The DOJ will police Apple in the federal government's new tech antitrust push (AAPL)

Tim Cook Congress

  • In what’s been a tidal wave of potential tech antitrust action, Apple has been added to the list of major tech companies that may soon be investigated by the federal government, according to Reuters. 
  • Reuters said on Monday that the Department of Justice would have oversight on Apple should it be investigated for antitrust violations. 
  • The news came as Apple executives stood on stage during the company’s annual developers conference in San Jose, California.
  • Apple’s stock price dropped as much as 2.4% when news of the potential probe was first announced but has since recovered a bit. 
  • The Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who’s calling for the breakup of major tech companies, has said Apple has the same problem as Amazon, Facebook, and Google — it runs its App Store and sells its own apps.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US Department of Justice will oversee Apple in the federal government’s new push to ramp up antitrust enforcement over the largest tech corporations, according to Reuters.

Reuters said on Monday that the DOJ would have jurisdiction over Apple should the iPhone maker be investigated for antitrust violations.

The move appears to be part of a coordinated effort within the federal government to divvy up oversight of the largest tech firms as criticism grows over the unprecedented power that the Big Tech companies have amassed in recent years.

The DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission — the two federal agencies responsible for antitrust investigations — have now sorted out the jurisdictions of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google, according to recent press reports, signaling a renewed effort to rein in the operations of the companies. 

The news came as Apple executives stood on stage during the company’s annual developers conference in San Jose, California. Apple’s stock price dropped as much as 2.4% when news of the potential probe was first announced but has since recovered a bit. 

Representatives for Apple and the DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported the DOJ is potentially preparing an antitrust probe against Google. On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that the FTC would get oversight of Amazon. And earlier on Monday, The Journal reported that the FTC would have jurisdiction over Facebook. 

Read more: The FTC will reportedly have oversight over a potential Facebook probe, and it could signal a tidal wave of tech antitrust action

Although no formal antitrust investigations have been announced, the divvying of turf among the DOJ and FTC appears to be the government’s first step into putting the tech industry’s largest companies under the microscope in the search for monopolistic practices. Curbing these tech giants’ power has been on the rise in recent political rhetoric — especially in the case of the Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

In a subsequent interview with The Verge, Warren added Apple to the list of companies she would like to see broken up. Warren said Apple has the same problem as Amazon, Facebook, and Google — it runs its App Store and sells its own apps.

“Either they run the platform or they play in the store,” she said. “They don’t get to do both at the same time.”

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (209) 730-3387 using a non-work phone, email at nbastone@businessinsider.com, Telegram at nickbastone, or Twitter DM at @nickbastone.

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THE TECH COLD WAR: Everything that's happened in the new China-US tech conflict involving Google, Huawei, Apple, and Trump (GOOG, GOOGL, AAPL)

China phone

  • From tariffs and levies to the Huawei ban, the global tech industry is at the center of an escalating cold war between the US and China.
  • This clash affects giant tech companies with global supply chains, like Apple, Intel and Qualcomm. And Chinese tech giants like Huawei that want to do business with US companies. 
  • Among the causes for the standoff are accusations of unfair trade practices, economic espionage and military links. It’s involved everyone from government officials and tech execs to ordinary consumers.
  • Business Insider has covered all of the drama, and we’ve pulled together all our latest reporting on the key areas of conflict in this trans-Pacific showdown. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

Google Android and the Huawei ban

3 tech execs who tried to create new smartphone and PC operating systems explain why Huawei’s plan to build an Android replacement will be almost impossible

A Wall Street firm figured out how much money Google will sacrifice by cutting off Huawei

A longtime industry expert explains why Trump’s attack on Huawei could end up hurting Google and other US tech giants

Huawei developed a ‘plan B’ operating system for smartphones in case it was banned by the US government from using Google products. Here’s what we know about it so far.

