Timothy B. Lee
Timothy B. Lee
Timothy B. Lee began his journalism career writing for Ars in 2007. He then spent time at the Washington Post and Vox before returning home to Ars in 2017. Today he covers technology policy, artificial intelligence and the future of transportation. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Princeton. He lives with his family in Washington, DC.Source
Washington, D.C., Virginia
CRITIC
N/A
No Rating
0 reviews
PUBLIC
N/A
No Rating
2 reviews
RECENT ARTICLES
gold-cheese80%
Emails detail Amazon’s plan to crush a startup rival with price cuts

Emails detail Amazon’s plan to crush a startup rival with price cuts

Emails published by the House Judiciary Committee this week confirm an accusation that critics have long leveled against Amazon: that the company's aggressive price-cutting for diapers in 2009 and 2010 was designed to undercut an emerging rival.That rival, Quidsi, had gained traction with a site called Diapers.com that sold baby supplies. Amazon had good reason to worry. As journalist Brad Stone wrote in his , Bezos' company didn't start selling diapers until a year after Diapers.com did. At the time, diapers were seen as too bulky and low-margin to be delivered profitably.But Quidsi's...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jul 30
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Zuckerberg wrote “Instagram can hurt us” days before acquisition

Zuckerberg wrote “Instagram can hurt us” days before acquisition

In a 2012 email six weeks before acquiring Instagram, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that one of his motivations for the acquisition was to "neutralize a potential competitor." The emails were revealed during today's hearing before the House antitrust committee featuring four technology moguls: Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, and Zuckerberg. The emails were first by the Verge.Facebook was one of the Internet's biggest social networks in 2012, but its dominant position was not as secure then as it is today. There were a lot of rival social networks, and Zuckerberg worried his...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jul 29
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
French parliament passes porn age-verification legislation

French parliament passes porn age-verification legislation

The French parliament has agreed to pass a new law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18, . The initiative has the support of President Emmanuel Macron, who in January.The French law gives sites discretion to decide how to perform age verification. Requiring users to enter a credit card number seems to be one of the most popular options.According to Politico, the law gives French regulators the power to create a blacklist for overseas sites that don't comply with the new rules. If a site doesn't respond to a warning from French officials,...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jul 10
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
FBI nabs Nigerian business scammer who allegedly cost victims millions

FBI nabs Nigerian business scammer who allegedly cost victims millions

The US government has gained custody of a Nigerian man who is accused of participating in a massive fraud and money laundering operation. The defendant, Ray "Hushpuppi" Abbas, has amassed , where he flaunts his access to luxury cars, designer clothing, and private jets. The feds say that he gained this wealth by defrauding banks, law firms, and other businesses out of millions of dollars. He was arrested last month by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, where he had been living.The FBI's details how the government obtained a wealth of information tying Abbas to his alleged crimes....

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jul 6
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Supreme Court says generic domains like booking.com can be trademarked

Supreme Court says generic domains like booking.com can be trademarked

The US Patent and Trademark Office erred by finding the term booking.com was too generic for trademark protection, the Supreme Court on Tuesday.Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called "The Wine Company," but they can't use trademark law to stop others from using the same name. When the online travel giant Bookings Holdings sought to trademark its booking.com domain name almost a decade ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office concluded that the same rule applied.Booking Holdings...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 30
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Detroit police chief cops to 96-percent facial recognition error rate

Detroit police chief cops to 96-percent facial recognition error rate

Detroit's police chief admitted on Monday that facial recognition technology used by the department misidentifies suspects about 96 percent of the time. It's an eye-opening admission given that the Detroit Police Department is facing criticism for arresting a man based on a bogus match from facial recognition software.Last week, the ACLU with the Detroit Police Department on behalf of Robert Williams, a Black man who was wrongfully arrested for stealing five watches worth $3,800 from a luxury retail store. Investigators first identified Williams by doing a facial recognition search with...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 30
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese76%
Is It Legal for Cops to Force You to Unlock Your Phone?

Is It Legal for Cops to Force You to Unlock Your Phone?

has that the Fifth Amendment allows a woman accused of stalking to refuse to unlock her iPhone. The court held that the Fifth Amendment's rule against self-incrimination protected Katelin Seo from giving the police access to potentially incriminating data on her phone.ARS TECHNICAThis story originally appeared on , a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.The courts are divided on how to apply the Fifth Amendment in this kind of case. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia man was released from jail after in...

wired.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 27
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
It’s unconstitutional for cops to force phone unlocking, court rules

It’s unconstitutional for cops to force phone unlocking, court rules

Indiana's Supreme Court has that the Fifth Amendment allows a woman accused of stalking to refuse to unlock her iPhone. The court held that the Fifth Amendment's rule against self-incrimination protected Katelin Seo from giving the police access to potentially incriminating data on her phone.The courts are divided on how to apply the Fifth Amendment in this kind of case. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia man was released from jail after in connection with a child-pornography case. A federal appeals court rejected his argument that the Fifth Amendment gave him the right to refuse to unlock...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 24
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
The Internet’s most important—and misunderstood—law, explained

The Internet’s most important—and misunderstood—law, explained

There's at least one thing that Joe Biden and Donald Trump seem to agree on: that federal law gives unfair legal immunity to technology giants.In an interview with The New York Times , Biden argued that "we should be worried about" Facebook "being exempt" from lawsuits. The Times, he noted, "can’t write something you know to be false and be exempt from being sued." But under a 1996 law known as Section 230, Biden claimed, Facebook can do just that."Section 230 should be revoked immediately," Biden said.Just last month, Trump very publicly expressed a similar view."Social media giants like...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 10
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Researchers say online voting tech used in 5 states is fatally flawed

Researchers say online voting tech used in 5 states is fatally flawed

OmniBallot is election software that is used by dozens of jurisdictions in the United States. In addition to delivering ballots and helping voters mark them, it includes an option for online voting. At least three states—West Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey—have used the technology or are planning to do so in an upcoming election. Four local jurisdictions in Oregon and Washington state use the online voting feature as well. But from a pair of computer scientists, MIT's Michael Specter and the University of Michigan's Alex Halderman, finds that the software has inadequate security...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 10
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive

Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive

Four of the nation's leading book publishers have sued the Internet Archive, the online library best known for maintaining the Internet Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive makes scanned copies of books—both public domain and under copyright—available to the public on a site called the Open Library."Despite the Open Library moniker, IA's actions grossly exceed legitimate library services, do violence to the Copyright Act, and constitute willful digital piracy on an industrial scale," write publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House in their complaint. The was filed...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Jun 2
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Leaked draft details Trump’s likely attack on technology giants

Leaked draft details Trump’s likely attack on technology giants

The Trump Administration is putting the final touches on a sweeping executive order designed to punish online platforms for perceived anti-conservative bias. Legal scholar Kate Klonick obtained a draft of the document and late Wednesday night."In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online," the draft executive order states. "This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 28
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
YouTube auto-deletes comments with phrases critical of Chinese government [Updated]

YouTube auto-deletes comments with phrases critical of Chinese government [Updated]

YouTube's software is automatically deleting comments with two phrases critical of the Chinese Communist Party, on Tuesday morning.“共匪” means "" It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, including .“五毛” means “50-cent party.” It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 26
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
The story of cheaper batteries, from smartphones to Teslas

The story of cheaper batteries, from smartphones to Teslas

In 2010, a lithium-ion battery pack with 1 kWh of capacity—enough to power an electric car for three or four miles—cost more than $1,000. By 2019, the figure had fallen to $156, according to compiled by BloombergNEF. That's a massive drop, and experts expect continued—though perhaps not as rapid—progress in the coming decade. Several forecasters project the average cost of a kilowatt-hour of lithium-ion battery capacity to fall below $100 by the mid-2020s.That's the result of a virtuous circle where better, cheaper batteries expand the market, which in turn drives investments that produce...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 22
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Google pledges not to make custom software for oil and gas extraction

Google pledges not to make custom software for oil and gas extraction

Google says that it will not "build custom AI/ML algorithms to facilitate upstream extraction in the oil and gas industry," the company announced on Tuesday. This represents a small but significant win for climate activists.Google's comment coincided with the release of a highlighting the role of the three leading cloud-computing services—Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure—in helping companies find and extract oil and gas. Greenpeace notes that extracting known fossil fuel reserves would already be sufficient to push the world over 2 degrees of warming. Uncovering...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 20
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Man shoots down drone, gets hit with felony charges in Minnesota

Man shoots down drone, gets hit with felony charges in Minnesota

A Minnesota man is facing two felony charges for shooting down a drone, .The incident began when an unnamed man flew a drone over Butterfield Foods, a producer of meat products—including chicken—in the Southern Minnesota town of Butterfield. The man later told a sheriff's deputy he was trying to prove that chickens were being slaughtered because of the pandemic.Two employees approached the man and asked him what he was doing. Soon afterwards, someone else shot the drone out of the sky. The man says his drone cost $1,900.The authorities arrested 34-year-old Travis Duane Winters and charged...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 16
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Senate passes spying bill without search and browsing history protections [Updated]

Senate passes spying bill without search and browsing history protections [Updated]

Update (3:15pm ET): The Senate has extending FBI spying powers by an 80-16 vote. Because it was amended, it must go back to the House of Representatives for another vote.Original story (12:30pm ET) follows:An effort to protect Americans' browsing and search histories from warrantless government surveillance failed by a single vote in the Senate on Wednesday. The privacy measure, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) got 59 votes, one vote fewer than was needed to overcome a filibuster.The vote was over a section of federal surveillance law that was originally part...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 14
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Sorry, Mr. President, America’s testing capacity isn’t “unrivaled”

Sorry, Mr. President, America’s testing capacity isn’t “unrivaled”

