• Business
    The Wrap

    Facebook Could Face $500 Billion in Fines for Illegally Collecting Biometric Data Through Instagram

    Facebook-owned Instagram was sued Monday for illegally collecting, storing and distributing the facial recognition data of its users and could face up to $500 billion in fines. A class action lawsuit filed in San Mateo Superior Court by Illinois resident Kelly Whalen on Aug. 10 alleges that Facebook and Instagram are routinely harvesting and sharing its users’ biometric data without informing them or asking for consent to collect it. The lawsuit requests Facebook pay every member of the class $5,000 for each intentional violation of the Illinois BIPA act, which prohibits misuse of biometric data, or statutory damages of $1,000 for every negligent violation of the law — Business Insider estimated that could total up to $500 billion in fines given that at least 100 million Instagram users could be included in the class. Facebook recently paid $650 million in July to settle a similar case about its misuse of facial recognition data. “This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn’t use Face Recognition technology,” Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otway told TheWrap in an email. Whalen’s class includes any Illinois resident who has had their biometric identifiers or facial geometry scans at all obtained by Facebook through photos uploaded to its Instagram app....Read original story Facebook Could Face $500 Billion in Fines for Illegally Collecting Biometric Data Through Instagram At TheWrap

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  • Politics
    Refinery29

    Oh, Liz Cheney! You Must Be Confusing Kamala Harris With Someone Else

    Rep. Liz Cheney has some choice words about Joe Biden’s announcement that Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate in his presidential campaign, and those words show a failure to understand anything about the positionality of politicians on the left.“Kamala Harris is a radical liberal who would raise taxes, take away guns & health insurance, and explode the size and power of the federal gov’t,” Cheney tweeted Tuesday. “She wants to recreate America in the image of what’s happening on the streets of Portland & Seattle. We won’t give her the chance.”After Twitter began replying to Cheney’s depiction of Harris as a “radical liberal,” Cheney took it one step further by doubling down on herself. On Wednesday morning, Cheney appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, where she lambasted Harris for her support of Medicare For All and stricter gun legislation, explaining that Harris “has a more liberal voting record than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.” Cheney also called Harris’ policies “socialist,” indicating that Cheney does not actually know what socialism is, and Cheney accused Harris of supporting “abortion up until the ninth month and beyond,” which would be infanticide, but sure.  Cheney said the choice was made to “placate the very far socialist left of [Biden’s] party.” Unsurprisingly, people were baffled by this characterization of Harris because, well, she’s not exactly the “radical left.” While it’s true that Harris’ voting history is quite liberal — in fact, she’s ranked by GovTrack as having the most liberal voting record in the Senate and joined bipartisan bills the least often — with vocal support of things like abortion access and DACA, her prosecutorial record paints a very different picture. Harris’ “tough on crime” record has garnered her a reputation that she’s spent the better part of her political career trying to combat. As Attorney General, she supported policies that punished parents of truant kids, appealed a ruling that found the death penalty to be unconstitutional, and did not overturn wrongful convictions. Harris also notably advocated against the use of police body cameras, which was widely criticized by the Black Lives Matter movement.But Harris has reversed a lot of her positions on criminal justice reform, drug reform, and expressed support for the decriminalization of sex work in recent years. Her prosecutorial record, she says, has helped her evolve into a candidate that can now anticipate Trump’s arguments regarding criminal justice, and has poised her to be able to grow policies that will ultimately serve and protect minority communities instead.So, to Liz Cheney’s point: Is Kamala Harris liberal? Yes, she is, and she will fight for liberal causes for the duration of the Biden-Harris candidacy. But is she the face of “the radical, socialist left?” Not exactly. In order to discredit Harris — and, in turn, Biden — Cheney and the conservative media have already shown that they are prepared to throw out every “liberal” buzzword they can in order to spook their base, whether the claim is accurate or not. Of course, this is not the first time Cheney has gone after politicians on the left, though recently she’s been more vocal about her disagreements with the president himself. Late last month, Trump criticized Cheney and called for her to step down or be removed from Congress after she questioned his foreign policy decisions and called out his refusal to wear a mask in public. Despite her seeming disapproval of him, Cheney seems perfectly willing to campaign for him by attacking his opponents, using his own rhetoric and likeness in the process. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Kamala, Congratulations — & We're SorryKamala Harris Introduces Bill On Uterine FibroidsWhat Does Biden Really Think About Kamala Harris?

