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Tech News Roundup (April 2019)

April 4, 2019 Gina Gallup

We do a lot of work with tech firms. That means we’re not only helping to make news for our clients, we’re reading a lot of tech news. Here are some recent stories that caught our attention.

grocery shoppingGrocery Shopping: Speak and It Shall Be Done

Don’t want the haggle of physically going to Walmart to get your groceries, which necessitates the three loops through the parking lot to get a decent space, standing in line to check out and schlepping everything back to your car? There’s an app for that.

As this Adweek article notes, Walmart customers can now ask Google Assistant to add groceries to digital shopping carts. And, thanks to the wonders of AI, it will learn what you like to order, simplifying the whole process for future times. In combination with Amazon’s Alexa, which allows you to vocalize orders from Whole Foods (which, by the way, has just had another round of price cuts, per TechCrunch), these new offerings ensure we never have to leave the house.

Policing the Internet

Facebook is still the largest social media platform in the world, with over 1.52 billion active users every day! So it makes sense that its fearless leader, Mark Zuckerberg, would want to lead the charge to set up regulations – both for protection and ease of use – for the entire internet.  

His recent op-ed in the Washington Post outlines the four areas where he would like to see more rules established: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability. And he describes the work that Facebook is doing in those areas.

When he testified before Congress last year, he acknowledged that it might be time for regulation, and it sounds like he’s been working on it. But is he the one who should be leading the charge? Some people don’t think so, according to this article in CNET, which shows he will have an uphill battle to gain trust. Plus, Facebook is still having security issues, with millions of Facebook user records just found publicly posted to Amazon’s servers, per Bloomberg, so it may not have the credibility that it would like. 

Is this the beginning of a US version of GDPR? If so, what do you think that should look like?

Losing Biometric Data in a Cyber Breach?

The question is: What happens if biometric data is taken in a cyber breach?

Many people enjoy the quick unlock of an iPhone with a thumb scan. On a larger scale, many companies employ biometric authentication, such as a fingerprint or eye scan, to enable easy, secure access to a physical location or digital files. All that biometric information is data.

In 2018, there were 1,244 reported breaches in the US, which resulted in 446,515,334 records stolen, according to the 2018 End-of-Year Data Breach Report from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

The question is: What happens if biometric data is taken in a cyber breach?

Even if it’s not stolen, there are other important questions: Who owns that data – the company who scanned it or the person? Where it is stored? How long is it kept? How will it be used? This Wall Street Journal article discusses those questions and recent lawsuits around employees’ biometric data.

Don’t Let the Sunsetted Platform Go Down On Me

You have probably heard that Google Plus is no more. Most people are not saddened or even really affected by that news. But it prompts the discussion of what happens to data when it is stored in a platform that is “sunsetted” or intentionally phased out.

This article in ABA Journal discusses the pros and cons – and ethical implications – of keeping data in a dated platform. It’s important to know where you have data stored, what data it is, what would happen to that data if the platform went away and what to do about it.

Speaking of Software…

Looking for help with benefits administration? PC Mag reviews the top options.

What tech news are you reading?


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