Google has more control over Android than we realize, and right now, companies like Huawei have no other choice but to accept that

Huawei and 5G

Huawei slams Trump’s ‘unreasonable’ ban, saying that the move will only harm US interests in its own 5G rollout

President Trump’s national emergency likely won’t stop you from buying a Huawei phone, much less an iPhone. Here’s what it means for you.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei says the company is ‘fully prepared’ for a conflict with the US

Everything you need to know about Huawei, the Chinese tech giant accused of spying that the US just banned from doing business in America

Trump is being mocked on Chinese social media for giving Huawei free publicity

Here’s why it’s so hard to buy Huawei devices in the US

 

Apple and China

Chinese patriotism will halve Apple’s sales in China, analysts warn

Trump’s Huawei ban could spark a tit-for-tat fight with Beijing that puts Apple in the crossfire

Trump’s Huawei ban may have dire implications for Apple — but investors shouldn’t ‘jump to conclusions’ just yet, analyst says

Wall Street is worried that the US-China trade war could drive up iPhone prices, which is the last thing Apple needs right now

Huawei, the Chinese tech giant embroiled in controversy, just overtook Apple to become the second-largest smartphone maker

 

Artificial Intelligence, chips and enterprise software

As a tech Cold War looms, this veteran Silicon Valley patent attorney says that China’s push to win the AI processor market is a serious threat to American tech

Trump’s blacklist of Huawei has serious implications for Red Hat, Oracle, VMware, and other huge US software companies

We spent a day with China’s rock star of AI, whose new book says China’s machine learning superiority will subjugate Americans to ‘technological colonization’

Google’s former China boss says the search company won’t stand a chance against today’s Chinese ‘gladiator’ entrepreneurs

 

Spies, surveillance, trade secrets, and arrests

The US just warned that drones made in China could be used as a way to spy, but not in the way you think

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei reportedly expects his daughter, Huawei’s CFO, to go to jail, but he’s ‘not worried about her future’

‘My inner self has never felt so colorful and vast’: Huawei’s CFO wrote a heartfelt email to staff in a show of defiance to the US

Explosive report claims Europe’s biggest phone company found ‘backdoors’ in Huawei equipment

Huawei’s CFO was carrying a whole bunch of Apple products when she was arrested

Huawei’s security boss says the company would sooner ‘shut down’ than spy for China

Huawei is accused of attempting to copycat a T-Mobile robot, and the charges read like a comical spy movie

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Mark Zuckerberg's personal security chief accused of sexual harassment and making racist remarks about Priscilla Chan by 2 former staffers (FB)

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s personal head of security has been accused of misconduct by two former members of the Facebook CEO’s private staff.
  • Liam Booth, a former Secret Service agent, has been accused of sexual harassment and making racist, homophobic, and transphobic comments.
  • The two former staffers have hired the high-profile law firm the Bloom Firm to represent them, Business Insider has learned.
  • Brian Mosteller, another one of Zuckerberg’s key aides, has been accused of failing to act after complaints were raised.
  • A spokesperson for Zuckerberg’s family office said it takes “complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously,” it has hired a law firm to investigate, and Booth has been put on “administrative leave” until the matter is resolved.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal head of security has been accused of sexual harassment and making racist and homophobic comments by two former members of the Facebook CEO’s private staff, Business Insider has learned. They allege, among other things, that the security chief repeatedly made racist remarks about Zuckerberg’s Asian American wife, Priscilla Chan.

One of the accusers is a former employee of the 34-year-old billionaire’s household staff who was responsible for preparing Zuckerberg’s various homes for the family’s arrival; the other is a former executive assistant to Liam Booth, Zuckerberg’s security chief. Both have retained the law firm of the California attorney Lisa Bloom, whose legal efforts on the behalf of Bill O’Reilly’s accusers in 2017 helped get the TV host fired from Fox News, according to legal demand letters reviewed by Business Insider. 

The letters, which Bloom sent to a law firm representing the companies that provide security and support for Zuckerberg’s family, lay out a litany of allegations against Booth, a former Secret Service agent responsible for overseeing security for Zuckerberg’s household and non-Facebook-affiliated enterprises. They describe “pervasive discriminatory conduct,” “horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery,” and an environment in which support staff were repeatedly subjected to racist, homophobic, and transphobic diatribes.

The letters also accuse Brian Mosteller, the managing director of Zuckerberg’s private office and a former special assistant to former President Barack Obama, of failing to take action after the two staffers raised complaints. There is no allegation that Zuckerberg himself was aware of the alleged harassment.

The allegations are startling because they make accusations of overt racism and sexual impropriety within the most intimate confines of a famously private and unimaginably wealthy family. While Facebook has been rocked by public scandals over the past two years, Zuckerberg has kept his family insulated from the fallout. But the accusations against Booth and Mosteller have the potential to bring a different crisis to the very center of his domestic affairs, and they represent a potentially profound betrayal of trust on the part of the very man that Zuckerberg charges to protect the safety of his children. Facebook spends $20 million annually on Zuckerberg’s personal protection and travel.

