Hashtag Trending Dec 20 – IRS releases private data; Big tech tops list for companies with low retention rates; South Australia powers with green energy

The IRS accidentally releases private data, Amazon and Reddit hit the list for companies with the lowest retention rates, and South Australia powers the state for a week with green energy. 

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday December 20 and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.

Confidential data of over 100,000 taxpayers inadvertently published by the IRS over the summer was accidentally republished in late November and remained online til this month. According to the IRS, data from Form 990-Ts that was supposed to stay private had been taken offline but made its way back to the IRS site when a contractor uploaded an old file which included most of the private information, The agency had to make Form 990-Ts filed by nonprofit groups available online but is supposed to keep the form filed by individuals private. According to Bloomberg, an internal programming error caused the September release of private forms along with the ones filed by non profit groups. In a letter written to congressional leaders last week, this time, the contractor tasked with managing the database reuploaded the older file with the original data instead of a new file that filtered out the forms that were supposed to stay private.


A report from Work and Money reveals the tech companies with the lowest retention rates. Out of 19 companies, Shopify and ByteDance tied at 14th place citing long hours and overworking for the low score. Meta was ranked at 12th place with employees claiming that the workplace is not a positive environment. Other notable tech companies on the list include Alphabet, Zoom, Reddit and Amazon. Amazon made the list for employee burnout and extremely low pay. 


South Australia has been effectively powered by green energy for a week and one expert is predicting that it could extend to a month by 2023. From December 12 to 19, National Energy Market data showed wind and solar contributed on average 103.5 per cent towards the state’s energy demand. Coal energy was not used at all during the period and gas accounted for 5.9 per cent of electricity when renewable sources were not enough to power the state throughout the night. The average cost of a megawatt hour dropped to -$26.35. In addition, ABC News reported that the Head of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre at Victoria University, Bruce Mountain, said this milestone is another step on the renewable energy journey. He added that South Australia could potentially see the state powered using green energy for a month by early next year.


A new artificial intelligence tool called ChatGPT has the ability to solve math problems, write college essays and write research papers. However, following the release of the text-based system to the public last month, some educators have noted that  these AI systems have the ability to transform academia in good and bad ways. According to NPR, one professor named Ethan Mollick from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said the tool has become a popular way to help students cheat by plagiarizing the AI-written work. But there are benefits to it as well. Mollick has used it as his own teacher’s assistant, for help with crafting a syllabus, lecture, an assignment and a grading rubric for MBA students. 


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 Ashee Pamma.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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