Morning Brew - ☕️ More data, more problems

The more data a city collects, the greater the risk of a cyberattack.
Morning Brew September 07, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Welcome back. If you’re someone who gets excited about things like cellularly cultivated foods and synthetic biology (which, if you’re reading this newsletter, you probably are), we’ve got an event for you. Later this month, we’re hosting our first-ever virtual summit dedicated to the future of tech across food, health, and energy.

On September 29, we’re bringing together some of the best and brightest minds in the world of emerging tech to give us the inside scoop on how today’s tech is solving tomorrow’s problems. Oh, and did we mention tickets are completely free? Secure your spot today!

In today’s edition:

🏙 How to protect an entire city’s data
The first suit under California’s data-privacy bill is a doozy
Reader poll: Virtual-concert edition

Jordan McDonald, Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy


Smart cities require even smarter data security

Smart cities require even smarter data security Jaczhou/Getty Images

Smart cities collect a massive amount of data. These tech-savvy cities, and the companies they partner with, are collecting data on traffic flow, waste management, utilities, and, in some cities, faces.

  • The immense amount of data a city can collect—upward of 2500 petabytes per day from surveillance cameras alone in 2019—and store in data centers is wide-ranging.

Big picture: In this new digital landscape, industry experts say it’s incumbent on municipal governments to manage the data they collect and to protect it from bad actors.

“The data that’s collected dictates the sensitivity,” Scott Rubin, adjunct lecturer in cybersecurity risk management and the applied intelligence program at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, told Emerging Tech Brew. “If the smart city just wants to know foot traffic, data impact is pretty low.”

Rubin added that the biggest risk for residents of a smart city stems from the potential leakage of personal identifiable information, or PII, which could include anything from names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, and bank accounts.

If a city keeps that type of data and it gets compromised, that can be devastating to cities.

Click here to keep reading about cybersecurity and cities.JM



CCPA enforcement is comin’ in hot

An open make-up compact with red blush sits on a black-and-white striped table, with a human eye appearing in the mirror of the compact. Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Ebby May/Getty Images

No amount of caked-on foundation and expensive eyeliner could hide Sephora from California’s attorney general. In late August, the company agreed to pay a $1.2 million fine for allegedly violating the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s the first enforcement and fine resulting from the law, and it has implications that could be important for...the internet.

  • California accused Sephora of making that customer data available to third parties—which it did by sharing that data with commonly used web-analytics companies that run on its website—and failing to disclose the sale of personal info or provide an opt-out link on some browsers.

Wait, what? According to the settlement, under the CCPA, a sale is “the exchange of personal information for anything of value,” including third-party cookies and pixels, tech that companies can use to target and retarget ads to browsing customers.

That means that businesses who share personal data but don’t want to be classified as selling that data need specific contracts with service providers agreeing to use that data very narrowly and only for the company they collected it for, Travis P. Brennan, shareholder and chair of Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth PC’s privacy and data security practice, said. Otherwise, companies have to make it clear to their customers that they’re selling their data, he said.

Read the full story from Marketing Brew here.RB, MA



Reader poll: Metaverse concerts edition

Reader poll: Metaverse concerts edition Travis Scott/Epic Games

For the time being, the experience of bobbing your head along to music while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a sweaty group of strangers may be safe from digital disruption. At least, according to results from last week’s reader poll on metaverse concerts.

By the numbers: Last week, we asked how many of you had attended a virtual concert in the metaverse, e.g., in Fortnight or Meta’s Horizon Worlds. Just 9% of the ~1,500 respondents said they had, while the rest said they had done no such thing.

Attendance at metaverse concerts has been pretty variable in recent years. Back in 2019, Fortnite broke records by drawing 10.7 million concurrent viewers to a concert from DJ Marshmello. A year and change later, Travis Scott drew over 12 million concurrent players to his Fortnite concert.

  • But more recently, Meta failed to attract even a million cumulative viewers to metaverse concerts by Young Thug and David Guetta.
  • Meanwhile, in-person events are on the upswing now that pandemic restrictions have been relaxed. Live Nation recently reported that it had sold 100 million tickets through July 2022, compared to 74 million in all of 2019.

This week’s poll: Do you think it’s okay for AI-generated art to be considered for traditional art prizes alongside human submissions?



image of renewable energy sources and other climate tech Francis Scialabba

Stat: The cost of some methane monitoring tech has fallen from $200,000 to less than $10,000, making it more tenable to constantly scan for leaks of the highly potent greenhouse gas.

Quote: “I’m not going to apologize for it…I won, and I didn’t break any rules.”—Jason M. Allen, who kicked up some controversy by winning an art prize with an AI-generated submission.

Read: CB Insights dropped a new report on nine potentially world-changing emerging technologies.

Which emerging technologies are closest to mainstream adoption? Here’s the breakdown: Applied AI, the future of bioengineering, and cloud computing are among the trends set to transform multiple industries. Read the full research to find out more.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • Meta and Qualcomm are working together to make custom VR chips for the metaverse.
  • The Pentagon is building a “one-stop online ‘marketplace’” for the military to find and purchase AI technologies and plans to debut the hub in Q1 2023.
  • Delta Air Lines has struck a deal with DG Fuels, a hydrogen and biogenic-based fuel developer, to buy sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Beijing, in a first-of-its-kind move, will regulate “digital humans” like digital assistants, virtual influencers, metaverse avatars, and more.
  • The French government is making bank in back taxes after using AI to analyze aerial photos for “undeclared pools.” It found 20,356 of them.
  • The Commerce Department released its plan for dishing out the $50 billion in semiconductor subsidies created by the CHIPS Act.


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Written by Jordan McDonald, Dan McCarthy, and Hayden Field

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