PRG News Roundup, March 9, 2022

President Biden signed an executive order calling for a comprehensive review of the federal government’s stance toward cryptocurrencies, including an assessment of the risks to consumers, the financial system, and the climate. Agencies and regulators will prepare reports on digital assets, and the government will explore the creation of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency.

The Utah legislature approved comprehensive privacy legislation, which would make Utah the fourth US state, and the first controlled by two Republican chambers, to do so, if the bill is signed by Governor Spencer Cox. The state privacy law lacks some measures preferred by privacy groups, such as a private right of action for violations.

Twitter became the latest tech company to launch a Tor onion service, which may allow users in Russia and around the world to bypass government censorship of the social network and news service. Twitter’s announcement may also further mainstream Tor’s network around the world.

A new report details profits made by prison telecommunication companies who distribute tablets to incarcerated populations and charge prisoners on a per-use basis for email “stamps,” video calls, and entertainment offerings. Use of tablets in prisons greatly expanded during the Covid-19 pandemic as other recreation and education programs were curtailed.

Amazon became the latest company to restrict services in Russia. In a blog post, the Seattle-based company announced suspension of all retail shipments and Prime Video streams to Russian customers, and noted they would stop accepting new AWS customers and third party sellers based in Russia or Belarus.

(Compiled by Student Fellow Corey Berman)