The Federal Communications Commission is looking to repeal net neutrality, Google is collecting location data from Android users behind the scenes, and RBC is opening an artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal.
The big story trending on Twitter today is news that the US FCC is introducing a proposal that will repeal net neutrality, which is the notion that all types of data online should be delivered equally, without being blocked, slowed down, or otherwise tampered with by an internet service provider. The concept of an open internet was solidified by a 2013 decision to regulate internet providers as utilities under Barack Obama, but to no one’s surprise, Trump’s administration wants to reverse that in the name of open markets. The concern is that this move, if successful, would create a tiered internet system where users would have to pay extra to access certain sites. It would also mean that internet providers would have the power to slow down the loading speeds when users try to access certain sites, or block them all together. For example, let’s say your internet provider had a partnership with Netflix. They would have the ability to slow downloading speeds whenever you tried to access other competing streaming services like Hulu, charge you extra for it, or block it all together.
From Reddit, it’s been discovered that Google has been collecting Android users’ locations all year through the use of nearby cell towers, even if they’ve disabled location services, according to a Quartz Media investigation. The company found that Google has had access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy. Google has confirmed the practice, but says the location data it has collected was never used or stored. Since the story broke, the tech giant has pledged to end the practice by the end of November.
And from Facebook, the Royal Bank of Canada is joining other global tech giants in setting up a research lab in Montreal to take advantage of the city’s artificial intelligence expertise. Canada’s largest bank will be opening Borealis AI lab in 2018, joining similar existing facilities in Toronto and Edmonton. The lab will have 10 researchers on staff in its first year, and will be advised by McGill professor Jackie Cheung, an expert in natural language processing. RBC says much of its focus will be to develop technology that can evaluate social media and news all around the world for seemingly disconnected events that could have an impact in north America.
Hashtag Trending is now available in the News section of the Google Home app. You can also listen to us on Amazon’s Alexa, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. I’m Mandy Kovacs.