Techmeme
December 4, 2020, 7:55 PM

Top News

Julia Carrie Wong / The Guardian:
1,200+ Google employees and 1,500+ academic, industry, and civil supporters have signed a petition condemning the termination of AI scientist Timnit Gebru  —  More than 1,500 researchers also sign letter after Black expert on ethics says Google tried to suppress her research on bias
Reuters:
In an internal email, Google's head of AI says that Gebru threatened to resign unless she was told which colleagues deemed her draft paper as unpublishable  —  OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - A top Google scientist on ethical artificial intelligence says she was fired after criticizing …
Forbes:
Friends and colleagues of Tony Hsieh say he was privately coping with issues of mental health and addiction, made worse by COVID lockdowns, over the past year  —  When the business icon died in a fire last week, questions abounded.  The answers seem rooted in a Covid-period spiral, where he turned to drugs and shunned old friends.
Nicholas Kristof / New York Times:
How Montreal-based Pornhub profits from child and revenge porn, rape, spy cam and other criminal, non-consensual sex videos  —  Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?  —  Pornhub prides itself on being the cheery, winking face of naughty …
Jessica Toonkel / The Information:
Sources: WarnerMedia is weighing two new streaming services, with a subscription service based on CNN content in 2021 and a free entertainment service for 2022  —  AT&T's WarnerMedia, long a giant in cable TV, was a late arrival to streaming video.  Under its new CEO, Jason Kilar, Warner is trying to make up for lost time.
Julia Alexander / The Verge:
New York Times:
EU law inhibiting the monitoring of email, messaging, and other services that takes effect Dec. 20 would also restrict scanning for child sexual abuse imagery  —  Regulators argue that while abuse imagery on the internet is abhorrent, unchecked scanning for it by tech companies could violate privacy rights.
Dade Hayes / Deadline:
Amazon adds live and on-demand US local news to its news app on Fire TVs, starting with 12 major markets and expanding into 90 more during 2021  —  At the end of a record-setting year of news consumption, Amazon Fire TV said local TV stations in 12 U.S. cities will be added to Amazon's news app, with another 90 on deck for 2021.
Hollywood Reporter:
Activision sues Netflix for poaching its CFO, says Netflix induced him to breach his contract; Fox and Viacom also have said Netflix illegally poached staff  —  The gaming giant alleges “Netflix's tortious and unethical conduct is intentional and a directive ‘from the top.’”
Tom Simonite / Wired:
Chinese scientists claim quantum supremacy with a system that calculates in mins what would take a supercomputer 2B years, using tech different than Google's  —  Google trumpeted its quantum computer that outperformed a conventional supercomputer.  A Chinese group says it's done the same, with different technology.
Caroline O'Donovan / BuzzFeed News:
NLRB has issued a complaint against Amazon in November over firing of warehouse employee who discussed pay and other workplace issues with her coworkers  —  This spring, six different Amazon employees claimed they were wrongfully terminated by the company in retaliation for their involvement in organizing to improve working conditions.
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:
Apple's Screen Recognition, a computer vision system in iOS14 trained on images of apps in use, labels the UI elements on screen for users who are blind  —  Apple has always gone out of its way to build features for users with disabilities, and VoiceOver on iOS is an invaluable tool for anyone …

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Earlier Picks

Juli Clover / MacRumors:
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Julia Alexander / The Verge:
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Peter Rudegeair / Wall Street Journal: