Hashtag Trending April 12 – John Oliver threatens to blackmail congressmen with their digital data, Amazon claims union organizers used marijuna to secure worker votes, the repair your own phone era

Files from Samira Balsara

John Oliver threatens to blackmail congressmen with their digital data, Amazon claims union organizers handed out cannabis to secure votes, and the fix-your-own-phone era is almost here.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, April 12, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

On his show, ‘Last Week Tonight”, John Oliver threatened to blackmail Congressmen using their own digital data. Together, he and his staff paid for the data of a subset of individuals with traits that many of the Congressmen have, and who were online within five miles of the Capitol building. Oliver wasn’t very clear about the things they discovered, however, he indicated they were able to identify several specific lawmakers and their potentially problematic search histories. Oliver also indicated that his preferred solution was for lawmakers to create laws to make the release of that kind of personal information illegal.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Amazon is claiming that union organizers in New York handed out marijuana to workers in order to secure unionization votes. The company is looking to overturn a vote that created the very first union in Amazon history. The National Labor Relations Board (NLBR) said a majority of workers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island voted to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). Amazon is challenging this vote and claimed that the ALU and the NLRB suppressed voter turnout. Amazon has questioned the methods used to win union votes, an article from Business Insider revealed. According to filing reports, lawyers for Amazon said ALU organizers were handing out cannabis to workers before the vote. They said the NLRB “cannot condone such practices as a legitimate method of obtaining support for a labour organization.” However, since 2021 New York residents over the age of 21 have been allowed to use recreational marijuana. In defence, a lawyer representing the ALU said that organizers handing out cannabis was “no different than distributing free t-shirts and it certainly did not act to interfere with the election.”

Source: Business Insider

Following Google and self-repair advocate iFixit’s new partnership to make Google Pixel phones easier to repair, iFixit CEO says he’s not done making deals with phone companies. In an interview with The Verge, Weins said more deals are on the way, one as early as a few months from now. Four years ago, Motorola became the first to sign on. In the past week, Google joined the wave, and if Apple meaningfully joins them in offering spare parts to consumers, the era of fixing your own phone would officially start. Being able to fix your own phone increases the longevity of devices avoiding the need to upgrade every time minor damage occurs.

Source: The Verge

The innovation of paying by tapping your card has made the payment process faster and much easier. But what if you could pay without using a card at all? A British-Polish firm called Walletmor started implanting contactless payment chips into human hands, BBC reports. Walletmor’s chip weighs less than a gram and is slightly larger than a grain of rice. It’s made of a tiny microchip and an antenna encased in a biopolymer – a naturally sourced material, similar to plastic. The procedure is painless and feels like a little pinch, said Patrick Paumen, who had the chip implanted into his hand in 2019. Walletmor’s CEO said the procedure is entirely safe and has regulatory approval. It works immediately after being implanted and will stay firmly in place without the need for a battery or any other power source. The firm says it has now sold more than 500 of the chips. While the idea of implanting a chip into your body is pretty frightening, a 2021 survey of more than 4,000 people across the U.K. and the European Union found that 51 per cent would consider it.

Source: BBC

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 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 IT Business. 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 [email protected].

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