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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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USPS Caught Sharing Customer Information with Meta, LinkedIn, and Snap



The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been exposed for sharing the personal information of millions of Americans, including customer addresses, with major tech companies Meta, LinkedIn, and Snap. This alarming revelation, uncovered by TechCrunch, has sparked significant concern over privacy violations and the potential doxxing of USPS customers.

TechCrunch’s investigation revealed that USPS was sharing customer information through hidden data-collecting code, commonly known as tracking pixels, embedded across its website. These pixels are designed to collect user data, such as pages visited, each time a webpage loads in the customer’s browser. Shockingly, the data collected included the postal addresses of logged-in USPS Informed Delivery customers, who use the service to preview images of their incoming mail.

It remains unclear how many individuals were affected or the duration of this unauthorized data sharing. As of March 2024, the Informed Delivery service had over 62 million users, indicating the potential scale of this breach.

In response to TechCrunch’s findings, USPS spokesperson Jim McKean stated, “The Postal Service leverages an analytics platform for our own internal purposes, so that we understand the usage of our products and services and which we use on an aggregated basis to market our products. The Postal Service does not sell or provide any personal information that is collected from this analytics platform to any third party, and we were unaware of any configuration of the platform that collected personal information from the URL and that shared it without our knowledge with social media.”

McKean added that USPS has taken “immediate action to remediate this issue,” but did not specify the measures taken. Further comments were declined.

When approached for comment, Facebook spokesperson Emil Vazquez emphasized that their policies prohibit advertisers from sending sensitive information via their Business Tools. Vazquez noted, “Doing so is against our policies, and we educate advertisers on properly setting up Business Tools to prevent this from occurring. Our system is designed to filter out potentially sensitive data it is able to detect.”

Spokespeople for LinkedIn and Snap did not immediately respond to TechCrunch’s requests for comment.

TechCrunch’s testing confirmed that the USPS website shared postal addresses of logged-in customers with Meta, LinkedIn, and Snap. This was verified by inspecting network traffic using tools available in most modern browsers. The data-collecting code was found to scrape customer addresses from the Informed Delivery landing page after login and transmit this information to the aforementioned companies.

In addition to addresses, other data, such as information about the user’s computer and browser, was collected. Although this data appeared pseudonymized, researchers have long cautioned that pseudonymous data can still be used to re-identify individuals.

Tracking numbers entered into the USPS website were also shared with various advertisers and tech companies, including Bing, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snap. This included some in-transit tracking data, such as the real-world location of mail in the postal system, even when customers were not logged in.

USPS has not disclosed whether it will request the tech companies to delete the collected data. Additionally, the USPS Office of Inspector General, the federal watchdog overseeing the postal service, has not commented on the situation.

USPS is the latest organization to face scrutiny for using web tracking code. In 2023, telehealth startup Cerebral and alcohol recovery apps Tempest and Monument admitted to sharing private health information with tech and advertising companies, prompting removal of the tracking code.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also taken enforcement action against healthcare data giant GoodRx and online therapy company BetterHelp for sharing sensitive customer data. GoodRx paid $1.5 million in fines, while BetterHelp was ordered to compensate patients $7.8 million.

This unfolding situation underscores the critical need for stringent oversight and transparency in data sharing practices to protect consumer privacy.


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Leaked Video Reveals Google Exec Admitting to Search Engine Manipulation



Google is facing renewed scrutiny following the release of a video featuring Marissa Mayer, a former Google Vice President of Search Products, discussing how the company prioritizes its own products in search results. The video, shared by Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski, has sparked significant debate and criticism, particularly concerning allegations of antitrust violations and unfair competition practices.

In the video, Mayer candidly explains that Google products are always shown at the top of search results, regardless of other metrics such as popularity or relevance. She describes how the introduction of Google Finance changed the way stock quotes were displayed, pushing Google’s own links to the forefront. Mayer contrasts this approach with the previous practice of ranking finance sites based on published metrics like Comscore, which would typically feature the most popular sites at the top.

Mayer’s remarks highlight a broader pattern within Google, where similar preferential treatment extends to other services like Google Maps. According to Mayer, after Google links, other results are ranked by popularity, but Google’s services consistently receive top billing.

This revelation has significant implications for Google’s ongoing legal battles, particularly with Rumble, a video-sharing platform that has accused Google of self-preferencing and violating antitrust laws. Rumble’s lawsuit, filed in January 2021, alleges that Google manipulates its algorithms to disadvantage competitors, including Rumble itself.

Pavlovski has indicated that Mayer’s video will play a crucial role in their legal arguments, serving as a key piece of evidence in their case against Google. He hopes that the video will demonstrate Google’s deliberate and systematic practice of prioritizing its own products, which could be seen as an abuse of its dominant market position.

The controversy raises important questions about the fairness and integrity of Google’s search engine practices. Critics argue that by prioritizing its own services, Google is not acting in the best interest of users or the competitive market. Instead, it is leveraging its vast influence to stifle competition and maintain its market dominance.

The issue of search engine manipulation is not new for Google. The company has faced multiple antitrust investigations and fines from regulators around the world. However, the detailed insights provided by a former high-ranking executive like Mayer could add weight to the arguments of those advocating for stricter regulations and greater accountability for tech giants.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the tech industry and consumers alike will be watching closely to see how the courts address these allegations. The outcome could have significant repercussions for Google and set important precedents for how tech companies manage their platforms and compete in the digital marketplace.

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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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