Amazon fined $135,000 in sanctions violations for letting blacklisted entities shop

Drug dealers and weapons of mass destruction manufacturers like to shop on Amazon as much as the next guy. But that doesn’t mean they’re allowed to. 

On Wednesday, the Department of the Treasury announced it had reached a settlement with Amazon for trade sanctions violations. Amazon voluntarily disclosed to the government that between 2011 and 2018, its automatic screening processes had failed to stop blacklisted individuals as well as people residing in countries under trade sanctions such as Iran, Syria, and Crimea from buying goods and services on the site.

The maximum penalty for the violations is a bit over $1 billion. However, Amazon will be paying just under $135,000. Read more…

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Dataminr helped cops surveil Black Lives Matter protesters, report finds

Analyzing all your dumb tweets is big business, and for the big data company Dataminr that business just so happened to involve helping police surveil Black Lives Matter demonstrators following the killing of George Floyd

So reports the Intercept, which on Thursday detailed how the New York-based data company alerted law enforcement to protests across the country. Dataminr, which bills itself as offering a “real-time AI platform [that] detects the earliest signals of high-impact events and emerging risks from within publicly available data,” hoovers up all public-facing Twitter data, quickly digests it, and offers customer-relevant insights.  Read more…

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Coinbase reportedly prepping to go public, and the good times are back!

Coinbase is getting ready to “moon.” 

According to Reuters, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange is secretly preparing to go public, possibly as early as this year. This would mark the first time a U.S. exchange of this size and importance has done so, and suggests that Coinbase believes the good times are back.

The exchange, which was valued at $8 billion in 2018, provides a government-friendly way for people to buy, sell, and HODL (i.e., not sell, spend, or trade) cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ethereum. Offering a mobile app, and a debit card that works with Apple Pay, the exchange has positioned itself as the go-to spot for people looking to get into the often confusing and scam-filled world of cryptocurrency.  Read more…

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