The World’s Most Powerful Women: June 5

Jun 05, 2017

In responding to the Saturday night terrorist attack in London that left seven dead and 48 injured, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for tighter controls on online communication:

"We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the Internet, and the big companies that provide Internet-based services, provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online."

Even in the wake of the third such tragedy in the U.K. in as many months, some technologists were outraged by May's comments—which added to her government's record of anti-privacy declarations—arguing that her proposal is at fundamental odds with the spirit of the Internet.

As Fortune's David Z. Morris reports, author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow was one of the commenters who eviscerated May’s remarks as a “classic piece of foolish political grandstanding” from a politician who “doesn’t understand technology very well.” Restricting cryptography or building the kind of back doors that May wants would cripple the Internet as we know it, Doctorow argues: "There's no back door that only lets good guys go through it." Besides, he adds, it can’t even be done from a technical standpoint—the Internet simply isn't built for top-down administration.

May has some supporters in her corner. MP John Mann, from the rival Labour party, backed the prime minister's position. "I repeat, yet again, my call for the Internet companies who terrorists have again used to communicate to be held legally liable for content," he tweeted Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, some critics have turned their attention away from May's technological proposal and toward the cuts to British police forces that have occurred under her government. Prominent commentators like media personality Piers Morgan are blaming those reductions, rather than online freedom of speech, for enabling recent attacks—an argument that could hamper May leading up to the national election on Thursday.

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Show of strength

Less than two weeks after an attack at her concert left 22 dead, American singer Ariana Grande was back on stage in Manchester, headlining a benefit show last night for 50,000 fans. "I think the kind of love you're displaying is the kind of medicine the world really needs right now," she told the audience. "So I want to thank you for being just that."

Sky News

A condolence call

In an excerpt from his new book, Brendan Cox, widower of murdered U.K. MP Jo Cox, recounts a call he received following his wife's death from then-U.S. President Barack Obama, who invited Cox and his children to the White House. "I mentioned to Obama that Jo had admired him greatly," Cox writes.

Guardian

THE AMERICAS

A Wonderful weekend

Superhero film Wonder Woman—directed by Patty Jenkinsgrossed $100.5 million in its opening weekend, a figure that shattered the domestic ticket sales record for a female director. Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey previously held that distinction with an opening weekend gross of $85 million in February 2015.

Fortune

Make or brake?

General Motors CEO Mary Barra faces shareholders this week, under pressure from a hedge fund investor and fresh scrutiny following the ouster of her counterpart at crosstown rival Ford. Shareholders have largely been patient with Barra as GM's stock has hovered near its 2010 IPO price of $33. But now Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn wants to split GM’s shares into two classes. Investors will vote on the proposal on Tuesday.

Wall Street Journal

A-OK

Anna Langthorn got into politics at age 17 as a way to distract herself from a broken heart. (She admits her story "isn't very feminist.") But that decision started her on a path that led her—at age 24—to become the youngest ever Oklahoma State Democratic chair.

Elle

ASIA-PACIFIC

Problem solver

Retired banker Masako Wakamiya will be the oldest developer attending WWDC, Apple's annual developer conference that starts today. Wakamiya, an 82-year-old from Japan, learned to code after being frustrated by a dearth of mobile games designed for the elderly. "I didn't see any apps for the elderly, so I decided to create my own," she says.

Fortune

Character development

A crop of new films in India is challenging Bollywood's depiction of women. Rather than portraying young women as sex objects and older women as matriarchs, movies like Lipstick Under My Burka are showing more complex female characters and focusing exclusively on their lives and sexuality. 

NPR

IN BRIEF

The sneaky feminist joy of refusing to live by other people’s timelines

Quartz

Q&A: Chile's Michele Bachelet on where the country goes from here

Time

Vladimir Putin talks Russia probe, Michael Flynn in new interview with Megyn Kelly

Fortune

Trainer Tracy Anderson is getting her own radio show

The Cut

PARTING WORDS

"I love to order pizza from Papa John’s so much. I do it like once a week."

—Carolina Williams, who was accepted to Yale University after writing her admissions essay about how ordering Papa John's pizza gave her independence as a child and became a means of celebration as she grew up.

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