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Posts Tagged: "Jeff Bezos"

Billionaire Space Race Between Bezos and Branson (and Musk) Pushes Forward Next Generation of Spaceflight Innovation

This July has been a landmark month for the commercial space sector thanks in large part to the determination of two tech billionaires: Richard Branson, business magnate and founder of the Virgin Group; and Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of e-commerce titan Amazon.com. Both of these icons of business entrepreneurship reached the outer limits of Earth’s gravity to slip into space for a brief moment in recent weeks—Branson in the VSS Unity, owned by his Virgin Galactic spaceflight company, and Bezos in the New Shepard craft developed by his Blue Origin firm. The successful spaceflights for both Branson and Bezos are breathing life into the nascent space tourism industry, as many others with the wealth to pay for a seat to outer space are lining up for the opportunity.

Artists Urge Bezos to Take Action Against the Streaming of Unlicensed Music on Twitch

On August 10, the Executive Board of the nonprofit organization Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) published a letter to Jeff Bezos, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon.com, Inc. In the letter, the ARA asked Bezos to answer the question of whether the Twitch platform allows users to post or stream unlicensed music and to take necessary actions to stop such activity. The ARA advocates for a healthy music economy and for the rights of musicians, performers, and songwriters in the digital world. The letter expressed the ARA’s respect for Amazon and its products and services, but noted its disapproval of Amazon’s Twitch subsidiary, which allegedly hosts and delivers unlicensed music. Twitch is an online service owned by Amazon since 2014 that is used to watch and stream digital video broadcasts, such as streams dedicated to artwork creation, music, talk shows, and TV series.

Congress Asks Amazon’s Bezos to Testify on Use of Third-Party Seller Data

On May 1, Representative and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and a bipartisan coalition of members of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law signed a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The letter focuses on antitrust issues posed by Amazon’s alleged use of third-party seller data to develop products competing with those sellers, allegations that directly contradict testimony offered by Amazon last year during a House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing. It also calls upon Bezos to testify before the House Judiciary Committee to clear up any discrepancies between the recent Wall Street Journal article and Amazon’s prior testimony to Congress on the subject of third-party seller data.

Dangerous Counterfeits Becoming More Difficult to Avoid

While many holiday shoppers may think that they’re getting a bargain by purchasing goods displaying a particular brand without having to pay brand prices, these shoppers are unwittingly gifting low-quality items or worse, products that pose health hazards, to their friends or loved ones. Thanks in large part to the Internet, counterfeiting operations have reached epidemic levels in recent years. Nearly half of all brand owners are losing revenues because of the sale of counterfeits and, in 2017, U.S. customs agencies seized a total of 34,143 shipments carrying counterfeited goods being imported into the U.S. But counterfeiting is a victimless crime, the common refrain goes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Terrorist organizations and organized crime families are turning to counterfeiting as a meaningful source of income given the exceptionally low penalties even if they are caught and extraordinarily high profit margins — profit margins that are even higher than selling drugs on the street. 

Amazon.com: A Retail Giant With Major Counterfeit, Piracy and Data Privacy Issues

It’s not just counterfeits of gadgets or luxury fashion items available for sale on Amazon, lining the already deep pockets of Bezos. As we’ve noted in other reports, there are plenty of counterfeit items that mimic badges and official documents from law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Secret Service. But a recent letter sent by the Federal Communications Commission in late May of this year indicates that Amazon is also allowing the sale of set-top boxes which falsely use FCC logos in the branding, indicating that the device is permitted by FCC regulation when in fact it is not.

Amazon’s Big Brother Technologies: Tracking Life Milestones and Predicting a User’s Future Location

With data privacy concerns at the forefront in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, it seems that Amazon isn’t completely in the clear when it comes to the security of consumer data on their platforms. Recent reports indicate that Amazon’s Mechanical Turk online worker marketplace was another platform targeted by the data collecting quiz application developed by Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge app developer behind the Facebook scandal. Data privacy concerns have also surfaced surrounding Amazon Web Services cloud platforms including inadvertent breaches of web-monitoring data stored on Amazon cloud services by private companies and the Pentagon alike. Amazon servers also collect voice recordings from consumers using its Alexa digital personal assistant which are also at risk of falling into the wrong hands unless a consumer manually deletes recordings through the Alexa app.

Could Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg join the Trump Administration?

Text messages sent between Andreesen and Erskine Bowles speak to Zuckerberg’s desire to be able to maintain control of Facebook while possibly serving two years in government… The fact that Zuckerberg is open to serving in government might actually carry some sway with the Trump transition team, which includes a Facebook connection through Peter Thiel… Given Zuckerberg’s stances on Internet issues, one possible position for Zuckerberg could be at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Rep. Lamar Smith calls NOAA ‘afraid of innovation’ during hearing on weather satellites

The day’s most withering criticisms, however, came from the House science committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Smith contended that NOAA’s problems had been debated by the committee for years and focused on the delays and rising costs of the current JPSS program. “Congress should not continue to fund an over-budgeted program that has not performed to standards,” he said. He added that he wasn’t convinced that the NOAA is adequately addressing weather data gap risks and said they were “dragging their feet” on considering options. “If NOAA’s afraid of innovation, maybe they shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what technologies are needed to improve forecasting,” Smith said.

Private space race continues between Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’s Blue Origin

A space race has been heating up in the private commercial sector and it involves some of the biggest names in high tech industries. Right now it would seem to most observers that SpaceX has the lead in the private space race, although that lead may not be insurmountable. Blue Origin hasn’t been able to send a rocket into orbit and then land it successful back on the Earth’s surface. For its part, SpaceX just landed its Dragon capsule successfully in the Pacific Ocean yesterday, delivering more than 3,700 pounds of supplies from the ISS including a great number of samples for use in biotechnology, physical science and other forms of research.

Tech News Roundup: Bezos and Musk Square Off, LED ‘Li-Fi’ Internet and VTech Data Breach

Our latest Tech Round-Up here on IPWatchdog takes a brief glance at many of the stories which have caught our attention in recent days. As he often does, Elon Musk takes center-stage in a couple of news items regarding challenges he’ll be facing in the realms of space travel as well as electric vehicles. In Europe, the first successful installation of light-based wireless Internet could be the first step in a new age of Internet connectivity. Data breaches and genetically modified foods round out our discussion of recent events in the worlds of high-tech and science.