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Tech Team

Hello dedicated TechAways readers,

This is Lauren Clark presenting this week’s edition. I’ve often been behind the scenes of TechAways, so I’m excited to introduce myself and tell you about some exciting changes we’re bringing to TechAways. My short bio is below but here’s some relevant info about me: I’m American – meaning I’ve spent most of the past 4 years cringing from afar at the US’ political situation. This week’s presidential screaming match…I mean debate…is a good example of that. I follow Big Tech and misinformation closely, especially around elections. I get into that a bit with the story below on Biden’s campaign advisor calling out Facebook for spreading disinformation (and then ironically hiring an ex-Facebook official to be ethics czar).

On the TechAways front we’re excited to introduce more of our awesome tech practice team members in the following weeks. They’ll each write a short intro and bio to help you get to know them better. The biggest change is that TechAways will be moving to every other week. We know your Friday inboxes will miss us sometimes but don’t worry; we’re still going to be sure to bring you fun and interesting tech news!

Biden is fed up with Facebook [TechCrunch]

Joe Biden’s campaign pulled no punches when calling out Facebook for being the “foremost propagator” of disinformation on US elections. The scathing letter was sent to Zuckerberg following a “Trump Army” video on Facebook that encourages Trump supporters to commit voter intimidation. Facebook has said that it is upholding its promise to help stop disinformation by adding a voting info label to the bottom of the video. Biden’s campaign argues this isn’t enough, stating the company is regressing in its efforts to promote correct voter information. Now some progressives are calling out the hypocrisy of Biden’s transition team – they recently hired an ex-senior regulatory official for Facebook to help Biden’s team navigate ethics issues when (🤞) they take over the White House. Maybe it’s a keep your friends close and your enemies even closer situation. 

Norwegians (probably) love TikTok more than you [Bloomberg]

TikTok’s algorithm is tailored to your unconscious entertainment desires and in a world of fleeting attention spans and what feels like a never-ending pandemic, who can blame those which dive into the wondrous world of endlessly scrolling through one minute videos? The users may not be online 24/7 but a certain Nordic country, known for its fjords and distinctive nature, could rename itself the Kingdom of Tiktok. Norway is the undisputed European champion of re-opening the app and spending the most time on it. With an average annual temperature of 4.3°, who wouldn’t want a cup of cocoa and a conveniently reachable distraction?  It kind of makes sense.

The big boss is watching you [The Guardian]

After several months at home, employees and employers are still adapting to teleworking. Remote working gives more flexibility to employees. But it doesn’t prevent some managers from increasing surveillance on their colleagues at home, and they’re being helped by technology. For example, your boss knows when you’re online when working on the cloud as services such as Slack and Teams report when an employee is “active”. Same with video calls when employers require all staff to join with their webcams switched on. It seems that wellbeing and trust at work are “technologically” endangered species.

Life on Mars? Water for sure! [Engadget]

The surface of Mars is notoriously arid, characterised by rocks, dust, and some ice but the presence of a single drop of liquid water has not yet been confirmed. However, thanks to the Mars Express, the European Space Agency’s Mars-orbiting spacecraft, scientists discovered water under Mars’ surface. The team used radar called MARSIS that sends out radio waves that bounce off materials on the planet’s surface. Scientists analysed the data collected from the Mars Express spacecraft during 134 observations around 75,000 square kilometres finding locations where the radar indicates the presence of water under the ice at Mars surface. The discovery adds further evidence to a previous detection that found a 30 kilometres lake underneath Mars’ South Pole in 2018.

About this week’s editor, Lauren Clark

I’ve been at Cambre for a little over 2.5 years, and I work with the tech and energy sectors (my sweet spot is the overlap of these two areas). A fun fact about me: While I usually live in Gent (which I guess is a fun enough fact in the Brussels bubble), I’ve spend the past ~7 months hiding out in the Flemish countryside. We got some chickens to entertain us but other than that it is very quiet around here.

In case you haven’t had enough…

Tech giants are ignoring questions over the legality of their EU-US data transfers [TechCrunch]

Uber wins appeal against London ban [The Verge]

87 percent of websites are tracking you. This new tool will let you run a creepiness check. [Washington Post]

Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal [New York Times]

Trump administration’s Tik Tok ban has been delayed [TechCrunch]

Sextech startups boom in coronavirus pandemic [Sifted]