“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously and our human resources team promptly investigates all such matters,” Ben LaBolt, Zuckerberg’s family office spokesman, said in a statement to Business Insider. “The allegations against Liam Booth were brought to the office’s attention for the first time by The Bloom Firm after both former employees had left employment by the family office and engaged legal counsel. As soon as The Bloom Firm presented these allegations, the family office engaged Munger, Tolles & Olson, an outside law firm, to conduct an investigation of all allegations made by The Bloom Firm to determine whether the claims have merit. The investigation is ongoing. Mr. Booth is on administrative leave pending the completion of this investigation.”

Sally Mitchell, a senior attorney at the Bloom Firm, confirmed to Business Insider that the former employees were the firm’s clients and declined to comment further. One of the former staffers referred an inquiry to Mitchell. The other did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Business Insider is not identifying them because they say they are victims of sexual harassment and have not made their allegations public. Booth referred questions to LaBolt, and Mosteller did not respond to texts and a call. Munger, Tolles & Olson did not respond to multiple emails requesting comment.

Alleged remarks about Priscilla Chan and Black Lives Matter: ‘White lives matter more than Black lives’

Booth heads up the security operations for Zuckerberg’s personal infrastructure while also working as the chief security officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Zuckerberg and Chan’s philanthropic vehicle. He previously worked for the US Secret Service between 2001 and 2017, including a five-year stint working to “supervise the physical protection for the President and the first family of the United States” during the Obama years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The two people accusing Booth of misconduct worked for two different Zuckerberg-affiliated companies, one of which handles security and the other household affairs.

One of the demand letters alleges that Booth made racist remarks to the household staffer about Chan’s driving ability, including that “she’s a woman and Asian, and Asians have no peripheral vision,” while pulling his eyelids to the side in a racist caricature. 

The other letter alleges Booth made a series of racist remarks to the security staffer. On more than one occasion, the letter alleges, Booth told the staffer he “didn’t trust Black people” and “white lives matter more than Black lives.” The letter also alleges that Booth bragged about deliberately attempting to undermine Chan’s diversity goals in hiring and “complain[ed] about the number of Black people who worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” When the security staffer objected to that remark, the letter alleges, Booth “angrily advocat[ed] against diversity in the workplace and the movement Black Lives Matters, which he called ‘reverse racism.'”

A source who has worked around Booth and wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak publicly told Business Insider they had also heard Booth say “Asians can’t drive” and disparage Chan because of her ethnicity.

mark zuckerberg priscilla chan initiative

Accusations of sexual harassment and homophobia: ‘I’ll feed you something raw’

Both letters also accuse Booth of sexual harassment and homophobic conduct. At a July 2018 event at the sushi restaurant Nobu, one letter alleges, Booth grabbed his own crotch and told the household staffer, who is gay, “I’ll feed you something raw.” Later at the same event, the staffer alleges, Booth slapped the staffer’s crotch and groped his buttocks, asking, “Are you still hungry?” Booth is also accused of making other homophobic remarks and talking about the size of the staffer’s penis in front of other employees.

The letters also allege repeated instances of sexual harassment against the security staffer. On one occasion, the letters allege Booth decided a shirt the staffer was wearing was “distracting” and made him “uncomfortable.” Rather than address the issue directly, the letter alleges, Booth tried to get other employees to tell her, including the household staffer because “he was a gay.”

The security staffer also accused Booth’s aide Laura McClain of requesting that the she bend over so she could see her buttocks.

Both letters allege that Booth repeatedly demeaned a transgender staffer, referring to the person as “it” instead of their preferred pronoun. When the security staffer was tasked with taking the transgender employee’s identification to the local post office so that they would be authorized to pick up Zuckerberg’s mail, Booth is accused of saying, “Keep ‘it’ away from me.” When the security staffer objected, the letters allege Booth laughed and responded, “Just close my door whenever ‘it’ comes in here.”

Both accusers say complaints were ignored: ‘Men are in power here’

Both letters say the employees repeatedly raised objections to Booth’s conduct but were ignored. The letters allege one human-resources employee told the security staffer on different occasions that “men are in power here” and that the issues she raised “were not show stoppers.” 

