The former Google CEO raises alarm about the US' preparedness for a world run by artificial intelligence.
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Astra expects to raise $500 million through the SPAC deal, taking its enterprise value to $2.1 billion.
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Plus: A security company creeper, Biden’s cyberteam, and the rest of this week’s security news.
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"The genesis of Alphabet is a meeting that Larry and Sergey and I had about a decade ago where we flew ... to Omaha, and we visited Warren Buffett."
Photo by Michael Kovac / Getty Images The Verge used to have a fine tradition of cataloging all of the times when Eric Schmidt stuck his foot in his mouth, and today’s feels like a worthy addition: the former Google CEO and executive chairman has decided that social networks are “amplifiers for idiots.” The fuller quote, according to Bloomberg: “The context of social networks serving as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people is not what we intended.” Without knowing who “we” refers to, you might think he’s talking about how the entire tech industry has failed to keep sites like Facebook and Twitter from creating echo chambers and polarizing politics around the world (though some argue we can’t blame social networks alone). He’s certainly a member of the tech elite, one who... Continue reading…
Ten years after Oracle first sued Google over the code in the Android platform, the two tech giants are finally facing off in the Supreme Court. Since then, there have been three trials and two appeals. Billions of dollars are at stake; many millions have been likely spent on a parade of seasoned litigators, expert witnesses, and bizarre trial exhibits intended to explain programming to non-technical juries. All this may be coming to an anticlimactic close on Wednesday morning, with a teleconference Supreme Court oral argument in the middle of a pandemic. When Google first developed Android, it decided to make the mobile platform compatible with Java. At the time, apps for the iOS environment were written in Objective-C, a language that... Continue reading…
President Trump's planned hospital departure and continued fiscal stimulus negotiations helped boost US stocks on Monday.
Emil Michael's DPCM Capital seeks to raise $250 million in an initial public offering to acquire a company in the technology sector.
The pilot who famously landed a damaged plane on the Hudson shared his thoughts on airline safety amid coronavirus.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google parent company Alphabet has settled a shareholder lawsuit over its handling of sexual misconduct. The company has announced policy changes related to the settlement, including a $310 million fund for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This resolves a complaint that was filed in 2019, following an explosive report that Google offered multimillion-dollar exit packages to executives who were credibly accused of sexual assault or harassment, including former Android head Andy Rubin. CNBC reported the news earlier today. “This settlement is likely to have lasting, long-term success in bringing about major, transformative changes at Alphabet,” the shareholders’ attorney said in a statement to CNBC. The statement praises the... Continue reading…
Many Democrats agree with Trump on curbing the country’s influence. But a Biden administration, influenced by tech, may strike a different tone.
The Trump administration announced a broad plan on Wednesday to block Chinese software from being used on US devices and keep US data off Chinese cloud services. The plan mirrors China's "great firewall" that prevents people in China from accessing most US websites and apps. While the Trump administration's announcement rocked the world of tech, Silicon Valley leaders have long braced for a "splinternet" that could replace the world wide web with locally contained networks. Others, like former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, have previously predicted a bifurcated internet, split between China's internet and the rest of the world. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. We're closer to a "splinternet" than ever before. Tech leaders have long warned that the world wide web could come to an end if nation-states across the globe wall off other countries' websites and products — and a new plan proposed by the Trump administration on Wednesday takes the US one more step in that direction. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the US is planning a "Clean Network" program that would ban Chinese apps from US app stores and block US tech companies from storing data on China-owned cloud services. It's the latest escalation in an ongoing dispute between the US and China and follows President Donald Trump's threat to ban TikTok if it isn't sold to a US company by its Beijing-based owner. Pompeo's plan mirrors China's "great firewall," which blocks people in China from accessing most US websites and grants the Chinese government broad powers to regulate and censor online content within its borders. Russia has similarly experimented with building an internet that can be shut off from the rest of the world, and countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea already censor online content from other countries. The splinternet isn't a new idea — but it's becoming more of a reality While the Trump administration's plan would mark an unprecedented step away from a free and open global