SXSW Canceled; Grindr Sold For $608.5M

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SXSW Canceled

Add SXSW to the spate of festivals, conferences and gatherings canceled due to COVID-19 fears. SXSW was scheduled to start next Friday, but festival organizers pulled the plug following public pressure and a host of companies – including Netflix and Amazon – canceling their appearances. The loss of SXSW isn’t devastating economically to the region, as 2019’s festival reportedly brought in about $356 million, or “a quarter of 1% of the region’s estimated $150 billion annual economy,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. Still, SXSW was a gathering place for technology companies and media companies to show off their latest offerings. And the shutdown of SXSW 2020 marks the most high-profile conference cancelation so far this year and underscores the instability caused by fears of the coronavirus. Read more.

Give Up The Grindr

Chinese tech firm Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd will sell Grindr, the gay dating app it acquired in 2016, to San Vincente Acquisition for $608.5 million. The deal comes after a US government panel asked Kunlun to divest the app, which was found to be selling the personal data of its users to third-party companies. While selling data is the norm in mobile advertising, Grindr users trust the app with sensitive information such as sexual preference. Privacy advocates were concerned about Kunlun’s ownership of Grindr, which has millions of American users, Reuters reports. Last year, Kunlun shared information on millions of Americans, including private messages and HIV status, with Chinese engineers. Kunlun acquired a majority stake in Grindr for $93 million in 2016, so it still did well by the investment in less than four years. More.

Down For The Count

Facebook put its new census interference advertising policy into effect for the first time last week when it took down posts being promoted by President Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. The campaign posts asked users to “take the Official 2020 Congressional District Census today.” The ads were first reported by the political newsletter Popular Information. Facebook was also pressured by Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which helped shape the platform’s census policy. Democrats and civil rights lawyers oppose the message because it could lure people into thinking it’s a real census document, and people who fill it out may not respond to the actual Census. “I know the profit motive is their business model, but it should not come at the cost of counting who is in our country so that we can provide the services,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the Trump campaign’s Facebook ads during a press conference.

Life After Data

Not to be ghoulish, but corpses have historically been critical for medical and scientific research. And personal medical data files are becoming similarly important in social science and medical research. But the topic of posthumous medical data donation (PMDD), a common practice in some fields, has been sparsely discussed in legal journals, write two British law professors in a paper for the Computer Law & Security Review. “There appears to be no jurisdiction where a regulatory framework supports and enables PMDD. This paper analyses whether and to what extent law and policy should enable this practice.” More

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1 Comment

  1. I think the cancellation of SXSW is the tipping point for business impact from coronavirus. Since the cancellation we’ve seen the Lombardi region quarantined, the US State Department advise against boarding cruise ships, oil futures tank 20-30%, and the stock market triggering the tripwire that halts trading. All this is to say there is going to be a real economic impact among many walks of life and business directly because of coronavirus fears.