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Hashtag Trending May 16, 2022 – Affordable U.S. internet; love or leave Netflix; data scraping on mainstream websites

The U.S. government announces affordable internet for low-income families, Netflix tells its employees to leave if they can’t support its content, and some mainstream websites collect data even before they’re sent.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, May 16, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

The U.S. government, in partnership with 20 internet service providers, has announced a new plan to provide high-speed internet to low-income households. As the next step in the Affordable Connectivity program, millions of eligible U.S. households will receive free speed upgrades or price cuts. The program was created to reduce internet costs for low-income families by up to $30. This new announcement will further reduce costs and increase speeds. Canada announced a similar initiative earlier this year. In April, the Canadian government announced that it will bring high-speed internet to low-income Canadian families in partnership with 14 ISPs.

Source: The Hill

In its updated culture guideline, Netflix told employees to quit if they can’t handle working on content they disagree with. The company wrote in the document that the viewer should get to decide what they want to watch, as opposed to having Netflix censor certain content. The document further emphasized that if they disagree, then the company may not be for them. According to a Netflix spokesperson to the Wall Street Journal, this is the first time the company updated its culture policy since 2017. The change appears to be in response to pressure from viewers and shareholders to remove certain stand-up comedy shows by comedian Dave Chapelle, whose comments about transgender have sparked outrage in some communities.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Some mainstream websites are collecting information typed in digital forms even if they aren’t submitted. Researchers from three universities crawled the top 100,000 websites and found that more than 4,700 of them collected data entries before they clicked submit. Most of this data collection does not appear to be by the websites themselves, but rather the embedded advertising elements from third parties. The researchers said these practices are analogous to keyloggers, which is a type of malware that records keystrokes. The researchers also found that the recording patterns differed from site to site. Some sites recorded keystrokes by key, while others sent completed form inputs to third parties.

Source: Ars Technica

Can the future of energy lie in algae? The question may be more valid than it appears. One solution developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge has been powering a microprocessor for more than a year. The battery “cell,” a container filled with a species of blue-green algae and around the size of a AA battery, needed only sunlight to produce electricity. The processor it’s been powering is an Arm Cortex M0+, a low-power processor designed for IoT devices. The algae are also widely available and the device is easy to mass-produce. The algae have even been shown to produce electricity during periods of darkness. More importantly, the algae are far more sustainable than mining vast amounts of lithium to make batteries.

Source: Cambridge University

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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