internet, Silicon Valley has anticipated a Balkanized splinternet for years. Early tech bloggers like Doc Searls and Stephen Lewis began theorizing about a splinternet as early as 2008, noting that the free and open ideals that built the world wide web are increasingly at odds with the political agendas of governments across the globe. Lewis noted at the time that companies like Apple and Google seemed perfectly willing to modify their products to fit various governments' regulations rather than advocate for a neutral, global internet. He noted that Apple willingly removed NPR shows from its iTunes podcast library in countries that banned the station. "[Governments] still carve up the world according to geopolitical entities and borders defined between the late-eighteenth century and the mid-twentieth and gerrymander services and access accordingly.  Apparently, so does Apple.  Apple's method of 'appliancing' country-by-country reinforces anachronistic borders and undermines the potential of the internet to transcend past divisions," Lewis wrote. A splinternet or a bifurcated internet? Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has predicted that the internet as we know it will split in the future — but Schmidt says it's less useful to imagine a "splintered" internet than a separation between China and the rest of the world. "I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America," Schmidt said in 2018. Schmidt himself now advises the Pentagon and serves as a liaison between many Silicon Valley companies and the US military. "If you look at China ... the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number," he added. Schmidt predicts that, while America's allies could keep using the same internet as the US, other countries are likely to adopt China's infrastructure — especially the roughly 70 countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe that have preexisting infrastructure deals with China.  Pompeo's announcement included calls to shore up a similar partnership between US allies, urging them "to join the growing tide to secure our data from the CCP's surveillance state and other malign entities." The State Department said in a statement that more than 30 countries have already been designated by Washington as "Clean Countries."SEE ALSO: The first app using Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech in the US is about to launch Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn't know
New emails released as part of Wednsesday's Congressional tech antitrust hearing reveal a fascinating exchange between Google executives who were considering buying YouTube back in 2005. The emails reveal that Google thought it could buy YouTube for just $50 million. "They want something in the $500M range, something like 'the MySpace deal'" one exchange reads. Months later, Google acquired the company for $1.65 billion in a historic deal. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In the wake of the big tech CEO Congressional antitrust hearing over, many new documents obtained by the committee have been released. Among them is a fascinating exchange of emails between various Google executives who were once noodling on the idea of buying YouTube. Emails running back into 2005 reveal how product managers on the Google Video team were watching YouTube closely and kicking around the idea of either partnering with the startup — or just purchasing the company outright. "Just curious — have we talked to the YouTube guys about coming here?" reads one email from Jeff Huber, who at the time was working on Google ads. "They're cranking interesting features a lot faster than we are, but don't likely have a backed have a backend that will scale or plan to make money. We...have those." Further emails on the thread reveal the team estimated YouTube's valuation as of late 2005 to be $10-$15 million. Just months later, of course, Google would go on to acquire YouTube. But before that happened, the emails show that some employees even talked down the YouTube tech at the time. "They aren't doing anything on their site where I say 'wow they have some big video brains there,' reads an email from one product manager, Peter Chane. But Google was very aware that it had competition: Yahoo was also circling the video platform. "I think we should talk to them, if nothing else to make it more expensive for Yahoo," wrote Jeff Huber in an email including Susan Wojcicki, now the CEO of YouTube, but who at the time was VP or product management at Google proper. A couple of days later, on November 8, Google cofounder Larry Page also threw out the idea of a buy. "I think we should look into acquiring them... note they were recently funded by Mike at Sequoia," he wrote in an email to David Drummond, then Google's senior VP of business development and general counsel, in an apparent reference to venture capitalist and early YouTube investor Mike Moritz. As the various conversations continued, these newly-released emails reveal that Google originally valued YouTube far below the price it eventually paid. 