Elon Musk withdraws lawsuit against OpenAI

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X looks on during the Milken Conference 2024 Global Conference Sessions at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 6, 2024. (REUTERS)
Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X looks on during the Milken Conference 2024 Global Conference Sessions at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 6, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 12 June 2024
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Elon Musk withdraws lawsuit against OpenAI

Elon Musk withdraws lawsuit against OpenAI
  • The lawsuit said Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman approached Musk to make an open source, non-profit company, but the startup established in 2015 is now focused on making money

CALIFORNIA: Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Tuesday moved to dismiss his lawsuit accusing ChatGPT maker OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman of abandoning the startup's original mission of developing artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity and not for profit.
Attorneys for Musk asked the California state court to dismiss the lawsuit, originally filed in February, without giving a reason for the move, according to a filing in San Francisco Superior Court.
A Superior Court judge there was prepared to hear OpenAI’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
OpenAI and an attorney for Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Musk dismissed his case without prejudice, which means he could refile it at another time.
The lawsuit marked a culmination of Musk's long-simmering opposition to OpenAI, a startup he co-founded and that has since become the face of generative AI through billions of dollars in funding from Microsoft.
Musk last July founded his own artificial intelligence startup, xAI, which raised $6 billion in series B funding in May to reach a post-money valuation of $24 billion.
The lawsuit said Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman approached Musk to make an open source, non-profit company, but the startup established in 2015 is now focused on making money.
OpenAI "set the founding agreement aflame" last year when it released its most powerful language model GPT-4, the lawsuit said.
Musk in the lawsuit asked a judge to force OpenAI to make its research and technology available to the public and to prevent the startup from using its assets, including GPT-4, for the financial benefit of Microsoft and others.
OpenAI had argued in a court filing that the lawsuit was based on incoherent claims, describing it as a contrived attempt by Musk to advance his own AI interests.
"Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself," OpenAI's attorneys said.
Musk in a filing in April said OpenAI was trying to “advance arguments that are based on disputed facts” that are beyond the scope of the lawsuit.

 

 


Media organizations renew plea for ‘open access’ to Gaza in latest rebuke to Israel

Media organizations renew plea for ‘open access’ to Gaza in latest rebuke to Israel
Updated 11 July 2024
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Media organizations renew plea for ‘open access’ to Gaza in latest rebuke to Israel

Media organizations renew plea for ‘open access’ to Gaza in latest rebuke to Israel
  • Letter says Israeli ban places ‘unreasonable and untenable burden’ on local journalists, fosters misinformation
  • Release of the letter precedes a scheduled visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US

LONDON: More than 60 organizations are demanding Israeli authorities allow free and unrestricted media access to Gaza, in the latest in a series of appeals.

In an open letter issued on Thursday and backed by bodies in 26 countries, major news outlets including Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the BBC, CNN, The Guardian, and The New York Times criticized Israel for imposing a near-total ban on international media.

“More than 100 journalists have been killed since the start of the war and those who remain are working in conditions of extreme deprivation,” the organizations said in the letter.

“The result is that information from Gaza is becoming harder and harder to obtain and that the reporting which does get through is subject to repeated questions over its veracity.”

The letter emphasized the “unreasonable and untenable burden” placed on local journalists to document events, and stressed Israel’s obligation to “uphold press freedom by granting foreign media immediate and independent access to Gaza.”

The bodies also called on Israel to fulfill its international commitments to protect journalists as civilians.

Media organizations and civil society groups have consistently urged Israel to allow independent access to international news organizations seeking to report from the Gaza Strip.

They argue that the current restrictions intensify pressure on local journalists and foster an environment in which misinformation can thrive.

Exceptions to the ban have been rare, although some journalists have been permitted entry under direct Israeli military supervision.

The release of the letter precedes a scheduled visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US, during which he plans to meet President Joe Biden and address the US Congress on July 24.