The household staffer, according to the letters, complained to his manager, Brian Mosteller, multiple times about Booth’s behavior and “reached out to Priscilla Chan to expose to her the damaging, unlawful conduct that was taking place at her family enterprise,” but nothing was done. According to the letters, he was placed on medical leave and offered a severance package on February 22, and ultimately resigned. It’s not clear whether his effort to reach Chan was successful, or whether she was made aware of his concerns.

Booth fired the security staffer on February 20, the letters say, apparently for telling another staffer about a negative write-up she had received and for “roll[ing] her eyes in a meeting.”

The letters demand compensation for lost wages and damages for emotional distress. One source close to the matter told Business Insider that Booth’s conduct had previously been investigated by the human-resources department of Iconiq Capital, the wealth-management and investment firm that established and manages the sprawling web of entities that manage Zuckerberg’s household affairs. 

If the allegations are true, the episode raises questions as to why Iconiq failed to take action sooner. The firm also handles the affairs of other A-list Silicon Valley figures, such as Jack Dorsey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Reid Hoffman, according to Forbes. And Forbes has also described Iconiq founder Divesh Makan as the “consigliere to Silicon Valley’s brightest billionaires.”

While the statement from Zuckerberg’s spokesman said Booth was placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider Booth was present at work today and that there has been no change in his duties. LaBolt, the spokesman, said that’s “not accurate.”

Iconiq did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

lisa bloom lawyer

Zuckerberg’s secretive network of household companies

Mark Zuckerberg’s household affairs are handled by a discreet web of organizations.

One exists to look after his personal security (Facebook handles some of his security requirements, but other aspects of his protection are handled externally), controlling the $20 million pot of protection and travel money provided by Facebook in 2018. Other entities take care of domestic matters — from housekeeping to managing his various properties — and employ household staffers for Zuckerberg and Chan.

Zuckerberg’s personal security is distinct from Facebook’s security apparatus — and a tiny fraction of the size.

The Silicon Valley social-networking company has an army of 6,000 security workers around the globe, a previous Business Insider investigation found, tasked with everything from protecting the company’s campuses from disgruntled barred users to helping secure employees’ overseas travel in times of international crises. The Facebook CEO himself has an incredibly high public profile and faces an array of risks, including stalkers and numerous death threats.

There are more than 70 people on the in-house executive protection team, which is led by Jill Leavens Jones, a former US Secret Service special agent. Facebook’s overall security unit is headed up by Nick Lovrien, a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer.

Reached for comment, Facebook’s vice president of executive communications referred Business Insider to the statement provided by LaBolt and highlighted a blog post written by Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, in 2017 that shared Facebook’s policies on sexual harassment publicly.

“Harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace are unacceptable but have been tolerated for far too long,” Sandberg wrote. “At Facebook, we treat any allegations of such behavior with great seriousness, and we have invested significant time and resources into developing our policies and processes.”


Do you know more? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.


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A laptop infected with 6 of the most dangerous computer viruses in history was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $1.345 million — here's what each virus can do

laptop with malware guo dong 2x1

  • A laptop that’s utterly infested with six of the worst computer viruses and malware known to man was sold at auction for $1.345 million on Monday.
  • The types of viruses on the laptop are said to have caused $95 billion in financial damages worldwide. 
  • The laptop has had its internet connectivity and ports disabled, which hopefully means the malware within has no way to spread…hopefully. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 2008 Samsung NC10 laptop running Windows XP just sold at auction for a whopping $1.345 million. 

Although the 11-year-old machine may have nostalgic value to some, what makes this one so special (and expensive) is that it comes with live specimens of six of the most dangerous computer viruses in existence. 

In a livestream on Twitch, the laptop can be seen turned on and running the viruses and malware. But the laptop wasn’t sold as a cyber weapon on a darkweb black market. It was sold as art.

The virus-infected laptop is an art installation called “The Persistence of Chaos” by artist Guo O Dong. 

persistence of chaos malware laptop

According to a website promoting the piece, Dong is a “contemporary internet artist whose work critiques modern day extremely-online culture. The Persistence of Chaos was created as a collaboration between the artist and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and technical expertise to execute the work in a safe environment.”

