Hashtag Trending Jan. 20 – Google Analytics breaches EU GDPR; Tech Giants fight antitrust legislations; Sony shares fall

Austrian court discovers Google Analytics breaches European GDPR, Apple and Google push against U.S. antitrust legislation, and Sony suffers after Microsoft’s new acquisition.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, January 20th, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

In a landmark court ruling, Austria’s data protection authority has discovered that Google Analytics is illegal to use on websites in Europe. In December of 2021, Austria’s data regulator said the use of Google Analytics on NetDoktor breached the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR says that U.S. online services cannot transfer the data of European citizens to the U.S. However, according to a TutaNota report, Google is “subject to surveillance by U.S. intelligence services and can be ordered to disclose data of European citizens to them.” That part didn’t play well with the regulation, and hence triggered the reaction by privacy regulators.

Tech giants Apple and Google are pushing against tough new antitrust legislation in the U.S. Both companies could face huge financial losses if two bills make it through congress. In a letter addressed to Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who co-sponsored both bills, Apple’s senior director warned that the Open App Markets Act could put consumers’ safety at risk. According to Business Insider, if the act is passed, it would let users “side-load” apps from third-party sources onto their phones, undermining the dominance of Apple’s App Store on iPhones and Google’s Play Store on Android devices. Both firms could miss out on the commission they charge app developers to place apps on their stores. Apple’s senior director said Apple has security standards in place for apps it allows on its devices and said that users could be at risk if they choose to download apps elsewhere.

Following Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard announcement on Tuesday, Sony shares fell 13 per cent. This is the largest drop since 2008. PlayStation’s rival Microsoft and its huge acquisition took $20 billion off Sony’s valuation in one day. The push to attract paying subscribers with a large portfolio of games challenges Sony’s traditional console business model that relies on high-profile exclusive titles and hardware sales. Games and network services account for 30 per cent of Sony’s revenue. Experts say that Sony may find it difficult to keep up with Microsoft. According to a Morningstar research analyst, the company might struggle to match Microsoft when it comes to the money it can spend to buy popular games.

To meet rising demand during a shortage of workers, Polar Manufacturing hired its very first robot employee. The robot arm performs a simple, fairly repetitive job. It lifts a piece of metal into a press, which then bends the metal into a new shape. Just like a human who works, the robot worker also gets paid. The robot, which is leased from a company called Formic, costs the equivalent of $8 per hour, compared to a minimum wage of $15 per hour for humans. Polar’s production line manager said using the robot allowed a human worker to focus on different tasks, increasing output. With more and more companies experiencing employee shortages due to the pandemic, renting robots could be a solution workplaces consider. And who knows, it may eventually become a new normal to have a robot coworker.

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, if you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at Channel Daily News. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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