Daily Tech Headlines – March 6, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – March 6, 2018
Number 452
Broadcast Date MARCH 6, 2018
Episode Length 5:00
Hosts Sarah Lane

Washington State passes net neutrality protections, Bumble to remove firearms from profile photos, Google and DoD working together on AI drone footage analysis.


Washington state passed a net neutrality law requiring Internet providers to treat all lawful content the same. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill enacting statewide net neutrality protections, despite the Federal Communication Commission’s decision in December to repeal similar regulations governing ISPs nationwide. Inslee told GeekWire: “The state of Washington retains its right to have consumer protection laws. This is, at its heart, a consumer protection law and we are providing a mechanism to protect consumers from illicit behavior in the marketplace.”
On that note, several tech companies including Etsy, Kickstarter, Automattic, and Foursquare, together as the Coalition for Internet Openness, filed a petition Monday with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality. This follows similar actions by other tech lobbying groups, such as the Internet Association representing Amazon, Google, and Facebook, which back in January joined an existing lawsuit against the FCC.
Google's Chrome browser has switched from Microsoft’s C++ compiler to the Clang compiler on Windows. Google is now using the same compiler for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android, and appears to be the first major software project to use Clang on Windows. Chrome was first successfully built with Clang on Windows back in 2015, first tested in the Canary development channel, then the Development and Beta channels. With Chrome 64, the stable browser channel was ready to make the switch.
Netflix announced it’s updating its parental controls to better protect young viewers, and is adding clearer maturity level rating labels to its content. Netflix is updating its existing PIN feature to let parents restrict individual movies, shows, and series. Once live over the coming months, the update will apply to both the web and iOS devices.
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said at the Entertainment Finance Forum in Los Angeles, that the company watches how its users drive from home to the movie theater and where they go afterwards. MoviePass’s privacy policy only mentions location tracking discloses as a “single request” when selecting a theater, which will “only be used as a means to develop, improve, and personalize the service.” In a statement to TechCrunch, a MoviePass rep says the company won’t sell the data that they gather, and will use it for potential customer benefits like discounts on transportation and coupons for nearby restaurants.
Dating app Bumble will ban images of firearms on user profiles, in response to a string of mass shootings and gun control debates in the US. Around 5,000 moderators around the world will sift through new and existing profiles and remove gun-related content, said Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. Bumble won’t censor images that appear in users’ Instagram feeds, which can be integrated into Bumble profiles.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced in a blog post, the company had shut down a "few hundred accounts" linked with Russian propaganda efforts, but warned the solution was complicated, citing the challenge of "indirect propaganda," or when real Reddit users share or upvote content that's been sourced to Russian propaganda, originally posted somewhere else. Huffman didn’t detail how the company would address similar problems in the future.
The lead author of a MIT paper that estimated the hourly earnings of ride-hailing drivers had a median driver profit of $3.37 an hour, has responded to criticism by Uber's chief economist Jonathan Hall. Stephen Zoepf now says the study’s survey questions should have been worded more clearly, and is revising his research. However, he says his initial assessment is that not making the adjustment raises the median to $8.55 an hour, meaning 54% would be under minimum wage not 74%, and just using self-reported hourly income from the survey would put the rate at about $10 an hour with 41% under minimum wage. Zoepf also asked Uber to provide better access to data for independent analysis.
Google has partnered with the US Department of Defense to develop artificial intelligence for analyzing drone footage, a controversial move for some Google employees who learned of the project on an internal mailing list, sources tell Gizmodo. Project Maven as it's known, was established in 2017 and will seek to identify objects in drone footage, but Google says its involvement is not related to combat uses. Maven’s stated mission is to “accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and machine learning.”


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – March 5, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – March 6, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – March 7, 2018"