The historian Leslie Reagan puts Texas’ latest abortion law in perspective.
The suits, brought by men in Arkansas and Illinois, appear to be the first under a state law that bans most abortions after the six-week mark.
Navigating care for pregnancy and abortion in Texas is impossible.
The influx of thousands of migrants has led to squalor under a bridge, and a dispirited town beyond it.
Mr. O’Rourke has been calling Democratic leaders in Texas to tell them he is seriously considering challenging Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022.
Three homes were damaged and three residents treated for minor injuries, the Fort Worth Fire Department said. “It could have been a lot worse,” a police chief said.
In an opinion essay in The Washington Post titled “Why I violated Texas’s extreme abortion ban,” Dr. Alan Braid wrote, “I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly.”
The state recently completed one of its most conservative legislative sessions, widening a divide among many residents.
Hackers associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous say they have leaked gigabytes of data from Epik, a web host and domain registrar that provides services to far-right sites like Gab, Parler and 8chan, which found refuge in Epik after they were booted from mainstream platforms.
In a statement attached to a torrent file of the dumped data this week, the group said the 180 gigabytes amounts to a “decade’s worth” of company data, including “all that’s needed to trace actual ownership and management” of the company. The group claimed to have customer payment histories, domain purchases and transfers, and passwords, credentials, and employee mailboxes. The cache of stolen data also contains files from the company’s internal web servers, and databases that contain customer records for domains that are registered with Epik.
The hackers did not say how they obtained the breached data or when the hack took place, but timestamps on the most recent files suggest the hack likely happened in late February.
TechCrunch has since learned that Epik was warned of a critical security flaw weeks before its breach.
Security researcher Corben Leo contacted Epik’s chief executive Monster over LinkedIn in January about a security vulnerability on the web host’s website. Leo asked if the company had a bug bounty or a way to report the vulnerability. LinkedIn showed Monster had read the message but did not respond.
Leo told TechCrunch that a library used on Epik’s WHOIS page for generating PDF reports of public domain records had a decade-old vulnerability that allowed anyone to remotely run code directly on the internal server without any authentication, such as a company password.
“You could just paste this [line of code] in there and execute any command on their servers,” Leo told TechCrunch.
Leo ran a proof-of-concept command from the public-facing WHOIS page to ask the server to display its username, which confirmed that code could run on Epik’s internal server, but he did not test to see what access the server had as doing so would be illegal.
It’s not known if the Anonymous hacktivists used the same vulnerability that Leo discovered. (Part of the stolen cache also includes folders relating to Epik’s WHOIS system, but the hacktivists left no contact information and could not be reached for comment.) But Leo contends that if a hacker exploited the same vulnerability and the server had access to other servers, databases or systems on the network, that access could have allowed access to the kind of data stolen from Epik’s internal network in February.
“I am really guessing that’s how they got owned,” Leo told TechCrunch, who confirmed that the flaw has since been fixed.
Monster confirmed he received Leo’s message on LinkedIn, but did not answer our questions about the breach or say when the vulnerability was patched. “We get bounty hunters pitching their services. I probably just thought it was one of those,” said Monster. “I am not sure if I actioned it. Do you answer all your LinkedIn spams?”
In a message posted on an internal employee message board today, Apple said that it was monitoring the legal challenges to what it refers to as the “uniquely restrictive abortion law” that was recently passed in Texas. Apple confirmed the authenticity of the message to TechCrunch.
“We are actively monitoring the legal proceedings challenging the uniquely restrictive abortion law in Texas,” the unsigned memo reads. “In the meantime, we want to remind you that our benefits at Apple are comprehensive, and that they allow our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state.”
The new law essentially bans the vast majority of abortions from occurring in the state and is currently being legally challenged in a variety of ways. A series of companies in and outside of tech have taken public stances against the law in recent days. Salesforce has offered to relocate any employees in Texas that are concerned about the ability to access reproductive care in the state post-enactment of the law. Offers to cover travel expenses for employees that needed care out of the state were set up by Match Group and Bumble, both Texas-based companies.
The message does not detail any further actions that Apple is taking to actively oppose the bill but says that Apple supports “our employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health.”
Apple is a large employer in Texas where it has a campus of thousands in Austin, as well as a manufacturing plant and many Apple stores across the state.