Dong said the viruses in the laptop have caused $95 billion in financial damages. It’s unlikely that the laptop itself was the cause of the $95 billion in damages. It’s more likely that the viruses it contains are the same that are known to have caused damages worldwide.

“The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States”

Dong’s laptop is “airgapped,” which means its ability to connect to the internet has been disabled. Its ports have also been disabled, so USB sticks can’t be used to transfer its threats.

The terms of the auction also state that “The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States. As a buyer you recognize that this work represents a potential security hazard. By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you’re purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware.”

Of course, anyone with an intermediate knowledge of computers would have no trouble figuring out a way to extract the viruses from the hard drive, despite the fact that the laptop itself is airgapped.

The details of the auction, including the selling price, were reported by Dong himself on his website. So it’s worth taking the claims with a grain of salt until the sale can be verified. Deep Instinct, the firm that Dong partnered with, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The buyer of The Persistence of Chaos is anonymous. Here’s hoping Dong’s dangerous art didn’t fall into the wrong hands. 

Check out the infamous computer viruses running on the most dangerous laptop in the world:

SEE ALSO: Can iPhones get viruses? Here’s what you need to know

“ILOVEYOU”

“The “ILOVEYOU” virus, distributed via email and file sharing, affected 500,000+ systems and caused $15B in damages total, with $5.5B in damages being caused in the first week,” according to Dong’s site.

The “ILOVEYOU” virus was designed to replace media files on a computer, like photos and videos, with copies of the bug itself. It would then spread itself by emailing contacts in a user’s Outlook account. 

The virus overloaded email system around the world, and a “huge chunk of the businesses and governments to fully grind down to a halt,” said Philip Menke, a consultant at Intel Security who spoke with Vice

 

“MyDoom”

“MyDoom” was a worm designed to leave infected computers open to other malware and viruses, according to a 2004 Cnet article. Computers would become infected when a user opened an attachment send in an email containing the MyDoom worm. Dong estimated “MyDoom”caused $38 billion in damages.

“SoBig”

When it was first released, the “SoBig” worm and trojan virus “briefly brought freight and computer traffic in Washington, D.C. to a halt, grounded Air Canada and slowed down computer systems at many major companies such as advanced technology firm Lockheed Martin,” according to a 2003 CNN article

“SoBig” would be transmitted via email. Once the infected email was opened, it would scan the computer for other email address and spread itself further. 

Dong estimates that “SoBig” caused $37 billion in damages.

“WannaCry”

“WannaCry” is a recent “cryptoworm” that acted as ransomware — where a user’s data would be encrypted until the user paid a ransom to have their data released.

“The attack affected 200,000+ computers across 150 countries, and caused the NHS $100M in damages with further totals accumulating close to $4B,” Dong said on the Persistence of Chaos website.

“DarkTequila”

“DarkTequila” is malware that was prevalent in Latin America designed to collect a wide variety of data from an infected computer, including credentials to online services. That data could then be used for additional attacks, according to The Next Web

Dong estimates it cost “millions in damages across many users.”

“BlackEnergy”

“BlackEnergy” was originally intended as a data collection tool, but it evolved into malware that could damage a nation’s critical infrastructure, according to Al Jazeera.

Dong said “BlackEnergy” was used used in a cyberattack “that prompted a large-scale blackout in Ukraine in December 2015.” 

You can read about the Ukraine blackout here.

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A group of Torres Strait Islanders filed a landmark UN human rights complaint against the Australian government for failing to act on climate change

torres strait warrior sydney

  • A group of people from Australia’s Torres Strait Islands has filed a landmark complaint with the United Nations against the Australian government, alleging that a failure to act towards tackling climate change violates their fundamental human rights. 
  • The complaint alleges that the Morrison government has not done enough to protect the islands and their inhabitants from climate change, and it urges the UN committee to pressure Australia to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030 and phase out its coal usage. 
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories. 

A group of residents of Australia’s Torres Strait Islands has filed a landmark complaint with the United Nations against the Australian government, alleging that a failure to address climate change violates their fundamental human rights. 

The case was lodged with the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva on Monday by eight natives from different parts of the low-lying islands and claims that rising sea levels and climate change are affecting their homeland. United Kingdom-based environmental law non-profit ClientEarth, who helped lodge the complaint, says it is the first climate change litigation against the Australian government on the basis of human rights.

