Sam Altman to Rejoin OpenAI, Tech CEOs Subpoenaed, EFF Warns About Malware

Altman was brought back to OpenAI only days after being fired.

Sam Altman to Rejoin OpenAI, Tech CEOs Subpoenaed, EFF Warns About Malware
Photo of Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, taken 2019, permission.

November 22, 2023 – OpenAI announced in an X post early Wednesday morning that Sam Altman will be re-joining the company that built ChatGPT as CEO after he was fired on Friday.

Altman confirmed his intention to rejoin OpenAI in an X post Wednesday morning, saying that he was looking forward to returning to OpenAI with support from the new board.

Former company president Greg Brockman also said Wednesday he will return to the AI company.

Altman and Brockman will join with a newly formed board, which includes former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor as the chair, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, who previously held a position on the OpenAI board.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of OpenAI backer Microsoft, echoed support for both Brockman and Altman rejoining OpenAI, adding that he is looking forward to continuing building a relationship with the OpenAI team in order to best deliver AI services to customers.

OpenAI received backlash from several hundred employees who threatened to leave and join Microsoft under Altman and Brockman unless the current board of directors agreed to resign.

Tech CEOs subpoenaed to attend hearing

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, announced Monday that tech giants Snap, Discord and X have been issued subpoenas for their appearance at the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 6 in relation to concerns over child sexual exploitation online.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, X CEO Linda Yaccarino and Discord CEO Jason Citron have been asked to address how or if they’ve worked to confront that issue.

Durbin said in a press release that the committee “promised Big Tech that they’d have their chance to explain their failures to protect kids. Now’s that chance. Hearing from the CEOs of some of the world’s largest social media companies will help inform the Committee’s efforts to address the crisis of online child sexual exploitation.”

Durbin noted in a press release that both X and Discord refused to initially accept subpoenas, which required the US Marshal Service to personally deliver those respective documents.

The committee is looking to have Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testify as well but have not received confirmation regarding their attendance.

Several bipartisan bills have been brought forth to address that kind of exploitation, including the Earn It Act, proposed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Graham, which holds them liable under child sexual abuse material laws.

EFF urging FTC to sanction sellers of malware-containing devices

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group, have asked the Federal Trade Commission in a letter on November 14 to sanction resellers like Amazon and AliExpress following allegations mobile devices and Android TV boxes purchased from their stores contain malware.

The letter explained that once the devices were turned on and connected to the internet,  they would begin “communicating with botnet command and control (C2) servers. From there, these devices connect to a vast click-fraud network which a report by HUMAN Security recently dubbed BADBOX.”

The EFF added that this malware is often operating unbeknownst to the consumer, and without advanced technical knowledge, there is nothing they can do to remedy it themselves.

“These devices put buyers at risk not only by the click-fraud they routinely take part in, but also the fact that they facilitate using the buyers’ internet connections as proxies for the malware manufacturers or those they sell access to,” explained the letter.

EFF said that the devices containing malware included ones manufactured by Chinese companies AllWinner and RockChip, who have been reported on for sending out products with malware before by EFF.