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Technology 28 September 2020

The Week in Internet News: Lawmakers Hampered by Poor Internet Service

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Too slow: Some state lawmakers in New Mexico are having trouble attending virtual committee meetings because of poor Internet service, Government Technology reports. State Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena has to share a slow connection with her children, who are attending virtual school. “The only Internet I can get comes through a phone line,” she said. “There’s no broadband, no fiber optics.”

Kicked out: Facebook and Twitter have removed several hundred fake accounts they said are linked to Russian military intelligence and other Kremlin-backed actors previously tied to interference in U.S. politics, NPR reports. The accounts were not tied to interference in the 2020 U.S. election, Facebook said, but they were linked to past attempts.

Investigating speech: In other Facebook news, the social media company is facing an investigation by a New Delhi government committee over its alleged role in religious riots earlier this year, CNN says. This is the second time in recent weeks that Facebook has been investigated for being used to spread controversial speech. Earlier, Facebook allowed a politician from India’s ruling party to remain on its platform even though his anti-Muslim posts appeared to violate rules against hate speech. 

Targeting the dark web: One hundred seventy-nine people in six countries were arrested recently for activities on the so-called dark web, Wired.com reports. The arrests in Operation Disruptor are related to the seizure of the Wall Street Market, a popular online bazaar, by German police in May 2019. In the recent arrests, authorities confiscated 500 kilograms of drugs seized and $6.5 million in cash and cryptocurrency.

Robots to the rescue: Robots in Japan are taking over several roles, including providing social interaction to lonely people, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan Times reports. In February, robot company Seikatsu Kakumei began selling a “digital teleportation robot” package to help businesses carry out customer-facing activities during the pandemic.

Surveillance from the sky: An in other robot news, Amazon has announced a flying security drone, BBC.com reports. The drone is designed to activate only when residents are out, works indoors, and is limited to one floor of a building. One privacy group described the drone camera as Amazon’s “most chilling home surveillance product” yet.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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