10 things in tech you need to know today


steve buscemi jennifer lawrence deepfake

Lawmakers are worried about deepfakes in the election — like this weird mashup of actors Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Lawrence.VillainGuy/YouTube

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.

  1. Amazon workers in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, and Poland protested and went on strike on Prime Day on Monday, Amazon’s busiest shopping event of the year. Unions said extending Prime Day to two days and promising one-day delivery will push workers to their physical limits, as if they are “trained triathletes.”
  2. The US may approve licenses for companies to restart new sales to Huawei in as little as two weeks, according to a senior official. Previously, US firms had to apply for licenses in order to sell to Huawei which would likely be rejected, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said licenses would be issued where there is no threat to national security.
  3. Electric-scooter startups including Bird met UK lawmakers on Monday to lobby for legalization, just three days after YouTuber Emily Hartridge was killed on her scooter. Transport minister Michael Ellis referenced Hartridge’s death during the meeting, and said any change to UK laws to permit scooters on British roads would be slow.
  4. Palantir cofounder and Facebook director Peter Thiel launched an attack on Google during a speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington on Sunday, according to reports. Thiel said Google should be investigated for its “seemingly treasonous” relationship with China and that the FBI and CIA should investigate the firm in a “not excessively gentle manner.”
  5. Facebook’s blockchain boss David Marcus says new digital currency Libra won’t launch until it has “fully addressed regulatory concerns.” The executive will appear before a US Senate committee today and attempt to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about the potential impact of Libra.
  6. Some livestreamers on Amazon-owned Twitch went dark to stand in solidarity with Amazon workers protesting on Prime Day on Monday. One streamer said: “I won’t be streaming until Wednesday in support of this strike and won’t be touching Amazon’s sites during the strike.”
  7. Twitter has determined that President Trump’s racist tweets about four minority congresswomen did not violate its policies, despite earlier stating any violating tweets would be flagged and downranked, according to Gizmodo. The president’s tweets remain unflagged, suggesting Twitter has decided they do not violate the site’s hateful conduct policies.
  8. A committee of British lawmakers have told the UK government there are no technical grounds to ban Huawei from the country’s 5G network, but there might be legitimate ethical and geopolitical reasons for doing so. The chair of the science and technology committee, Norman Lamb MP, said allowing Huawei access to 5G networks might jeopardise important alliances, such as with the US.
  9. US Representative Adam Schiff sent a letter to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google seeking information about their policies for dealing with deepfake videos and photos. Schiff said he was concerned about the effect that deepfake disinformation could have on the 2020 US Presidential elections.
  10. A 17-year-old social media influencer was found dead Sunday morning in upstate New York, and photos of the gruesome murder taken by the alleged killer surfaced online, police said. The photos appeared on the alleged killer’s Instagram account and resurfaced on chat app Discord.

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