Hashtag Trending Jul.18-Meta fined $100,000 a day for privacy violations; Reddit annoys moderators again; Google tightens PlayStore policies

Meta is being fined $100,000 per day for privacy violations in Norway, Reddit does it again – another new policy that’s annoying the moderators, the great Linux debate continues and Google tightens up on PlayStore policies.

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These and more top tech news stories on Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is facing a potential daily fine of $100,000 per day if it fails to address privacy issues in Norway. The country’s data protection regulator, Datatilsynet, has stated that Meta’s practice of tracking Instagram and Facebook users violates their privacy. If Meta does not take remedial action, it will be fined one million crowns ($100,000) per day from August 4th until November 3rd.

This move follows a European court ruling that banned Meta from harvesting user data, such as location and behavior, for advertising purposes. Datatilsynet has referred its actions to Europe’s Data Protection Board, which could potentially extend the fine across Europe.

Meta is currently reviewing Datatilsynet’s decision and has stated that the decision will not immediately impact its services. The company is also facing pressure across Europe over its data privacy actions, including a record-breaking €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) fine for transferring EU user data to its servers in the U.S.

Sources include: Endgadget

Reddit, the popular online platform known for its vibrant communities and user-generated content, and disgruntled moderators, has recently made a move that has left many of its users disgruntled again. The platform has deleted all chat messages and live chats that were older than January 1, 2023. This action was part of Reddit’s transition from what it calls “legacy chat” to a new chat system.

The decision has sparked outrage among users, with many lamenting the loss of their message histories, some of which held real sentimental value. For instance, one user lost the first chats they had with their now-wife, while another user was unable to contact people they wanted to stay in touch with and lost several messages they had saved for future reference.

Reddit had mentioned this change in a changelog dated June 22, stating that only messages from January 1, 2023, onwards would be preserved during the transition to the new chat infrastructure. However, the changelog did not explicitly state what would happen to older messages, and this crucial information was placed near the end of the post, leading many users to miss it. No reminders were sent via chat, site banners, emails, or other means to inform users of this significant change.

Despite the backlash, there is a potential workaround. Users can submit a data request on Reddit to download all their messages, including those that were deleted. 

Sources include: Canadian Reviewer and Android Police 

AlmaLinux, a popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux or RHEL clone, has announced its plans to continue development and maintenance without access to Red Hat’s source code. This decision comes in response to Red Hat’s recent policy change restricting access to its source code to only paying customers, leaving downstream distributions scrambling to find workarounds.

AlmaLinux has decided to drop the aim to be 1:1 with RHEL and instead aims to be Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatible. This change means that while AlmaLinux will no longer be ‘bug-for-bug’ compatible with Red Hat, it will still aim to ensure that software that runs on RHEL will run the same on AlmaLinux.

This change should have little to no effect on the average AlmaLinux user. In fact, it could result in more timely bug fixes as AlmaLinux can now accept bug fixes outside of Red Hat’s release cycle. However, some enterprise users in highly regulated areas who require a line-by-line copy of an approved distro such as RHEL may not be able to continue using AlmaLinux.

In related news, SUSE, a major competitor to Red Hat in the enterprise Linux arena, has pledged to spend $10 million to fork RHEL and create a foundation to maintain it. The forked code will be freely available to the public. Rocky Linux, who also feel they have a strategy to stay “bug for bug” compatible with RHEL has signed on to be part of SUSE’s project as well, but there’s no news yet on whether AlmaLinux will join.

We have an interview with Rocky Linux founder Greg Kurtzer this weekend and we are making arrangements to have a similar interview with AlmaLinux. We have also reached out to Red Hat. Keep an eye out for these in depth interviews on the weekend edition of this podcast and in ITWorldCanada.com

Sources include: Fossforce

Google has updated its policies for developers distributing Android apps through the Play Store, citing trust and safety concerns. Starting August 31, developers registering a new organization will need to provide a D-U-N-S number, a nine-digit identifier assigned by data brokers Dun & Bradstreet. This information will be used to inform the new “About the developer” section in Google Play.

In addition, Google is becoming more accepting of blockchain-related apps. Developers of apps that use tokenized digital assets secured on a blockchain will need to complete a Financial Features declaration. Crypto mining on devices remains banned, but remote management of crypto mining is allowed.

Google has also revised its Device and Network Abuse policy. Apps running On-device Android Containers will need to respect the wishes of developers who decline to participate. Developers can now set the REQUIRE_SECURE_ENV property in their app’s manifest file to signal their refusal to be containerized. This policy will take effect on January 1, 2024.

Furthermore, Google has expanded its Deceptive Behavior policy to require that an app’s functionality must be clear to users. Hidden, undocumented, or dormant features are now explicitly disallowed. From December 7, Google Play developers will also be required to allow app users to delete accounts they’ve created via the app and via the web.

Sources include: The Register

The rise of AI, particularly generative AI like ChatGPT, is causing a stir in the workplace, and it’s Gen Z that’s feeling the heat. As companies increasingly automate mundane tasks traditionally assigned to entry-level workers, the career path for young employees is becoming uncertain. 

The tasks being automated are often those given to new hires as a way to “earn their stripes.” While these tasks may not be the most exciting, they have been seen as a crucial part of career development. However, with the advent of AI, these tasks are being automated, leaving young workers with fewer opportunities to learn on the job.

This shift is causing concern among Gen Z workers. In a recent survey by job-posting site ZipRecruiter, 76 per cent of Gen Z respondents expressed worry about losing their jobs to AI. This concern is not unfounded. As AI takes over more tasks, young workers are left with fewer opportunities to prove their worth and advance their careers.

The situation is further exacerbated by the lack of training and mentorship in many companies. Over the past several decades, many companies have cut back on training programs and neglected mentorship, leaving young workers to fend for themselves. Now, with the rise of AI, these workers are at risk of being left behind entirely.

Despite the challenges, there is a silver lining. Companies that invest in job training and skill development tend to be more efficient and have higher profit margins. Therefore, the rise of AI could be an opportunity for companies to rethink their approach to training and development, and invest more in their human capital.

Sources include: Business Insider

And that’s the top tech news stories for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a special weekend interview episode called Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition.  You can follow us on Google, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 

We’re also on YouTube five days a week with a video newscast only there we are called Tech News Day. 

If you want to catch up on news more quickly, you can read these and more stories at TechNewsDay.com and at ITWorldCanada.com on the home page.

We love your comments. Consider us like your very own Gen Z employee.  We do a better job with feedback and coaching. 

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I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Terrific Tuesday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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