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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez calls out big tech on climate change controversy

The newly minted social media star congresswoman is wasting no time in tearing into tech companies.

In a recent letter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Maine representative Chellie Pingree in calling out tech companies for supporting an event they believe to be inconsistent with big tech’s ostensibly climate-friendly attitude. Ocasio-Cortez is a noted champion of a Democratic package of sweeping environmental reforms called the Green New Deal — a term we can expect to hear a lot more leading into 2020.

The letter, addressed to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai, expresses that the representatives were “deeply disappointed” to see that these companies sponsored a recent D.C. conference that featured a talk “denying established science on climate change” at a recent libertarian conference called LibertyCon.

LibertyCon appears to have hosted at least one group on the wrong side of the scientific consensus around climate change. That group, the CO2 Coalition, reportedly promoted the “good news” about carbon emissions with handouts promoting the supposed positive effects of the noxious gases on agriculture. A member of the group, Caleb Rossiter, spoke on a panel titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?”

As the letter reads:

“We understand that sponsorship of an event or conference is a common occurrence and that these sponsorships do not automatically indicate that the company endorses the variety of political viewpoints that may be presented at these events. However, given the magnitude and urgency of the climate crisis that we are now facing, we find it imperative to ensure that the climate-related views espoused at LibertyCon do not reflect the values of your companies going forward.

As you are well aware, the spreading of misinformation can be dangerous to our society. Today’s coordinated campaign to deny climate change, or put a positive spin on its effects, is not unlike that of the tobacco companies which once sought to discredit their product’s link to cancer… We cannot afford to make the same mistake again with climate change.

We look forward to hearing from you in the hope that we can continue to count on you as allies in the fight for a more sustainable future.”

As Mother Jones reported, Google contributed something in the ballpark of $25,000 for the event, with Facebook and Microsoft chipping in around $10,000 each.


Source: TechCrunch

Wellness startup Hims enters the unicorn club with $100M investment

Hims, known by many for its phallic New York subway advertisements, has raised an additional $100 million in venture capital funding on a pre-money valuation of $1 billion. The round was first reported by Recode and confirmed to TechCrunch by sources with knowledge of the deal.

A growth-stage investor has led the round, which is ongoing, with participation from existing investors. Our source declined to name the lead investor but did say it was a “super big fund” that isn’t SoftBank and that hasn’t previously invested in Hims.

Hims officially launched just over one year ago and has raised $197 million already, as well as incorporated a women’s wellness brand, Hers, to go alongside its flagship men’s wellness brand. The business sells sexual wellness products, skin care and hair loss treatments directly to consumers. In addition to erectile dysfunction medication, it offers the birth control pill to customers with prescriptions and Addyi, the only FDA-approved medication for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

According to Recode, Hims spent months negotiating with investors, “with some of them balking at the valuation.” Meanwhile, our source says Hims passed on several viable terms sheets and had plenty of IVP — which led its last round — money in the bank ahead of their latest infusion.

$1 billion, a 2x increase from its previous valuation, is a hefty price tag for such an early-stage digital health startup. Then again, most valuations for venture-backed businesses are foolish.

San Francisco-based Hims is also backed by Forerunner Ventures, Founders Fund, Redpoint Ventures, SV Angel, 8VC, Maverick Capital and more.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Lexus is considering building its first F-branded hot crossover – Roadshow

Lexus execs have hinted that it could be a breathed-upon UX with a more potent hybrid drivetrain.
Source: CNET

Nasty FaceTime bug could allow others to eavesdrop on your microphone or camera

You might want to turn off FaceTime for a few days.

A newly discovered bug in iOS allows FaceTime callers to listen in before you accept the call.

Word of the bug started spreading this morning after Chicago artist Benji Mobb demonstrated it in a tweet, later being spotted by by 9to5Mac.

The bug relies on what appears to be a nasty logic screwup in FaceTime’s group call system. While we’re opting to not outline the steps here, the bug seems to trick the recipient’s phone into thinking a group call is already ongoing. A few quick taps, and FaceTime immediately trips over itself and inexplicably fires up the recipient’s microphone without them actually accepting the call.

Weirder yet: if the recipient presses the volume down button or the power button to try to silence or dismiss the call, their camera turns on as well. Though the recipient’s phone display continues showing the incoming call screen, their microphone/camera are streaming.

TechCrunch has verified this bug on multiple iPhones running iOS 12.1.2. We reached out to Apple for insight on the issue, and a spokesperson for the company responded:

“We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.” 

So they know, and are working on it — but in the meantime, the quickest fix might be to disable FaceTime (Settings > FaceTime).

This is a pretty awful bug for Apple, who has been highlighting its privacy practices as a key differentiator. Just weeks ago, they flew this banner on a building directly across from the CES convention center:

Photo credit: David Becker/ Stringer (Getty)


Source: TechCrunch

Real Facebook Oversight Requires More Than a 40-Expert Board

A new draft charter provides details about how an independent “Supreme Court” for Facebook’s content decisions might work, but crucial questions remain.
Source: Wired

US Ratchets Up the Pressure on Huawei With New Indictments

The Justice Department announced indictments against Huawei and its CFO for lying to banks to evade sanctions on Iran, and for stealing trade secrets.
Source: Wired

US hammers Huawei with 23 indictments for stolen trade secrets, fraud – CNET

The charges come amid heightened scrutiny for the world’s largest telecom supplier and No. 2 smartphone maker.
Source: CNET

Facebook steps up efforts to moderate content and combat fake news – CNET

Facebook wants to create an independent board to review content that gets pulled down or stays up, but will it work?
Source: CNET

Super Bowl 2019's most-searched question on Google: When is it? – CNET

Don’t know when the big game is happening? You’re not alone.
Source: CNET

We found the toughest iPhone XR case – CNET

A lot of phones were broken in this drop test to find the toughest iPhone case.
Source: CNET

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