January 24, 2020


PO Magazine Facebook Bans Deepfake Videos Ahead of 2020 Election
So-called “deepfake” videos, or those that switch one face with another in a realistic way using machine learning tools, are now banned from Facebook. There has been tremendous theoretical concern about the disinformation potential of deepfakes, particularly as pertains to the 2020 US presidential election.

Politico Bloomberg’s Broadband Pledge
Democratic presidential contender Mike Bloomberg is not going as big on broadband as some of his primary rivals. As part of his infrastructure package released Wednesday, the billionaire businessman and former New York mayor pledged to “expand broadband access to 10 million more Americans by 2025 and to all by 2030,” without giving a hard-dollar figure. Compare that with other White House hopefuls like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is proposing $85 billion in broadband investment, or Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is promising to connect every household by 2022.

Wall Street Journal Tech Companies Volunteer to Beef Up Presidential Campaigns’ Cybersecurity
Nearly a dozen technology companies said they will provide free or reduced-cost cybersecurity services to presidential campaigns, which experts and intelligence officials have warned are ripe targets for intrusion and disinformation. They join a growing number of firms offering protection on a nonpartisan basis, a trend that has gained steam in the past 18 months or so, since federal regulators eased rules to make such offers permissible under campaign-finance law


The Washington Post The Cybersecurity 202: Here’s the inside story of Cyber Command’s campaign to hack ISIS
Cyber Command had to overcome intense hurdles within the U.S. government to launch the first hacking operation it ever acknowledged: Sabotaging the Islamic State’s online propaganda. That’s according to a trove of declassified but heavily redacted government documents released this morning, which George Washington University’s National Security Archive obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Mondaq Recent Federal Government Action On Artificial Intelligence And Next Generation Technologies
Last week the Trump administration released a set of regulatory artificial intelligence (AI) principles to govern the development of AI in the private sector. As private industry and government stakeholders increase their efforts to advance AI, the new principles are viewed as a necessary governance framework for innovators and government officials to ensure that AI’s challenging technical and ethical questions are not ignored.

Venture Beat Congress moves toward facial recognition regulation
A bipartisan group in Congress is working on legislation that could regulate the use of facial recognition by the private sector, federal government, and law enforcement.


The Guardian Microsoft pledges to be ‘carbon negative’ by 2030
Microsoft has announced it aims to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030 and hopes to have removed enough carbon to account for all the direct emissions the company has ever made by 2050.

State Scoop NYC asks tech startups for help making the city more sustainable
A startup accelerator program announced this month in New York City is challenging companies to develop technology that can reduce carbon emissions and waste in urban areas, part of an eventual transition to a zero-waste economy.

Microsoft On The Issues Next Generation Washington: Our priorities for 2020
As we’ve done in recent years, I’d like to share what we’re focused on for Washington State’s current legislative session, as well as share our reaction to one key November 2019 election result. As we’ve said in the past, we believe in the transparency that comes from publishing a preview of the positions we’ll be sharing with legislators as they work in Olympia.

Forbes We Need STEAM, Not STEM Education, To Prepare Our Kids For The 4th Industrial Revolution
We are at the beginning of a 4th industrial revolution and educators are faced with preparing a generation of students for many jobs that don’t even exist yet. Since the term STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) was coined back in 2001, there has been growing interest in this learning philosophy to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.

Fast Company Move over, princesses. These girls’ clothing brands glorify science
Our culture is saturated with stereotypes about gender, showing up in everything from toys to advertising to TV shows. And clothing is an obvious way for children to engage with these gender norms directly. As any parent will tell you, kids love the empowerment that comes with picking their own outfits.

The Daily ‘Driven by Difference’: Women in Informatics hosts their eighth annual hackathon
What actions can you actually take to combat climate change? How can the mental health of people of color be better supported? Students gathered at the HUB ballroom Jan. 18 for Women in Informatics’ (WINFO) eighth annual hackathon, themed “Driven by Difference,” attempting to tackle these questions.

WREG Congress making bipartisan effort to expand rural broadband
Tucked into last years’ spending bill and overshadowed by the impeachment debate was a piece of legislation impacting rural communities across the country. The Democratic Alabama Congresswoman introduced the “RURAL Act” ensuring small power companies like Power South, Alabama Rural Electric Association and Central Alabama Co-Op have access to grants funding the growth of rural broadband.

Wall Street Journal U.N. Suggests Bezos’ Phone Was Hacked Using Saudi Crown Prince’s Account
Two United Nations officials said Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was likely hacked using a WhatsApp account associated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an attempt to influence news coverage of the kingdom. The Wednesday release by the U.N. of details from a forensic analysis—commissioned by Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com—of the alleged hack of his phone threatened to renew tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the brutal killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi officials in October 2018.

New York Times The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It
A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says. An Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app.


The Brookings Institution

Blog on the Digital Economy
Over the past 40 years, we’ve seen an explosion of digital goods and services: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Wikipedia, online courses, maps, messaging, music, and all the other apps on your smartphone. Because many internet services are free, they largely go uncounted in official measures of economic activity such as GDP and Productivity (which is simply GDP/hours worked). The contribution of the Information sector as a fraction of the total GDP has barely changed over the past 40 years. The reason is that GDP is based on what people pay for goods and services so if something has zero price, then it has zero weight in GDP. In the meantime, GDP measures the monetary value of all final goods produced in the economy, but it doesn’t measure well-being. If we want to understand how the internet is contributing to our economy, we need better ways to measure free services like Facebook, Google and Wikipedia. (Research – How should we measure the digital economy?, January 21, 2020)

The American Enterprise Institute

Blog on Facial recognition
Last week, The New York Times reported on a facial recognition technology company offering law enforcement, federal government agencies, and companies the ability to identify people simply by uploading a photograph. Clearview AI has compiled more than three billion images by scanning Facebook and other platforms. It analyzes uploaded facial images and returns public photos that match the photo subject, along with links to where those photos appeared. Clearview’s service, says the Times, “could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.” (Blog – Facial recognition’s reckoning, Fourth Amendment edition, January 23, 2020)


Note: Voices for Innovation regularly shares a range of opinion articles and press releases from organizations in and publications covering tech policy. These pieces are meant to educate our audience, not to endorse specific platforms or bills.