President Donald Trump believes that America is the world's champion when it comes to coronavirus testing."In the span of just a few short months, we’ve developed a testing capacity unmatched and unrivaled anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close," in a Monday press conference. He noted that daily testing has risen from around 150,000 per day three weeks ago to around 300,000 per day this week and that the US was on track to surpass 10 million tests this week (we ).Trump is correct in one respect: the US has performed more coronavirus tests than any other country with the possible...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 15
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Musk dares county officials to arrest him as he reopens Fremont factory

Musk dares county officials to arrest him as he reopens Fremont factory

Elon Musk is planning to defy county officials as he battles to reopen Tesla's Fremont factory in the face of a continued shelter-in-place order in Alameda County, California, Musk on Monday."Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules," Musk tweeted. "I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me."Tesla has also  against public health officials in Alameda County. County officials have ordered Tesla to keep the factory closed under a county-wide shelter-in-place order. Tesla argues the order contradicts instructions from...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 11
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Volvo plans cars with lidar and “eyes off” highway driving by 2022

Volvo plans cars with lidar and “eyes off” highway driving by 2022

Volvo will begin producing vehicles with powerful lidar sensors from startup Luminar, the Swedish company . It's a significant milestone for the automotive industry as well as a major coup for Luminar. Volvo in 2018.Lidar sensors will be available starting in 2022 as part of the SPA 2 architecture—the successor to the SPA 1 architecture that underlies many of Volvo's cars today. While Volvo hasn't announced specific model information, this likely means that the lidar will be available on vehicles like the starting with the 2023 model year.While some leading high-end lidars spin 360 degrees,...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 6
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
ICANN blocks controversial sale of .org domain to a private equity firm

ICANN blocks controversial sale of .org domain to a private equity firm

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the non-profit organization that oversees the Internet's domain name system, has rejected a controversial proposal to sell the .org domain to a private equity group for more than $1 billion. It's a serious—quite possibly fatal—blow to a proposal that had few supporters besides the organizations that proposed it.Currently, the .org domain registry is run by the Public Interest Registry, a non-profit subsidiary of another non-profit called the Internet Society. PIR was created in 2002 to run the .org domain and has been doing so ever...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 1
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Tesla stock plunges after Musk tweets “Tesla stock price is too high”

Tesla stock plunges after Musk tweets “Tesla stock price is too high”

Tesla's stock is down sharply in Friday trading. One likely reason for that: CEO Elon Musk that "Tesla stock price is too high imo."Musk posted that tweet at 11:11am Eastern time. At the time, Tesla's stock was worth around $760—down less than 3 percent from Thursday's closing price of $781.By 11:30, the stock plunged to $722, a 5 percent fall in 19 minutes. It has since fallen further to around $710—about 9 percent lower than Thursday's closing price. The broader stock market is down less than 3 percent today.Musk has long been known for his colorful and sometimes controversial Twitter...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
May 1
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Supreme Court rules Georgia can’t put the law behind a paywall

Supreme Court rules Georgia can’t put the law behind a paywall

A narrowly divided US Supreme Court on Monday to freely share the official law code of Georgia. The state claimed to own the copyright for the , and a nonprofit called Public.Resource.Org for publishing it online. Monday's ruling is not only a victory for the open-government group, it's an important precedent that will help secure the right to publish other legally significant public documents."Officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties," wrote Chief Justice John...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Apr 28
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
The pandemic is bringing us closer to our robot takeout future

The pandemic is bringing us closer to our robot takeout future

On the morning of March 30, I set out from my home in Washington, DC, to the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In only a few hours, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam would issue coordinated stay-at-home orders. But I was going to GMU's campus to check out a new technology seemingly tailor-made for the moment—technology that could help people get food without the risks of face-to-face interactions.Campus was eerily quiet; most students and staff had long been sent home. But as I approached a Starbucks at the northern edge of GMU, I heard a faint...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Apr 24
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
gold-cheese80%
Almost 8,000 could be affected by federal emergency loan data breach

Almost 8,000 could be affected by federal emergency loan data breach

Almost 8,000 business owners who applied for a loan from the Small Business Administration may have had their personal information exposed to other applicants, the SBA admitted on Tuesday.The breach relates to a long-standing SBA program called Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). It has traditionally been used to aid owners whose businesses are disrupted by hurricanes, tornadoes, or other disasters. It was recently expanded by Congress in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. In addition to loans, the law authorized grants of up to $10,000 that don't need to be paid back.The EIDL program is...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Apr 22
Worthy
Share
Save
Give Tip
Review
OUTLETS
arstechnica.com

arstechnica.com

CRITIC
img-trusted
82%
PUBLIC
img-trusted
80%
wired.com

wired.com

CRITIC
img-trusted
91%
PUBLIC
img-trusted
76%
vox.com

vox.com

CRITIC
img-trusted
95%
PUBLIC
img-trusted
78%