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VentureBeat

How U.S. tech policy could change if Democrats win back the Senate

Election Day in the U.S. is now only weeks away, and the variables and stakes are rapidly mounting. Troll farms, fake accounts, and other disinformation threats from within the United States and abroad are coming into view. The current president is attempting to convince people the election is rigged before it happens. Groups are actively working to suppress individuals’ constitutional right to vote, and Microsoft security researchers say China, Iran, and Russia have already attempted to gain access to the Biden and Trump presidential campaigns. Historic fires on the West Coast and historic hurricanes on the East Coast brought climate change into the race. Then on Friday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Amid all that uncertainty — and reasons for anxiety — voters must consider a few statistically likely scenarios. Democrats are likely to retain majority control of the House of Representatives and are within three or four seats of capturing majority control of the U.S. Senate. And Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden currently maintains a lead over President Donald Trump in the polls. If Democrats succeed in taking control of the legislative and executive branches of government, the shift could end a long-standing policy gridlock. To get an idea of how Democratic control of Congress could influence tech policy, VentureBeat spoke with four people whose work centers on the politics, legislation, and regulation of technology. Betsy Cooper leads the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, an incubator for software and policy that address societal issues. Malkia Devich-Cyril is founder…Continue readingHow U.S. tech policy could change if Democrats win back the Senate

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The Verge

Turing Award winners endorse Biden, say Trump immigration policy will stifle tech research

Twenty-four winners of the Turing Award are endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential election, The New York Times reported, explaining they’re concerned the Trump administration’s immigration policies could be detrimental to both computer research and the technology industry over the long term. “The most brilliant people in the world want to come here and be grad students, but now they are being discouraged from coming here, and many are going elsewhere,” David Patterson, a Google distinguished engineer and former professor at the University of California, Berkeley told the Times. Among the names on the endorsement are Vint Cerf, who co-designed TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the internet; Martin Hellman, who invented public key cryptography; Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar; Facebook AI scientist Yann LeCun; and Barbara Liskov, known for her work in designing computer programming languages. “It is unprecedented for winners of the top prize in computer science, the ACM Turing Award, to endorse a political candidate, but these are unprecedented times,” Hellman tweeted. The endorsers are acting as private citizens and not representing any one company or organization, and include 24 of the 35 living Turing Award recipients. Here’s their statement: Information technology is thoroughly globalized. Academic computer science departments attract talented students, many of whom immigrate and become American inventors and captains of industry. We celebrate open source projects, the lifeblood of our field, as exemplars of international collaboration. Computer Science is at its best when its learnings and discoveries are shared freely…Continue readingTuring Award winners endorse Biden, say Trump immigration policy will stifle tech research

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TechCrunch

Twitter flags Indian politician’s years-old tweet for violating its policy – TechCrunch

Twitter has flagged a post from Indian politician T. Raja Singh for violating its policy days after TechCrunch asked the social giant about the three-year-old questionable tweet. In a video tweet, Singh urged India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and others citizens in the country to move Rohingya Muslim immigrants, including those “who supported terrorism,” out of the nation as he feared that they would become a “headache for the nation” in the future. “#Deport RohingyaMuslims,” he tweeted. Singh, who belongs to India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party and has made hateful speeches in public appearances in the past, also urged his followers to make his tweet “viral” on the platform so that every “Hindu and [other] Indians” see it. He did not respond to a request for comment. It’s a similar message that Singh had also posted on Facebook, which ultimately led the Menlo Park-headquartered firm to permanently ban him from the platform. Facebook has received some of the harshest backlash it has seen to date in the country in part for its initial inaction on Singh’s posts. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a top Facebook executive in India had decided to not take action on Singh’s posts as she feared it could hurt the company’s business prospects in the country. In a statement to TechCrunch, a Twitter spokesperson said that Singh’s tweet was “actioned” for violating its hateful conduct policy. “Twitter has zero-tolerance policies in place to address threats of violence, abuse and harassment, and hateful conduct.…Continue readingTwitter flags Indian politician’s years-old tweet for violating its policy – TechCrunch

