Every day we wake up, drink some coffee, get ready for work and check on the latest tech news. Here’s a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into your first cup. These are some things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the tech world this morning.
Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Section 230 Suit
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a landmark case to determine whether internet companies can be held liable for directing users to incitement to violence on their platforms. The case could determine whether the liability protections contained in Section 230 of Communications Decency Act of 1996 are constitutional.
The case was brought by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, an American college student who was murdered during the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris, against Google and its YouTube video service. Islamic State terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack that killed more than 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan theater. Another 100 were critically injured.
Gonzalez’s family asserts that Google not only hosted violent content on YouTube, but that its algorithm, and the thumbnails it created, actively radicalized users by encouraging them to view more and more of that violent content.
Gonzalez’s attorney, Eric Schnapper, argued that YouTube, by ignoring repeated complaints about the algorithm serving violent ISIS videos, aided and abetted the attack that killed Nohemi Gonzalez. Questioning by the Justices seemed to indicate their concern that a ruling in favor of the Gonzalez family would spark a wave of litigation.
AI Generated Art Loses US Copyright Protections
The U.S. Copyright Office ruled that graphics created by AI-powered image generators are not eligible for copyright protection.
In a letter addressed to the legal counsel of author Kris Kashtanova, the office revoked a previous copyright issued to an image created by Midjourney technology for her comic book Zarya of the Dawn. In the original application, Kashtanova failed to disclose that AI generated the image.
“We conclude that Ms. Kashtanova is the author of the Work’s text as well as the selection, coordination, and arrangement of the Work’s written and visual elements,” reads the copyright letter.
“That authorship is protected by copyright. However, as discussed below, the images in the Work that were generated by the Midjourney technology are not the product of human authorship. Based on the record before it, the Office concludes that the images generated by Midjourney contained within the Work are not original works of authorship protected by copyright.
Motorola Launches $5 Monthly Satellite Message Service
A new fob by Motorola, dubbed the Defy Satellite Link, will enable smartphones to send and receive satellite texts in areas with no cell signal. The device will connect to the Bullitt Satellite Messenger App on both Android and iOS phones and is capable of location sharing, emergency assistance and two-way messaging. The Motorola fob will retail for $99, which is much cheaper than upgrading to a satellite-enabled smartphone.
Bullitt service plans start at about $5 for 30 satellite texts per month, with a free 12-month option for SOS assistance. The plan will cover North America and Europe at launch, expanding to Central and South America, Africa and Australia by mid-2023, according to CNBC.
iPhone 14 and later come with one-way satellite texting, SOS, and location sharing, with two years of free service.
SpaceX Launch Scrubbed After Last-Minute Ignition Problem
With only two minutes remaining until liftoff, the SpaceX Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station controllers it called off. The launch originally scheduled for 1:48 a.m. from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is expected to be rescheduled to 12:34 a.m. on Thursday, March 2.
SpaceX officials said there was a problem with the Falcon 9 rocket engine ignition system. Ground equipment could not confirm there was a full load of ignition fuel.
The mission is scheduled to deliver a four-astronaut crew, including two NASA astronauts, one Russian cosmonaut and the first ever space traveler from the United Arab Emirates. They will relieve the four-person crew who have staffed the ISS since October.
SpaceX has a contract to deliver the next eight missions to the ISS with its reusable Dragon 2 spacecraft. The craft has traveled to the ISS 33 times, with 16 of those being reflights.