“Their case asserts that by failing to take adequate action to reduce emissions or to build proper adaptation measures on the islands, Australia is failing its legal human rights obligations to Torres Strait people,” ClientEarth said in a statement on Sunday.

Torres Strait Islanders are part of Australia’s indigenous population and live on several small islands between Australia’s northern tip and Papua New Guinea. According to Australia’s 2016 census, there are roughly 4,500 citizens on the islands, though many more live on the mainland. 

torres strait australia great barrier reef map

The complaint alleges that the Morrison government has not done enough to protect the islands and their inhabitants from climate change, and it urges the UN committee to pressure Australia to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030 and phase out its coal usage. 

“We’re currently seeing the effects of climate change on our islands daily, with rising seas, tidal surges, coastal erosion and inundation of our communities,” Kabay Tamu, one of the islanders who lodged the complaint and sixth-generation Warraber man, said in a statement. “We are seeing this effect on our land and on the social and emotional well-being of our communities who practice culture and traditions.”

Read more: What Earth might look like in 80 years if we’re lucky — and if we’re unlucky

An accompanying online petition hosted by grassroots climate action group 350.org calls on Australia’s prime minister to support the Torres Strait people with at least $AU20 million ($14 million) for emergency resources to protect themselves against climate change and encourages the passage of more comprehensive climate change laws. 

“If climate change means we’re forced to move away and become climate refugees in our own country, I fear this will be colonization all over again,” Tamu said. “Because when you’re colonized, you’re taken away from your land and you’re forced to stop using your language and stop practicing your culture and traditions.”

SEE ALSO: Millennials and Gen Z are finally gaining ground in the climate battle — here are the signs they’re winning

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New York City has caught an alleged subway bandit who delayed more than 700 trains by pulling the emergency brake

New york subway emergency break suspect

  • A rogue subway bandit has been pulling emergency brakes on New York City subway trains, causing hundreds of delays. 
  • The NYPD said Friday that an arrest of a suspect had been made in the case. 
  • Isiah Thompson, 23, is accused of delaying hundreds of trains and was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. 

If there’s one thing that can bring New Yorkers together, it’s a mutual disdain for the subway.

That was on full display this week as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York Police Department sought the public’s help in finding the culprit behind a rash of subway emergency brake activations that snarled commutes for thousands, if not millions, of straphangers.

Isaiah Thompson, a 23-year-old from Brooklyn, was arrested early Friday on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing, The New York Times reported Friday. The NYPD confirmed the arrest on Twitter:

According to Jalopnik, the subway bandit targeted mainly the 2 and 5 train lines, from Central Brooklyn through Midtown Manhattan. In total, he’s expected to have delayed more than 700 trains in recent months.

Video released by the police showed someone riding outside the subway car in the rear of the train, which is apparently the bandit’s favorite way to avoid apprehension. After pulling the brakes, for whatever reason, the suspect would escape possibly via the tunnel’s emergency exits, sources told Jalopnik.

“What I’d like to do, with the legislature, is to get very harsh penalties in place for people who commit anti-social behavior, in whatever form that takes, I would love to be able to catch these people,” Andy Byford, the MTA’s subways boss,  said at a meeting of the agency’s board on Wednesday. “I would like them to face the consequences of their actions, and I’d like to ban them from the subway. Right now we don’t have that power. We are actively seeking it.”

SEE ALSO: New York is finally catching up to the rest of the world and moving away from its iconic MetroCard. But there’s one glaring problem with the replacement.

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An Australian worker won a landmark privacy case against his employer after he was fired for refusing to use a fingerprint scanner

fingerprint biometric airport thumbpring scanner

  • An Australian man won a landmark case against his employer after he was fired for refusing to hand over his biometric data to his employer.
  • Jeremy Lee from Queensland, Australia, was fired from his job in February 2018 after he refused to use the company’s newly-introduced fingerprint scanners to sign in and out of work. He later sued his employer for unfair dismissal, citing his right to deny consent to the collection of his biometric data.
  • Following an appeal, the court ruled in Lee’s favor, stating that his dismissal from the company was unjust.
  • The case raises questions about biometric data collection and ownership, and highlights an increased concern over personal privacy.

An Australian man won a landmark case against his employer after he was fired for refusing to provide his fingerprints to sign in and out of work, raising questions about biometric data collection and ownership.