'We think it will cost about $50M' According to the emails, in February 2006, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave the go-ahead for Sean Dempsey, Google's principal of corporate development, to "discuss a serious offer from Google to acquire them." Schmidt asked for the likely cost of acquiring YouTube. "We think it will cost about $50M" was the response from Salman Ullah, Google's VP of corporate development. Larry Page replied: "Doesn't seem crazy to me…" But Dempsey returned with bad news in an email on February 13. "I spoke with YouTube on Friday, over the weekend and this morning. The net is that they want something in the $500M range, something like "the MySpace deal," he told Schmidt. "We had planned to meet in person this morning but when I floated a potential range up to $200M to test whether this myspace comment was real, they decided it wasn't worth having the meeting." Schmidt then responded, telling Dempsey: "Please do figure out a way for us to help them achieve their vision. We won't be pursuing them as an acquisition." Further exchanges reveal that, aware YouTube was looking for the "MySpace" valuation, Google wanted to find other ways to work with the company. But as photo and video became a growing point of interest for Google, so did the executives' awareness of YouTube's potential.  "If we pass the deal will go to Yahoo or Youtube," reads one email sent by Google product manager Peter Change in early February 2006 in a discussion over a potential partnership with videocamera manufacturer Pure Digital. "Yahoo wants to create a Yahoo branded camera and have a Yahoo video storage service on the backend." He later mentions the idea of "a Google branded camera." Google wouldn't acquire YouTube until October that year, but Yahoo was still a possibility right down to the last second, as YouTube's founders revealed in a tell-all to Business Insider. Google couldn't lgt go  And inside Google, emails reveal that executives couldn't let go of the idea of an acquisition. "So what did Eric say today...about video. Bill mentioned it was discussed," wrote Susan Wojcicki in an email on May 1, 2006. "Just that youtube kicked our butts," replied former Google Senior VP Jonathan Rosenberg. "I was surprised he just noticed. I guess I should send him competitor updates more regularly. We have been focused on them for the last few months," said Wojcicki. It was the YouTube cofounders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley who ultimately proposed the $1.65 billion to Google – in a deal that the search giant accepted that October. Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt all showed up at YouTube's San Bruno, California office to announce the acquisition with the cofounders. As one YouTube employee put it, it was "pretty balls to the wall." Be sure to read the full history of the acquisition from the perspective of YouTube's founders.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The rise and fall of Donald Trump's $365 million airline
Hello and welcome to Trending, Business Insider's weekly look at the world of tech. I'm Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider's West Coast Bureau Chief and Global Tech Editor. If you want to get Trending in your email inbox every Wednesday, just click here. This week: What's one more decade when you're Reed Hastings? "To be totally clear, I'm in for a decade." So said newly appointed Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings during the company's quarterly earnings call on Thursday. Hastings will now share the top job with the company's longtime content boss Ted Sarandos, but his message was clear: He's not going anywhere. To anyone who's looked at the dismal track record of such dual-CEO arrangements lately, Hastings' promise may seem improbable. Whether it's Hastings or Sarandos, one of the pair is unlikely to still be in the job 10 years from now. But Hastings has proven far more prescient than almost any other business leader, so we decided to take a look at what the world will look like in 2030, as Hastings prepares to retire. The population of the Earth will be close to 9 billion, according to UN estimates, with 43 "megacities" including India's "Greater Delhi" and its 39 million residents. Computers will possess artificial intelligence equal to human intelligence, says famed futurist Ray Kurzweil. And China will be the world leader in AI, using it to dominate the military, public governance, and industrial production — at least, that's if China's "Made in China 2025" plan succeeds. Self driving cars and Flying taxis will ferry people around cities in places like Japan, Korea, and Dubai. But our homes and office buildings will no longer have windows (and your eyesight will suffer greatly) due to strict climate emission standards — if you believe President Trump's recent prophecies. And the first base for humans living on Mars will by then be in its third year of existence, Elon Musk says. In short, Netflix will have a giant multiplanetary addressable market to stream videos to (or whatever gets streamed at that point), just as the 69-year-old Hastings hangs up his spurs. I'm not sure if "Grace and Frankie" will still be in production, though. Of course, you don't have to wait until 2030 to get a taste of the future. As Eugene Kim reports, Amazon's secret project building a home robot for consumers is getting closer to reality. There's even a sales price — potentially exceeding $1,000 — already under discussion. It would make the waist-high robot code-named "Vesta" and resembling a "Roomba vacuum-cleaner in human form" the most expensive gadget in Amazon's hardware closet. Unlike the unwanted crumbs sucked up by a Roomba, however, the Amazon robot might roam your house hoovering up an assortment of private data — a risky proposition for any tech company these days. So what's Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thinking? Besides Bezos' thing for bots, it's not entirely clear what's motivating this initiative. Some speculate the Vesta could test the potential for Amazon to expand its Alexa voice assistants into the market for higher-priced luxury goods, while simultaneously letting Amazon flex its technical chops. Read Eugene's full story on Amazon's robot here. Alphabet's Verily goes to Code Red Not far from Amazon's Lab126 office where the Vesta robot is being developed, Google's sister company Verily has been operating in "Code Red." As Hugh Langley reports, Code Red is the name for Verily's efforts involving the coronavirus. And according to insiders that Hugh spoke to, it has not exactly been smooth sailing. Seven day weeks of 12-hour days, constant fire drills, and a culture of fear rule the organization. Speaking out is not only discouraged, it is punished.  