Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday that she would open an investigation into Facebook’s collection of 1.5 million Facebook users’ email contact databases. The tech giant admitted last Wednesday that it had "unintentionally uploaded" the email contact lists of 1.5 million people without their consent since 2016.

Why it matters: It's the latest privacy gaffe to pull Facebook into investigators' crosshairs. The company has faced several federal and state probes in the past year over the misuse of customer data.

Details: The attorney general's office is looking to understand exactly how many people were impacted by the practice.

  • It says that while Facebook has admitted that the contact books of 1.5 million people were directly harvested, "the total number of people whose contact information was improperly obtained by Facebook may be hundreds of millions, as people can have hundreds of contacts stored on their contact databases."
  • According to Business Insider, which first broke the story earlier this month, the revelation happened when a security researcher noticed that Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities.
  • Business Insider discovered that upon entering your password, your email contacts would be uploaded without Facebook first asking for permission.
  • Facebook told Business Insider that the email contacts were used to improve Facebook's ad targeting, build Facebook's web of social connections and recommend friends to add.

The big picture: Facebook has faced multiple investigations for data privacy scandals over the past 2 years. Most notably, the company revealed in its earnings report Wednesday that it expects a fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission for a probe into its use of user data in the wake of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica Scandal.

  • In a statement, James says that the incident "is the latest demonstration that Facebook does not take seriously its role in protecting our personal information.”
  • The New York attorney general's office opened an investigation into Facebook over the reported misuse of user data with Cambridge Analytica last year as well.

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Updated 15 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under national security law

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been arrested for "collusion with foreign powers" and the offices of his newspaper raided, said Mark Simon, an executive at the tycoon's media firm Next Digital on Monday.

Why it matters: He was arrested under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony. Lai is the most prominent person arrested under the law — which prompted the U.S. to sanction Chinese officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, over Beijing's efforts to strip the territory of its autonomy.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 19,861,683 — Total deaths: 731,326 — Total recoveries — 12,115,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 5,044,864 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
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  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks — Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral .

97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

A boy has his temperature checked as he receives a free COVID-19 test in South Los Angeles in July. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The findings in the report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S., with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announcing Friday that school districts in the state can reopen in the fall amid lower coronavirus transmission rates.