Roundup – Tesla cuts staff and Meta’s VR charge backlash
Uber ex-security chief faces fraud charges over 2016 hack coverup
Former Uber Technologies security chief Joseph Sullivan faces fraud charges over his role in trying to conceal a 2016 hack that exposed personal information of 57 million passengers and drivers. The US Department of Justice said Sullivan arranged to pay two hackers $100,000 in bitcoin, and sign nondisclosure agreements that falsely stated they’d not stolen data, while also keeping passengers, drivers and the US Federal Trade Commission in the dark.
“Those purported misrepresentations, though not made directly to Uber drivers, were part of a larger scheme to defraud them,” wrote US District Judge William Orrick.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s current chief executive, fired Sullivan after learning of the breach.
Meta faces revolt over plans to charge for VR apps
Meta is facing backlash for the costs imposed on apps created for its digital actuality headsets. It said the move has come from a need to personalise itself and keep it from being trapped by guidelines set by tech rivals: Apple is predicted to enter the market by releasing a set of augmented actuality glasses as early as this 12 months. Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg complained of Apple’s “monopoly rents”, to which Apple accused Meta of “hypocrisy” after Meta suggested its “social VR expertise” would cost a 17.5% “platform price” on high of its 30% tax on digital purchases. Until Apple and others enter the VR market in a concerted method, builders say Meta has the power to play kingmaker with apps by fast-tracking some and delaying others.
Tesla dismisses almost 200 data workers after shutting San Mateo office
Tesla has dismissed nearly 200 data annotation workers after shutting down its San Mateo, California office. The cuts come amid a “broader reduction of jobs” that Tesla said has been rumoured for months. Tesla added that most of workers who were fired carried out moderately low-skilled, low-wage jobs, such as Autopilot data labelling. The now 81-headed team will be relocated to another office, and the excess work will be offloaded to the Autopilot team in its Buffalo office. That said, it likely won’t be a 1:1 replacement in Buffalo, where sources say Tesla will inundate the existing team, “as is the Tesla way. Act now, deal with the consequences later.”
Lawmakers urged to greenlight $52bn for chipmaking
US commerce department secretary Gina Raimondo has pressed Congress to approve a $52 billion funding for chipmakers to expand operations, warning that firms would abandon American expansion plans without the legislation. Both houses of Congress have passed versions of legislation to make the US more competitive with China that include the chip funding. However, lawmakers have failed to reach consensus on a final version of the package, despite a global chip crunch.
“Mark my words … if Labour Day comes and goes and this Chips Act isn’t passed by Congress, these companies will not wait and they will expand in other countries,” said Raimondo.
India’s central bank snuffs fintech startups
The Reserve Bank of India has barred the practice of loading non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) in a move that has caused panic amongst pay later firms and fintech startups such as Slice, Jupiter, Uni and KreditBee, which used the licenses to issue cards and equip them with credit lines. One fintech founder said the stance risks erasing the innovation built over the past five years in the fintech industry. Startups claim that banks have lobbied the RBI to reach this decision. Those that are in the middle of raising new funding rounds are seeing some VCs back out, and until change or clarity arrives, disruptions are expected.
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