The full text of the message is below:
A message about women’s reproductive health care
At Apple, we support our employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health.
We are actively monitoring the legal proceedings challenging the uniquely restrictive abortion law in Texas. In the meantime, we want to remind you that our benefits at Apple are comprehensive, and that they allow our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state. If you need help in navigating your care or that of your dependents, your health plan carrier can confidentially assist you.
Your health and well-being remain our highest priority, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that you and your families have access to the care that Apple provides.
The subject is guns. The password is safety.
The department sued Texas last week over the recently enacted law that prohibits nearly all abortions in the state.
The six-week ban is tragic for adults. It’s worse for minors.
When people talk about “online food delivery” services, chances are that they’ll think of the Uber Eats, Instacarts and Getirs of this world. But today a startup that’s tackling a different aspect of the market — addressing the supply chain that subsequently turns the wheels of the bigger food distribution machine — is announcing a big round of funding as it continues to grow.
GrubMarket, which provides software and services that help link up and manage relationships between food suppliers and their customers — which can include wholesalers and other distributors, markets and supermarkets, delivery startups, restaurants, and consumers — has picked up $120 million in a Series E round of funding.
The funding is coming from a wide mix of investors. Liberty Street Funds, Walleye Capital, Japan Post Capital, Joseph Stone Capital, Pegasus Tech Ventures, Tech Pioneers Fund are among the new backers, who are being joined by existing investors Celtic House Asia Partners, INP Capital, Reimagined Ventures, Moringa Capital Management, and others, along with other unnamed participants
Mike Xu, GrubMarket’s founder and CEO (pictured, above), tells me that the company is currently profitable in a big way. It’s now at a $1 billion annualized run-rate, having grown revenues 300% over last year, with some markets like New York growing even more (it went from less than $10 million ARR to $100 million+).
With operations currently in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, and some 40 warehouses nationwide. GrubMarket had a pre-money valuation of over $1 billion, and now it will be looking to grow even more, both in terms of territory and in terms of tech, moving ahead in a market that is largely absent from competitors.
“We are still the first mover in this space,” Xu said when I asked him in an interview about rivals. “No one else is doing consolidation on the supply chain side as we are. We are trying to consolidate the American food supply chain through software technologies, while also trying to find the best solutions in this space.”
(And for some context, the $1 billion+ valuation is more than double GrubMarket’s valuation in October 2020, when it raised $60 million at a $500 million post-money valuation.)
Longer term, the plan will be to look at an IPO provisionally filing the paperwork by summer 2022, Xu added.
GrubMarket got its start several years ago as one of many companies looking to provide a more efficient farm-to-table service. Tapping into a growing consumer interest in higher quality, and more traceable food, it saw an opportunity to build a platform to link up producers to the consumers, restaurants and grocery stores that were buying their products. (Grocery stores, incidentally, might be independent operations, or something much bigger: one of GrubMarket’s biggest customers is Whole Foods, which uses GrubMarket for produce supply in certain regions of the U.S. It is currently is the company’s biggest customer.)
As we wrote last year, GrubMarket — like many other grocery delivery services — found that the pandemic initially provided a big fillip, and a big rush of demand, from that consumer side of the business, as more people turned to internet-based ordering and delivery services to offset the fact that many stores were closed, or they simply wanted to curtail the amount of shopping they were doing in-person to slow the spread of Covid-19.
But fast forward to today, while the startup still serves consumers, this is currently not the primary part of its business. Instead, it’s B2B2C, serving companies that in turn serve consumers. Xu says that overall, demand from consumers has dropped off considerably compared to a year ago.
“We think that restaurant re-openings have meant more people are dining out again and spending less time at home,” Xu said, ” and also they can go back to physical grocery stores, so they are not as interested as they were before in buying raw ingredients online. I don’t want to offend other food tech companies, but I think many of them will be seeing the same. I think B2C is really going to slow down going forward.”
The opening for GrubMarket has been not just positioning itself as a middleman between producers and buyers, but to do so by way of technology and consolidating what has been a very regionalized and fragmented market up to now.
GrubMarket has snapped up no less than 40 companies in the last three years. While some of these have been to help it expand geographically (it made 10 acquisitions in the Los Angeles area alone), many have also been made to double down on technology.
