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Tech Week In Review: CA Lawmakers Weighing Social Media Protections for Kids, Amazon’s Climate Pollution Problem & More

August 05, 2022 (2 min read)

CA Bills Would Provide Social Media Protections for Kids

A pair of bills under consideration in California is aimed at protecting children from social media.

AB 2273 would require all online services “likely to be accessed by a child” to minimize the collection and use of personal data of users under the age of 18. The measure, which was passed by the Assembly in May, would also require such companies to “consider the best interests of children when designing, developing, and providing that service, product, or feature,” broad wording that could open companies up to prosecution for offering features deemed harmful to children, such as push notifications that constantly demand their attention. Violations would be punishable by fines of up $7,500 per affected child.

Another bill passed by the Assembly in May, AB 2408, would let prosecutors sue social media companies that knowingly addict children, making those companies subject to fines of up to $250,000 per violation. As introduced, the bill would also have allowed parents to sue such companies. But after getting pushback on that provision from Big Tech, lawmakers removed it in June. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, STATE NET)

Amazon’s Climate Pollution Continues to Grow

Despite promoting itself as a leader in climate action, Amazon’s carbon dioxide emissions grew 18 percent in 2021, according to the company’s most recent sustainability report. The company generated about as much pollution last year as 180 gas-fired power plants. And it has now reported double-digit climate pollution increases for two years in a row. The company co-created the “Climate Pledge” initiative in 2019 aimed at encouraging businesses to commit to reducing their CO2 emissions and neutralizing leftover emissions with carbon offsets (VERGE)

SEC Targets Alleged $300M Crypto Pyramid Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged 11 people in connection with what the agency characterized as a fraudulent crypto Ponzi scheme that raised over $300 million from retail investors. According to the SEC, the individuals created and promoted a decentralized networking platform known as that allegedly used assets of new investors to pay those who had invested earlier. The move comes after the SEC doubled the size of its crypto and cyber unit in May. (DOW JONES)

No Vote on Federal Tech Antitrust Bill Until After Summer Recess

Federal legislation that could reshape the tech industry won’t get a vote before Congress's summer recess, according to the bill’s lead sponsor, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). A vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act will probably come in the fall, potentially giving tech industry lobbyists more time to generate more opposition to the measure. (CNBC)

Probe of Amazon Safety Standards Expands

As part of an ongoing probe into Amazon’s workplace safety standards, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited Amazon facilities near Albany, New York; Boise, Idaho; and Denver last week. Last month, responding to referrals from prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, OSHA investigators visited Amazon warehouses in New York, Chicago, and Orlando. (CNBC)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK


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