Delta Air Lines faces backlash for linking Palestine flag pins to Hamas in social media post

Delta Air Lines faces backlash for linking Palestine flag pins to Hamas in social media post
Updated 11 July 2024
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Delta Air Lines faces backlash for linking Palestine flag pins to Hamas in social media post

Delta Air Lines faces backlash for linking Palestine flag pins to Hamas in social media post
  • US carrier responds to user’s ‘Hamas badge’ claim, says ‘I’d be terrified as well’
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations urges Delta to apologize for ‘racist anti-Palestinian tweet’

LONDON: Delta Air Lines has sparked controversy by appearing to support a post on X claiming that Palestine flag pins worn by two of its cabin crew members were “Hamas badges.”

In a now-deleted response, the US carrier’s account seemed to validate a user’s accusation that its staff were allowed to wear “Hamas badges in the air.”

The company wrote: “I hear you and I’d be terrified as well, personally. Our employees reflect our culture and we do not take it lightly when our policy is not being followed.”

It added in another reply: “Nothing to worry, this is being investigated already, particularly the involved parties.”

The incident reportedly occurred during a flight last Friday between Boston and West Palm Beach in Florida.

The photo showing crew members wearing Palestine flag pins initially surfaced on the social media platform and was subsequently shared by several pro-Israel advocacy groups, including StopAntisemitism, which humorously suggested that Delta was opening “a new summer route” to Palestine.

The account also shared images from one of the flight attendant’s personal Instagram pages.

Delta Air Line’s response triggered an outcry on X, with users calling for a boycott of the airline over its handling of the situation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged Delta to apologize for the post, describing it as a “racist anti-Palestinian tweet.”

CAIR Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement on Thursday: “Whether this racist post on Delta’s X account was approved or unauthorized, Delta must apologize and take steps to educate its employees about this type of dangerous anti-Palestinian racism.”

The incident adds to a series of controversies involving the American carrier, including previous criticism over alleged discrimination, particularly against Muslims.

In a reported incident in May, media outlets revealed that Delta staff had asked a Jewish activist to cover up a T-shirt reading “Jews say ceasefire now” during a flight.


Outcry as Microsoft allegedly shuts down Palestinian accounts used to call Gaza

Outcry as Microsoft allegedly shuts down Palestinian accounts used to call Gaza
Updated 11 July 2024
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Outcry as Microsoft allegedly shuts down Palestinian accounts used to call Gaza

Outcry as Microsoft allegedly shuts down Palestinian accounts used to call Gaza
  • BBC investigation found Palestinians using Skype to call Gaza from abroad had their account terminated without reason
  • ‘Microsoft destroyed our digital lives,’ one person claimed

LONDON: Microsoft has been accused of shutting down email accounts associated with Palestinians who used Skype to make phone calls to Gaza.

A BBC investigation found that several Palestinians living abroad had their Microsoft-owned voice and video chat app accounts terminated without warning, effectively “destroying their digital lives.”

“I’ve had this Hotmail account for 15 years,” said Salah Elsadi, a Palestinian living in the US who was interviewed by the BBC.

“They banned me for no reason, saying I violated their terms — what terms? Tell me.”

The investigation uncovered at least 20 cases in which Palestinians had their accounts suspended without any explanation.

Those affected explained that with a paid Skype subscription, it is possible to call mobiles in Gaza cheaply, making it a lifeline for many Palestinians while the Internet is down.

In some instances, these email accounts were more than 15 years old, and users had no way to retrieve emails, contacts or memories. Some reported that their email accounts were linked to their work.

“We are civilians with no political background who just wanted to check on our families,” Eiad Hametto, who has been calling his family from Saudi Arabia, he said.

“They’ve suspended my email account that I’ve had for nearly 20 years. It was connected to all my work. They killed my life online,” he said.

Some individuals speculated that the cancelation of their accounts might be linked to Microsoft suspecting connections to Hamas.

Microsoft did not respond directly to the accusation that these individuals had been labeled as Hamas, but a spokesperson stated that it did not block calls or ban users based on the calling region or destination.

“Blocking in Skype can occur in response to suspected fraudulent activity,” they said without elaborating, adding that users were advised that they could appeal the decision.