These have included the likes of Farmigo, once a Disrupt Battlefield contender that pivoted into becoming a software provider to CSAs (an area that GrubMarket sees a lot of opportunity), as well as software to help farms manage their business staffing, insurance and more: Pacific Farm Management is an example of the latter.
GrubMarket’s own in-house software, WholesaleWare, a cloud-based service for farmers and other food producers, saw its sales grow 3,500% over the last year, and it is now managing more than $4 billion in wholesale and retail activity across the U.S. and Canada.
There will be obvious ways to extend what GrubHub does deeper into the needs of its customers on the purchasing end, but this is in many ways also a very crowded market. (And not just crowded, but crowded with big companies. Just today, Toast, the company that builds software for restaurants, filed for a $717 million IPO at potentially a $16.5 billion valuation.) So instead, GrubHub will continue to focus on what has been a more overlooked aspect, that of the suppliers.
“I am focused on the food supply chain,” Xu said. “Operators in the food supply chain business most of the time don’t have any access to software and e-commerce technology. But we are not just a lightweight online ordering system. We do a lot of heavyweight lifting around inventory management, pricing and customer relations, and even HR management for wholesales and distributors.” That will also mean, longer term, that GrubMarket will likely also start to explore connected hardware to help those customers, too: robotics for picking and moving items are on that agenda, Xu said.
“GrubMarket has built a profitable, high-growth business underpinned by its best-in-class technology platform that’s reinventing how businesses access healthy, fresh foods,” said Jack Litowitz, director of strategic investments at Reimagined Ventures, in a statement. “We’re proud to support GrubMarket as it continues to expand into new regions and grow its WholesaleWare 2.0 software platform. At Reimagined Ventures, we always seek to invest in businesses that are disrupting inefficient industries in innovative ways. Mike Xu and the GrubMarket team have built one of these businesses. We’re excited to back their vision and work in making the food supply chain more efficient.”
“GrubMarket is transforming the trillion-dollar food distribution industry with unprecedented speed by implementing advanced digital solutions and operational discipline. The company’s scale, growth, and profitability are extraordinarily impressive. Pegasus is delighted and honored to be part of GrubMarket’s exciting journey ahead,” added Bill Reichert, partner at Pegasus Tech Ventures.
Taliban leaders have been pressuring the Uzbek government to turn over the pilots, who fear for the safety of themselves and their families.
Jonathan Mitchell has never had a high profile in the anti-abortion movement, but he developed and promoted the legal approach that has flummoxed the courts and enraged abortion rights supporters.
Major denominations are essentially unanimous in their support of the vaccines against Covid-19, but individuals who object are citing their personal faith for support.
Last weekend, a reader wrote to this editor, politely asking why tech companies should speak up about the abortion law that Texas passed last week.
“What does American Airlines have to do with abortion?” said the reader, suggesting that companies can’t possibly cater to both pro-abortion and anti-abortion advocates and that asking them to take a stand on an issue unrelated to their business would only contribute to the politicization of America.
It’s a widely held point of view, and the decision yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the law, which U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has called “clearly unconstitutional,” may well reinforce it. After all, if anyone should be pushing back against what happened in the Lone Star State, it should be other legislators, not companies, right?
Still, there are more reasons than not for technology companies – and particularly Tesla – to step out of the shadows and bat down this law.
It’s a fact that abortion restrictions lead to higher healthcare costs for employers, but one consequence of the Texas law that could hit tech companies especially hard is its impact on hiring. According to a study by the social enterprise Rhia Ventures, 60% of women say they would be discouraged from taking a job in a state that has tried to restrict access to abortion, and the same is true for a slight majority of men, the study found.
Texas’s abortion law also creates an extra-judicial enforcement mechanism that should alarm tech companies. The new law allows private citizens to sue not just abortion providers but anyone who wittingly or unwittingly helps a woman obtain an abortion, whether they have a connection to the case or not. More, there are significant financial awards should a plaintiff win: each defendant is subject to paying $10,000, as well as subject to covering the costs and plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.
Just imagine if this precedent were applied to an issue that involves technology companies, such as consumer privacy. As Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, observed to ABC this week. “[the] recipe that SB 8 has developed is not restricted to abortion. It can be used for any constitutional rights that people don’t like.”
