Hashtag Trending: Apple overpricing repairs; Amazon employees protest facial recognition software; Canadian-made smart glasses

Apple is accused of restricting and over estimating price of device repairs, Amazon employees are protesting the sale of facial recognition software and a Waterloo-based company creates smart glasses.

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First from Reddit: We all dread it having to take your iPhone in for repairs, when you accidentally crack your screen, drop it in water or for some inexplicable reason it just doesn’t work properly. And according to a CBC investigation we may have been right to dread it. The investigation has apparently found that Apple often overestimates the cost of repairs for its products and even threatens third-party shops willing to make those fixes at a fraction of the price. CBC alleges that customers who go into the Apple Store for minor repairs often come out with hefty bills after being told that major parts of their device needed to be fixed. The investigation even used hidden cameras to verify that this was the case. In one instance an Apple customer presented a MacBook Pro laptop that had a common issue with the screen not working properly and an Apple Store employee estimated costs at $1,200. When it was taken to a small repair store, the fix was actually ended up costing closer to $75 to $150. Apple declined to be interviewed for the story but denied that there is a pattern of overcharging.

Next from Reddit: Amazon employees are protesting the sale of the tech giant’s facial recognition software claiming that it could lead to dangerous mass surveillance. According to U.S. News more than 450 employees have signed a letter opposing the decision to sell the software to law enforcement. They are asking that Amazon ban Palantir, the software firm that operates much of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation and tracking program in the U.S., from using Amazon Web Services. The signatories are also demanding a new policy that gives Amazon employees oversight for ethical decisions. The facial software in question is Rekognition which is already used by law enforcement in Orlando, Florida to compare photos to a database that contains mugshots. Amazon has also apparently recommended the use of the facial recognition software for police officer body cameras. Protestors are pointing out that the software is a flawed system with existing biases that has already been proven to disproportionately affect people of colour.

Finally from Product Hunt: On Tuesday a Waterloo-based company has released its version of smart glasses. And they seem to be all the hype, yesterday the news was trending on Product and Google. North, formally known as Thalmic Labs released the Focals which can check notifications, speak with Amazon’s Alexa and plan a commute using Uber. It has even more cool features and IT World Canada got a sneak peek before they became available so make sure ot check out ITWorldCanada.com learn more about Focals.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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