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Florida Prepares to Ban Bill Gates’ Lab-Grown ‘Meat’



Florida lawmakers are making strides to prohibit the sale of lab-grown “meat” products within the state, driven by mounting safety apprehensions surrounding synthetic meat alternatives. Spearheaded by Bill HB 1071, these legislative efforts aim to define and restrict the distribution of “cultivated meat,” which encompasses any meat or food product derived from cultured animal cells.

Under the proposed legislation, individuals found manufacturing, selling, or distributing cultivated meat would face misdemeanor charges, with food establishments risking disciplinary actions and potential license suspensions for non-compliance.

The impetus for the ban comes amidst heightened scrutiny over the safety and viability of lab-grown meat, particularly as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates champions significant investments into its development. While proponents of synthetic meat tout its potential as a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional agriculture, concerns regarding its safety profile and long-term health implications have prompted Florida legislators to take decisive action.

The bills, including the Senate counterpart SB 1084, have garnered support from conventional agricultural sectors while encountering opposition from researchers and investors invested in lab-grown meat technology. Critics contend that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already sanctioned the consumption of lab-grown meat, pointing to approvals granted to California-based companies like Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) and Good Meat. Nevertheless, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association stands firmly behind the proposed ban, reflecting broader industry sentiments aligned with safeguarding traditional agricultural practices.

Despite assertions from supporters that lab-grown meat offers a pragmatic solution to escalating concerns surrounding food safety and dwindling farmland, dissenting voices caution against its potential risks. Notably, concerns persist regarding the genetic engineering of cells and the emergence of cancer-promoting properties within lab-grown meat, as highlighted by the Center for Food Safety. Furthermore, uncertainties persist regarding the sterility of lab-grown meat production processes and the absence of adequate pathogenic control mechanisms, raising apprehensions about potential health hazards associated with consumption.

The legislative developments in Florida resonate with broader efforts across the United States to address the proliferation of lab-grown meat products. Recently, the Alabama Senate passed legislation prohibiting the sale and manufacture of lab-grown meat, underscoring a growing trend towards regulatory intervention in the realm of alternative protein sources. Additionally, federal initiatives, such as the proposed “School Lunch Integrity Act,” seek to preemptively ban lab-grown meat from government-sponsored meal programs, citing concerns over nutritional quality and allergen research.

As Florida lawmakers navigate the complexities surrounding lab-grown meat regulation, the debate underscores broader societal tensions surrounding food production, consumer safety, and the ethical considerations inherent in technological advancements. While the fate of lab-grown meat remains uncertain within Florida and beyond, the discourse surrounding its regulation underscores the need for informed policymaking and continued dialogue among stakeholders invested in shaping the future of food production and consumption.

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Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton Wins $700 Mil­lion Set­tle­ment with Google for Anti­com­pet­i­tive Practices



Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, together with attorneys general from every state and many territories, have reached a $700 million settlement with Google for their anticompetitive behavior related to the Google Play Store.

Google has been ordered to pay $630 million in reparations to customers who purchased on the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023 who were injured by Google’s anticompetitive actions. In addition, the internet behemoth will pay the states an extra $70 million in fines. The deal also compels Google to improve its business operations in order to reduce its unfair market advantage over other firms and consumers.

In 2021, a group of state attorneys general sued Google for illegally monopolizing the market for Android app distribution and in-app payment processing. Google, in particular, entered into anticompetitive arrangements to prohibit other app shops from being installed on Android devices, bribed important app developers not to launch items on competitor app stores, and erected technical obstacles to discourage users from directly downloading apps to their devices.

“Texas has led the nation in the fight to hold giant tech companies accountable for monopolistic activity,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I am proud that this settlement brought together so many states who recognized the importance of protecting free markets.”

To read the settlement, click here.

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PIZZAGATE: Ex-Meta workers confirm encrypted tech let ‘millions of pedophiles target kids’



Earlier this month, Meta introduced encryption for direct communications on Facebook and Instagram in order to preserve users’ privacy.

Encrypted communications are used to prevent anybody other than the sender and recipient from reading the communication’s contents.

The unveiling occurred four years after the project was first revealed — and it had been a significant source of conflict inside the firm. Former Meta engineering director David Erb left in 2019 in protest of the project, he just told the Wall Street Journal.