Read Hugh's full story about life inside Verily here. Earnings season surprises Snap's Q2 results caused a bit of a shiver among investors on Tuesday. Not because the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is taking longer than expected, as IBM attested on Monday, but because the lockdowns didn't deliver the sustained levels of user engagement that Snap was banking on. "This initial lift dissipated faster than we anticipated as shelter in place conditions persisted," Snap CFO Derek Andersen, explaining the shortfall in Q2's daily active users, said. (The report came out on the same day that Business Insider's Paige Leskin reported that Snap has hired an outside law firm to investigate allegations of discrimination.)  Next up are Microsoft and Tesla, both of which reports their quarterly results on Wednesday. Here's what to expect: The end of Microsoft's retail stores and the Mixer streaming service show CEO Satya Nadella's willingness to cut its losses and ruthlessly focus on its strengths, experts say The future of Tesla's $200 billion winning streak hinges on this week's earnings report Snapshot: Boom times for virtual influencers Just when social-media influencers were set to rule the world, the pandemic — and its many disruptions — has put their ascendancy on hold. But, lest marketers be without an influential face to pitch their wares, a special breed of "virtual influencer" has rushed in to fill the void. Lil Miquela, pictured below, signed a deal with legendary Hollywood talent agency CAA in May. Unlike her flesh-and-blood counterparts, Miquela doesn't stop producing new content just because of a virus, explains Kara Weber, president of Brud, the virtual influencer startup that created the celebrity avatar.  "During the COVID pandemic when other artists can't go anywhere, Miquela can be anywhere," Weber said, noting her electronic client's growing popularity with brands seeking to connect with consumers in the "brave new world where we're all living inside our homes." Read the full story about virtual influencers here. Special event: Join Business Insider and Salesforce on Tuesday, July 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET for "Digital Optimization: How manufacturers can take small steps for big wins," a free digital event. The session will explore how manufacturers can pivot to digital to create a customer-first experience, enhance relationships, and build trust. Click here to register. Recommended Readings: Meet the husband-and-wife team that run AngelPad, the exclusive startup accelerator whose early bet on Postmates just led to a $2.65 billion Uber acquisition Everything you need to know about GPT-3, the natural language AI tool that's making tech Twitter lose its mind These 25 investors are hunting for the next big fintech unicorn. Here's what founders should know before pitching them. A female exec is suing $3 billion Carta, alleging that the CEO likened her to an alcoholic who needed to recover from her 'a--hole' problem Meet the 24 rising stars at Salesforce who are playing key roles in helping CEO Marc Benioff grow the cloud computing powerhouse Not necessarily in tech: The ultimate guide to getting started in real-estate investing — according to entrepreneurs who built multimillion-dollar empires from scratch That's all folks. Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.  — AlexeiJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt is leading a federal initiative to launch a university that would train a new generation of tech workers for the government, per a One Zero report. The school, named the US Digital Service Academy, looks to rival Stanford and MIT, two established tech talent pools. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) — an organization created to push the US ahead in the race for artificial intelligence — voted unanimously in a meeting Monday to recommend the university to Congress. Schmidt left his role as a technical advisor at Google in February amid his increased involvement in affairs pertaining to military technology. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt wants to help funnel tech talent into government work. According to a report from One Zero's Dave Gershgorn, Schmidt is teaming up with former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work to form a federal commission and kick off a university called the US Digital Service Academy that would train new classes of coders for the US.  