Hello from Las Vegas, where the Axios tech team continues to bring you the news from CES. For Login, we are focusing on the big issues and interviews, but you can keep tabs on all the key news here.
If you bet that Login would come in at 1,408 words, congratulations. I bet on my alma mater, Miami (Ohio), in their bowl game last night. They didn't win, but they did beat the point spread.
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, and Amazon
The executives in charge of Amazon's Ring doorbells insist their products are making the world better and safer, largely dismissing concerns they are helping lay the foundation for a police surveillance state.
Why it matters: Civil rights groups and others have criticized the company for both its security practices and its close ties with law enforcement.
Background: Ring, which makes internet-connected doorbells and other connected "smart home" devices, has been criticized for both the security of its products and its Neighbors app, which allows first responders to request footage from camera owners.
What they're saying: "I don't think any of the concerns I saw were reasonable," Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff told Axios in an interview at CES. "What we are doing is a good, beneficial thing."
Yes, but: All that puts the onus on customers and law enforcement to use the technology appropriately.
Critics rejected the notion that Ring's products are making the world safer.
Between the lines: While customers have control of what is or isn't recorded and shared, they aren't the ones in the footage.
The bottom line: These controversies don't appear to be having an impact on Ring sales.
Last year, the big controversy at CES was over an exhibit from a sex toy company. This year, it is cannabis-tech companies that are crying foul.
Why it matters: Although there are a wide range of electronics shown at CES, critics say that whole categories are unfairly excluded.
Driving the news: Keep Labs, which makes a digitally enhanced storage canister for weed and related devices was given an award by the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group that puts on CES. Then it was only allowed to exhibit if it omitted any references to cannabis, the main use for said product. Instead, it opted to skip the show.
What they're saying: "It's profoundly disappointing when a conference known for its innovation is failing to honestly embrace a cannabis tech company that’s driving innovation," says Cortney Smith, CEO of DaVinci, another consumer cannabis tech company. "The terms 'cannabis' and 'technology' aren’t mutually exclusive."
The CTA, for its part, pointed to the mixed legal status of cannabis in explaining its policy.
"Marijuana is illegal at the federal level — as well as in public parks and hotels in the state of Nevada. Because of this, CES does not cover cannabis. Keep Labs was able to exhibit under the terms they'd showcase their product as a home appliance or storage device — the category they submitted their innovation award for. They decided not to exhibit."— CTA, to Axios
The big picture: Cannabis companies often find themselves excluded from markets and services open to other companies, including financial institutions and online marketplaces.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Facebook is tightening its policies on "manipulated media," including deepfakes, as Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: Facebook has been criticized for the way it enforces its policies on deepfakes (AI-generated audio and video) and other misleading media. In particular, critics took aim at the tech giant's decision to allow a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remain on its platform last year.
What's new: The new standards call for manipulated videos to be removed from the platform if they meet the following criteria:
The big picture: Facebook says that it doesn't want to remove all manipulated videos flagged by fact-checkers as false, because those videos will be available elsewhere on the internet regardless. Rather, it thinks the better policy is to leave them up and label those videos as false — giving users context about the videos that they may not get elsewhere.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The White House is warning federal agencies against over-regulating artificial intelligence as part of fresh guidance on how to govern the next-generation technology, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Driving the news: The Trump administration's 10 regulatory principles are guidelines for agencies that may be tasked with crafting AI regulations, as well as a signal to companies that the White House is wary of saddling the burgeoning tech with expansive rules.
Details: The principles are around three overarching goals:
How it works: U.S. deputy chief technology officer Lynne Parker explained on a call with reporters how agencies could apply the principles.
The big picture: The principles are part of a broader push to encourage Europe and other allies to follow America's lead on AI policy instead of letting countries like China set the tone, suggested U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios.
What's next: The White House will seek public comment on the principles before finalizing them for agencies.
Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
In a court filing with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, Google argued that the future of software innovation and interoperability hangs on the court's decision in the tech giant's long copyright battle with Oracle, Margaret reports.
The big picture: The case, which centers on whether Google illegally used parts of Oracle's Java code for its Android software, could have wide-ranging implications for whether software engineers can copy pre-existing code to build new products. There are also billions of dollars in damages at stake.
What they're saying:
"An Oracle win would upend the way the technology industry has always approached the important issue of software interfaces. It would for the first time grant copyright owners a monopoly power to stymie the creation of new implementations and applications."— Kent Walker, Google senior VP of global affairs
"Ethical developers and businesses around the world continue to recognize the value of Java and take advantage of our licenses to drive innovation and profit. Unfortunately, Google opted to ignore standard industry licensing policies and build its business by stealing Oracle's IP."— Deborah Hellinger, head of global corporate communications, Oracle
In honor of Keep Labs and its struggle, I offer up this classic SNL sketch as today's After you Login.