Jeremy Lee from Queensland, Australia, was fired from his job at Superior Wood Pty Ltd, a lumber manufacturer, in February 2018 after he refused to use the company’s newly-introduced fingerprint scanners to sign in and out of work. According to case documents, Lee asserted that he had ownership over the biometric data contained within his fingerprint, and that Superior Wood could not require that information from him under the country’s Privacy Act.

Lee filed a suit with Australia’s Fair Work Commission in March 2018, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from the company. The commissioner reviewing the case in June ruled in favor of Superior Wood, concluding that the fingerprinting policy was reasonable and therefore employees were obliged to comply.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of his case, Lee decided to represent himself and appeal the commission’s decision in November 2018, challenging the country’s privacy laws and raising questions about ownership of his personal data.

Ultimately Lee’s appeal was successful — on May 1, 2019, the commission ruled in his favor, stating that he was entitled to refuse to provide his biometric data to the company and that his dismissal from the company was unjust.

The case also addressed Lee’s concerns that his data could be shared with third parties.

“We accept Mr Lee’s submission that once biometric information is digitized, it may be very difficult to contain its use by third parties, including for commercial purposes,” case documents state.

The landmark case brings into question who actually owns your biometric data 

face recognition

Lee’s case is the first of its kind in Australia. And while it it did not change the laws regarding ownership over biometric data, it does raise important questions over personal privacy.

Cases involving biometric data collection have become more frequent in recent years. In January, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the family of a teenager whose fingerprint was collected at a Six Flags-affiliated theme park when he visited in 2014. The family argued that neither they nor their son were informed of why the fingerprint was collected or where it was stored, which violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Cases involving biometric data collection against major tech companies like Facebook, Google and Snapchat have also been brought forward.

In an interview with Australian public broadcaster ABC Radio National on Tuesday, Lee expressed pride in the outcome of the ruling.

“I was insisting that my biometric data is mine,” he told Radio National. “My objection was that I own it. You cannot take it. If someone wants to get it or take it they have to get my consent.”

Lee said in his appeal that he would not object to the use of drug or alcohol testing at work, but argued that collection of data relating to his physical or physiological characteristics could be used in malicious ways.

“If someone else has control of my biometric data they can use it for their own purposes — purposes that benefit them, not me. That is a misuse,” he told the Radio National.

Read more: Facebook could have to pay ‘billions’ in damages in class action lawsuit over facial recognition

According to cybersecurity firm Norton, biometrics are used to “measure a person’s physical characteristics to verify their identity,” which can include their unique fingerprints, facial recognition, voice, or behavioral characteristics. While the data is used in everyday tools like authenticating someone’s identity on a smartphone, it can also be collected by medical examiners, police and even companies that have access to a person’s signature when they use a credit card.

Norton points out that the increasingly commonplace collection of biometric data raises some serious privacy concerns.

For one, the collection of sensitive data is a particularly attractive target for hackers, and the more widely available that biometric data is, the more likely it is that malicious actors will try and target that information.

Additionally, Norton says biometric data can be more vulnerable than other forms of data due to the permanent nature of the information. For example, Norton points out that while you can change your password, you cannot change your fingerprint or iris scan. And fingerprints left on commonplace items like drinking glasses can be easily duplicated by criminals.

While new technology has brought heightened awareness to the collection of biometric data, laws governing its collection, sharing, and storage are still a work in progress, as Lee’s case shows.

SEE ALSO: China is monitoring employees’ brain waves and emotions — and the technology boosted one company’s profits by $315 million

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Amazon just won the battle over whether it can sell its controversial facial recognition technology to the government (AMZN)

Rekognition demo

  • Two shareholder proposals about Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology were voted down at the company’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
  • One proposal would have prevented the Seattle tech giant from selling the software to government agencies.
  • The decision comes after civil rights advocates vocally opposed their opposition to government use of the technology.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Two proposals concerning Amazon’s controversial facial recognition software failed to pass at the company’s shareholders meeting on Wednesday, according to reports from CNET and TechCrunch.

The first proposal would have prevented the Seattle tech giant from selling the software — called Rekognition — to the government, while the other would have required an independent human rights group to study the technology.

The decision marks a contentious turning point in a saga that put Amazon at odds with activist shareholders and civil rights groups, which have vocally opposed government use of facial recognition due to privacy concerns.

But with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos controlling a significant, though not a majority, stake in the company he founded and many large institutional shareholders holding similar voting rights as Bezos, it was a long shot that the proposals would pass. 

