The Tech Oligarchs Are Going to Destroy Democracy Unless We Stop Them

When there is a general change in conditions, it is as if the entire creation had changed, and the whole world altered. Ibn Khaldun, 14th-century Arab historian the worlds five most wealthiest companiescontinue to rapidly consolidate economic, cultural, and, inevitably, political power on a scale not seen for over a century. This tiny sliver of humanity, with their relatively small cadre of engineers, data scientists, and marketers, represent a challenge to democracy, competitive capitalism, and the future of the middle class. Given their virtual monopoly status, a laissez faire approach will likely result in more consolidation; only government action of some kind can stop them now. Current concerns are large enough now that both the Trump administration and many Democrats …

The best stuff we bought on Amazon this year

While costlier items with household names tend to steal the Prime Day spotlight, there is a world beyond them. Oftentimes, the most random of Amazon purchases end up becoming the thing you realize you cant live without. Weve rounded up the best things we bought on Amazon this yearnote, we said best, not most exciting. Prime Day: The best stuff we bought on Amazon this year AmazonBasic Wired Keyboard ($13.99)a cheap, boxy, and black office keyboardRamon Ramirez, News Director WeMo Mini Smart Plug ($17.99)Lowes Iris techMonica Riese, Director of Production AV to HDMI Video Audio Converter Adapter ($14.99)ClerksSwingersJosh Katzowitz, Senior Writer Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder, Medium ($49.95), Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder, 10-Ounce ($72.95)Game of …

Why You Still Cant Buy Fireworks on Amazon

It may be known as the “everything store,” but there are some things, in fact, that Amazon does not sell. The ecommerce giant maintains a list of restricted product categories that ranges from weapons such as firearms, to booze and tobacco products, to pets, to kite strings for the niche sport of kite fighting. And as you get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, you should also know that list includes fireworks. It’s true that laws restricting fireworks sales have eased in recent years, and you can even buy them online from certain websites. But the US Postal Service and carriers like UPS won't ship most fireworks. And while Amazon is building out its own delivery network, the company …

Africa Roundup: Jumias post-IPO earnings, Gokadas $5.3M raise, Facebooks fake-news purge, Joe Montanas fintech investment

Jumia held its first post-IPO earnings call and weathered a short-sell assault in May, with Wall Street showing confidence in the Pan-African e-commerce company. On the numbers, key takeaways were that Jumia’s Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) — the total amount of goods sold over the period — grew by 58% to €240 million. Marketplace revenue grew 102% to €16 million, and gross profits as a percentage of GMV grew by 6.5% in Q1 2019. Overall, Jumia’s operating losses for the period widened to €45.4 million from €34.3, and negative EBITDA increased to €39.5 million from €30.2. So the startup’s still losing money — see the big losses reported in the IPO filing — but is improving its ability to earn. …

Amazon sellers to hit UK high streets in year-long pop-up pilot

Internet shopping has been blamed for boarding up high streets across the UK. So it looks politically judicious for Amazon, the original ecommerce behemoth, to now be attaching its brand name to a pilot project aimed at sparking a little commercial life in denuded UK towns and cities by parachuting online SMEs into pop-up shops around the country. The year-long Amazon pop-up pilot program — which is couched as an exploration of “a new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their high street presence” — will see more than 100 small online businesses selling on the UK high street for the first time via time-slots in ten pop-up shops which will each be open for between six and eight …

Facial recognition coming to U.S. airports by 2021

A congressional hearing on the dangers of facial recognition technology brought Republicans and Democrats together on Wednesday.Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock The first in a series of congressional hearings on facial recognition technology took place on Wednesday, and it brought about a rare occurrence in Washington: agreement between Democrats and Republicans. The House Oversight Committee’s hearing was focused on the impact facial recognition has had on civil rights and liberties from its use among law enforcement. A panel of experts, including face recognition researchers, legal professionals, and former law enforcement, spoke of the threat of mass surveillance. The panel was nearly in full agreement that the use of facial recognition technology in the field must be halted immediately. “At a minimum, Congress …