While at Meta, Erb expressed his concern to superiors that encrypting direct messages on Facebook would shield predators who preyed upon children, but they didn’t listen.

Critics fear that would-be pedophiles can track down children through Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature, which offers suggestions of possible friends who can be added through an online social circle.

“It was a hundred times worse than any of us expected,” Erb told the Journal. “There were millions of pedophiles targeting tens of millions of children.”

In May 2020, Karl Quitter, a Chicago-area man, used an alias, “Mathew Jones,” to solicit sexually explicit photos and videos of at least nine teenage girls based in the Philippines via Facebook. Quitter preyed on the victims’ financial difficulties, using money transfers to the victims’ families to entice the girls to take the sexually explicit images. In a message to one 16-year-old victim in 2020, Quitter promised to send money to her family for medicine and food if she complied with his demands. Facebook investigators flagged Quitter’s messages and turned them over to authorities, according to the Journal. Quitter, 58, pleaded guilty in federal court to sexually exploiting children and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

A Department of Homeland Security investigator who was involved in the Quitter case told the Journal that Facebook’s “trust and safety team’s ability to access messages was instrumental” in bringing about an arrest. Brian Fitzgerald, the head of the Homeland Security’s Chicago office, told the Journal that a random stranger shouldn’t be able to go to encrypted communications with a minor.

Meta, parent company to WhatsApp, has sought to minimize the risks posed by end-to-end encryption technology. The company has spent years developing robust safety measures on Facebook and Instagram to prevent and combat abuse or unlawful activity. Meta also offers many encryption-resilient tools to help keep teens safe, such as reporting suspicious instances to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Meta is parent company to WhatsApp, the world’s most popular encrypted messaging app. However, WhatsApp users communicate with people they know — unlike Facebook and Instagram, which allow strangers to find each other. Meta’s top competitor on social media, TikTok, does not offer encrypted messaging services because the company said it “place[s] a premium on ensuring that our younger users have a safe experience.” YouTube, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., disabled private messaging in 2019 because it wanted to focus on improving public conversations.


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Microsoft to partner with ChiCom propaganda outlets, documents reveal




Microsoft has formed a partnership with two publications controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Washington Free Beacon reports that the IT giant has signed agreements with the China Daily and People’s Daily publications. The two publications are largely regarded as key propaganda sources for the CCP. The CCP’s Central Propaganda Department publishes China Daily, while the CCP’s Central Committee publishes People’s Daily.

According to senior investigative writer Joseph Simonson of the Free Beacon, the Microsoft transactions have “not been widely reported outside of China, nor have the financial terms been disclosed.” A Microsoft spokesperson said that the contracts with the two publications “had expired years ago and were not renewed.”

However, critics expressed great concerns. They described such deals as “dangerous just by the virtue of the fact that they existed.” Moreover, the fact that Microsoft inked the deals at all is “a major win for the CCP.”

“It’s kind of an ‘angel deal with the devil’ scenario,” said Heritage Foundation research associate Jake Denton. “Microsoft loves the idea of access to the Asia market but it comes with a catch. In this case, it’s helping the Chinese government’s propaganda campaigns.”

“These are major propaganda outlets that publish outright falsehoods attacking the ideas of democracy – the very concepts that strengthen our society. And yet, an American company is working to spread this,” said Tech Integrity Project Policy Director Geoffrey Cain. “The purpose of all these [partnerships] is to show the Chinese Communist Party that [Microsoft is] firmly on the side of China and the Chinese system.”

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, has around 9,000 employees in China and plans to surpass 10,000 by the end of this year. In 1998, Microsoft opened Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, its largest research lab outside the US. The company has entered into numerous partnerships with Chinese government entities since the 1990s. Microsoft aims to deepen scientific research in China and help cultivate digital talents.

Microsoft China President Joe Bao has stated that there is no evidence that Microsoft will reconsider its business relationships in China. In 2016, China Daily and Microsoft’s Global Media Cloud signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing, allowing China Daily to target potential readers and establish a Media Smart Cloud Innovation Technology Laboratory.

The partnership also encouraged the development of an open innovation platform promoting technological innovation and application promotion in media convergence, such as big data and cloud computing.

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