Normally, this week’s Tech News Dispatch would be the annual gift guide. I had a series of events over the last couple of weeks that have hindered my progress. Don’t fear, though. The gift guide will be up and ready with plenty of tech you can get in the 2 weeks before Christmas. There’s a lot of inventory out there and plenty of deals to be had.
It’s Thursday, and I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: Maryland bans Chinese tech from its systems, DC sues Amazon over stolen tip money, and San Francisco vs. RoboCop. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.
Maryland governor, L. Hogue, aka Big L, aka Big Larry, aka Larry Hogan announced Maryland state agencies are to ban the use of TikTok, Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba, Alipay, WeChat, and Kaspersky products and remove them from Maryland state IT systems. The move comes after an NBC News report of ByteDance and other Chinese companies exploiting US consumer data while having connections to the Chinese government. Governor Larry Hogan cited national and cybersecurity issues for the ban, as well as the theft of $20 million of COVID relief funds being stolen by a Chinese government related hacking firm APT41. The $20 million theft of COVID funds is the first instance of fraud committed by an organization tied to a foreign state government. China has had a tough time in the technology arena as many US and other foreign tech companies are beginning to pull up stakes in China and move back to India and on to Vietnam. Apple has been widely reported in shifting production out of the country, with chips Made in the U.S.A.
AFTER ANNOUNCING KILLER BOTS, SAN FRAN DENOUNCES KILLER BOTS
Last week, the city of San Francisco announced plans to allow robots to use lethal force in specific incidences where risk of life to law enforcement is unavoidable. The San Francisco Police Department had considered using lethal force against any suspect, then the City’s Board of Supervisors added the ‘risk of life’ provision. Yesterday, San Francisco back tracked from their position and will not be deploying the bots at all. Civil rights groups and citizens had howled their opposition to the city’s idea. The robots would have been equipped with lethal weapons and could be used to kill a suspect. These kinds of robots are already used in other parts of the US. A robot armed with C-4 was used to kill a sniper. Theoretically, a robot could be outfitted with a high range rifle and remote controlled to do the same thing.
Amazon Flex is a gig economy service where regular, civilian drivers pick up Amazon packages and deliver them on behalf of the company. They serve as a buffer when Amazon can’t deliver output using their regular service. The Federal Trade Commission had sued Amazon for withholding $60 million one-third of the $180 million of tips over the course of 2 years. Amazon prompted its users to leave the drivers tips stating that 100 percent of the money will go to the driver. Well that didn’t happen. The FTC distributed the 60 million, but the city of Washington, DC says Amazon not fulfilling its promise violated its Consumer Protection Procedures Act which insures consumers are getting what they pay for. Or insuring that tips make it to their drivers. DC’s attorney general’s office has sued several gig economy companies over their payment procedures.
Thanks for reading and for listening. The latest episode of The Cloud is almost in the can. We’ve a series of missteps these last couple of weeks. I’m really sorry for the delays.