Hashtag Trending Dec 8 – San Francisco police department reverses killer robot policy; Congress drops media bill; Chinese hackers stole $20 million

San Francisco reverses the approval of killer robots policy, Congress drops a media bill as Facebook threatens to ban news in the U.S. and Chinese hackers stole at least $20 million in U.S. COVID-19 relief cash

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, December 8th and I am your host, Samira Balsara.

During the second of two required votes before a policy can be sent to the mayor’s office for final approval, the board voted 8-to-3 to explicitly ban the use of lethal force by police robots. San Francisco Chronicle notes that this is pretty unusual, as the board’s second votes are typically just formalities that echo the first ones’ results. The policy would have allowed cops to equip robots with explosives “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects.” Dean Preston, one of the supervisors who opposed the policy, said “Black and Brown people will be placed in disproportionate danger of harm or death.”

Congress excluded a controversial media bill from the National Defense Authorization Act after Facebook threatened to ban news in the U.S., the Washington Post reported. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) was introduced by senator Amy Klobuchar with bipartisan support to give publishers and broadcasters negotiating power over how their news content is distributed on online platforms like Facebook and Google. It would require social media firms to pay publishers for their news content. The bill was initially approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September but received intense opposition from Meta.

APT41, a group of state-sponsored cyber criminals stole at least $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the U.S. government, a secret service spokesman told NBC News on Monday. These funds included small business loans and unemployment relief in more than a dozen states. A March report from cybersecurity firm Mandiant revealed how the computer networks of at least six state governments were hacked by the same group in 2021. Speaking to Reuters, representatives of the Chinese embassy maintained that China firmly opposes and cracked down on all forms of cyber attack and called the accusations ‘groundless’.

Online platform top10casinos.com listed and analyzed the most bizarre Google Searches of the year and they are indeed, really strange. The company ran a selection of random words through keyword planner and questions also associated and asked by the user. We collected the top 10 with more that 200 searches, in the United Kingdom and United States. Some of these questions include: How do you dry spaghetti? Is Coronavirus created by the government? Or What country is France in? Is Elon Musk a robot? And Why do ducks quack and humans don’t? 

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 Samira Balsara. 


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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