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The company had imposed a one-year moratorium on technology, known as Rekognition, in June 2020, as protests swept the country after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Amid outcry from civil rights groups that the Amazon technology misidentified certain racial groups, and could be used by police to surveil and target Black communities, the company said it would use the moratorium to give the federal government time to introduce national legislation to govern its use. 
While more than a dozen cities — including Portland, San Francisco and Jackson, Mississippi — have imposed bans on facial recognition technology being used by police departments, no regulation has been introduced at the federal level.

Amazon’s decision to prolong the moratorium, which was first reported Tuesday by Reuters, brings the company in line with Microsoft, which imposed an indefinite ban on its facial recognition technology last year. IBM had previously said it would abandon its facial recognition product altogether. Amazon didn’t provide further details.
Forbes reported last week that civil rights groups had renewed calls for Amazon to permanently ban the use of the technology by police departments, citing the risk that law enforcement could use it to surveil and target Black communities. 
“We are glad that Amazon will extend its moratorium on law enforcement use of the company’s face recognition technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a press statement. Wessler indicated that the ACLU’s efforts would now focus on advocating for stricter legislation.
Amazon’s decision to extend the ban comes ahead of the company’s annual general meeting on May 26, when shareholders will vote on a proposal to conduct a third-party audit on the risks of government use of its Rekognition software — a measure Amazon has urged shareholders to oppose. 

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Donald Trump

Trump: Twitter, Facebook ‘a Disgrace’ — ‘They Have to Be Stopped’

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In a Monday phone interview with Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Company,” former President Donald Trump blasted social media giants Twitter and Facebook.
Trump said it is a “disgrace” that Twitter and Facebook have banned him and censored other conservatives on their platforms. He emphasized that the companies “have got to be stopped.”

[Relevant portion beginning around the 17:45 mark of the interview]

“Censorship. Facebook has banned you for two years. Twitter has banned you forever. How do you get the word out? Do you have a plan?” host Stuart Varney asked.
“Well, I have been getting it out. I do news releases or press releases, and … I think I’ve been getting it out very well, but they are really — these are bad people, these are dangerous people. … It’s got to be stopped because our country is in danger. You know, Zuckerberg would come to the White House to have dinner with me, couldn’t have been nicer. ‘Sir, you’re number one, congratulations, you’re number one on Facebook,’ all of this crap. He would bring his wife. It’s amazing, actually, when you think about it. But no, they have to be stopped, and they will be stopped eventually they are going to be stopped.”
“Why do you think they’re doing this?” Varney followed up. “There is, I mean, a whole group of people who just will not allow you to get out.”
“Because my voice is very strong,” Trump replied. “My voice is very powerful. I got 75 million votes, which is more than any sitting president ever got. I won the election, but they cheated, and by the way, Facebook and Zuckerberg with a $500 million worth of phony lockboxes that he put on, some of them had 96% Biden votes in them, 96%. They were like just dumping ballots. It was a phony deal, and let’s see how that all turns out, but there’s a lot of litigation coming, and what they did is a disgrace. And I think, you know, they allow dictators that say ‘death to America.’ That’s OK. ‘Death to Israel.’ That’s OK, but with me, they take me off because they are radical-left crazy people, and they’re destroying our country, and they don’t want to hear a sane voice. That’s why they — and it’s a voice that has — and you know, I was one of the top, by far, on Twitter and top on — and Zuckerberg said top on Facebook, and you know, on Instagram, too.”
“They’re a disgrace to our country. They don’t have free speech. We don’t have free speech anymore. And who are they to tell us what ideology we should be talking about, what politics we should be talking about? They’re a disgrace to our country,” he added.

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tax

Google and Facebook have welcomed a G7 deal on tackling corporate tax avoidance by big tech companies.

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“It’s a proud moment,” says Chancellor Rishi Sunak as G7 finance ministers commit to a global minimum tax of at least 15%.

‘It’s a proud moment’: Chancellor on tax deal

Google and Facebook have welcomed a G7 deal on tackling corporate tax avoidance by big tech companies.
The agreement will see a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15% – lower than a floor of 21% mooted by President Biden – and changes to which countries will benefit.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak called the deal “a proud moment”.
Speaking after two days of talks in London, he added it “meant the right companies pay the right tax in the right places”.
The changes would ensure major corporations, especially those with a strong online presence, will pay taxes in the countries where they operate and not only where they have headquarters.