The school would offer degrees and coursework for such digital skills as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. According to the report, the new academy has the backing of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an agency launched by Congress in 2018 to help the US prioritize artificial intelligence in response to China's advancement in that arena. The organization voted unanimously Monday to recommend the university to Congress. Commissioner and former head of the Federal Communications Commission Mignon Clyburn also emphasized during the Monday hearing the need for inclusion when recruiting students to the school. Palo Alto-based Stanford University — where the likes of Google's own founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have attended — and MIT have historically been the primary talent pools for the tech industry. Per the report, the Digital Service Academy would serve as a third reservoir for the best and brightest technology workers, but one that would ideally produce graduates imbued with a sense of government duty. Schmidt served as Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011 and left his position as a technical advisor at the company in February. The reason for his departure is unclear, but the move came as he was increasingly delving into military and government endeavors. As Engadget reports, the company blossomed into the tech titan we know it to be while under Schmidt's oversight. But the privacy issues that now plague the firm, as well as other tech companies, were also bred during Schmidt's time at Google. Work's time as the US Deputy Secretary of Defense ended in 2017, and overlapped with both the Obama and Trump administrations. His areas of expertise include defense policy and strategy and maritime affairs. Silicon Valley remains the epicenter of the nation's technology industry, with the biggest firms — Google, Apple, Facebook — and a hearty startup ecosystem operating out of the Northern California region. But that's left the government high and dry when it comes to recruiting technologists to fuel its own programs. The government has turned to recruiting tech startups instead — the military-contracting startup Anduril, for example, was awarded a contract with the US Customs and Border Protection to build a virtual surveillance wall at the border to monitor crossings in the country. The deal is reportedly worth several hundred million dollars. SEE ALSO: Google employees say the company culture that made it famous has almost entirely vanished, as it continues to be less transparent and more 'corporate' Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How 'white savior' films like 'The Help' and 'Green Book' hurt Hollywood
Political and technological problems might sink China's New IP plan, but China could reshape the internet in subtler ways.
The New IP plan's promised improvements may never arrive, but China could reshape the internet in other ways that today's tech powers don't like.
Scott Borgerson, the CEO of a tech company called CargoMetrics, has been tied since last year to Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, who authorities arrested in early July.  A Daily Mail article in August 2019 alleged Maxwell was dating Borgerson, and was living at his house in Massachusetts, but the tech CEO denied the report to Business Insider. Borgerson's name is back in the news after prosecutors alleged in court that Maxwell is secretly married but refuses to reveal the name of her spouse. Some reports have suggested it could be Borgerson Here's everything you should know about Borgerson, his company CargoMetrics, and the CEO's alleged connections to Maxwell. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Scott Borgerson, the CEO of a maritime analytics company, is back in the news for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein's inner circle.  The Daily Mail reported last summer that Borgerson was dating and housing Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend and alleged madam. Authorities arrested Maxwell on July 2, and she remains behind bars without bail until she stands trial in 2021 to face allegations she recruited underaged girls for Epstein. Borgerson denied the August 2019 report to Business Insider at the time, and said Maxwell was only a "former friend" who was not living at his home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Maxwell was then spotted at an In-N-Out Burger joint in Los Angeles the next day. The relationship between Borgerson and Maxwell is still not clear, but the CEO's name has resurfaced after prosecutors recently alleged in court that Maxwell is secretly married. Maxwell has declined to provide the name of her spouse, but news outlets have suggested it could be Borgerson. Borgerson has not responded to further requests for comment since he last spoke with Business Insider in August 2019. Here's everything you need to know about Scott Borgerson, his company CargoMetrics, and his ties to Ghislaine Maxwell:SEE ALSO: Tech CEO denies that Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, is hiding out at his house Scott Borgerson, 44, is the CEO of CargoMetrics, a data-analytics company for maritime trade and shipping. He cofounded the Boston-based company in 2010, and it was most recently valued at $100 million in 2016. Sources: Freight Waves, Financial Times Borgerson's company has raised nearly $23 million from investors, which include former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt led a $10 million funding round for CargoMetrics in August 2017, according to PitchBook. Source: PitchBook Borgerson owns an oceanfront property, reportedly worth $3 million, in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Manchester-by-the-Sea is a small town north of Boston with a population of just over 5,000 people. Sources: Daily Mail, U.S. Census Bureau The Daily Mail reported in August 2019 that Borgerson was dating and housing Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam who had largely remained out of the public eye. Maxwell was close to Epstein, and reportedly recruited underage girls for Epstein and participated in their abuse. Sources: Business Insider, Daily Mail The Daily Mail also reported Maxwell had become a "homebody" who was "hiding out" at Borgerson's home, and that the pair have been dating for around five years. However, Borgerson denied the report to Business Insider at the time, and said Maxwell was a "former friend." Sources: Business Insider, Daily Mail Borgerson also told Business Insider he was away on business for the week, and that no one had been staying at his Massachusetts home. A day later, Maxwell was spotted at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles. "Ghislaine Maxwell is not at my home and I don't know where she is," Borgerson told Business Insider at the time. "I'm passionate about ocean policy and wish people were as interested in Jones Act reform, joining the law of the sea, and funding icebreakers." Sources: Business Insider, Daily Mail The Daily Mail also captured photos it claims show Borgerson walking Maxwell's dog in Boston. However, Borgerson told Business Insider that the dog in the photographs is actually his, and his name is Secretary Hamilton — named after Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who founded the Coast Guard. Source: Business Insider Another Daily Mail article alleged details about Borgerson's previous marriage, which reportedly ended in 2014 and through which the tech CEO has two children. Since first talking with Business Insider nearly a year ago, Borgerson has not responded to multiple requests for further comment. Source: Daily Mail However, Borgerson isn't the only tech mogul with ties to Jeffrey Epstein and his circle. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Marvin Minsky, MIT's "father of artificial intelligence," have all been connected to Epstein. Read more: All the tech moguls who have been connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the elite wealth manager who died in jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges Authorities arrested Maxwell on July 2, and she's currently being held without bail ahead of her federal trial in July 2021. During her bail hearing, prosecutors alleged Maxwell is secretly married, but she "declined" to disclose the name of her spouse. Because of her alleged romantic past with Borgerson, outlets are speculating the he is the spouse. Source: Insider
Amazon is starting to screen some warehouse employees for COVID-19 symptoms when they come into work, CNBC reported Thursday. The company told employees in at least two states, Michigan and Virginia, that it would be "introducing a symptom screen" and sending people home who show signs of the coronavirus, according to CNBC. Separately, Amazon said in May that it was launching a pilot program to test employees for COVID-19 as it ramps up safety measures in its warehouses. Still, employees continue to speak out about working conditions during the pandemic and accuse the company of failing to take adequate steps to protect them.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Some Amazon employees will soon undergo additional COVID-19 symptom screening before starting work, CNBC reported Thursday.  "Beginning this week we're introducing a symptom screen at our entrances in accordance with guidance from local authorities," Amazon told workers in at least Michigan and Virginia, according to CNBC. "Moving forward, when you arrive for your shift you will read signs listing potential Covid-19 symptoms as you enter the building." Employees who don't report symptoms during the screening will complete a temperature check and clock-in for their shift, while those who do could be sent home and instructed to get a COVID-19 test, CNBC reported. It's unclear how widely the new screening process is being rolled out or whether employees will be paid for additional time spent waiting (the US Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Amazon is not required to pay workers for waiting in security lines). Separately, Amazon said in May that it is developing its own in-house coronavirus testing program, but would only say at the time that it has "started our first small-scale pilot." The company has been forced to drastically ramp up health and safety measures in its warehouses, where employees have been working throughout the pandemic. However, workers are continuing to speak out about working conditions and have accused Amazon of not taking sufficient precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus. They have also criticized Amazon for not being transparent about outbreaks, which have been confirmed in dozens of warehouses. A crowdsourced document compiled by workers claims that there could be as many as 1,500 cases. Amazon has repeatedly refused to release case numbers. "The actual…total number of cases isn't particularly useful because it's relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate," Amazon logistics chief Dave Clark told CBS News in May. However, Bloomberg reported last month that case rates at a Minnesota warehouse were at least four times the rates of surrounding communities. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.SEE ALSO: Google's former CEO reportedly hosts a secretive summit in Yellowstone whose attendees have included Lady Gaga and Cory Booker Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Leslie Odom, Jr.'s $500,000 gamble that led to a starring role in 'Hamilton'
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