Maryland is the most recent state to ban TikTok in government agencies, Amazon accused of stealing delivery driver tips, and the EU sets a deadline for device manufacturers to switch to USB-C for their data and charging ports
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday December 13th and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.
Maryland is banning the use of TikTok and other China and Russia-based platforms in the state’s executive branch of government. The Republican governor announced an emergency cybersecurity directive to prohibit the platforms’ use, saying they could be involved in cyberespionage as well as government surveillance and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information. According to NPR, this move comes just one week after South Dakota banned state employees and contractors from accessing TikTok on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Monday asked the state’s Department of Administration to ban TikTok from all state government devices it manages. In August 2020, Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts blocked TikTok on state electronic devices. The U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.
A Washington, D.C. attorney on Wednesday announced a lawsuit against Amazon accusing the company of stealing tips from the e-commerce giant’s delivery drivers and deceiving the customers about who was receiving the tips. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required Amazon to pay just over $61 million to drivers deprived of tips from customers between 2016 and 2019. The company claimed drivers could make $18 to $25 an hour while also receiving 100 per cent of the tips they earn. The FTC statement reveals that Amazon also told its customers that “100 per cent of your tips are passed on to your courier.” The FTC claims that the company eventually began taking driver tips. A CBS News report says that in 2016 the company secretly switched to a variable-pay system in which drivers’ earnings could fluctuate based on an internal algorithm, regulators allege.
The European Union has set a deadline of December 27, 2024 for device manufacturers to switch to USB-C for their data and charging ports. Apple will have to stop using the iPhone Lightning connector at some point before then. This decision had already been made but a date had yet to be set until now. According to Tech Radar, this new date means that Apple could get away with retaining Lightning for the 2024 iPhone 16, but the 2025 iPhone 17 will have to include USB-C. These rules do not apply to devices that only charge wirelessly so if Apple could make the iPhone 17 completely portless, it would rely on Wi-Fi for data transfer and wireless charging to charge the phone.
According to new research from Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, an ingredient that naturally occurs in coffee may be able to make semiconductors run faster. The researchers formed a thin layer of caffeic acid on a gold electrode within an organic semiconductor, through a process called vacuum deposition. This ingredient was able to boost the semiconductor’s current flow by up to 100 times, measured via a process called the Kelvin probe method. The caffeic acid formed on the electrode surface, and the caffeic acid molecules spontaneously lined up on the electrode surface, enabling faster current flow. The researchers believe that this discovery could have practical applications such as the development of fully sustainable organic semiconductor devices.
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 Ashee Pamma.