First Read Tech

City sues for home-sharing records … Google bought new Chelsea space for $600M … and more of today’s tech news

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The Latest

City sues for home-sharing records
As part of New York City’s search for potentially illegal listings, city lawyers filed a suit on Thursday to compel the home-sharing app HomeAway to respond to a subpoena for internal records of the properties it has offered. (Daily News)

Google bought new Chelsea space for $600M
Google’s latest Chelsea-based expansion includes the purchase of the Milk Building for a reported $600 million, marking the tech giant’s third property purchase in the neighborhood since 2010. (The Real Deal)

Amazon trades body scans for gift cards
In two New York City locations, Amazon is conducting research that involves digital 3D scans of people’s bodies to be used “exclusively for internal product research” – and not in a marketing capacity – in exchange for a $25 Amazon gift card, according to the company. (Mashable)

Software startup expanding in Troy
Passport for Good – a software platform that helps students, families, and school districts track volunteer hours and extracurriculars – is expanding in downtown Troy as part of the Start-Up New York program paired with Hudson Valley Community College. The company plans to invest more than $50,000 in the area. (Albany Business Review)

Facebook says it’s getting tough on content
Facing withering criticism from governments around the world, Facebook said Thursday that it had been more aggressive in recent months about scrubbing its platform of hate speech, adding that its automated detection software that removes illicit content was improving. (The New York Times)

Senate passes robocall bill
In a 97-1 vote, the Senate on Thursday passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which would levy hefty new fines for illegal robocalls in an effort to crack down on the scourge of billions of unwanted calls that aggravate U.S. consumers every year. (The Hill)

Amazon tries to tap human emotions
Amazon is developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognize human emotions – a wrist-worn gadget described as a health and wellness product that could discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice. (Bloomberg)

Las Vegas makes Boring bet
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has recommended selecting Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build and operate a “people mover” at the city’s convention center – the tunnel system is projected to be finished in time for the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2021. (The Verge)

Calls for cybersecurity at border
The Department of Homeland Security is asking its cybersecurity-focused employees to consider taking on new roles by volunteering to help with the border crisis, though the acting DHS secretary said he would not support sending “critical” cyber staff to the region. (The Hill)

Opinion

Why Trump likes Facebook
President Trump’s 2020 campaign is relying on Facebook partly for the obvious reasons: It’s the country’s largest social media network and an excellent way to reach voters directly. But the Trump campaign also likes Facebook in part because it tolerates rule-breaking. (David Leonhardt, The New York Times)

Analysis

Tackling teacher training at Cornell Tech
A teaching residency model was developed by Cornell Tech to help teachers grow more comfortable delivering lessons in the increasingly in-demand subject of computer science. With well-equipped teachers, the hope is that all students in a school will have the chance to learn computer science. (Chalkbeat New York)

Content moderation data won’t silence Facebook critics
In its third Content Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook laid out the sheer amount of prohibited content that appears on its platform and how the company takes action to deal with it. But researchers have found lots to be desired in the way Facebook measures and reports its progress. (Wired)

Profile

The man trying to take down Airbnb
By day, Murray Cox spends his time on the 27th floor of a corporate skyscraper as a vice president for a tech startup. By night, he often sits on his couch in Brooklyn, scraping Airbnb’s website to deliver curated statistics to cities around the world that are seeking to rein in the ever-expanding home-sharing giant. (Bloomberg)

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