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Amazon gadgets, Section 230 rewrites and Twitter hacks

This week: Mike Murphy talks through the good, bad and weird of Amazon's recent event; Issie Lapowsky explains the Justice Department's proposal for rethinking Section 230; and Twitter data protection officer Damien Kieran talks about this summer's big hack and how Twitter's planning for the election.

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Politics

'Woke tech' and 'the new slave power': Conservatives gather for Vegas summit

An agenda for the event, hosted by the Claremont Institute, listed speakers including U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The so-called "Digital Statecraft Summit" was organized by the Claremont Institute. The speakers include U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as a who's-who of far-right provocateurs.

Photo: David Vives/Unsplash

Conservative investors, political operatives, right-wing writers and Trump administration officials are quietly meeting in Las Vegas this weekend to discuss topics including China, "woke tech" and "the new slave power," according to four people who were invited to attend or speak at the event as well as a copy of the agenda obtained by Protocol.

The so-called "Digital Statecraft Summit" was organized by the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank that says its mission is to "restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life." A list of speakers for the event includes a combination of past and current government officials as well as a who's who of far-right provocateurs. One speaker, conservative legal scholar John Eastman, rallied the president's supporters at a White House event before the Capitol Hill riot earlier this month. Some others have been associated with racist ideologies.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

People

One man’s plan to build a new internet

Dfinity Chief Scientist Dominic Williams comes on the Source Code Podcast.

Dfinity's founder and chief scientist, Dominic Williams.

Photo: Dfinity

Much is wrong with the internet we have now. But what does better look like?

Dominic Williams, the founder and chief scientist at Dfinity, thinks he has an answer. It's called the Internet Computer, and it builds on top of the internet's most basic protocols to create a new generation of the web that doesn't exist on a bunch of private networks controlled by tech giants, but is run by the network itself. It's zero-trust and unhackable and yeah, you guessed it, it's blockchain. But blockchain that works "at web speed," Williams said.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

People

‘Everyone's in the space industry. They just don't know it yet.’

Dylan Taylor, CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, comes on the Source Code Podcast to talk about the big business of space travel.

Thanks to companies like SpaceX, the space business is heating up fast.

Photo: SpaceX

A few hundred people have been to space. Just shy of 250 have been to the International Space Station, and all of two dozen have been on the moon. Pretty soon, though, all of those numbers are about to get a lot bigger.

The space industry is booming, as companies and governments alike vie to create new ways to get people into orbit and new things to do once they get there. They're trying to figure out what space tourism might look like; how to design a space hotel; what life might look like on Mars; and how to train a whole lot of astronauts in a really short time. And, eventually, how to bring the cost of a ticket down to something more than a handful of people can afford.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

People

How to build a better Facebook

MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein comes on the Source Code Podcast to talk privacy, regulation and how to beat Facebook by being absolutely nothing like Facebook.

MeWe looks a little like Facebook — but it wants to act completely differently.

Image: MeWe

Many have tried to take on Facebook over the years, and none have succeeded. But Mark Weinstein thinks he might have a shot. Weinstein is the CEO of MeWe, and while he's not crazy enough to think he can completely take down the Big Blue app, he's pretty sure he can win over a few hundred million of its users.

MeWe has some things in common with Facebook — it has a news feed, you can post pictures and status updates, there are lots of groups — but its business model and view of the world couldn't be more different. It has no algorithmic timelines, no personalization and no ad business. It's up to 13 million users now, twice the number it had a year ago, and Weinstein thinks it's only just beginning to take off.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Tech fights the government. And itself.

On Facebook vs. Apple, the U.S. vs. Big Tech and Robinhood vs. its users.

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

This week on the Source Code podcast: Emily Birnbaum comes on the show to talk about the latest antitrust lawsuits, and which ones have an actual chance of succeeding. Then, Shakeel Hashim joins to talk about what's going on with Robinhood, and why regulation might hit fintech sooner than it hits the rest of tech.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

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