Hashtag Trending, March 22, 2021 – Oscars ban Zoom; Amazon driver quits after camera tracks his every move; Acer hit with $50M ransomware attack

The Oscars say no to a Zoom-event, an Amazon driver’s story about his decision to quit because of an AI-camera in his van goes viral, and computer maker Acer gets hit with ransomware.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Monday, March 22 and I’m your host Alex Coop.

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Record-low ratings for awards shows like the Golden Globes and Emmys, Academy Award – all of which were done over video conferencing – has led to organizers to shift course and make the upcoming ceremony a Zoom-free event. The move to create an intimate, but ultimately in-person show is an attempt by producers to avoid the pitfalls of previous pandemic-era shows that were plagued with technical difficulties, people accepting awards in hoodies, and sometimes even spotty connections. The dress code for presenters and nominees will shun casual wear and winners are being asked to “read the room, tell a story.” 

A recent story by the Thomson Reuters Foundation about an Amazon driver in Denver who quit because of the tech giant’s decision to install an AI-powered surveillance camera in his van has gone viral. Vic, who started in 2019, asked the foundation to use only his first name, and says he witnessed first-hand how quickly Amazon’s policies shifted towards surveillance. The breaking point was Amazon’s recent decision to install AI camera systems called Driveri in the vehicle. These cameras scan a drivers’ body language and track the vehicle’s speed. It can even identify drowsy drivers and spits out automated alerts if a violation is detected. This month, Vic put in his two-week notice and quit, ahead of a March 23 deadline for all workers at his Denver dispatch location to sign release forms authorizing Amazon to film them and collect and store their biometric information.

And lastly, the largest known ransom to date is being demanded by attackers who launched a REvil ransomware attack against computer maker Acer. Bleeping Computer is reporting that the ransomware gang announced on their website that they had breached Acer and shared some images of allegedly stolen files as proof. They then proceeded to demand $50 million dollars. These leaked images are for documents that include financial spreadsheets, bank balances, and bank communications. In response to BleepingComputer’s inquiries, Acer did not provide a clear answer regarding whether they suffered a REvil ransomware attack, saying instead that they “reported recent abnormal situations” to relevant LEAs and DPAs.

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 Briefing 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. I’m Alex Coop, thanks for listening!


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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