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  • Business
    Bloomberg

    China Has Another Reason to Wear Face Masks

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If residents of China’s steel belt want to know whether to strap on face masks and avoid outdoor exercise, they could do worse than look to the iron ore price.That’s because the spread between two varieties of rust often works as a proxy for the amount of choking particulates spewed out by the country’s steel mills. Right now, the narrowing of the differential to its tightest in more than three years is flashing a pollution warning signal.Unprocessed iron ore is sold in two main sizes. Lump ore is a pebbly mixture that can be fed directly into blast furnaces, and in China must be imported from overseas. Typically it commands a steep premium over fines, a more powdery product that’s easier to come by and must be processed with coke and limestone in sinter plants before it can be used.Those sinter plants are where the vast majority of dust is produced in the steelmaking process, so when environmental restrictions are tight and rigidly enforced, mill owners will use more lump ore and the lump premium rises. At the moment, the opposite is the case: At just 5.5 cents a metric ton, the premium has narrowed by about 80% since the start of March to levels last seen in 2017. Enforced shutdowns are often imposed in China’s steel belt when pollution gets bad, but they’re widely flouted, especially when profits are good and the government is prioritizing heavy industrial stimulus. With those conditions in place, there’s little reason for mills to buy more lump.After a coronavirus-induced lull earlier in the year, the country’s steel industry is churning out metal at record rates to get the economy off its sick bed. Many businesses are still reeling, with first-half fixed-asset investment in the dominant manufacturing sector falling 12% from 2019, and wholesaling and retailing down 31%. Yet steel-intensive engineering sectors are surging. Spending on new power generation and utilities was up 18% from last year. Even the immense real estate sector, which accounts for about a quarter of all Chinese fixed-asset investment, increased 0.6% through June.That has translated to buoyant conditions for steel mills. In May alone, a record 92 million tons was produced, more than the U.S. steel industry has made in any year since 2007. Despite a price surge for benchmark iron ore that last week prompted the Dalian Commodities Exchange to warn investors about price volatility and a stockpile of construction rebar that’s running at about twice average seasonal levels, prices are at their best in 12 months and blast furnaces are making good money.The pandemic-induced weakness in the steel sector outside China is also making it more attractive to pollute. Coking coal, a crucial ingredient in sinter feed, is at some of its lowest levels in years thanks to sluggish demand from India, Japan and South Korea. In recent years it’s typically sold for two or three times the price of iron ore. For the first time since 2014, however, the two commodities are now touching parity. So far there’s little sign that Beijing is seeing the pickup in particulate concentrations that typically accompanies a narrowing in the lump premium. That may be largely due to prevailing wind directions keeping pollution locked up in areas of Hebei and Shandong provinces where steelmaking is concentrated.Over the coming months, steel production is likely to be running full tilt. China’s summer rains and floods are receding, giving construction workers a narrow window of opportunity to get building until October rolls around and winter weather brings more severe, and strictly enforced, steel production curbs — not to mention a possible revival of coronavirus infections.Pollution has long dogged China’s industrialization, responsible for 1.1 million premature deaths in 2015 alone. Better air quality since then has been a key priority for Beijing, suggesting that quality of life might finally take precedence over growth at all costs.Chinese politicians have taken pride in the way they’ve managed to largely suppress Covid-19 while getting the economy moving again — but if the price of kick-starting economic growth is a renewed burden of pollution-related fatalities, it’s going to be a distinctly Pyrrhic victory.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Politics
    The Week

    Trump has reportedly privately said he intends to replace Mark Esper after November election

    It doesn't sound like Defense Secretary Mark Esper will remain at his post for long after the November election, regardless of whether President Trump is re-elected, Bloomberg reports.Trump has reportedly said he intends to find someone else to run the Pentagon if he wins in November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. And one source said Esper himself has told people close to him he intends to leave no matter the outcome, so, if the reports are accurate, the two do at least appear to be on the same page. On the other hand, an official close to Esper did tell Bloomberg he is committed to serving in the role as long as Trump wants him to.But it wouldn't be shocking if that turns out to be later this year — Trump has appeared frustrated with Esper on several occasions because the Pentagon chief doesn't always back him up on key issues. Esper also didn't agree with Trump's idea to send active-duty military to contain nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's death earlier this summer, Bloomberg notes. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com Trump and his aides reportedly think they have Democrats in a 'real pickle' with the COVID-19 aid stalemate The case against American truck bloat Hurricane-force storm in Iowa flattens 10 million acres of crops

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