Monday, October 25, 2021

Hashtag Trending Oct. 13 – Amazon remote work; Android snooping; Waze and Headspace

Amazon changes its remote work plans, Android phones may be snooping more than we thought, and Waze forms an unlikely duo with Headspace.

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It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday, October 13, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy revealed via a memo on Monday that Amazon corporate employees would no longer be mandated to return to the office, according to an article from Business Insider. In light of the surprising decision, Jassy’s memo said that Amazon would leave the decision up to “individual teams” to decide how they wanted to proceed. Jassy has expressed a pro-employee flexibility attitude in the past regarding work from home standards, having been quoted by CNBC on the matter prior to his designation as Amazon CEO. Jassy had said that the future of work would be “hot offices where employees decide which day they’re going to come in.”

A study from a group of university researchers in the U.K. has found that Android phones have more privacy concerns than we may think. The researchers looked at a host of Android brands, including Samsung and Huawei, and found that “customized Android variants transmit substantial amounts of information to the OS developer and also to third parties”. Perhaps even more concerning is that the study found there was no definitive way to turn off the collection of this data, especially in the case of preloaded applications that cannot be uninstalled. The researchers also found that the encrypted data being transmitted could sometimes also be decoded, leaving users vulnerable to “man-in-the-middle” attacks. In a statement to BleepingComputer, who published the story, a Google spokesperson said “this data is essential for core device services such as push notifications and software updates across a diverse ecosystem of devices”.

Lastly, Waze and Headspace are teaming up, according to an article from Engadget. The effort, called “Drive with Headspace”, adds a variety of themes and allows drivers to change the in-app car icon to a Headspace-themed hot air balloon. Users will also be able to listen to playlists curated by Headspace through Spotify that feature music and content from the company behind the mindfulness and meditation app. The features are expected to be available for a limited time and are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

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. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
As an avid technology enthusiast, Tom loves to fix, break, and talk about electronics. Now he gets to write about them. Talk about a dream career.

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