Commentary: Big Tech Wants to Sneak Its AI Agenda Through State Legislatures

Connecticut State Sen. James Moroney with Texas State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione

Most conservatives are aware Big Tech is an insidious force in American life. Tech giants censor free speech, promote wokeness, and fund far-left groups. A number of Republicans at the federal level want to curtail the massive power Big Tech wields in our country.

However, at the state level, many Republicans are lining up to serve the interests of the tech giants. Big Tech knows that there’s little appetite at the federal level to do its bidding. So corporations like Microsoft are now lobbying state legislators to enact the AI regulations they want. It’s a campaign few Americans know about, but it could dramatically impact their lives.

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Tech Companies Plan to Combat Use of Fake AI in Elections

Facebook User

As the threat of fake images and videos generated by artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially play a role in the coming 2024 elections and beyond, several tech companies have pledged to use their resources to combat misinformation as a result of such technology.

According to Politico, multiple companies are planning to cooperate through a so-called “Tech Accord” dictating several key goals and methods that will be used in the fight against false AI. The companies intend to expose and debunk any “deepfake” images or videos produced by AI, through various tactics such as watermarks and automatic detection technology.

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Documents: Microsoft Made Deals with Chinese Propaganda Outlets

Recently-revealed documents indicate that the American software company Microsoft actively worked with Chinese government-run media outlets to spread Chinese propaganda.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Microsoft – the second-largest corporation in the United States – entered into partnerships with several outlets run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including China Daily and People’s Daily, with the latter being the official newspaper of the CCP’s Central Committee, while the former is published by the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department. In 2020, the U.S. State Department declared that the parent company of People’s Daily was “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by the CCP.

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Chinese Hackers Allegedly Gained Access to Top Biden Officials’ Emails

In a massive breach of two dozen organizations, Chinese hackers managed to gain access to the confidential emails of at least two senior officials in the Biden Administration.

As previously reported, Microsoft had announced that a Chinese hacking group called Storm-0558 had been behind the breach of 25 different companies and government agencies.

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China Hacked Critical Networks to Spy on U.S. Ahead of Potential Conflict, Officials Say

A shadowy Chinese government-backed hacking group attacked critical U.S. networks, including in Guam, where it may have spied on the U.S. to gain an edge ahead of future crises, according to a Microsoft report and U.S. government advisory.

Microsoft said the organization, dubbed “Volt Typhoon,” has been active since 2021 to break into so-called “critical infrastructure” in Guam and other U.S. sites with the intent to secure long-term hidden access to networks and conduct espionage, according to a report published Wednesday. While targets spanned the U.S., Microsoft highlighted infiltration of national security-specific infrastructure in Guam, an important U.S. territory and military outpost in the Pacific that would likely serve as the front-line of U.S. defenses in the event of a conflict over Taiwan.

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Microsoft Lays Off 10,000 as Major Companies Continue Job Cuts

Microsoft is laying off 10,000 employees, nearly 5% of its workforce, in what the tech company calls a “response to macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities,” according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday. The workers will be laid off by the conclusion of the third fiscal quarter this year, the company said.

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Federal Trade Commission Sues Microsoft to Block Activision Blizzard Deal

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit Thursday against Microsoft Corp. to block it from acquiring Activision Blizzard Inc., publisher of the “Call of Duty” games.

The FTC alleges the largest acquisition in the video gaming industry would allow Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its subscription content and cloud-gaming business.

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Microsoft Retires Internet Explorer After 30 Years of Service

Internet Explorer, the longtime web browser that led countless users onto the early Internet on Microsoft operating systems, is officially no longer compatible with Windows, the company announced this week.

In a blog post on Microsoft’s website, Sean Lyndersay—the general manager to the Windows web browser Microsoft Edge Enterprise—explained the decision by nothing that “the web has evolved and so have browsers.”

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Corporations Stay Quiet on Abortion After Disney’s Disastrous Tangle with DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

Corporations previously outspoken about hot-button social issues have stayed quiet on the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade after a dramatic fight between Disney and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the company’s political activism.

Following the leak of a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats are trying to ram through a bill legalizing third trimester abortions; however, corporations are largely staying out of the fray, following Disney’s disastrous battle with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that ended with the company losing its special tax privileges.

