Hashtag Trending Jan 4 – South Korea fines Tesla; Smart toys and data collection; AirTag catches airline in a lie

South Korea fines Tesla, experts warn about smart toys and data collection, and an Apple AirTag locates missing luggage and catches an airline in a lie. 

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, January 4th, and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said it would impose a $2.2 million fine on Tesla because the company failed to tell its customers about the shorter driving range of its electric vehicles in lower temperatures. The Korea Fair Trade Commission said that Tesla had exaggerated the driving ranges of its car on a single charge. The driving range of Tesla’s drop in cold weather by up to 50.5 per cent versus how they are advertised online. According to a Reuters report, Tesla provides winter driving tips, such as pre-conditioning vehicles with external power sources, but it fails to mention the loss of driving range in sub-zero temperatures.

Experts are warning against smart toys, suggesting such items could be gathering data on kids and selling it without the parents knowledge. According to Inquirer.Net, This discovery has led various groups to call on government institutions to eliminate this type of surveillance of children. Certain toys, such as the “Fuzzible Friend” doll, can collect significant data due to their built-in cameras and mics. Companies can then sell the data to advertisers to create profiles on children. Human Rights Watch also cautioned consumers about similar issues with educational tech products. It analyzed 163 educational computer learning products endorsed by 49 countries. It found that 146 of the products “put at risk or directly violated children’s privacy…for purposes unrelated to their education.” The Electronic Privacy Information Center asked the US Federal Trade Commission to strictly regulate data collection on children. 

And Apple AirTag was able to catch United Airlines in a lie about missing luggage. A woman used multiple locations of AirTags she put in her luggage before traveling to catch United Airlines lying about the security of her bags. United Airlines had assured her that her bag would be delivered safely, but the AirTags showed that the luggage was actually near a dumpster behind a residential apartment. Apple Insider reported that photographs, perhaps from Google Street View, show other United Airlines luggage strewn by the dumpster and apparently emptied. After informing the airline the location of the luggage due to her AirTags, they still repeated that she was wrong, and the “bag is safe at the Delivery services distribution center.”

In a secret location in Ukraine, engineering students are working to build drones for the front line. An article written by Telegraph reports that students modify commercial drones to turn them into weapons of war. They are also creating drones from scratch, with their own designs. This makeshift production line sprung up following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has since produced 2,500 unmanned aircraft for the front. Founder Maksym Sheremet says that most of the engineers in his lab are barely 18-years-old. Sheremet’s Drone Lab takes orders from commanders on the front line, to build drones. 

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.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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