New evidence that Big Tech is ‘MIA’ about climate policy

News Highlights: New evidence that Big Tech is ‘MIA’ about climate policy

The Biden government links actions with words about climate – collecting the most impressive team of pro-climate experts, strategists and policy leaders ever, making the goal of fair climate policy a pinnacle priority of the legislative agenda for 2021 in Congress.

But tech industry leaders are failing to match their own pro-climate commitments with lobbying efforts, according to a new report from InfluenceMap. (Note: The author is a member of the InfluenceMap Advisory Board.) The report finds that Big Tech, the most powerful corporate voice for the climate, is usually lacking in action on Capitol Hill, just as this pressing issue approaches a policy showdown.

The new data shows that Big Tech’s track record of commitment to climate policy is so far negligible: across the board, InfluenceMap finds that “only 4 percent of Big Tech’s revealed lobby activity

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2021’s First Big Ransomware Gang Launches Sleek and Bigoted “Leak” Site

Illustration for article titled 2021s First Big Ransomware Gang Launches Sleek and Bigoted Leak Site

Screenshot: Lucas Ropek

Every year sees a number of new ransomware gangs emerge and take a swing at becoming the most prolific operators in the digital underworld. Well, 2021 officially has its first new high-profile ransomware operation and they are definitely assholes.

The group behind Babyk Locker ransomware, a malware that has been heralded as the first new “enterprise ransomware” of 2021, recently launched its first data leak site—a forum where hackers post and publicize data stolen from their victims if the victims refuse to pay them. The group, which surfaced a few weeks ago, has been dubbed a “Big Game Hunter” for its strategy of targeting large institutions for bigger payouts. It has already struck a number of big entities—apparently compromising a car parts manufacturer, a U.S.-based heating firm, and an elevator company, among others.

Interestingly, the group has made it known that,

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Team takes next big step to scale up quantum computing

Beyond qubits: Sydney takes next big step to scale up quantum computing
The Cryogenic CMOS chip platform. The chip itself is just below the shining component, which houses the qubits. Credit: University of Sydney

Scientists and engineers at the University of Sydney and Microsoft Corporation have opened the next chapter in quantum technology with the invention of a single chip that can generate control signals for thousands of qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers.

“To realise the potential of quantum computing, machines will need to operate thousands if not millions of qubits,” said Professor David Reilly, a designer of the chip who holds a joint position with Microsoft and the University of Sydney.

“The world’s biggest quantum computers currently operate with just 50 or so qubits,” he said. “This small scale is partly because of limits to the physical architecture that control the qubits.”

“Our new chip puts an end to those limits.”

The results have been published in Nature Electronics

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Wary of big tech’s bottom line, activists greet facial recognition pledges with skepticism

Over the course of four days last week, three of America’s largest technology companies — IBM, Amazon and Microsoft — announced sweeping restrictions on their sale of facial recognition tools and called for federal regulation amid protests across the United States against police violence and racial profiling.

In terms of headlines, it was a symbolic shift for the industry. Researchers and civil liberties groups who have been calling for strict controls or outright bans on the technology for years are celebrating, although cautiously.

They doubt, however, that much has changed. The careful wording of the public pledges leaves plenty of room for oppressive uses of the technology, which exacerbate human biases and infringe on people’s constitutional freedoms, critics say.

“It shows that organizing and socially informed research works,” said Meredith Whittaker, co-founder of the AI Now Institute, which researches the social implications of artificial intelligence. “But do I

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