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Musk says he would reverse Twitter ban on Donald Trump

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(Last Updated On: May 11, 2022)

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tuesday (May 10) he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump, while speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.

Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently inked a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media platform.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silenced his primary megaphone days before the end of his term and follows years of debate about how social media companies should moderate the accounts of powerful global leaders.

Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision.

The decision amplified his views among people on the political right, Musk said, calling the ban “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

Trump previously told Fox News that he would not return to Twitter even if Musk purchases the platform and reinstates his account, and said he would use his own social media app called Truth Social, which launched on the Apple app store in late February but was glitchy until more recently when it began letting more users in.

There was no immediate comment from a Trump spokesperson.

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Tesla cars, Bluetooth locks, vulnerable to hackers, researchers say

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Millions of digital locks worldwide, including on Tesla (TSLA.O) cars, can be remotely unlocked by hackers exploiting a vulnerability in Bluetooth technology, a cybersecurity firm said on Tuesday.

In a video shared with Reuters, NCC Group researcher Sultan Qasim Khan was able to open and then drive a Tesla using a small relay device attached to a laptop which bridged a large gap between the Tesla and the Tesla owner’s phone.

“This proves that any product relying on a trusted BLE connection is vulnerable to attacks even from the other side of the world,” the UK-based firm said in a statement, referring to the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol – technology used in millions of cars and smart locks which automatically open when in close proximity to an authorised device.

Although Khan demonstrated the hack on a 2021 Tesla Model Y, NCC Group said any smart locks using BLE technology, including residential smart locks, could be unlocked in the same way.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

NCC Group said such a vulnerability was not like a traditional bug which could be fixed with a software patch and added BLE-based authentication was not originally designed for use in locking mechanisms.

“In effect, systems that people rely on to guard their cars, homes and private data are using Bluetooth proximity authentication mechanisms that can be easily broken with cheap off-the-shelf hardware,” the firm said.

“This research illustrates the danger of using technologies for reasons other than their intended purpose, especially when security issues are involved”.

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Tech firms ask U.S. Supreme Court to block Texas social media law

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Lobbying groups representing Facebook(FB.O), Twitter(TWTR.N), Google (GOOGL.O) and other tech companies filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, seeking to block a Texas law that prohibits large social media platforms from banning users based on their political views.

The Texas law went into effect on Wednesday when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for a stay of a district judge’s injunction blocking the law.

The law forbids social media companies with more than 50 million active users per month from banning members based on their political views and requires them to publicly disclose how they moderate content.

It was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, in September.

Internet lobbying groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association filed a lawsuit against the measure, and U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin, Texas, issued a preliminary injunction in December.

Pitman had found that the law would harm social media companies’ free speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The tech groups, in their emergency request, asked the Supreme Court to “allow the District Court’s careful reasoning to remain in effect while an orderly appellate process plays out.”

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Hyundai plans U.S. EV plant, in talks with Georgia

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(Last Updated On: May 15, 2022)

Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) plans to build a new electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in the United States and has held discussions with officials in Georgia, near existing plants for the Hyundai and Kia (000270.KS) brands, people with knowledge of its plans told Reuters.

Hyundai Motor confirmed an imminent plan for a new EV plant but declined to comment on any details, including site negotiations.

“We are excited to announce a new EV plant plan in the United States soon, but we do not have details to share at this stage,” Hyundai said in a statement to Reuters when asked about its investment plans.

Hyundai has been in advanced discussions with state officials to build a dedicated EV facility in Georgia, three people with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters. Details of the investment, including its projected cost and the number of jobs it would be expected to create, were not immediately known.

The new Georgia EV facility, if it is finalized, would serve both Hyundai and Kia as the brands move to roll out a pair of fully electric SUVs – the Ioniq 7 and EV9 – aimed at the U.S. market, the three people with knowledge of the plans told Reuters.

Georgia’s Economic Department declined to comment. “We do not comment on speculation about economic development projects,” said a state economic development department spokesperson.

The announcement of an investment deal by Hyundai would come at a time when the administration of President Joe Biden has been pushing for more investment in EVs and related suppliers to create jobs and drive a clean-energy agenda. It would also mark a major economic development win for Georgia, which has pushed to establish itself as a regional hub for the emerging EV industry.

The announcement could come days before the May 24 Georgia primary election in which Republican Governor Brian Kemp is being challenged by former U.S. Senator David Perdue.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the company could hire 8,500 as part of its plans to build a new factory. The newspaper said the plant could be located on a more than 2,200-acre site that the state had previously proposed to Rivian, Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover.

Hyundai had been working to announce its U.S. investment in EV manufacturing sometime later this month to coincide with Biden’s planned visit to Seoul, another person with knowledge of the plans said.

Hyundai announced a $300-million investment last month to manufacture the all-electric Genesis GV 70 and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe at its Alabama plant. The Genesis model would be Hyundai’s first EV made in the United States.

Hyundai’s comment to Reuters was the company’s first confirmation that it was nearing an announcement on a site for a new EV plant.

Hyundai affiliate Kia also said last month that it was looking to shift production to the United States but was not considering a dedicated EV factory on its own.

Kia has said it will have 14 EVs by 2027. Hyundai has said it will roll out 17 by 2030, including six for its luxury Genesis brand.

Hyundai’s battery supplier, SK Innovation’s (096770.KS) battery unit SK On, has just built two adjacent plants in Georgia. The first, which mostly supplies Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), kicked off production in the first quarter. The second, which will supply batteries for Ford Motor Co (F.N), is set to begin production early next year.

SK On will supply the battery for the Ioniq 7, a person with knowledge of that contract told Reuters. SK On said it cannot comment on supply deals involving specific customers.

Biden is set to travel to South Korea on May 20 for meetings with South Korea’s incoming president Yoon Suk-yeol, an advocate of steps to shore-up South Korea’s ties with the United States.

The Biden administration has said it will allocate more than $3 billion in infrastructure funding to finance EV manufacturing. Biden wants half of vehicles sold in the United States to be electric by 2030.

Other Asian companies that have announced plans to build U.S. battery plants include Korea’s LG Energy Solution (373220.KS) and Samsung SDI (006400.KS).

Reuters reported earlier this month that CATL, the world’s largest battery maker, was in talks to open battery plants that would serve BMW AG (BMWG.DE) and Ford with potential sites in South Carolina and Kentucky.

A South Korea media report said Yoon, who takes office on Tuesday, was also planning a follow-up visit to Washington after Biden visits Seoul, where he would be accompanied by leaders of South Korea’s top conglomerates including Hyundai Motor and SK to discuss investment in the United States.

A spokeswoman for Yoon on Monday denied the plan as reported.

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