FCC approval of Europe’s Galileo satellite signals may give your phone’s GPS a boost

The FCC’s space-focused meeting today had actions taken on SpaceX satellites and orbital debris reduction, but the decision most likely to affect users has to do with Galileo . No, not the astronomer — the global positioning satellite constellation put in place by the E.U. over the last few years. It’s now legal for U.S. […]

Facebook will pass off content policy appeals to a new independent oversight body

Facebook doesn’t want to be the arbiter of decency when it comes to content policy decisions, similar to how it looked to third-party fact checkers rather than becoming an arbiter of truth. Today on a press call with journalists, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a new external oversight committee would be created in 2019 to handle […]

What the FDA’s restriction of e-cig flavors means for Juul

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has revealed his plans to combat underage use of e-cigs and nicotine, which has grown 78 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018. The commissioner today announced a plan that would remove all flavored electronic nicotine delivery system products — with the exception of tobacco, mint, menthol or non-flavored […]

How issues of microtransit, congestion and parking are closing in on cities

Earlier this week in a new experimental newsletter I’ve been helping Danny Crichton on, we briefly discussed transit pundit Jarrett Walker’s article in The Atlantic arguing against the view that ridesharing and microtransit will be the future of mass transit. Instead, his thesis is that a properly operated and well-resourced bus system is much more […]

Facebook connects Russia to 100+ accounts it removed ahead of mid-terms

The 115 accounts Facebook took down yesterday for inauthentic behavior ahead of the mid-term elections may indeed have been linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, according to a new statement from the company. It says that a site claiming association with the IRA today posted a list of Instagram accounts it had made, which […]

Facebook’s election interference problem exponentially worse on eve of midterms, study suggests

An analysis of political advertisers running extensive campaigns on Facebook targeting users in the United States over the past six months has flagged a raft of fresh concerns about its efforts to tackle election interference — suggesting the social network’s self regulation is offering little more than a sham veneer of accountability. Dig down and […]

Campaign tool supplied to UK’s governing party by Trump-Pence app dev quietly taken out of service — thanks to GDPR

An app that the UK’s governing party launched last year — for Conservative Party activists to gamify, ‘socialize’ and co-ordinate their campaigning activity — has been quietly pulled from app stores. Its vanishing was flagged to us earlier today, by Twitter user Sarah Parks, who noticed that, when loaded, the Campaigner app now displays a message informing users […]

Zuckerberg gets joint summons from UK and Canadian parliaments

Two separate parliamentary committees, in the UK and Canada, have issued an unprecedented international joint summons for Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before them. The committees are investigating the impact of online disinformation on democratic processes and want Zuckerberg to answer questions related to the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook user data misuse scandal, which both have been […]

Google AI listens to 15 years of sea-bottom recordings for hidden whale songs

Google and a group of game cetologists have undertaken an AI-based investigation of years of undersea recordings, hoping to create a machine learning model that can spot humpback whale calls. It’s part of the company’s new “AI for social good” program that’s rather obviously positioned to counter the narrative that AI is mostly used for […]

What the newly revised copyright law lets (and doesn’t let) you do with your gadgets

You think you own your phone, but you don’t. Copyright law prohibits you from modifying its software in certain ways, opening you up to a voided warranty, cancelled service or even a lawsuit — but that’s slowly changing as the government acknowledges the need (and arguably right) to repair our own devices. A favorable decision […]