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NEWS & TIPS
10 Surprising Things We Learned From A Year Of Longreads Fast Company spilled a lot of ink in 2017. We wrote—a lot—about sexism in Silicon Valley, fake news , and our tweeter-in-chief . But we also spent time digging into Samsung’s attempt to beat Apple to a health wearable, the history of Pac-Man , and the rise of dessert-based activism . Below, we’ve compiled 10 of our favorite longer stories from this year, each of which we think might surprise you in some way. New York’s top prosecutor looking into bots that flooded the FCC with fake net neutrality comments The FCC just announced that it is doing away with Obama-era net neutrality rules, with a vote on the order expected to take place at its meeting on December 14. While there may be no way to save net neutrality as we’ve come to know it, one man is not giving up the fight: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He wants to get to the bottom of the burning question: Who knows how to make a bot, but also hates net neutrality? As we reported back in May, an anti- net neutrality bot p osted more than 58,000 identical comments in what appeared to be a flagrant attempt to influence the results of the request for public feedback about the FCC’s plan to do away with net neutrality rules. Now Schneiderman is investigating what he calls “a massive scheme” to fill the FCC’s site with fake public comments opposing net neutrality. Schneiderman wrote an open letter on Medium–and a tweet, natch–to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, pointing out that the FCC’s process may have “ been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities” in a violation of New York state law. However, according to Schneiderman the FCC isn’t assisting in his investigation into the potential crime, but seems to be ignoring it as it favors their agenda. Schneiderman lambasted the agency for failing to provide him with information he considers to be “critical” to his investigation into the matter. Over the last 6 mos, my office has investigated a massive scheme to corrupt the @FCC 's comment process on #NetNeutrality by impersonating 100,000s of real Americans. The FCC has been unwilling to provide information that is critical to the investigation: https://t.co/xxFjSg6Pxf — Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) November 22, 2017 In his open letter, Schneiderman encouraged the FCC to reconsider its “refusal” to help in the criminal investigation . He wrote, “In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies’ decision-making processes.” ICE is recruiting tech companies to build tools to monitor visa holders’ social media accounts Last week, the Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) gave a presentation at a tech industry conference. In it, the agency discussed its plans to monitor United States visa holders’ social media use, and even made a call for new algorithms to aid this pursuit, reports ProPublica . Tech companies in attendance include Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte, and Motorola Solutions. According to ProPublica , the agency is looking to build “a tool equipped with “risk-based matrices” to predict dangers posed by visa holders, with the social media of those considered a threat under continuous surveillance throughout their stay in the U.S.” ICE added that it has already spoken to companies, but did not mention more specifics. Read the entire ProPublica piece here . This Startup Rethinks The Luxury Suitcase From The Inside Out The suitcase market is bubbling over with startups. AWAY is perhaps the best-known one: The brand launched in 2014 with high-quality suitcases complete with USB chargers, starting at $195, a fraction of what their competitors were charging. But many others have popped up, each with a unique selling point. Raden gives you an app that tracks where your suitcase is at any given time. Modobag allows you to ride your suitcase around the airport. Valeto doubles as a high chair should you happen to be traveling with a baby. Ebby Rane , a Canadian startup founded by former lawyer Sonja Salmon, has created a high-end case called the Quartermaster, which I tested on a recent trip.
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