Technology

Anxiety, Mood Swings and Sleepless Nights: Life Near a Bitcoin Mine
Technology

Anxiety, Mood Swings and Sleepless Nights: Life Near a Bitcoin Mine

On a sweltering July evening, the din from thousands of computers mining for Bitcoins pierced the night. Nearby, Matt Brown, a member of the Arkansas legislature, monitored the noise alongside a local magistrate.As the two men investigated complaints about the operation, Mr. Brown said, a security guard for the mine loaded rounds into an AR-15-style assault rifle that had been stored in a car.“He wanted to make sure that we knew he had his gun — that we knew it was loaded,” Mr. Brown, a Republican, said in an interview.The Bitcoin outfit here, 45 minutes north of Little Rock, is one of three sites in Arkansas owned by a network of companies embroiled in tense disputes with residents, who say the noise generated by computers performing trillions of calculations per second ruins lives, lower...
He’s Lost His Marriage, His Followers and His Lamborghini
Technology

He’s Lost His Marriage, His Followers and His Lamborghini

With its streamlined curves and glow-in-the-dark sound system, the silver Lamborghini Huracán Performante was the stuff of teenage fantasy: $350,000 of aerodynamic metals and lightweight upholstery, packed into a taut and powerful body. Ben Armstrong loved it dearly.When he started shopping for a Lamborghini, Mr. Armstrong, a cryptocurrency evangelist with more than one million YouTube subscribers, worried that he’d have to spend months searching. “I think I have to go to Italy to get the Lambo I want,” he texted a business partner. “I don’t want to compromise.” But fate smiled on him. In the fall of 2021, a car dealership in Charlotte, N.C., shipped the Huracán to Mr. Armstrong’s production studio in an Atlanta suburb.As the Lamborghini was lowered from a delivery truck, Mr. Armstrong, be...
Will Lawmakers Really Act to Protect Children Online? Some Say Yes.
Technology

Will Lawmakers Really Act to Protect Children Online? Some Say Yes.

In the final minutes of a congressional hearing on Wednesday in which tech chief executives were berated for not protecting children online, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, urged lawmakers to act to safeguard the internet’s youngest users.“No excuses,” he said.Lawmakers have long made similar statements about holding tech companies to account — and have little to show for it. Republicans and Democrats alike have at various points declared that it was time to regulate the tech giants over matters such as privacy and antitrust. Yet for years, that was where it ended: with no new federal regulations for the companies to follow.The question is whether this time will be different. And already, there are indicators that the topic of online child safety may gain more traction leg...
Using A.I., Hollywood Agency and Tech Start-Up Aim to Protect Artists
Technology

Using A.I., Hollywood Agency and Tech Start-Up Aim to Protect Artists

The talent agency WME announced a partnership with the technology firm Vermillio on Tuesday that it hopes will protect its clients from having their likenesses misused through artificial intelligence technology.Vermillio has created a platform, Trace ID, that could insulate WME clients from thefts of their likeness and intellectual property by using A.I. technology to track images. The partnership will also look for ways to use the technology to allow clients to monetize their likeness and image themselves.The use of A.I. and how to protect these assets was a major point of contention in last year’s actors strike. Even after a deal with SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, was ratified, some performers remained dissatisfied with the A.I. protections. The contract, for instance, does not prohibit ...
Ring to Stop Allowing Police to Request Videos From Security Cameras
Technology

Ring to Stop Allowing Police to Request Videos From Security Cameras

Ring, a home security camera company owned by Amazon, said that it would stop letting police departments request users’ footage in its app amid longstanding concerns from privacy advocates about the company’s relationship with law enforcement.Eric Kuhn, the general manager of subscriptions and software for the Ring app Neighbors, announced on Wednesday that the company was shutting down a feature that allowed the police to request and receive videos from users of the app, a social platform similar to Nextdoor and Citizen where people can share alerts about crime near their home.Mr. Kuhn did not say why Ring was eliminating the app feature, which allowed the police to ask the public for help with active investigations under a special category of posts called “Request for Assistance.”People ...
23andMe Breach Targeted Jewish and Chinese Customers, Lawsuit Says
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23andMe Breach Targeted Jewish and Chinese Customers, Lawsuit Says

The genetic testing company 23andMe is being accused in a class-action lawsuit of failing to protect the privacy of customers whose personal information was exposed last year in a data breach that affected nearly seven million profiles.The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in federal court in San Francisco, also accused the company of failing to notify customers with Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage that they appeared to have been specifically targeted, or that their personal genetic information had been compiled into “specially curated lists” that were shared and sold on the dark web.The suit was filed after 23andMe submitted a notification to the California Attorney General’s Office that showed the company was hacked over the course of five months, from late April 2023 through Sept...
Cruise Says Hostility Toward Regulators Led to Grounding of Its Autonomous Cars
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Cruise Says Hostility Toward Regulators Led to Grounding of Its Autonomous Cars

Cruise, the driverless car subsidiary of General Motors, said in a report on Thursday that an adversarial approach taken by its top executives toward regulators had led to a cascade of events that ended with a nationwide suspension of Cruise’s fleet.The roughly 100-page report was compiled by a law firm that Cruise hired to investigate whether its executives had misled California regulators about an October crash in San Francisco in which a Cruise vehicle dragged a woman 20 feet. The investigation found that while the executives had not intentionally misled state officials, they had failed to explain key details about the incident.In a meeting with regulators, the executives let a video of the crash “speak for itself” rather than fully explain how one of its vehicles severely injured the p...
New Hampshire Officials to Investigate A.I. Robocalls Mimicking Biden
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New Hampshire Officials to Investigate A.I. Robocalls Mimicking Biden

Voters in New Hampshire received robocall messages over the weekend in a voice that was most likely artificially generated to impersonate President Biden’s, urging them not to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, according to the state attorney general’s office.The fake recordings, which told listeners that “your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday,” were manipulated to seem as if they had been sent by an officer of a Democratic committee, the office said.The attorney general’s office stressed that voting in the primary would not rule out voters from also casting ballots in the general election in November.“These messages appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire presidential primary election and to suppress New Hampshire voters,” the office said in a s...
Microsoft Executives’ Emails Hacked by Group Tied to Russian Intelligence
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Microsoft Executives’ Emails Hacked by Group Tied to Russian Intelligence

An elite hacking group sponsored by Russian intelligence gained access to the emails of some of Microsoft’s senior executives beginning in late November, the company disclosed in a blog post and regulatory filing on Friday.Microsoft said it had discovered the intrusion a week ago and was still investigating. The hackers appeared to focus on combing through Microsoft’s corporate email accounts to look for information related to the hacking group, which Microsoft’s researchers called Midnight Blizzard.The hackers looked through emails from Microsoft’s senior leadership team as well as employees in cybersecurity, legal and other groups, and took some emails and attachments, the company said. The company, which had worked with cybersecurity firms and governments to investigate previous attacks...
Apple Takes a Humble Approach to Launching Its Newest Device
Technology

Apple Takes a Humble Approach to Launching Its Newest Device

When Apple released the Apple Watch in 2015, it was business as usual for a company whose iPhone updates had become cultural touchstones. Before the watch went on sale, Apple gave early versions of it to celebrities like Beyoncé, featured it in fashion publications like Vogue and streamed a splashy event on the internet trumpeting its features.But as Apple prepared to sell its next generation of wearable computing, the Vision Pro augmented reality device, it marched far more quietly into the consumer marketplace.The company said in a news release this month that sales of the device would begin Friday. No big product event was scheduled, though Apple has created a catchy commercial about the device and offered individual demonstrations of it to tech reviewers. And in a departure for the sec...