As threats to the company mount, TikTok pushes back – TechCrunch

As TikTok’s existential rollercoaster ride continues to rattle on, the company is trying to sway regulators and the public with a flood of dollars and arguments wrapped in free enterprise and free speech to ensure that its parent company Bytedance can retain control of its operations.

The push to validate its business comes as reports swirl around a potential Presidential ban and bid from Microsoft to take over the company’s business in the U.S.

As it confronts domestic competitors and political attacks, TikTok and its parent company Bytedance have picked up some defenders from the American civil rights movement. Read More

The Verge

Twitch launches a new sports category as Amazon pushes for sports dominance

Twitch has gradually become a key place to watch live sports and content over the past year, and Amazon is now acknowledging its push for sports dominance with the launch of a sports category on Twitch. The standalone sports category will include streams from soccer clubs like Arsenal and Real Madrid, with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain set to follow. Twitch’s new sports category will also play home to the existing NBA, NHL, RFL, UFC, and NWSL content that’s available on the platform.

Twitch is also relaunching its twitchsports channel today to highlight broadcasts and programming. The relaunch includes a showcase today, hosted by Major League Soccer star Jimmy Conrad, that will cover the NBA, UFC, Arsenal, and House of Highlights using two-hour slots to demonstrate the type of sports content Twitch has to offer. Read More


Rivian raises $2.5 billion as it pushes to bring its electric RT1 pickup, R1S SUV to market – TechCrunch

Rivian, the electric vehicle company aiming to become the first to bring an EV pickup truck to market, has raised $2.5 billion in a round led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

New investors Soros Fund Management LLC, Coatue, Fidelity Management and Research Company and Baron Capital Group also participated. Existing shareholders Amazon and funds managed by BlackRock also joined the round. No new board seats have been added.

This is by far the largest round Rivian has raised to date as the company and its founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe eschewed public markets and have instead turned to strategic funds and other private investors for capital. The round follows an active 2019 for the company that brought in $2.85 billion in funds through a series of investments. Rivian essentially hit that same mark in one fell swoop this time around. Read More


US pushes Europe to reject Chinese baggage screening tech over spying fears

Nuctech denied the assertions, claiming that data from its devices “belong to our customer[s] only,” and “by no means” go to the Chinese government. It also rejected claims that it had dominant shares of baggage and cargo screening, and that it priced anything below cost to thwart the competition. The EU found the company guilty of price dumping in 2010, but Nuctech has since set up a Polish factory to keep costs low.

The State Department didn’t directly confirm the strategy, but did state that the US was still asking allies to guar against companies “heavily subsidized by authoritarian regimes.” Read More


Singapore government pushes on with cloud migration

Singapore’s public sector is ploughing ahead with its five-year cloud migration plan, with more than SG$870 million ($623.56 million) worth of contracts dedicated this year to moving more of its systems over to the commercial cloud. One such system is the Inland Revenue Interactive Network (IRIN), which is used by 5 million entities and 2,000 officers each year, and is getting an update that will include a shift to a microservices architecture.

Singapore in late-2018 unveiled a five-year roadmap to move the majority of its on-premise IT systems to a commercial cloud environment, as it looked to speed up the delivery and improve quality of government services to its population.  Read More


Apple Pushes Back Against Ad Tracking in Safari and iOS 14

“This year we wanted to help you with tracking in apps,” said Katie Skinner, a user privacy software manager at Apple during the keynote. “We believe tracking should always be transparent and under your control. So moving forward, App Store policy will require apps to ask before tracking you across apps and websites owned by other companies.”

In iOS 14, you’ll see a prompt when an app is trying to track you across other services. You’ll have the option to “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not to Track.” It’s notable that “asking” seems different from “blocking,” but Apple says in its notes to developers that they will need this permission from users to conduct external tracking. An Apple spokesperson specifically told WIRED that if a user doesn’t consent to tracking, the app won’t be able to access a type of identifier often used in targeted advertising and other tracking called the IDFA identifier. This would likely be similar to invoking the existing iOS feature “Limit Ad Tracking,” which zeros out a user’s IDFA number, but doesn’t preclude tracking with other identifiers. Read More


CVPR challenge pushes researchers to improve car accident detection AI

AI researchers from more than 30 countries around the world came together this week for the AI City Challenge, a competition to spur the development of better machine learning via tasks such as detecting car accidents and tracking a vehicle across a network of cameras. Now in its fourth year, the challenge pushes AI researchers to create more efficient Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

Teams from Baidu won three of the four competitions: vehicle counting, multi-camera reidentification, and car accident and stalled vehicle detection. Organizing committee member and University of Albany assistant professor Ming-Ching Chang said during the virtual workshop that the top performing model in this category achieved 95.3% accuracy. Read More