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Google Accuses Microsoft of ‘Carving Out’ Exception in Anti-Big Tech Bill

Google’s Chief Legal Officer and President of Global Affairs Kent Walker accused Microsoft on Friday of “carving out” an exception to a bill targeting app stores operated by Google and Apple.

The Open App Markets Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a near-unanimous vote Thursday. Microsoft president Brad Smith applauded the passage of the bill in tweet shortly after, writing that the legislation “would promote competition, and ensure fairness and innovation in the app economy.”

Walker responded to Smith’s tweet accusing the software company of “carving out” an exception in the legislation favoring Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and service.

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Amazon and Facebook Spent More Money Than Ever Lobbying in 2021

Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.

Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.

Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.

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Tech Giant to Buy Video Game Company for Almost $70 Billion

Microsoft agreed to purchase video game giant Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, its largest acquisition in company history, multiple sources reported.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it agreed to purchase Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal, further broadening the tech giant’s video game portfolio. Upon completion, the deal w0uld make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company, behind Tencent and Sony.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft chairman and chief executive Satya Nadella said in a press release. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

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Gates Calls for ‘New Way of Doing’ Vaccines Since They Don’t ‘Block Transmission’ of COVID

Bill Gates

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has called for a “new way of doing the vaccines” against viruses like COVID-19 given that they do not “block” transmission.

Gates said the “economic damage” and death toll from COVID-19 was “completely horrific.”

Gates expects the world’s experience with COVID-19 to lead to larger research and development budgets to better prepare for a future pandemic.

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Microsoft Draws Jeers for ‘Utterly Bananas’ Introductions Highlighting Pronouns, Race and Hairstyles

Microsoft was ridiculed on social media Thursday for including land acknowledgments, pronoun statements and references to hairstyles in its corporate introductions.

While giving presentations during the Microsoft Ignite 2021 conference on Tuesday, Microsoft employees recognized that the land they were currently standing on previously belonged to Native American tribes.

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Russian Hackers Behind SolarWinds Attack Are Targeting the Supply Chain, Microsoft Says

silhouette of person with hoodie on

The same group of Russian hackers behind the December 2020 SolarWinds attack are targeting companies in the U.S. technology supply chain, according to a Monday report released by Microsoft.

Russian hacking group Nobelium is targeting cloud infrastructure companies and information technology software resellers in an attempt to gain access to these companies’ customers, according to Microsoft’s research. Microsoft believes Nobelium to be the same group responsible for the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 that affected multiple Cabinet-level agencies, federal contractors and critical infrastructure companies.

“This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling – now or in the future – targets of interest to the Russian government,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in the report.

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Big Tech Profits Continue to Surge, Latest Earnings Show

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Big Tech companies reported massive, record-breaking earnings figures as their sales continued to surge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter all beat earnings estimates and showed large revenue growth, executives for the tech companies said during earnings calls Tuesday evening. The four companies’ earnings reports suggested that the growth experienced by Big Tech during the pandemic will continue apace.

“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Tuesday, explaining his company’s strong performance.

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Whistleblower Document Appears to Show Microsoft Helped Write Big Tech Bills

Screencap of meeting. Mr. Tiffany speaking

Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.

The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”

“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”

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Microsoft Blocks Images of Tiananmen Square Protests on Massacre Anniversary

Woman on computer

Microsoft’s search engine Bing appeared to censor images of the protester who stood in front of a Chinese tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

A Bing Images search of “tank man” yielded no results and a prompt for the user to check their spelling as of Friday afternoon. However, an identical search on Google Images produced hundreds of results including many of the iconic moment.

The famous “tank man” photo was taken on June 5, 1989, one day after the 1989 massacre in which Chinese troops fired indiscriminately upon civilians demonstrating against the government, killing hundreds. The photo showed a Chinese protester, who has since become known as “tank man,” standing in front of a procession of Chinese tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce

Bill and Melinda Gates announced in a statement on Monday that they will be divorcing after more than a quarter century of marriage.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the former couple said in a statement. “We continue to share belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

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More Corporations, Including Google, Microsoft, and American Express Denounce Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law

More corporations are speaking out against Georgia’s voter reform law, otherwise known as Senate Bill 202. Officials at Microsoft, American Express, Google and others this week condemned SB 202 as a form of voter suppression.

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Big Tech Employees Donated More to Biden’s Campaign Than Any Other Sector

Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.

The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.

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