10 things in tech you need to know today
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- Facebook's cryptocurrency chief David Marcus testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday, hitting a wall of criticism and skepticism from senators. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat) was incredibly critical of Facebook's track record and its ability to competently play a role in the global financial system, quipping: "Like a toddler whose gotten its hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned the house down over and over and called every arson a learning experience."
- President Donald Trump has said he'll look into claims made by Peter Thiel that Google's relationship with China is "seemingly treasonous." Thiel is a prominent supporter of Trump, and in a tweet Tuesday the president called Thiel a "brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone."
- The cofounder of data mining company Palantir, Joe Lonsdale, lashed out at rival Google and called the firm "unpatriotic." Lonsdale repeated his cofounder Peter Thiel's accusations that China had infiltrated the firm, but did not provide any evidence.
- Google finally said that it is killing the censored search engine it had been building for China, known internally as Project Dragonfly. The announcement comes two days after tech billionaire Peter Thiel said Google had been "seemingly treasonous" for its decision to work with China's military and not the US military.
- Senator John Kennedy accused Facebook of promoting "flagrant displays of bullshit" during a Congressional hearing on Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency. Kennedy laid into Facebook's values, suggesting that the social media platform was undermining effective journalism.
- The European Union's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to launch a formal investigation into Amazon within days, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The investigation will likely focus on how Amazon uses data from third-party sellers.
- Facebook said its Libra cryptocurrency will be regulated by Swiss authorities - but that was news to those Swiss authorities. Switzerland's privacy authority reportedly said that neither Facebook nor anybody else from the Libra Association ever actually got in touch.
- Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, defended the company against critics in a 700-word op-ed published Tuesday on CNN's website. He said anti-Amazon protesters are making "noise" about benefits the company already offers.
- 22 women are suing PornHub channel Girls Do Porn for allegedly shooting videos of them and then distributing them widely without their consent. According to Vice, the women agreed to do the videos on the basis that the videos would be shared with a limited audience, rather than distributed to sites like PornHub.
- Meredith Whittaker, a Google employee who organised protests over the firm's military work and harassment policies, is to leave the firm. She warned in a blog of the company's power and said Google wasn't a place she could continue her work around AI and ethics.
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