Hashtag Trending Aug.28- EU’s new content moderation rules kick in; DOJ sues SpaceX for alleged discrimination in hiring; Kroll suffers data breach

EU’s new content moderation rules start to bite at Big Tech, Department of Justice accuses SpaceX of discriminating against asylum recipients and refugees in hiring, Kroll suffers a data breach and AI allows museum visitors to interact with Holocaust survivors and enslaved people.

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These stories and more as we bring you the top tech news on today’s Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host James Roy. Happy Monday!

The EU’s new content moderation playbook, the Digital Services Act, has finally kicked in, four months after Big Tech companies were ordered to comply with the sweeping rules, designed to protect users against harmful or illegal content, disinformation, and the violation of privacy and free speech.

The legislation is eyeing 19 very large online platforms with over 45 million users per month, including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Amazon, Zalando and more.

TikTok, Meta, Snapchat and Google have been rolling in changes to comply with the act. Amazon and Zalando have also implemented changes but also took legal action against the EU, claiming they have been “unfairly” added to the list. 

Stress tests of the DSA compliance have been conducted at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat, to consider whether the platforms could “detect, address and mitigate systemic risks, such as disinformation.” A European Commission spokesperson said that the platforms need improvements. 

Breaches could lead to a fine of 6 per cent of turnover and potentially suspension of the service.

Experts say parts of the act, and its implementation, still need to be defined. One analyst pointed to risks, noting that a misaligned policy could lead to the fragmentation of the internet. Mozilla, alongside 66 civil organisations across the globe are urging the Commission to ensure that the DSA will not lead to censorship and the violation of fundamental rights.

Sources: The Next Web, BBC, The Register

The Department of Justice has slapped SpaceX with a lawsuit, alleging that the satellite and rocket company falsely claimed it could not hire asylum recipients and refugees.

An asylee is authorized to work in the US, may apply for a social security card, may request permission to travel overseas, and can apply to bring family members to the country.

According to the DOJ, the company said it was only allowed to hire citizens and green card holders because of export control laws.

The DOJ also pointed to online posts from the company’s owner, Elon Musk making “discriminatory public statements.” 

Musk said in 2020 that U.S. law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.

But the jobs from which refugee and asylee applicants were allegedly excluded were wide ranging – from rocket engineering to dish-washing and cooking.

The U.S. is seeking fair consideration and back pay for asylum recipients and refugees who were denied employment at SpaceX due to the alleged discrimination. It is also seeking policy changes at the company, and civil penalties in an amount to be determined by the court.

Source: Reuters

Huawei and Ericsson have signed a long-term cross licensing agreement that includes patents essential to a wide range of cellular technologies, including 3G, 4G and 5G.

The agreement grants both parties global access to each other’s patented, standardized technologies. It covers their respective sales of network infrastructure and consumer devices.

Huawei says that the deal provides greater certainty, not just for itself and Ericsson, but for their customers and other companies around the world, that there will not be disruptive patent disputes between the two.

The two companies have signed cross licensing agreements back in 2016, whereby Huawei would make ongoing royalty payments based upon actual sales to Ericsson.

But since then, Huawei has poured huge investments into newer telecom standards, and has amassed over 6500 related to 5G, which means the situation might be reversed now. The Register speculates that Ericsson might be now the one making net royalty payments to Huawei.

Source: The Register

Risk and financial advisory solutions provider Kroll disclosed on Friday that it suffered a data breach. Reportedly, one of its employees fell victim to a “highly sophisticated” SIM swapping attack.

The incident, which took place earlier this month, targeted the employee’s T-Mobile account. Specifically, T-Mobile, without any authority from or contact with Kroll or its employee, transferred that employee’s phone number to the threat actor’s phone at their request. This enabled the unidentified actor to gain access to certain files containing personal information of bankruptcy claimants in the matters of BlockFi, FTX, and Genesis.

SIM swapping technically allows a threat actor to fraudulently activate a SIM card under their control with a victim’s phone number. This makes it possible to intercept SMS messages and voice calls and receive MFA-related messages that control access to online accounts.

The company noted that it took immediate steps to secure the three affected accounts and that it has notified impacted individuals by email. While an investigation is underway, Kroll said it found no evidence to indicate that other systems or accounts have been affected.

Source: The Hacker News

Some of Microsoft’s certification exams are now open book.

Candidates will be able to access Microsoft Learn, the portal that links to product documentation, tutorials, code fragments and other technical material while they sit tests.

The open book exams will be offered to candidates sitting exams for the role-based certifications Microsoft offers for job titles including Azure Administrator, Developer, Solutions Architect, DevOps Engineer; Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator, and Enterprise Administrator.

Exams at Associate, Expert, and Specialty levels of competency will all offer access to the Learn portal.

Looking up material on Learn won’t stop the clock during an exam, and the experience of taking the test will remain unchanged – other than allowing candidates to open a window in which to view the educational portal.

The material will become available for all role-based and specialty exams, in all languages, by mid-September 2023.

Source: The Register

Museums that focus on racial violence and antisemitism are using holograms, artificial intelligence and virtual reality to allow visitors to have simulated conversations with Holocaust survivors and enslaved people.

The museums using these technologies include the Illinois museum, The Greenwood Rising History Center and Alabama’s Legacy Museum.

A museum employee typically feeds the question into a computer, which then uses a tailored AI system to develop an answer that sounds like the survivor’s voice and creates a video of them “speaking”

The holograms can answer questions ranging from whether they believe in God to what they think about genocide. If they do not have an answer, they acknowledge it and then eventually it “learns” an answer after gathering more information from the cloud.

For the museum that features holograms of actors portraying enslaved people, they sing, ask for missing children or describe the horrors of captivity. They don’t respond to questions.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who also runs the Alabama Legacy Museum said that “The concept is to get closer to history, get closer to the people, get closer to the stories, get closer to the experience.”

Source: Axios

That’s the top tech news stories for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

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I’m your host, James Roy. Have a Marvelous Monday!

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