Hashtag Trending Feb. 10 – Amazon gets $4.7 billion in subsidies; TikTok tracks a lot of personal data; SpaceX loses satellites to geomagnetic storm

Amazon receives $4.7 billion in subsidies, TikTok tracks personal data more than any other social media platform, and SpaceX loses 40 satellites launched into orbit due to a geomagnetic storm.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, February 10th, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

A new report has revealed that Amazon has received at least $4.7 billion in tax breaks globally in the past decade. According to Vice, $4.1 billion are for projects based in the U.S. However, for the first time the report, by a watchdog group and a global labour federation, tallies subsidies Amazon has received beyond U.S. borders. This involves Amazon’s growth in Amazon Prime and data center networks in recent years. Among some of the tax breaks received outside of the U.S, $15.6 million are for an Amazon warehouse in Germany and $10.44 million are for a warehouse in Scotland. Roughly $262 million are for an Amazon Web Services data center in Montreal.

A report by URL Genius reveals that YouTube and TikTok track users’ personal data more than any other social media app. YouTube collects user data mostly for its own purposes such as tracking search history to show users relevant ads. However, TikTok on the other hand mostly allows third-party trackers to collect data. With third-party trackers, it’s very hard to know who’s tracking your data or what information they’re collecting. Third-party trackers could even have access to physical location data and more private personal information that you share with the app. They can also track the activity on other sites even after closing the app they originate from. The study by URL Genius discovered that 13 of the 14 network contacts on TikTok were from third parties.

SpaceX said it lost 40 Starlink satellites that it launched into orbit last week due to a geomagnetic storm. SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, sent 49 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit via a Falcon 9 rocket. Around 80 per cent of those satellites were “significantly impacted” by a geomagnetic storm last Friday, the company said. Geomagnetic storms are fueled by disturbances between Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles from the sun, known as solar wind. According to Business Insider, SpaceX said Starlink attempted to fly the satellites in “safe mode” to reduce atmospheric drag but they were unable to reach their destination. About 40 of the satellites will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up, with some already having done so.

The Dutch company, LightYear, has produced an electric, solar-powered vehicle called LightYear One. The car was able to travel over 248 miles at a speed of 81 miles per hour on a single charge of its 60 kWh battery. The car was tested on a test track in Italy. At the track, the Lightyear One recorded an energy consumption of 141 Wh/km, reported Business Insider. According to the test coordinator for the project, this means after one charge the car could be driven for over 400 km. To put things into perspective, that’s about the distance from Amsterdam to Luxembourg or the drive from Toronto to Ottawa. The price of reserving the car is $171,000 and deliveries will begin this summer.

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 early 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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