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The House Votes For Possible TikTok Ban In The US, But Don’t Expect The App To Go Away Anytime Soon

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Washington — The House passed legislation Saturday that would prohibit TikTok from operating in the United States if the popular social media platform’s Chinese owner does not sell its stake within a year, but the app is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

The decision by House Republicans to include TikTok as part of a bigger foreign aid package, a priority for President Joe Biden with broad congressional backing for Ukraine and Israel, accelerated the prohibition after an earlier version had been blocked by the Senate. A standalone bill with a shorter, six-month selling period cleared the House in March with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, as both Democrats and Republicans expressed national security worries about the app’s owner, Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

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The House Votes For Possible TikTok Ban In The US, But Don’t Expect The App To Go Away Anytime Soon

The updated bill, which passed by a vote of 360-58, now goes to the Senate following discussions that extended the company’s selling timeframe to nine months, with an extra three months conceivable if a sale is in the works.

Legal disputes may extend that period even further. If the law passes, the corporation has stated that it will likely file a lawsuit to block it, claiming that it will deprive the app’s millions of users of their First Amendment rights.

TikTok has fought aggressively against the proposal, encouraging the app’s 170 million U.S. users, many of whom are young, to contact Congress and express their objections. However, the intensity of the backlash enraged politicians on Capitol Hill, where there is widespread worry about Chinese threats to the US and few members use the platform themselves.

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video released on the platform last month, addressing the app’s users. “We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you.”

The bill’s rapid passage through Congress is remarkable because it only affects one firm and Congress has adopted a hands-off approach to technology regulation for decades. Lawmakers had failed to act despite efforts to protect children online, preserve users’ privacy, and hold firms more accountable for content put on their platforms, among other things. However, the TikTok ban reflects broad fears among lawmakers about China.

Members of both parties, as well as intelligence officials, have expressed concern that Chinese authorities may force ByteDance to pass over American user data or direct the business to suppress or promote TikTok content that benefits its interests. TikTok has disputed claims that it is being utilized as a tool by the Chinese government and has stated that it has not shared user data from the United States with Chinese authorities.

The US government has not publicly shown evidence that TikTok exchanged US user data with the Chinese government or tampered with the company’s popular algorithm, which impacts what Americans see.

The corporation has good reason to believe that a legal challenge will be successful, as it has already won court battles over its operations in the United States. In November, a federal judge halted a Montana law that would have prohibited TikTok use throughout the state after the business and five TikTok content providers sued.

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The House Votes For Possible TikTok Ban In The US, But Don’t Expect The App To Go Away Anytime Soon

In 2020, federal courts blocked then-President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban TikTok after the firm sued, claiming that the order violated its free speech and due process rights. His administration arranged a deal in which US businesses Oracle and Walmart would have acquired a significant share in TikTok. The transaction fell through for a variety of reasons, including China’s tougher export curbs on technology companies.

Dozens of states and the federal government have imposed TikTok restrictions on official equipment. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed a lawsuit last year, claiming that Texas’ restriction violated academic freedom because it applied to public universities. In December, a federal judge decided in favor of the state.

The software has received support from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union. “Congress cannot take away the rights of over 170 million Americans who use TikTok to express themselves, engage in political advocacy, and access information from around the world,” Jenna Leventoff, a lawyer for the group, stated

According to AdImpact, an advertising tracking service, TikTok has spent $5 million on television ads opposing the law since mid-March. The advertisements have featured a variety of content creators, including a nun, touting the platform’s benefits in their life and claiming that a prohibition would violate the First Amendment. The corporation has also urged its customers to contact Congress, with some lawmakers receiving profanity-laced calls.

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The House Votes For Possible TikTok Ban In The US, But Don’t Expect The App To Go Away Anytime Soon

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” Alex Haurek, a spokesperson for the organization, said.

California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna voted against the bill. He believes there could have been less restrictive ways to pursue the corporation that would not end in a blanket ban or jeopardize free speech.

“I don’t think it will be well received,” Khanna remarked. “It’s a sign of the Beltway being out of touch with where voters are.”

Nadya Okamoto, a TikTok content creator with approximately 4 million followers, stated that she has been speaking with other creators who are expressing “so much anger and anxiety” about the bill and how it will affect their life. The 26-year-old, whose company “August” offers menstrual goods and is recognized for her activism for de-stigmatizing monthly cycles, earns the majority of her money via TikTok.

