Right-Wing’s Favorite Web Host

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Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous claim to have hacked web registration company Epik, allegedly stealing “a decade’s worth of data,” including reams of information about its clients and their domains.

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/anonymous-claims-to-have-stolen-huge-trove-of-data-from-1847673935
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Lucas Ropek

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

Colorado voting machines banned after conspiracy theorist county clerk let unauthorized person in during upgrades

The county clerk of Mesa in Colorado, Tina Peters, “could be in legal trouble” after allowing an unauthorized person into a secure facility during an “upgrade” of the county’s voting machines. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold reported that this unauthorized person then released the passwords for the underlying voting machine software online. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/08/29/colorado-voting-machines-banned-after-conspiracy-theorist-county-clerk-let-unauthorized-person-in-during-upgrades-who-then-published-their-passwords.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colorado-voting-machines-banned-after-conspiracy-theorist-county-clerk-let-unauthorized-person-in-during-upgrades-who-then-published-their-passwords
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Beschizza

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

YouTube says content policing is good for business

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While critics allege YouTube puts profits over public safety, product head Neal Mohan insists that the Google-owned video site is working to be a better content moderator, in part because it is good for business.

Why it matters: Users spend billions of hours watching videos on YouTube, and the site’s content recommendations shape how that time is spent. Facebook and Twitter tend to get more attention on content moderation, but YouTube remains an equally important information battleground.


Driving the news: YouTube is announcing Monday that it now has two million people in its programs that enable creators to get paid. Mohan said a huge part of his focus is trying to find ways to make sure those who play by the rules are rewarded.

  • “99.9% of creators are looking to do the right thing,” Mohan told Axios, noting that YouTube has paid out $30 billion over the last three years.
  • In addition to the 14-year-old program that shares ad money for popular videos, YouTube has also added ways for creators to sell merchandise or be directly compensated by users.

Between the lines: YouTube still faces challenges in making sure it is the creators “doing the right thing” who are benefiting the most, rather than spreaders of viral misinformation.

  • It’s not just those getting paid by Google who can benefit from gaming the system. Creators with a large enough following can make money indirectly even if they’ve been “demonetized” — removed from YouTube’s own payment programs.
  • In the “vast, vast majority of cases that’s a good thing,” Mohan said, though he acknowledges that it does create opportunities for some creators to profit from borderline content that doesn’t meet YouTube’s bar.

The big picture: On one of the biggest topics at the moment, COVID-19 misinformation, Mohan pointed to both the work that the company has done to enforce its policies and collaborations between creators and health authorities, as well as the dedicated spots YouTube has set aside for authoritative information.

  • “I hope that we are perceived as ultimately a positive voice here,” Mohan said.
  • Critics, though, point to a vast array of videos that have promoted hesitancy around masks and vaccines. Some were eventually taken down, others have been allowed to remain on the site.
  • Mohan noted that the landscape is ever-changing and the company’s work around COVID-19 misinformation is ongoing.
  • “The work is never done,” Mohan said. “I have learned that there is always a new vector of misinformation that will pop up.”

By the numbers: YouTube has recently started sharing the rate of policy-violating content that is being shown to visitors. Tech companies and critics agree that this is a more important metric than the total amount of content being removed.

  • As of the fourth quarter, YouTube said that rate was 0.16–0.18%, meaning that out of every 10,000 views on YouTube, only 16–18 come from rule-violating content.

Meanwhile: Mohan said he continues to put a lot of effort into YouTube Shorts, which he says is more than just a TikTok competitor.

  • Mohan notes that he is trying to add features that take advantage of YouTube’s existing strengths, including making it easy for creators to create short remixes of existing YouTube videos.
  • “You should look for more of those,” Mohan said.

Source: https://www.axios.com/youtube-mohan-content-policing-good-for-business-97a87848-4b71-4fa4-a6b0-963c5b027d48.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ina Fried

No EV tax credit if you earn more than $100,000, says US Senate

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) departs the US Capitol at dawn after an overnight session of the US Senate on August 11, 2021, in Washington, DC. Sen. Kelly was one of three Democratic Senators who voted to gut the plug-in vehicle tax credit.

Enlarge / Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) departs the US Capitol at dawn after an overnight session of the US Senate on August 11, 2021, in Washington, DC. Sen. Kelly was one of three Democratic Senators who voted to gut the plug-in vehicle tax credit. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, the US Senate passed an amendment that would limit the plug-in vehicle federal tax credit. Currently, tax payers are eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 based on the size of the vehicle’s battery for the first 200,000 plug-in vehicles from a given automaker. But Republican Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska introduced a non-binding amendment to the $3.5 trillion budget bill that would means-test this tax credit, restricting it to tax payers with incomes below $100,000.

Perhaps more significantly, Sen. Fischer’s amendment also restricts the tax credit to EVs that cost less than $40,000. Consequently, the only battery EVs that will still be eligible for the tax credit will be the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ($34,250), Hyundai Kona EV ($38,565), Mini Cooper SE ($30,750), and the Nissan Leaf S Plus ($39,220). Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are both below the price threshold, but in 2019 the automaker sold its 200,000th plug-in vehicle, at which point the tax credit began to phase out.

The amendment passed, 51-48. Senator Fischer took to Twitter to say that “everyday Americans are living paycheck to paycheck because of the sharp rise in costs due to #Bideninflation. We shouldn’t be subsidizing luxury vehicles for the rich using money from hard-working taxpayers.” (Inflation is mostly being driven by high prices for used cars, which in turn is a result of the chip shortage.)

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/08/senate-votes-to-restrict-ev-tax-credits-despite-climate-crisis/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

YouTube bans Senator Rand Paul for a week after he posts that cloth masks “don’t work”

Republican Senator Rand Paul’s YouTube account flatlined last night, and this morning it emerged he’d been handed a weeklong ban after posting Covid misinformation there: a claim that cloth masks are ineffective at preventing transmission of the virus.

A spokesman for YouTube told the Times that the video violated company policy on Covid-19 misinformation, which includes “claims that wearing a mask is dangerous or causes negative physical health effects” or that masks don’t play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.

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Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/08/11/youtube-bans-senator-rand-paul-for-a-week-after-he-posts-that-cloth-masks-dont-work.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=youtube-bans-senator-rand-paul-for-a-week-after-he-posts-that-cloth-masks-dont-work
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Beschizza

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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