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Fight, not Flight: Blue Origin sues NASA over $2.9 billion deal

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Blue Origin launches lawsuit against NASA after missing out on lunar lander contract to SpaceX.

Elon Musk (left) and Jeff Bezos (right) go head to head in the space race.

The firm of former Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is suing NASA over its $2.9 billion deal with Elon Musk.

The space agency awarded the pricey lunar lander contract to SpaceX, following the decision to fund one of the two companies back in April.

The funding will assist SpaceX in the development of a landing system that has the possibility to take astronauts down to the Moon’s surface by 2024. 

“Fundamental issues” Blue Origin Claims

Bezos’ firm Blue Origin says there were “fundamental issues” with the deal, after filing a lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims on Friday. 

With the support of the Government Accountability Officer (GAO), NASA made the decision to pick a single lunar lander provider due to a shortfall in funding. 

But Blue Origin says the decision is “unfair” and believe two providers are necessary to build the landing system. 

“The issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America,” Blue Origin says.

The former Amazon boss’ firm and defence contractor Dynetics argue that NASA should award multiple firms with the funding. 

However the GAO rejected the complaint and says it “denies the protest arguments that NASA acted improperly in making a single award to SpaceX.”

NASA is yet to comment on the matter as officials review the details of the case, with a response expected by October 12.  

SpaceX is also yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Written by Rebecca Borg

Tech

Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video with false vaccine claim

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Facebook and YouTube have both removed videos from their platforms featuring Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in which the leader makes a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to developing AIDS.

Both sites said the video violated their policies.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases, and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.

Last month, YouTube moved to remove vaccine misinformation of all kinds from its platform, and has removed more than 1 million videos related to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation since the pandemic began.

Earlier this year, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel where he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, two drugs that are proven to be ineffective in the treatment of the disease.

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End of scam calls? UK telco’s agree to auto-block

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Complaints from UK citizens being harassed with scam calls have been heard by the country’s telco giants

Britain’s major telecommunication company’s have agreed to automatically block almost all internet calls coming from abroad if they pretend to be from UK numbers, Ofcom has confirmed.

Scammers have been using internet-based calling technology to make it look like a phone call or text is coming from a real telephone number within Britain, rather than opting for a “No Caller ID”

Almost 45 million consumers were targeted by scam calls this summer.

Ofcom said it expected the measures to be introduced at pace as a “priority”.

Approximately 45 million consumers were targeted by phone scams this summer. | Image: File

Currently, just one telco, TalkTalk, has implemented the new plans

Other phone networks such as Vodafone are still exploring methods of making it work.

“We’ve been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number,”

said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director.
Lindsey Fussell (Ofcom)

“We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.”

She added tackling the phone scams issue was a “complex problem” that required a coordinated effort from the police, government, other regulators and industry.

The move follows months of discussions between Ofcom and the UK telecoms industry.

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Facebook papers – over 10,000 internal documents leaked

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More than ten thousand pages of internal documents have been found, exposing Facebook’s illegal dealings

CNN uncovered the company’s reluctance to prevent violence on its platform in “At risk” countries like Ethiopia, that is currently in a civil war.

Additionally, Facebook has been previously exposed for and has been found to still be recruiting, buying and selling domestic servants

A Facebook spokesperson said “the company prohibits human exploitation” and the platform has been combatting human trafficking for many years.

This all comes as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal council revealed the documents to Congress

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