Rich nations have struggled for years to agree a way to raise more revenue from large multinationals such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, which often book profits in jurisdictions where they pay little or no tax.

After the announcement Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook said: “We want the international tax reform process to succeed and recognize this could mean Facebook paying more tax, and in different places.”

Facebook has long called for reform of the global tax rules and we welcome the important progress made at the G7. Today’s agreement is a significant first step towards certainty for businesses and strengthening public confidence in the global tax system.

A Google spokesperson said the company strongly supports the initiative and hoped for a “balanced and durable” agreement.
Sky’s economics and data editor Ed Conway said: “This is about trying to prevent billions of dollars, if not trillions, of tax avoidance by the world’s biggest companies.
“At the moment taxes are mostly based on profit but you can shift those profits far more easily than you can your sales”.
Companies with a profit margin over 10% would have a portion of tax taken above that level, which is then reallocated on the basis of sales to different countries around the world.
“That is equally, if not more of a big deal, than the global minimum,” Conway added.
“Put those two things together and you have perhaps the most convincing attempt at trying to deal internationally with what’s going on with the tech giants and their tax payments.
“The work to try and get this done has been going on for some years, if not decades.
“On the other hand it’s easy to be sceptical and the rate – 15% – is a lot lower than it was originally expected to be. It was originally going to be 21%, so the target is less ambitious.”

A Treasury spokeswoman explained that the most profitable multinationals would have to pay tax in the countries where they operate and not just where their headquarters are.
“The fairer system will mean the UK will raise more tax revenue from large multinationals and help pay for public services here in the UK,” she said.
Mr Sunak said there had been “huge progress” on an issue that had been discussed for nearly a decade.
The agreement is now set to be looked over in more detail at the G20 financial ministers and Central Bank governors meeting in July.

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The deal is likely to cause tensions with Ireland, as it has so far been unwilling to raise its corporation tax rate above 12.5%.
Ireland’s finance minister Paschal Donohoe tweeted: “I note the joint position by #G7 finance ministers on international corporate taxation. It is in everyone’s interest to achieve a sustainable, ambitious and equitable agreement on the international tax architecture.
“I look forward now to engaging in the discussions at @OECD. There are 139 countries at the table, and any agreement will have to meet the needs of small and large countries, developed and developing.”

Meanwhile, Labour called on the government to push for more than the 15% base rate, after US President Joe Biden had initially wanted a 21% minimum, which the party said would raise £131m for public services.
“This government must now show leadership, push for a 21% rate in negotiations, and use the money to fund our schools and our NHS,” said shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.
The Adam Smith Institute – a pro-free market think tank – said the chancellor had effectively tied his own hands while handing “power over our taxes to Washington’s demands”.
“These proposals are not in the UK’s interest and Rishi has sold Britain short,” said deputy director Matt Kilcoyne.
“Rishi Sunak’s flagship policies of super deductions and free ports are dead in the water. The chancellor’s own policies, scuppered by his own hubris.”

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Donald Trump

Trump blog page is permanently shut down

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Former President Trump’s blog, where he shared statements with supporters after being banned from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, has been shut down.

Trump launched the website, dubbed “From the Desk of Donald Trump,” last month to communicate with supporters. The site now only allows users to submit their email addresses and phone numbers to sign up for updates from the former president.

Trump senior aide Jason Miller confirmed to The Hill that the blog will not be returning, calling it “auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on.”

It was not immediately clear what other avenues Trump would pursue to communicate with his supporters.
A slew of social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, banned Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, citing his unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Facebook last month announced that its ban on Trump’s account would continue following a decision issued by its independent Oversight Board. However, the board said an indefinite suspension was not appropriate, calling on Facebook to review the decision and develop a “proportionate response” within six months.

Twitter’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, said earlier this year that Trump’s ban from the top social media platform is permanent, even if he runs for president again in 2024.
Interactions with posts on Trump’s blog dropped significantly in the weeks after it was launched, The Washington Post noted.
The newspaper reported 159,000 total social media interactions on the blog’s first day. But the following day, interactions dropped to 30,000 and did not surpass 15,000 interactions per day since that peak.

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