U.S. government wants to make federally funded research open access, new privacy law gains traction, and Amazon is shutting down its telehealth service.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, August 26, and I’m your host, Tom Li.
The U.S. government has announced a big change to the accessibility of scientific research. The White House Office of Science Technology said that starting in 2026, all federally-funded scientific publications will have to be open access on the day it’s published. Ars Technica reported that the U.S. government is likely the world’s largest funder of research. For example, the U.S.National Institutes of Health spends more than the rest of the top 20 organizations combined. The OSTP stipulated that giving equitable access to these papers would save lives and better society overall, as was demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Ars Technica
The American Data and Privacy Protection Act is gaining traction. If it passes the House and Senate, it would put stronger boundaries around data collection, requiring them to be used as minimally as possible. It regulates any entity that collects, processes, and transfers covered data, including non-profits and telecommunications providers. It does not, however, apply to government entities, and excludes de-identified data, employee data, and publicly available information, like social media accounts.
Source: Ars Technica
Amazon is shutting down Amazon Care, its telehealth service. The service is expected to come to an end after Dec. 31, as announced by the division lead and reported by CNBC. Apparently, the company decided that it wasn’t the long-term solution for its enterprise customers, most notably that it felt like the service offering wasn’t complete enough. This doesn’t mean that the company is exiting the healthcare space; it’s still actively investing in other parts, including cancer research.
A tech startup has created a product that reduces a speaker’s English accent. As Vice reported, the startup, called Sanas, applies an accent translation to the speaker’s original voice. After applying the filter, the voice sounds a lot more robotic, but very different from the original. The target market is apparently call centres. According to the company’s founders, the solution improves understanding by 31 per cent and customer satisfaction by 21 per cent.
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