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VentureBeat

Why your team should be engaging with policy makers — now more than ever

TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned social media company powered by viral dances and lip syncs, had virtually no presence in Washington, D.C. last year. But as it navigates a growing threat from the Trump administration to ban the app over privacy and other security concerns, the company is reported to have spent $300,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020. Moreover, TikTok now boasts a team of more than 35 lobbyists who are engaging with U.S. policymakers on both sides of the aisle in the hopes of retaining status in its biggest market. While it may seem that only high-profile startups need to engage with the government, as a former lobbyist I know that a single change in policy can transform the trajectory of an organization or even the industry as a whole. As we work to economically recover and safely reopen during this pandemic, your local and national representatives are swiftly making policies you need to know about — from loan programs to remote work to liability. As a leader, it is your responsibility to have your pulse on how potential laws will impact your business. For those that may not have the capacity or resources to send lobbyists to DC like TikTok, building a strategy that is focused on local government relations is critical. No matter the size or budget, companies that are engaged can play a critical role in setting or resetting a public policy agenda. If your company does not already have a public policy…Continue readingWhy your team should be engaging with policy makers — now more than ever

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Engadget

Microsoft says Apple’s game streaming policy will lead to ‘a bad experience’

Earlier today, Apple revised its App Store guidelines to give companies such as Microsoft and Google a way to offer their video game streaming platforms on iOS, but did so with a major caveat. Apple said those companies could release catalog-style apps that collect and link to games iOS users would have to download individually through the App Store. Microsoft, which will launch its xCloud streaming service on Android devices on September 15th, has now come out against the policy. “This remains a bad experience for customers,” a spokesperson for the company told The Verge. “Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.” Source linkContinue readingMicrosoft says Apple’s game streaming policy will lead to ‘a bad experience’

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Tech Radar

India readies draft data policy for digital health mission | TechRadar

The Indian government has released a draft health data management policy which will serve as guiding principle for protecting data privacy of people willing to enroll for the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). The draft policy has been released on the website of the NDHM and will be available for public comments and feedback till September 3. The policy will be finalised after receiving suggestions from public. The focus of the draft policy is on data privacy, consent management, data sharing and protection. The draft policy says that any person enrolling for the health mission will get a Health ID free of cost and they will have complete control over their individual personal data. People are free to take back the consent already given in order to restrict any sharing of personal data linked to the ID. This will be in compliance with all applicable laws and international standards for the collection and processing of health data, according to the NHA (National Health Authority), which has released the draft policy. Dr. Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Authority said, the Draft Health Data Management Policy is the maiden step in realizing NDHM’s guiding principle of “Security and Privacy by Design” for the protection of individuals’ data privacy. The NDHM programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi  during his Independence Day speech on August 15. What is NDHM? NDHM is an Indian government plan to simplify access to the medical records of people to enable them to share digitally-stored…Continue readingIndia readies draft data policy for digital health mission
| TechRadar

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VentureBeat

What Kamala Harris’ record says about major AI policy issues

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to be his vice presidential running mate today. Born in Oakland, California and raised in Berkeley, Harris is the first African American woman and first Asian American woman to be chosen as a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket in U.S. history. Though a vice presidential pick can sometimes be considered ceremonial, at 77 years old, if elected, Biden will become the oldest president in U.S. history. How Harris stands on a range of issues is going to be meticulously analyzed in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention and the weeks leading up to Election Day. A former prosecutor, Harris is known as a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, but she’s also led cybersecurity proposals in Congress, and raised tech policy issues where she grew to prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here we look back at how Kamala Harris the U.S. Senator and presidential candidate reacted to issues at the intersection of AI and policy. Facial recognition In fall 2018, Harris joined other members of the U.S. Senate in sending a series of letters to federal agencies aimed at addressing algorithmic bias based on race, gender, or other characteristics. One letter asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) how it investigates claims of algorithmic bias in hiring practices and whether the agency considers use of facial recognition a violation of existing civil rights and workplace anti-discrimination law. The FTC letter imagines a scenario…Continue readingWhat Kamala Harris’ record says about major AI policy issues

