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This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

The walls are closing in on Clearview AI

Controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has been fined more than $10 million by the UK’s data protection watchdog for collecting the faces of UK citizens from the web and social media. The firm was also ordered to delete all of the data it holds on UK citizens.

The move by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the latest in a string of high-profile fines against the company as data protection authorities around the world eye tougher restrictions on its practices.

Clearview AI boasts one of the world’s largest databases of 20 billion images of people’s faces that it has scraped off the internet from publicly available sources, such as social media, without their consent. Clients such as police departments pay for access to the database to look for matches.

But data protection authorities around the Western world have found this to be a clear violation of privacy. Now they are beginning to work together to clamp down—and fines may just be the beginning. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Production of the smallpox vaccine is being ramped up
Dozens of countries have inquired about supplies of the shot, which protects against monkeypox. (WSJ $)
The US has more than 100 million doses stockpiled. (NYT $)
+ Conspiracy theories blaming the US for the outbreak are circulating in China. (Bloomberg $)
There’s no evidence to suggest the monkeypox virus is becoming more infectious. (NYT $) 

2 Data’s wild west era is coming to an end
While countries are divided on how widely it should be shared, everyone agrees on its value. (NYT $)
 GDPR hasn’t stopped data brokers from hoarding our information. (Wired $)

3 Mark Zuckerberg’s grand plan to appear politically neutral backfired
His $419 million donation fueled the false theory that the 2020 election was rigged. (Protocol)
He’s also being sued over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. (WP $)
+ Meta will give researchers more information on political ad targeting. (NYT $)
Facebooktroll farms reached 140 million Americans a month before the election. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Marshes are struggling against rising water levels
While some plants are suffering, others will thrive—for now, at least. (Wired $)
How rising groundwater caused by climate change could devastate coastal communities. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Maybe we’re spreading disinformation about disinformation
The phrase has become such a catch-all, we’re losing sight of what it actually means. (Slate $) 
 How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Facebook’s customer service is notoriously terrible
Leaving disgruntled users with no way to seek help for their problems. (WSJ $)

7 Humans aren’t going extinct any time soon
But our ability to adapt and learn from mistakes is crucial to our future survival. (CNET)

8 Mexico City’s gig economy is helping medical workers treat patients
Allowing them to carry out tests and vaccinations at home. (Rest of World)

9 It’s time to break up with email 

“If it’s important, they’ll get back to me” is a good philosophy to adopt. (WSJ $)

10 Google’s text-to-image AI is pretty impressive
But it isn’t quite as advanced as OpenAI. (TechCrunch)
This horse-riding astronaut is a milestone in AI’s journey to make sense of the world. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“You can totally make a fortune in crypto. I would never say you can’t, but you are betting that you are going to be a better shark than all the sharks that built the shark pool.”

—David Gerard, author, explains to Wired why the volatile nature of crypto means the odds are generally stacked against investors.

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ A Nintendo DS has been spotted filming at a My Chemical Romance concert, though the footage it captured is…not great.
+ Did you hate Matrix Resurrections? Here’s an explanation why.
+ I love working out which tracks a song has sampled—this website is a comprehensive library explaining who’s sampled who.
+ This Twitter user poses an excellent question.
+ While this video of a seagull stealing an entire pizza is amazing, the behind the scenes is even better.
+ A child actor who starred in Jaws has become a police chief on the Massachusetts island where most of the movie was filmed.
+ This journey

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Clearview AI’s hefty fine, and countries’ monkeypox preparation
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/05/24/1052661/download-clearview-ai-ico-fine-vaccine-monkeypox-preparation/
Published Date: Tue, 24 May 2022 12:20:08 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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