The Morning After: Senator calls for an end to ‘failed Big Tech self-regulation’


Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is calling on Congress to pass new legislation to rein in tech companies after Twitter boss Elon Musk ignored an information request. “Elon Musk could respond to my tweets but failed to respond to my letter by yesterday’s deadline and answer basic questions about Twitter verification,” Markey tweeted on Saturday.

The senator sent a letter on November 11th about Twitter’s paid account verification feature. Following the initial rollout, trolls could impersonate celebrities, politicians and company brand accounts, the latter leading to real-world effects on stock prices.

Musk addressed one of Markey’s questions when he announced Twitter’s new verification system on Friday. It’ll feature manual authentication and different colored check marks for different types of users. “Gold check for companies, gray check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates,” Musk said. He’s also said sign-ups have hit an all-time high.

– Mat Smith

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FCC bans telecom and video surveillance gear from Huawei and ZTE

The agency is implementing the rules from the 2021 Secure Equipment Act.

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The FCC announced it’s officially implementing the Secure Equipment Act, which means some future equipment from Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua won’t be authorized for sale in the US. Existing equipment from those companies, all listed under the FCC’s Covered List, aren’t affected by the law. Last year, the Biden administration signed into law the Secure Equipment Act, which aimed to block the authorization of network licenses from several Chinese companies whose hardware has been deemed a national security threat.

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft breaks Apollo 13 flight record

The capsule traveled farther than any spacecraft designed to carry humans had before.


The Artemis 1 Orion crew vehicle has set a record for a NASA flight. On Saturday, Orion flew farther than any spacecraft designed to carry human astronauts had ever before, surpassing the previous record set by Apollo 13 back in 1970 – not that it was the aim of the mission. Funnily enough, it’s fitting that Artemis 1 was the one to do it. As points out, Apollo 13’s original flight plan didn’t call for a record-setting flight. It was only after a mid-mission explosion forced NASA to plot a new return course that Apollo 13’s Odyssey command module set the previous record at 248,655 miles (400,171 kilometers) from Earth.

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Charles Darwin’s full correspondence is now available online

You can read over 15,000 letters from the evolutionary science pioneer.

The University of Cambridge has published all the evolutionary scientist’s surviving correspondence online, including 400 letters that have either surfaced or are newly “reinterpreted.” The searchable collection now covers over 15,000 letters written between 1822 and 1882, ranging from his influential time aboard the HMS Beagle to On the Origin of Species and his end-of-life reflections. The internet archive may even be the only way to see a fuller picture of Darwin’s life. The university notes a print edition of his correspondence, due in early 2023, doesn’t include letters that arrived too late to reach physical copies.

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UK aims to ban non-consensual deepfake porn

Critics say other aspects of the proposed legislation pose dangers to privacy and security.

The UK government will amend its Online Safety Bill with measures designed to prohibit abuse of intimate images, whether or not they’re real. If the bill becomes law as is, it will be illegal to share deepfake porn without the subject’s consent. This would be the first ban on sharing deepfakes in the country, and if the law comes into effect, violating this rule could lead to a prison sentence. Critics have pushed back against certain aspects of the bill, including a revived plan to verify a person’s age before permitting them to access adult content online.

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