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Lawyers representing Facebook, Google and Twitter testify before Congress. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

"It’s not just the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Ethics don’t scale," Paul Ford writes in Bloomberg Businessweek's cover story.

The big picture: "What’s been unfolding for a while now is a rolling catastrophe so obvious we forget it’s happening. Private data are spilling out of banks, credit-rating providers, email providers, and social networks and ending up everywhere."

  • "So this is an era of breaches and violations and stolen identities. Big companies can react nimbly when they fear regulation is actually on the horizon — for example, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have agreed to share data with researchers who are tracking disinformation, the result of a European Union commission on fake news."
  • "But for the most part we’re dealing with global entities that own the means whereby politicians garner votes, have vast access to capital to fund lobbying efforts, and are constitutionally certain of their own moral cause."

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.