Tech companies might very well say that taking asides on the Texas abortion debate would be the political equivalent of jumping on a live wire, and it’s easy to sympathize with this viewpoint. Even though Pew Research reports that about 6 in 10 Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, passions are heated on both sides.
Still, corporations have safely stood up for their values on controversial issues before — and they’ve shown that corporate pressure works. In a 2016, a group of roughly 70 major corporations, including Apple, Cisco, and even, yes, American Airlines, joined a legal effort to block a North Carolina law that banned transgender people from using public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Their ‘friend of the court’ brief argued that the law condoned “invidious discrimination” and would damage their ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
By 2017, having already experienced severe economic consequences a lot of these same companies stopped doing business with North Carolina, the ban was rescinded.
The handful of CEOs, including from Lyft, Uber, Yelp, and Bumble have already taken very public positions against the next Texas law. A company like Tesla could have an even bigger impact on the state’s politics. Elon Musk’s move to Texas ignited a firestorm of interest in the Texas tech scene, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott was so cognizant of Musk’s influence that he said Musk supported his state’s “social policies” the day after the new law was passed.
Musk — whose many financial interests in Texas include plans to build a new city called Starbase and to become a local electricity provider — has so far refused to take a stand on the law. When asked about the issue, he responded, “In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness.”
He also added that he would “prefer to stay out of politics.”
That could prove a mistake as lawmakers and executives in at least seven states, including Florida and South Dakota, have said they’re closing reviewing Texas’s new law and considering similar statutes.
In May 2019, nearly 200 CEOs, including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Peter Grauer of Bloomberg a signed a full-page New York Times ad declaring that abortion bans are bad for business: “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion,” the ad read, “threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers.”
If Musk truly believes government should “rarely impose its will upon the people,” he should take a similar, public stand in Texas while the federal government fights what’s anticipated to be a long, uphill battle. He has little to lose in doing so — and much to gain.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday signed a ban on social media “censorship” into law, imposing new restrictions on tech companies that are certain to spark a court battle similar to one happening in Florida.
Industry groups slammed the newly enacted legislation as “unconstitutional.” The law “seeks to punish social media companies for following policies that protect Internet users from dangerous content online,” according to the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).
The CCIA previously sued Florida to block a state law that would have made it illegal for social media companies to ban politicians. US District Judge Robert Hinkle sided with the tech industry in June, granting a preliminary injunction that blocks the law because it violates the First Amendment rights of companies that moderate user content on their online platforms.
There is little precedent for the provision that deputizes ordinary citizens to enforce an effective ban on abortions — and offers them a financial incentive to do so.
Recent shifts on access to abortion suggest democracy and women’s rights go hand in hand — and that the inverse might be true as well.
The move is the first major step by the Biden administration to confront the new law, the nation’s most restrictive in terms of abortion access.
We took an up-close look at the text of S.B. 8, which bans almost all abortions in Texas and delegates enforcement responsibility to citizens.
Republican officeholders are no longer coy about their religion-driven mission to stop abortion.
A law preserving the life of a human being at any stage can be considered “extreme” only within a distorted social context.
The ruling was the latest in a string of decisions on the role that spiritual advisers may play in death row inmates’ final moments.
The ruling was the latest in a string of decisions on the role that spiritual advisers may play in death row inmates’ final moments.
The strategic growth investment, which comes as organizations double-down on cybersecurity amid a pandemic-fueled rise in cyber threats, will enable Intel 471 to evolve its product suite, broaden its go-to-market strategy and continue to “aggressively pursue innovation,” according to Thoma Bravo. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Intel 471, a Texas-based firm founded in 2014, takes a preventative approach to cybersecurity. It leverages its access to forums and dark web marketplaces to equip organizations with intelligence and monitoring on threat actors and malware attacks. Using the company’s platform, businesses can track threat actor activity and vulnerability exploits, analyze near-real-time monitoring of malware activity, trace threats that could cause security breaches, and receive alerts on compromised credentials.
“As cybercriminals and their tactics become increasingly sophisticated, our monitoring and intelligence solutions have become mission-critical, with organizations of all sizes looking to us to help them protect against attacks,” said Mark Arena, CEO of Intel 471.
