Technology

A 9-Month Cruise Is TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’
Technology

A 9-Month Cruise Is TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’

In the last few months, Beth Fletcher, a 39-year-old photographer in Derbyshire, England, built a small following on TikTok by recapping and analyzing the British reality show “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” When the latest season ended in early December, Ms. Fletcher was at a loss for content because, she said, “we don’t have another good reality TV show on until summer.”Then the TikTok algorithm delivered: a video of Brooklyn Schwetje, a graduate student and influencer, sharing a day in her life on the Ultimate World Cruise, a nine-month-long, round-the-world voyage with Royal Caribbean. Ms. Fletcher was instantly rapt. “I’ve never been on a cruise, and the idea of a nine-month cruise blew my mind,” she said. After finding more videos from other passengers on the cruise, somethin...
Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions
Technology

Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions

When Thomas Wong set foot in the United States Embassy in Beijing this summer for a new diplomatic posting, it was vindication after years of battling the State Department over a perceived intelligence threat — himself.Diplomatic Security officers had informed him when he joined the foreign service more than a decade ago that they were banning him from working in China. In a letter, he said, they wrongly cited the vague potential for undue “foreign preference” and suggested he could be vulnerable to “foreign influence.”Mr. Wong had become a U.S. diplomat thinking that China was where he could have the greatest impact. He had grown up in a Chinese-speaking household and studied in the country. And as a graduate of West Point who had done an Army tour in the Balkans, he thought he had experi...
Un estudiante mantuvo en secreto una criptomina de 6 millones de dólares
Technology

Un estudiante mantuvo en secreto una criptomina de 6 millones de dólares

Jerry Yu reúne las características de lo que los chinos llaman un rico de segunda generación. Estudió en una escuela preparatoria de Connecticut. Vive en un condominio de Manhattan que le vendió Jeffrey R. Immelt, exdirector ejecutivo de General Electric, en 8 millones de dólares. Y es el dueño mayoritario de una mina de bitcóin en Texas, que fue adquirida por más de 6 millones de dólares el año pasado.Yu, un estudiante de 23 años de la Universidad de Nueva York, también se ha convertido —sin querer— en un caso de estudio sobre cómo los ciudadanos chinos pueden mover dinero de China a Estados Unidos sin llamar la atención de las autoridades de ninguno de los dos países.El sitio de Texas, un gran centro de cómputo, no se compró con dólares sino con criptomonedas, las cuales ofrecen anonimat...
Inside the News Industry’s Uneasy Negotiations With OpenAI
Technology

Inside the News Industry’s Uneasy Negotiations With OpenAI

For months, some of the biggest players in the U.S. media industry have been in confidential talks with OpenAI on a tricky issue: the price and terms of licensing their content to the artificial intelligence company.The curtain on those negotiations was pulled back this week when The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement, alleging that the companies used its content without permission to build artificial intelligence products.The Times said that before suing, it had been talking with the companies for months about a deal. And it was not alone. Other news organizations — including Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper company; News Corp, the owner of The Wall Street Journal; and IAC, the digital colossus behind The Daily Beast and the magazine publisher Dotdash M...
Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.
Technology

Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.

The Chinese spies wanted more. In meetings during the pandemic with Chinese technology contractors, they complained that surveillance cameras tracking foreign diplomats, military officers and intelligence operatives in Beijing’s embassy district fell short of their needs.The spies asked for an artificial intelligence program that would create instant dossiers on every person of interest in the area and analyze their behavior patterns. They proposed feeding the A.I. program information from databases and scores of cameras that would include car license plates, cellphone data, contacts and more.The A.I.-generated profiles would allow the Chinese spies to select targets and pinpoint their networks and vulnerabilities, according to internal meeting memos obtained by The New York Times.The spie...
Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging
Technology

Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging

For years, Ben Black’s phone annoyed his family. It was the only Android device in a family message group with eight iPhones. Because of him, videos and photos would arrive in low resolution and there would be green bubbles of text amid bubbles of blue.But a new app called Beeper Mini gave him the ability to change that.Mr. Black, 25, used the app to create an account for Apple’s messaging service, iMessage, with his Google Pixel phone number. For the first time, every message the family exchanged had a blue bubble and members were able to use perks like emojis and animations.Since it was introduced on Dec. 5, Beeper Mini has quickly become a headache and potential antitrust problem for Apple. It has poked a hole in Apple’s messaging system, while critics say it has demonstrated how Apple ...
Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech
Technology

Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech

Under pressure from critics who say Substack is profiting from newsletters that promote hate speech and racism, the company’s founders said Thursday that they would not ban Nazi symbols and extremist rhetoric from the platform.“I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either — we wish no one held those views,” Hamish McKenzie, a co-founder of Substack, said in a statement. “But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away — in fact, it makes it worse.”The response came weeks after The Atlantic found that at least 16 Substack newsletters had “overt Nazi symbols” in their logos or graphics, and that white supremacists had been allowed to publish on, and profit...
Apple Explores A.I. Deals With News Publishers
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Apple Explores A.I. Deals With News Publishers

Apple has opened negotiations in recent weeks with major news and publishing organizations, seeking permission to use their material in the company’s development of generative artificial intelligence systems, according to four people familiar with the discussions.The technology giant has floated multiyear deals worth at least $50 million to license the archives of news articles, said the people with knowledge of talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. The news organizations contacted by Apple include Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker; NBC News; and IAC, which owns People, The Daily Beast and Better Homes and Gardens.The negotiations mark one of the earliest examples of how Apple is trying to catch up to rivals in the race to develop...
New Jersey Deli Scheme Leads to Securities Fraud Guilty Plea
Technology

New Jersey Deli Scheme Leads to Securities Fraud Guilty Plea

A man involved in a brazen plot to manipulate the stock price of a New Jersey deli’s parent company pleaded guilty to securities fraud on Wednesday.James T. Patten, 64, of North Carolina, admitted to orchestrating a series of misleading trades in an apparent bid to enrich himself and two co-defendants in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J.Mr. Patten faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for securities fraud. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.Mr. Patten’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, said in an interview on Wednesday that attention on the case “was exaggerated beyond any perception — that this was some $100 million fraud involving a delicatessen...
Chinese Traders and Moroccan Ports: How Russia Flouts Global Tech Bans
Technology

Chinese Traders and Moroccan Ports: How Russia Flouts Global Tech Bans

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, engineers at Convex, a Russian telecommunications company, needed to find American equipment to transmit data to the country’s feared intelligence service. But no gear was flowing in after Western nations imposed sweeping new trade limits on Russia.Convex’s employees soon found a solution.While Cisco, a U.S. tech provider, had halted sales to Russia on March 3, 2022, Convex’s engineers easily obtained the Cisco gear they needed through an obscure Russian e-commerce site called Nag, which had gotten around international trade restrictions by buying the American equipment through a web of suppliers in China.Convex engineers then visited the offices of Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., in Yekaterinburg to install the gear t...