STLR Link Roundup – November 1, 2019

Twitter Will Ban All Political Ads, C.E.O. Jack Dorsey Says

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that Twitter will ban all political advertisements on its platform. This announcement runs in stark contrast with social media giant, Facebook.  Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier in October that Facebook would allow politicians to run any claims, even false ones, in ads on Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg stated that Facebook’s company policy was one that encouraged free expression.

Google Wants Safeguards for Information in Antitrust Fight 

Google has made its first legal challenge to the antitrust investigations brought by the attorneys general from 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, looking into the market power and corporate behavior of Google. Google has demanded extra protections from the Office of the Attorney General before it will hand over confidential documents sought by investigators. Google is concerned that its confidential documents will be released to consultants working with the attorneys general in connection with the litigation, since some of those consultants may have ties to Google’s competitors.

Emotion Recognition is China’s New Surveillance Craze 

China has rolled out new emotion recognition technology in airports and subway stations in an effort to identify criminal suspects. The previously employed surveillance technology relies on other cues gleaned from the cameras, including facial and gait recognition, eye tracking, and crowd analysis. However, some experts have stated that current emotion recognition software currently does not work very well, and must be further refined before it is employed on a large scale.

Juul Labs Faces New Claims it Put Public Health at Risk

 A former executive of Juul Labs has alleged that the company shipped at least 1 million contaminated nicotine pods for its e-cigarettes. Juul Labs has denied the allegations. The allegations come in the same week the company laid down plans for restructuring. Juul Labs has been dealing with ongoing political, regulatory, and legal backlash related to the growth in popularity of e-cigarettes, which have been presented as a safer alternative to standard cigarettes.

Google to Buy Fitbit for $2.1 Billion

Google has announced its acquisition of Fitbit, the maker of fitness-tracking devices, to compete with wearable technology from Apple. Because Fitbit devices collect sensitive health information from its users, this deal will likely face heightened regulatory scrutiny from agencies which are already investigating Google for antitrust concerns. Google has announced it does not plan to use health data gleaned from the devices.

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