October 25, 2022
Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol
Good morning! Square’s parent company, Block, sells access to customers’ inboxes. A new Protocol investigation looks into how it does that, and why it probably isn’t violating any laws in the process.
Have you ever received a promo email from your local coffee shop, bakery, or boutique and wondered, “How the hell did they get my info?” Square, the ubiquitous point-of-sale company, likely has something to do with it, as Protocol’s Ben Brody discovered in an investigation published today.
Square’s parent company, Block, sells access to customers’ inboxes, Ben reports, even if the only permission the customer gives is to get a receipt from a single transaction.
Square card readers are just about everywhere: The company handled more than 3 billion card payments in 2021 and kept 261 million consumer profiles. In other words, it’s pretty hard to avoid its marketing reach.
Legally, Square seems to be free and clear to do this. Because it acts as a service provider to buyers, it doesn’t have many privacy obligations.
Though the company probably isn’t violating any laws — Ben was, after much effort, able to figure out how to wipe his info from Square’s marketing system — the high-friction, unintuitive process is nothing to be proud of. At the very least, it violates consumer expectations.
Read more: Square sells access to your inbox. No one seems to know if the law cares.
While interest rates for borrowing have shot up considerably this year, savings accounts offered by online banks are seeing their own rate hikes, Protocol’s Ryan Deffenbaugh writes.
The typical annual percentage yield on high-yield online savings accounts broke 2% this month for the first time since 2019. That’s a stark contrast from the average rate on all savings accounts, which has barely budged at 0.16%, with some of the larger banks only offering 0.01%.
Online accounts often offer better interest rates, Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com and a senior analyst at LendingTree, told Ryan.
But getting customers to abandon their old bank for an online one can be difficult. A survey by Bankrate found the average American has kept the same savings account for almost 17 years, often due to convenience.
The small group seeking maximum returns may make all the difference to online banks, Shevlin said. Only time will tell if high rates are enough to make that group bigger. And because online bank rates often closely trail Fed rate increases, rates may still have room to grow.
Read more: High-yield online savings accounts are making a comeback.
Carbon dioxide removal is vital to reaching net zero. But doing so in an equitable way is crucial. That’s why Carbon Direct, a company that helps others manage their emissions, hired Christian Braneon as its first head of climate justice, Protocol’s Michelle Ma writes.
Deploying carbon removal at scale has the potential to negatively impact local communities and ecosystems. The best way to mitigate this is by involving communities early in the process, Braneon told Michelle.
Braneon’s biggest concern is that, if carbon removal is done too hastily, there could be “unintended consequences.” That points to the need for a new model of community engagement.
Braneon wants clients to understand that making a positive impact is about more than just pulling carbon from the air. By taking this role at Carbon Direct, he hopes other carbon capture removal understand that, too.
Read more: Carbon Direct just hired its first head of climate justice. Here’s why that matters.
Many business leaders aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to migrating to the cloud. To help organizations adapt to this revolution, Capital One launched Capital One Software, a new enterprise B2B software business focused on providing cloud and data management solutions.
Brad Gerstner, CEO of long-term Meta shareholder Altimeter Capital Management, said the company needs to rein in spending on its metaverse investments:
Michael Gronager, CEO at Chainalysis, sees the crypto industry’s challenges as an opportunity for the company to better work with regulators:
FBI director Christopher Wray said charges against Chinese intelligence officers are an example of China's efforts to gain an advantage over U.S. tech companies:
And Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger isn’t too surprised by the U.S. chip restrictions against China:
Green Dot fired Dan Henry as its CEO, replacing him with chief financial and operating officer George Gresham.
EK Chung joined reddit as its VP of user experience. Chung has 12 years of UX experience at Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Bill Harris, founding CEO of Paypal and former CEO of Intuit, is launching Nirvana Money, a credit card and money management product for “middle-income Americans.”
Paul Foley is the new head of brand protection at ecommerce company StockX. Foley held similar roles at Nike and Converse.
Ritwik Tewar is joining Aledade as its chief technology officer. Tewar is the former senior director of engineering at Meta.
FTX will pay about $6 million to its account holders impacted by a phishing incident from a third-party website. But CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in a tweet that the compensation is a “one-time thing.”
Telehealth startup Cerebral is cutting 20% of its staff as it restructures operations to match customer demand.
The FTC has ordered alcohol-delivery service Drizly, and its CEO James Cory Rellas, to boost the company's security after a breach exposed the data of roughly 2.5 million customers.
Here’s a close look at TSMC from the FT, exploring how the Taiwanese chipmaker got caught in the middle of the U.S.-China chip war.
Apple is raising the prices of several of its subscription services, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, and the Apple One subscription bundle.
Funding given to Black startup founders has declined. They raised $187 million in Q3, down from the $1.1 billion they received in the same period of 2021.
Marqeta is rolling out a suite of new tools meant to help businesses offer more banking services. The company already helps businesses issue cards to their customers.
WhatsApp suffered a big outage overnight, its first major failure since last fall.
NASA has proven that it knows how to successfully smack an asteroid off course, should one come hurtling toward earth. The problem is, the agency doesn’t always see them coming. NASA estimates that it tracks only around 40% of asteroids large enough to do real damage if they were to hit Earth. And in order for it to deploy an asteroid-whacking satellite, the agency would need to know years, not months or weeks, in advance when another rock is speeding our way.
The flexibility of the cloud helps companies like Capital One unlock access to their data with performance that can scale instantly. But this flexibility and scale can also create a unique challenge for organizations and users who are not proficient in cloud optimization.
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