Rekognition, which Amazon launched in 2016, can identify people and objects in both videos and photos and has been used by government groups as well as media organizations. Amazon said the software has been used to rescue victims of human trafficking, for example, and Sky News used it to identify celebrities attending the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last year.

But the technology has been heavily criticized by civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which has raised concerns over Rekognition’s accuracy and its potential to be used for surveillance. Last July, the organization found that the facial recognition software incorrectly identified 28 members of Congress with images of people who had been arrested. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, the ACLU published an open letter urging shareholders to back both proposals.

Amazon has said in a previous statement to Business Insider that it has been working with working with academics, researchers, customers, and lawmakers to balance the “benefits of facial recognition technology with the potential risks.”

The decision comes after Amazon unsuccessfully requested that the SEC block the proposals in January. The company is expected to share a filing with the final vote tally later this week.

Read more about the ongoing controversy regarding Amazon’s Rekognition software here.

SEE ALSO: People dressed as poop emojis and other protesters are swarming Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle

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Facebook's CTO is so shaken by the scope of the social network's problems that it has made him cry (FB)

Mike Schroepfer facebook

The pressure Facebook has faced trying to eliminate violent and offensive content from the platform is enough to make a grown person cry — literally, if you ask Facebook executive Mike Schroepfer.

Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, teared up several times during a series of interviews with The New York Times about the platform’s recent policing efforts. Criticism of the platform has ramped up since the terrorist attacks in March on Christchurch, New Zealand, during which the shooter livestreamed his attack on Facebook.

Schroepfer “choked up” when talking about “the scale of the issues that Facebook was confronting and his responsibilities in changing them,” The Times reported.

“It won’t be fixed tomorrow,” Schroepfer said about Facebook’s efforts. “But I do not want to have this conversation again six months from now. We can do a much, much better job of catching this.”

Read more: Facebook is dialing up punishments for users who abuse live video after the Christchurch massacre

The CTO is known for “often” letting his feelings shows, “many” people told The Times. A former Facebook employee, Jocelyn Goldfein, a venture capitalist, said she’d seen Schroepfer cry in the office when she worked for the social platform.

Schroepfer has been tasked with building artificial-intelligence tools for Facebook that will better work to detect harmful content, and can prevent something like the Christchurch shooting from being broadcasted on Facebook again.

To figure out how Facebook’s technology can best identify the next terrorist-related video, Schroepfer had to watch the gruesome footage of the shooting “several times,” according to The Times.

“I wish I could unsee it,” Schroepfer said.

Facebook has taken some steps to avoid an incident like the New Zealand shooting livestream from repeating itself. The platform has implemented a “one strike” policy that blocks users immediately from livestreaming if they violate Facebook’s “most serious” rules.

The company has invested $7.5 million into research on better techniques for detecting videos that have been manipulated, which is how millions of repostings of the Christchurch shooting got past Facebook’s automated system and spread online.

Schroepfer told The Times that his task of removing harmful posts is a complex one without an “endgame.”

He said the number of posts is “never going to go to zero.”

SEE ALSO: Google is scanning your Gmail inbox to keep a detailed list of your purchases, and there’s no easy way to erase it

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Suspected Christchurch shooter charged with engaging in terror act

brenton tarrant christchurch shooter

  • New Zealand police have charged the man suspected of killing 51 people during a shooting rampage in Christchurch with engaging in a terror act.
  • The shooter, 19-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, also faces 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder.
  • Legal experts told Reuters that Tarrant’s other charges hold higher maximum sentences, so it is likely the terror charge was added to show the seriousness of the incident.

New Zealand police have charged the man suspected of killing 51 people during a shooting rampage in Christchurch with engaging in a terror act.

Police informed families of victims and survivors of the updated charges, and made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon local time. The shooter, 19-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, also faces 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder.

“The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement. The charge was filed under New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act, which was introduced after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

According to Reuters, this is the first charge made under the terror legislation in the country’s history. Legal experts told Reuters that Tarrant’s other charges hold higher maximum sentences, so it is likely the terror charge was added to show the seriousness of the incident.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed not to speak the shooter’s name, and has previously declared the event a terrorist attack.

Tarrant is next due in court on June 14.

SEE ALSO: Suspect in New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting to be charged with 50 counts of murder

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