Barking

Former federal ethics director leaves recommendations; Germany tackles fake news; and more.


  • On his way out the door, departing head of the Office of Government ethics Walter Shaub is making some recommendations to curb presidential conflicts of interests, and lawmakers are not entirely opposed to his ideas, Eric Lipton and Nicholas Fandos report for The New York Times.

  • The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan ponders why Trump Junior’s emails haven’t put Trump Senior’s cries of “fake news media” to bed. “We’re in a golden era for accountability journalism, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to hear what the watchdogs are barking about,” she writes. “Even if they do, they may not believe it.”

  • Cyber-insecurity: The Australian government has proposed a law to force tech companies to unencrypt messages for law enforcement, Rod Mcguirk reports for the Associated Press.

  • Facebook is fighting a court order prohibiting the company from telling users that law enforcement has asked to see their messages on the platform, Ann E. Marimow reports for The Washington Post.

  • Germany is tackling the fake-news problem head-on, Laurens Cerulus reports for Politico.

  • Y Combinator is asking entrepreneurs to report inappropriate sexual behavior by venture capitalist to help create a de facto blacklist, Elizabeth Dwoskin reports for The Washington Post.

  • Sound the alarm: Elon Musk says we should regulate artificial intelligence before it’s too late, Kurt Wagner writes for Recode.

  • Must-read: Tim Wu thoughtfully considers our robot problem in an op-ed for The New York Times. “Using robots to fake support, steal tickets or crash democracy really is the kind of evil that science fiction writers were warning about,” he writes. “The use of robots takes advantage of the fact that political campaigns, elections and even open markets make humanistic assumptions, trusting that there is wisdom or at least legitimacy in crowds and value in public debate. But when support and opinion can be manufactured, bad or unpopular arguments can win not by logic but by a novel, dangerous form of force — the ultimate threat to every democracy.”

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