Bulletins

FTC official warns of seizing algorithms 'juiced by ill-gotten data'

Erie Meyer, the agency's chief technologist, also floated corporate restructuring and bans on companies that "sacrifice security" illegally.

FTC building exterior

The FTC's leadership floated a tougher line on data abuses.

Photo: bpperry/Getty Images

The chief technologist of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission told a conference on Tuesday that the agency envisions forcing companies that engage in illegal data uses to "not just disgorge data and money," but also "algorithms that were juiced by ill-gotten data."


Chief technologist Erie Meyer also floated the possibility of corporate restructuring and stronger enforcement against "companies that sacrifice security in service of speed," making them "subject to bans just like abusive debt collectors."

"We're going to make sure that data abusers face consequences for their wrongdoing," she said. She slammed fixes that make "a disclosure longer or a one-time fine bigger" and suggested the FTC needed to take on entire business models.

Meyer's comments came as the commission's new chair, Lina Khan, has already begun to clear the way for the commission to take more aggressive enforcement actions on tech companies.

Meyer and Democratic commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter also opened the FTC's PrivacyCon on Tuesday with warnings that the agency will look at privacy and other data abuses not just through the lens of consumer protection but also as an issue of competition, economic opportunity and civil rights.

Crypto crackdowns and fintech super apps

Plus, the Coinbase/Robinhood competition heats up.

Photo: Dmitry Demidko /Unsplash

On this episode of the Source Code podcast: Ben Pimentel joins the show to discuss China's aggressive moves against the crypto industry, Robinhood and Coinbase's battle for crypto supremacy, and PayPal's new financial super app. Then Tomio Geron explains what's going on at Binance, and why the largest crypto exchange in the world is under so much regulatory scrutiny.

For more on the topics discussed in this episode:

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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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A technology company reimagining global capital markets and economies.

Theranos 'valued PR' over patients, an ex-employee says

Adam Rosendorff said he felt pressured to vouch for tests he did not have confidence in. His testimony appeared to tie Holmes more closely to the lab's failures.

Elizabeth Holmes leaves the San Jose courthouse where her fraud trial is underway.

Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff testified Friday that he repeatedly raised the alarm about bad blood tests to then-CEO Elizabeth Holmes, ultimately concluding that the company valued press and funding more than the patients.

"I was very enthusiastic working at Theranos in the beginning. Over time, I came to realize that the company really valued PR and fundraising above patient care, and I became very disillusioned," Rosendorff said on the witness stand inside the San Jose courtroom where Holmes' trial on fraud charges began this month.

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Biz Carson

Biz Carson ( @bizcarson) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering Silicon Valley with a focus on startups and venture capital. Previously, she reported for Forbes and was co-editor of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before that, she worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired and started her career as a newspaper designer for Gannett.

Protocol | China

Can NFTs happen in a crypto-less China? Amazingly, yes.

Using clever workarounds, Chinese NFT players are managing to weather a regulatory ban on cryptocurrency.

No matter what workarounds Chinese NFT marketplaces choose, the result is that most NFT transactions in China feel detached from cryptocurrency.

Image: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty Images

The NFT craze has come to China, but you can hardly see any trace of crypto in it.

In the past two months, Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent has built an NFT purchase and collection app, ecommerce platform Alibaba sold 50 NFT mooncakes in a stunt to promote a metaverse product and half a dozen startups are competing to be the winner of the localized non-fungible token trading market in China.

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Zeyi Yang
Zeyi Yang is a reporter with Protocol | China. Previously, he worked as a reporting fellow for the digital magazine Rest of World, covering the intersection of technology and culture in China and neighboring countries. He has also contributed to the South China Morning Post, Nikkei Asia, Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. In his spare time, Zeyi co-founded a Mandarin podcast that tells LGBTQ stories in China. He has been playing Pokemon for 14 years and has a weird favorite pick.
Protocol | China

A Chinese ‘game companion’ platform’s phantom shutdown

Bixin said it would shutter its game companion business to keep regulators happy. It looks a lot like business as usual.

China's game companions are becoming even more vulnerable as a result of regulatory scrutiny.

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

In a clear response to regulatory scrutiny, Bixin, China's leading online marketplace for game companions, or peiwan, announced on Sept. 10 that it would "permanently shutter" its controversial peiwan business. But its internal announcement shared with Protocol seems to contradict its public declarations.

This past summer, Chinese authorities issued a slew of regulations aimed at addressing what Beijing considers toxic subcultures and practices that harm the country's minors. Bixin, an app developed by Shanghai Yitan Network Technology Company with 6 million registered game companions, also received its own share of regulatory pressure. Yitan was founded in 2014 and is backed by IDG Capital.

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Shen Lu

Shen Lu is a reporter with Protocol | China. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and POLITICO, among other publications. She can be reached at shenlu@protocol.com.

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