Hashtag Trending – Clearview AI in the news again; Fraudulent N95 masks leads to lawsuit; WFH inequality

Clearview AI facial recognition will not delete Canadian faces from its collection of billions of photos; 3M sues third-party Amazon sellers for fraudulent N95 mask sales; Remote work raises concerns about work from home inequality.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday June 11, and I’m your host, Baneet Braich.

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Clearview AI the controversial U.S.-based facial recognition technology firm collects billions of photos from the internet to feed its facial recognition app. Now it is allowing people to check if their images show up in the company’s massive image database. However, unlike other countries, Canadians don’t have the option to have their images and data deleted. Clearview AI says the tool helps “identify perpetrators and victims of crimes,” but privacy advocates are concerned that the images could fall into the wrong hands. Clearview’s privacy policy says people can request personal data to be deleted only under certain conditions where residents have various jurisdictions with privacy legislation like in California and the EU. Twitter and Facebook have told Clearview to stop using images from their platforms for facial recognition.

Counterfeit mask sales have been increasing since the coronavirus outbreak. Now 3M is suing a third-party Amazon seller, KMJ Trading Inc, which allegedly sold more than $350,000 worth of N95 masks. The masks were listed up to $23 per mask compared to the actual list price of $1.27. Customer complaints note the masks were defective. “Ten-pack of fake N95 masks for $150 is just crooked during this pandemic,” one complaint reads. Darmesh Mehta, Amazon’s VP of customer trust said, “We’re proud to be working with 3M to hold these bad actors accountable. 3M is asking for up to $2 million in statutory damages. The company is also working with Amazon to stop price gouging and to shut down fraud N95 mask dealers.

As the work from home norm continues, remote work inequalities are also affecting employees. The reality is that only 39 per cent of Canadians have a job that can be reasonably done from home, according to a new study by Statistics Canada. A co-author of the report told CBC that, less educated and lower-income families are more likely to have work hours reduced during the pandemic, “which in turn is likely to increase inequality in family earnings and family employment income. Primary earners with high levels of education are more likely to hold jobs with work from home options. Statistics Canada says about 40 per cent of Canadians are in jobs that can be done from home, and remote work will remain a viable option even after the pandemic is over.

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 Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening.

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