“This is going to have real repercussions,” she told me.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

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TOKYO — Sony, a Japanese electronics and entertainment company, says it will focus on innovation in movies, animation, and video games rather than traditional gadgetry.

Its CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, described the company’s plan Thursday, saying Sony was assisting creative workers in delivering what he called “kando,” a moving experience.

Yoshida would not comment on claims that Tokyo-based Sony and Apollo Global Management are interested in acquiring Paramount Global.

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Yoshida stated that the business now focuses on the creative process rather than valuing prior items such as the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron color televisions. He stated that “synergies” are no longer defined by entertainment and electronics but by intellectual property encompassing animation, music, gaming, and films.

In an online briefing, he stated, “We will continue to support people’s creativity through our technology.”

Sony is adapting to harsher circumstances, as competitors produce cheaper but competitive gadgets. According to critics, pursuing careers in film, music, and other forms of entertainment can be financially difficult.

Beginning with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has invested over 1.5 trillion yen ($10 billion) in the last six years to boost its content creation.

Sony

Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

In 2021, it bought Crunchyroll, which has over 13 million paid customers and distributes Japanese cartoons worldwide. Another was Yoasobi, a Japanese music duet that uses Vocaloid technology, or singing voice synthesizer software, and has gained a global following.

Sony’s real-time computer technology, which records “this moment,” as Yoshida called it, is employed in sports cameras because it can catch fast-moving subjects without distortion

According to Yoshida, it is also utilized for news coverage and editing, 3D video and computer graphics, including successful movies like “Godzilla Minus One” and games based on human athlete movements

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Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Sony recently recorded a quarterly profit of 189 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 141 billion yen the year before. The PlayStation gaming machine manufacturer’s quarterly revenue increased 14% to 3.48 trillion yen ($22 billion).

However, for the fiscal year ending March 31, Sony’s profit fell 3% to 970 billion yen ($6.2 billion) due to poor performance in its financial services sector, which will be largely split off next year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

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NEW YORK  — Mastercard said Wednesday that it hopes to detect that your credit or debit card number has been compromised long before it falls into the hands of a cybercriminal.

Mastercard’s most recent software upgrade incorporates artificial intelligence into its fraud-prediction system, which it hopes will allow banks to replace stolen cards before criminals use them.

“Generative AI is going to allow us to figure out where you possibly got your credentials compromised, how we can identify how it happened, and how we can very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but also for other customers who don’t know they are compromised yet,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, in an interview.

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard, based in Purchase, New York, says that with this new update, it can use other patterns or contextual information, such as geography, time, and addresses, and combine it with incomplete but compromised credit card numbers that appear in databases, allowing it to reach cardholders sooner and replace the bad card.

The patterns can now be applied in reverse, potentially employing batches of faulty cards to identify potentially hacked businesses or payment processors. According to Gerber, pattern identification goes beyond what humans can perform with database queries or other typical approaches.

Billions of stolen credit and debit card numbers are floating on the dark web, ready for purchase by any thief. Most were stolen from merchants in data breaches over the years, but a substantial number were stolen from unwary customers who used their credit or debit cards at the incorrect gas station, ATM, or online shop.

These compromised cards may go undiscovered for weeks, months, or even years. Only when the payment networks themselves dig into the dark web to look for stolen numbers, a merchant discovers a breach, or a criminal uses a card do the payment networks, and banks realize a batch of cards may be compromised.

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

“We can now actually proactively reach out to the banks to make sure that we service that consumer and get them a new card in her or his hands so they can go about their lives with as little disruption as possible,” Gerber stated.

The payment networks are primarily attempting to transition away from “static” credit card or debit card numbers — card numbers and expiration dates that are used consistently across all businesses — and toward unique numbers for specific transactions. However, that transformation could take years, especially in the United States, where payment technology uptake is typically slow.

While chip cards are currently used in more than 90% of all in-person transactions worldwide, EMVCo, the technological body behind the chip in credit and debit cards, estimates that the proportion in the United States is closer to 70%.

Mastercard

Mastercard | Mastercard Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard’s announcement comes as its main competitor, Visa Inc., looks for ways to force users to discard their 16-digit credit and debit card numbers. Visa revealed big changes to how credit and debit cards will work in the United States last week, implying that Americans will carry fewer physical cards in their wallets and that the 16-digit credit or debit card number inscribed on each card will become less relevant.

SOURCE – (AP)

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