EU accepts Apple pledge to let rivals access ‘tap to pay’ iPhone tech to resolve antitrust case

EU accepts Apple pledge to let rivals access ‘tap to pay’ iPhone tech to resolve antitrust case
Updated 11 July 2024
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EU accepts Apple pledge to let rivals access ‘tap to pay’ iPhone tech to resolve antitrust case

EU accepts Apple pledge to let rivals access ‘tap to pay’ iPhone tech to resolve antitrust case
  • The commission had accused Apple in 2022 of abusing its dominant position by limiting access to its mobile payment technology
  • The commission had charged the company with denying others access to Apple Pay

LONDON: The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer, said that it’s accepting the commitments that Apple offered earlier this year and will make them legally binding.
The commission had accused Apple in 2022 of abusing its dominant position by limiting access to its mobile payment technology.
Apple responded by proposing in January to allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers access to the contactless payment function in its iOS operating system. After Apple tweaked its proposals following testing and feedback, the commission said those “final commitments” would address its competition concerns.
“Today’s commitments end our Apple Pay investigation,” Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice president for competition policy, told a press briefing in Brussels. “The commitments bring important changes to how Apple operates in Europe to the benefit of competitors and customers.”
The deal promises more choice for Europeans. iPhone users will be able to set a default wallet of their choice while mobile wallet developers will be able to use important iPhone verification functions like Face ID, Vestager said.
Mobile wallets rely on near-field communication, or NFC, which uses a chip to wirelessly communicate with a merchant’s payment terminal.
The commission had charged the company with denying others access to Apple Pay, which it said is the biggest NFC-based mobile wallet on the market.
The changes that Apple is making are to remain in force for a decade, will apply throughout the bloc’s 27 countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, and will be monitored by a trustee.
Apple must make the changes in the EU by July 25.
“As of this date, developers will be able to offer a mobile wallet on the iPhone with the same “tap and go” experience that so far has been reserved for Apple Pay,” Vestager said.
Apple said in a prepared statement that it is “providing developers in the European Economic Area with an option to enable NFC contactless payments and contactless transactions” for uses like car keys, corporate badges, hotel keys, and concert tickets.
Breaches of EU competition law can draw fines worth up to 10 percent of a company’s annual global revenue, which in Apple’s case, could have amounted to tens of billions of dollars.


Russia declares newspaper The Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ amid crackdown on criticism

Russia declares newspaper The Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ amid crackdown on criticism
Updated 11 July 2024
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Russia declares newspaper The Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ amid crackdown on criticism

Russia declares newspaper The Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ amid crackdown on criticism

The Russian prosecutor general’s office on Wednesday declared The Moscow Times, an online newspaper popular among Russia’s expatriate community, as an “undesirable organization.”
The designation comes amid a crackdown on critical news media and the opposition. It means the newspaper must stop any work in Russia and it subjects any Russian who cooperates with the paper to up to five years in prison.
It is a more severe measure than the “foreign agent” designation applied to the news outlet in November, which subjects individuals and organizations to increased financial scrutiny and requires any of their public material to prominently include notice of being declared a foreign agent.
The Moscow Times already moved its editorial operations out of Russia in 2022 after the passage of a law imposing stiff penalties for material regarded as discrediting the Russian military and its war in Ukraine.
It publishes in English and in Russian, but its Russian-language site was blocked in Russia several months after the Ukraine war began.
In an editors’ note on the decision, the newspaper said “the labeling of The Moscow Times as ‘undesirable’ is the latest of many efforts to suppress our reporting on the truth in Russia and its war in Ukraine. ... This designation will make it even more difficult for us to do our jobs, putting reporters and fixers inside Russia at risk of criminal prosecution and making sources even more hesitant to speak to us.
“We refuse to give in to this pressure. We refuse to be silenced,” the newspaper said.
The publication began in 1992 as a daily print paper distributed for free in restaurants, hotels and other locations popular with expatriates, whose presence in Moscow was soaring after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It later reduced its print edition to weekly, then became online only in 2017.
Russia in recent years has methodically targeted people and organizations critical of the Kremlin, branding many as “foreign agents” and some as “undesirable.” Other news outlets declared as undesirable include the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov won a Nobel Peace Prize, and the online news site Meduza.
Russia also has imprisoned prominent opposition figures including anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who was President Vladimir Putin’s most persistent domestic foe, and dissidents Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin.