Technology

Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.

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Arizona sues Google over location tracking

Photo Illustration: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona's state attorney general sued Google on Wednesday, accusing the company of violating state law by misleading customers on its location tracking practices.

Why it matters: This opens up yet another legal front for Google at a time when it's also facing antitrust scrutiny at the state and federal level.

Beer rating app reveals spies' locations

Untappd, a popular beer-rating app, can easily be manipulated to identify and track military and intelligence personnel, according to a report in the investigative open-source journalism and research outlet Bellingcat.

Zoom in: In one case, Bellingcat located an individual who “checked in” multiple times from Camp Peary, commonly known as “The Farm” — a highly restricted Virginia military base where CIA operations officers are trained in spycraft.

Arrest deepens rift with China over 1000 Talents scholarship program

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Justice Department's arrest of Simon Saw-Teong Ang, an engineering professor at the University of Arkansas, for wire fraud earlier this month ratcheted up a long-running confrontation with China over a controversial scholarship program.

What’s happening: Ang’s indictment was related to his failure to disclose the extent of his ties to China’s 1000 Talents Program, an initiative of the Chinese government to encourage U.S. scientists and researchers to share technical know-how and innovations with Chinese universities and businesses.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump

Twitter came under fire on Tuesday for allowing President Trump to tweet conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough and the 2001 death of one of his staffers, despite the objections of the staffer's family. The company came under further fire from Trump himself for fact-checking two of his tweets about mail-in voting.

Dan and the New York Times' Kara Swisher dig into Trump’s use of the platform and Twitter’s steps — and missteps — in handling it.

Go deeper: Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

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LinkedIn shares tech for detecting bias in product design

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

LinkedIn announced Tuesday that it is sharing the approach it uses to ensure that its new products don't inadvertently worsen existing societal inequalities.

The big picture: The Microsoft-owned platform has been working to ensure that it serves all job seekers, not just the socially well-connected.

Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter made headlines Tuesday after labeling two election-related tweets from President Trump as potentially misleading — the company’s first action against the president’s tweets, which often test its policies on misinformation and abuse.

The big picture: Twitter's unprecedented move, which swiftly drew Trump's fury, was just one of four controversies over the last 24 hours involving tech platforms grappling with free speech issues. And all of them, Axios' Sara Fischer and I report, reflect what a partisan issue the policing of social media content has become.

"Close them down": Trump threatens action against social media platforms

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms due to anti-conservative bias in a pair of Wednesday tweets — the day after Twitter's first fact-check against the president's claims on its platform.

Reality check: While his claim that social media companies target conservatives isn't new, an Axios analysis last year found that stories about the 2020 presidential election that drove the most engagement online often came from right-wing media outlets.

Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

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