Sunday, July 3, 2022

Hashtag Trending June 15 – EU’s tackles deep fakes; North Carolina’s anti-EV law, Google settles pay equality lawsuit

The EU cracks down on big tech’s deep fakes and fake accounts, North Carolina proposes an anti-EV bill, and Google pays millions to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleges the company, underpaid female employees.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, June 15, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

The European Union is preparing to hold big tech accountable for managing misleading content on their platforms or face heavy fines. Documents seen by Reuters mandate signatories to implement clear policies regarding manipulative practices on their services by malicious actors. This includes deepfakes and fake accounts. The listed signatories include Meta, Google, Twitter, and TikTok. The document is an update to a voluntary regulatory code on disinformation which was first introduced almost four years ago. Those that fail to follow this rule could face fines of up to six per cent of their global turnover. For companies like Meta and Google, which posted annual revenues in the hundreds of billions, six per cent translates to multi-billion dollar fines. The European Commission is expected to publish the updated code of practice on disinformation on Thursday.

Source: Reuters

While many parts of the world are welcoming standards for fast electric vehicle charging projects, North Carolina seems to be taking a step backwards. The U.S. state representative Keith Kidwell, along with his colleagues, filed House Bill 1049, one of the country’s most anti-EV bills ever. The bill, called “Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations,” proposes to remove free charging stations in the state and ban electric vehicle charging on government property. That’s unless free gas and diesel fuel stations have “equitable” availability, according to The Next Web. The bill aims to stop the state and the local governments from spending money on free EV charging on public land unless fossil fuels are also provided for free. Additionally, the bill wants businesses with free charging stations to state in customer receipts how much of the customer’s bill goes towards subsidizing charging, and whether the customers make use of the service or not. As of now, the bill in its entirety hasn’t become law yet and is subject to vote.

Source: The Next Web

Google will pay $118 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleges the company, underpaid female employees. According to the settlement, this agreement will drop claims that the company “paid women in Covered Positions less than it paid men for substantially similar work, and that Google assigned women to lower levels than it assigned men.” The settlement covers about 15,000 women who have worked for Google in California since 2013. Four plaintiffs will get separate payouts ranging from $50,000 to $75,000, in addition to their regular share from the net settlement fund. The settlement class covers a range of workers with 236 job titles, Ars Technica reported. The net settlement fund will have about $86 million after attorneys’ fees and other deductions, giving each class member about $5,500.

Source: Ars Technica

Startup companies are using technology to reveal how old a person truly is. ‘Biological age’ tests are growing in popularity, and reveal how old someone really is according to how much their body has aged. One age test company, New York-based bio-tec Elysium, requires a saliva sample and a $500 fee. The company will then tell the user their real age with high-tech ‘epigenetic clock’ tests. In one case, a 59-year-old woman found out she was biologically 43, which actually helped calm her nerves about getting older. These companies use many different DNA testing methods to find out how old a person is. In one case, they measure the length of ‘telomeres’; structures in human DNA which shorten as humans age. Other methods use blood samples to look for molecules associated with decreased bodily function.

Source: The Guardian

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 Tom Li.

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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 tli@itwc.ca.

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