Facebook has been paying teens to install a VPN to get dirt on its competitors, San Francisco is introducing legislation to ban the government use of facial recognition tech, and Huawei’s CFO is back in Canadian court.
TechCrunch’s latest reporting on Facebook has got social media buzzing, again. It turns out Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN, or virtual private network, to track a user’s phone and web activity. The Facebook Research app required users to trust it with access to their data. And by data, I mean all of the data. Private messages, chats, photos and videos, emails, web searches, browsing history and even location tracking. Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 25 up to $20 per month to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android version of the “Facebook Research” app, and reporting suggests the program was administered through various beta testing service such as Applause. Apple blocked the app shortly after the story broke, but it continues to run on Android.
There’s a lot of chatter on Reddit about a San Francisco lawmaker’s legislation that would make the city the first in the country to ban the government use of facial recognition technology. The legislation, named Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, will be heard in committee next month, and according to reports, has gained support from civil rights groups. In December, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith voiced concerns about the technology and suggested they adopt laws to regulate it.
And lastly, on Linkedin – Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has returned to a Canadian court. The CFO attended the hearing in British Columbia Supreme Court where her request to change who is financially responsible for her bail was approved. Canada arrested Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S. Twenty-three charges have been laid against Huawei and Meng, including bank and wire fraud to violate American sanctions against Iran.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network.