Hashtag Trending Aug. 30 – FTC sues data broker; solar panels over California’s waterways; NASA rocket launch delay

FTC sues data provider for selling sensitive location data, California wants to cover its waterways with solar panels, and NASA delays a rocket launch.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, August 30, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued a data provider for selling data that can track people at reproductive health clinics. The agency in question, called Kochava Inc, purchases location information from mobile devices and packages them into custom data feeds. According to the FTC, the data sold by Kochava Inc. also tracks people’s visits to addiction recovery facilities as well as homeless and domestic violence shelters. The commission alleges that by selling these data, Kochava is exposing people to threats of stigma, stalking, and discrimination.

Source: Vice, FTC

California has announced an ambitious $20 million project to cover a canal with solar panel canopies. Dubbed Project Nexus, the canopies will cover around 8500 feet of the Turlock Irrigation District canal. In addition to providing solar power, the canopies will also block the sun to reduce evaporation in the waterway. Project Nexus is a critical proof of concept. If successful, its energy potential is massive. If all four thousand miles of public water delivery system in California are covered, then it could produce up to 13 gigawatts of electricity per year, while saving around 63 billion gallons of water. The project is set to start in the fall and be completed by 2023.

Source: CBS News

NASA’s Artemis 1 rocket launch has been delayed due to an engine issue. The rocket is NASA’s first Space Launch System rocket and carries the complete Orion spacecraft, which has been designed to carry a crew beyond the earth’s orbit. After waiting for the weather to improve, the engineers detected a leak in the rocket. The issue was resolved eventually, but then the engineers discovered that one of the four engines wasn’t sufficiently cooling down. This was the final straw and the mission was aborted 40 minutes before launch. According to WCCFtech, the next potential launch date is September second, but that possibility will depend on NASA’s investigations.

Source: WCCFTech

So a 30 Terabyte portable solid-state drive hit Walmart’s shelves for just $40. If that crazy deal is tripping your alarm bells, then you’d be right. Almost nothing about the product was advertised. Not only did its USB connector not meet its specs sheet, the biggest scam is its capacity. Inside the drive is either two microSD cards glued together or a cheap USB pen drive. The seller would then install a firmware that misreports the drive’s capacity, leading buyers to believe that they’ve actually scored a deal. The message here is that if the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Source: Tom’s Hardware

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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