Arena, along with fellow co-founder Jason Passwaters, will continue to lead Intel 471 and will retain a “significant” ownership position
Thoma Bravo’s investment in Intel 471 sees the private equity firm continue its cybersecurity investing spending-spree. Its recent $12.3 billion purchase of Proofpoint, for example, said to be the largest acquisition in cybersecurity history, trumps Broadcom’s $10.7 billion purchase of Symantec, Intel’s $7.6 billion acquisition of McAfee, and Okta’s proposed $6.5 billion acquisition of Auth0.
House Democrats urged the Justice Department to prosecute anyone who tries to sue women who seek abortions.
It’s a watershed moment in a long-running war on reproductive rights in the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott called the law, which will sharply curtail access to the ballot in Texas, a “paradigm” for other states looking to pass election bills.
Anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life exposed the personal information of hundreds of job applicants after a website bug allowed anyone to access their resumes, which were stored in an unprotected directory on its website.
A security researcher told TechCrunch that the group’s main website, built largely in WordPress, was not properly protecting the file storage on its website, which it used to store resumes of more than 300 job applicants, as well as other files uploaded to the website. The resumes contained names, phone numbers, addresses, and details of a person’s employment history.
The website bug was fixed over the weekend, a short time after details of the leak were posted on Twitter. The group’s website no longer lists any of the exposed files.
“We are taking action to protect the concerned individuals,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokesperson for Texas Right to Life told TechCrunch, referring to those who “sought and circulated the information.”
When asked, Schwartz would not say if the organization planned on informing those whose personal information was exposed by its security lapse.
Texas Right to Life sparked anger when last week it publicized a “whistleblower” website that encouraged Texas residents to report when someone might be seeking an abortion in violation of the state’s restrictive new abortion law. The law allows anyone to sue someone seeking an abortion, or anyone “aiding and abetting” an abortion after six weeks. That provision has been widely interpreted as targeting doctors who perform these procedures, but also potentially anyone who gets involved, such as contributing money or driving a friend to a clinic.
It didn’t take long for the “whistleblower” website to be flooded with fake tips, memes, and Shrek porn in protest. The site briefly fell offline Thursday, which coincided with an activist releasing an iOS shortcut to help anyone pre-fill the website’s form with fake information.
But by the weekend, GoDaddy, the company hosting the website, told Texas Right to Life that the site violated its terms of service and gave the group 24 hours to find another host. It did — briefly — by way of Epik, a web host that helped other controversial sites like far-right social networks Gab get back online. But that didn’t last long either.
As of Monday, the “whistleblower” website pointed to Texas Right to Life’s main website.
The statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland did not directly challenge a new Texas law that banned nearly all abortions in the state.
Whether it’s in Texas, New York or anywhere else.
Texans are almost evenly divided on abortion, but a combination of Republican control, conservative judicial appointments and cultural shifts helped the state’s anti-abortion movement find success.
The Texas abortion law is just an opening salvo in a broader push by conservatives to restrict the rights of their neighbors, classmates and colleagues.
The order’s effect is narrow, as it will prevent Texas Right to Life and its associates from suing Planned Parenthood only until Sept. 17.
Businesses that expressed opposition to restrictive voting laws are declining to take a similar stand on the abortion measure.
Legislation banning most terminations has gone into effect in Texas. How did it avoid being immediately struck down like so many previous anti-abortion laws?
The conservative majority essentially nullified the constitutional rights of millions of American women without so much as an argument.
A process intended to help the court deal with emergency petitions and routine matters has grown into a backdoor way of making major policy decisions.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to block a Texas law banning most abortions left Republicans eager to replicate it. Democrats reeled, but sensed a winning issue in coming elections.
The answer depends on what Democrats do next.
Readers express dismay that the Supreme Court didn’t block the law and urge Congress to take action. Also: The danger to democracy; food for Haiti’s children.
The groundwork was laid long ago for the Texas anti-abortion law that the Supreme Court allowed to go into effect.
President Biden directed a gender-focused policy council in the White House and other agencies to “launch of a whole-of-government-effort” to respond.
The law prohibits abortions before many women even know they’re pregnant, and it will be hard to challenge in the courts.
Outpacing Mississippi in the race for the worst state for women.
The Texas abortion law is the latest example of a harrowing trend.
The Supreme Court allowed the nation’s harshest abortion ban to go into effect, without lifting a finger.