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Mashable

Facebook’s new policy bans blackface and some Jewish stereotypes

Facebook is broadening its definition of hate speech. On Tuesday, Facebook released its latest , which breaks down the content it took down for violating its policies between April and June 2020 Along with details about the millions of posts it removed for spreading , Facebook unveiled meant to tackle hate speech. Facebook will now ban content depicting blackface. The social network will also prohibit stereotypes about Jewish people running the world or “controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government.” The policy will be enforced on both Facebook and Instagram. “We’ve consulted with many of our external partners over the past year to better understand implicit speech that has historically been used to disparage, intimidate or exclude people based on protected characteristics like race or religion,” said Facebook VP of Content Policy Monika Bickert in a phone call with the press. According to Bickert, the policy is not yet being enforced and Facebook will work to consider context, such as users posting a photo of a politician using blackface in order to raise awareness about their actions.  Facebook’s new blackface policy has already created a bit of a in the Netherlands. Dutch outlet NU.nl reported that a Facebook spokesperson clarified to them that the ban extends to Zwarte Piet, also known as Black Peter, a folk character that accompanies St. Nicholas on Christmas.  Some people in the Netherlands don blackface to portray Zwarte Piet On the call, Bickert clarified that the point of the policy…Continue readingFacebook’s new policy bans blackface and some Jewish stereotypes

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TechCrunch

Facebook extends coronavirus work from home policy until July 2021 – TechCrunch

Facebook has joined Google in saying it will allow employees to work from home until the middle of next year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021,” a spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency. Facebook also said it will provide employees with an additional $1,000 to spend on “home office needs”. Late last month Google also extended its coronavirus remote work provision, saying staff would be able to continue working from home until the end of June 2021. Both tech giants have major office presences in a number of cities around the world. And despite the pandemic forcing them into offering more flexible working arrangement than they usually do the pair have continued to build out their physical office footprints, signalling a commitment to operating their own workplaces. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how much money they’ve ploughed in over the years to turn offices into perk-filled playgrounds designed to keep staff on site for longer — with benefits such as free snacks and meals, nap pods, video games arcade rooms and even health centers.) Earlier this month, Facebook secured the main office lease on an iconic building in New York, for example — adding 730,000 square feet to its existing 2.2 million square feet of office space. While Google has continued to push ahead with a flagship development…Continue readingFacebook extends coronavirus work from home policy until July 2021 – TechCrunch

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Tech Radar

HMA no log policy gets stamp of approval from auditor

Following an independent audit from the cyber-risk consulting firm VerSprite, the VPN service HMA has been awarded a low risk user privacy impact rating for its no-logging policy. The assessment, which categorizes risk level on a scale of low to critical, included analysis of data, traffic and storage on both the client and server-side of the company’s service as well as the disconnection of user identities with data containing information about online user activity. HMA first introduced its no-logging policy earlier this year and its successful third-party audit from VerSprite forms part of a broader initiative by the company to become a privacy champion for users worldwide. Commercial director at HMA, Andrei Mochola explained why the company decided to carry out an independent audit of its service and infrastructure in a press release, saying: “The VPN industry has struggled with a trust issue for a long time. The ownership of some VPN companies is ambiguous at best or concealed at worst, and many people are unaware that they’re handing over their data to organisations which offer little to no visibility on what they do with it. Our ambition is to set a new standard in privacy protection for consumers by being painstakingly transparent across all touch points in our privacy policy, our products and our communications.” Independent audit VerSprite’s technical private independent audit covered HMA’s clients for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows and started from the installation process all the way through the entire data flow of the in-scope endpoint…Continue readingHMA no log policy gets stamp of approval from auditor