Welcome to #TechAways, where our talented tech team – full of voracious readers – introduces you to our selection of the top stories we’ve read each week. We’re here to help you keep up with the hottest developments in the tech world and their implications for Europe.
Status: public? [New York Times]
Grindr, the dating app for gay, bisexual and transgender men is in hot water this week. European researchers found the company was sharing data with outside software vendors that included sexual tastes, intimate details and importantly – users’ H.I.V. status. In a statement, the company said this type of data-sharing is a standard industry practice. While that may be true, as policymakers on both sides of the pond are reeling from the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook fallout and prepping for GDPR to come into force, the bigger question is – should it be, and will it be in a few months’ time
ICYMI, sadly on Tuesday there was a shooting at YouTube’s San Bruno, California campus. The shooting came on the heels of the March for Our Lives rallies that took place around that world promoting smart gun control measures. Following the rallies, YouTube announced it was banning several types of gun-related content. Unexpectedly (we assume), some gun vloggers moved their video operations to the porn site Pornhub. While banning the videos was a clear step towards tackling gun violence in the US on behalf of the tech giant, we wonder if the shooting on its own campus will prompt further corporate action in a policy area where political inaction is the norm.
New Story and tech start-up ICON think that 3D printing can bring affordable housing to the more than 1 billion people in the world living in slums. After debuting their prototype, they plan to build 10 homes in El Salvador later this year and an entire village of over 100 houses by early 2019. They use a supersized 3D printer with a proprietary concrete mixture that is liquid enough to ooze rapidly into slabs but dense enough to quickly solidify. In 24 hours, you can have a cosy and durable house for 3 to 4 people. The price tag? The developers believe they can eventually build these houses for as little as $4,000.
50+ leading AI and robotics researchers announced a boycott of South Korea’s KAIST University over fears they will work to create AI-powered weapons with Hanwha Systems, a company they’ve brought on as a new partner in a research institute. Hanwha produces autonomous weapons, one of which is currently being used on the border between North and South Korea. Google employees have also expressed concern over their company’s contract with the US Defense Department, giving the Pentagon access to Google’s cloud-based AI service to identify images taken by drones. Employees sent around a petition to remind Google that its motto is ‘Don’t be Evil’, but surely they won’t be alone in taking a stand.
The anti-fake news toolkit [The Telegraph]
At some point, we’ve all been victims of fake news. Disinformation isn’t a creation of the digital age in the 21st century. However, it’s been able to spread and reach an incalculable number of people since social media emerged. Some online platforms have made it possible to destroy the barriers to generating fake news, in the process boosting the distrust towards media. So when you read stories online, make sure they aren’t commercially-driven sensational content, nation state-sponsored misinformation, highly-partisan news sites, satire or parody and that they don’t come from social media. Good luck!
In case you haven’t had enough:
- Estonian President, Eyeing Bigger U.N. Role, Urges Government Action on Cybersecurity [WSJ]
- The Woman Who Is Reining In America’s Technology Giants [WSJ]
- Max Schrems: the man who took on Facebook – and won [FT]
- Tinder and Bumble Are Seriously at War [New York Times]
- Facebook’s New Data-Sharing Policies Are Crashing Tinder [Wired]
- Artificial intelligence can create jobs, too. Get Ready for an Exciting Career as a Data Hygienist [Bloomberg]
- Spotify’s IPO in New York Puts European Tech Sector in Spotlight [WSJ]
- 9 reasons why Amsterdam is the best place on Earth if you work in tech [The Next Web]
- How search engines are making us more racist [Vox]
- A Drag Queen’s Guide to Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook by Breaking the Rules [Wired]
- The Political Backlash Against Tech: Good, Bad and Ugly [WSJ]
- How Refugees Are Helping Create Blockchain’s Brand New World [Wired]
- ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’: Instagram’s new rules for life [FT]
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