Hashtag Trending July 26 – Australian companies stop use of facial recognition tech; U.S. social media laws; Intel and MediaTek agreement

Australian retailers stop the use of facial recognition technology, more American states are working on laws to control social media, and Intel announces that it will produce chips for Taiwan’s MediaTek. 

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday July 26, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

Australian retailers are backing away from facial recognition. According to reports from Engadget and The Guardian, Kmart and Bunnings have temporarily stopped the use of facial recognition in their local stores while the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) investigates the privacy implications of their systems. The companies were using the technology to prevent fraud and lower theft rates. Both companies state that they were using facial recognition tech for security purposes and Kmart says that its main use of the technology was to “prevent criminal activity”. The investigation began in mid-July, just one month after the consumer advocacy group Choice learned that Kmart and Bunnings were testing facial recognition. These systems have come under scrutiny after exhibiting gender and race biases. Big tech companies like IBM and Microsoft have backed away from the tech and American politicians have urged government agencies to stop using such platforms.

A recent Politico analysis has found that 34 states have proposed bills or passed laws that influence the way social media companies handle their users’ content. Recently Texas and Florida have made headlines for their social media laws but they’re not the only states trying to take control by managing content on social media platforms. According to an article from Gizmodo, in conservative-led states, the main trend follows the Texas and Florida mold. States like Ohio and Mississippi are trying to write laws that would stop companies from removing or moderating users’ content based on their political viewpoint. Legislators in Democratically led states such as California are attempting to forward legislation that would encourage social media companies to take a stricter approach to moderating certain types of content which could be harmful to users. The effort to try and censor social media from both political parties has caught the attention of tech industry groups such as NetChoice and first amendment scholars. These experts say that some of these proposals are a violation of the first amendment.

U.S. chipmaker Intel said it will produce chips for Taiwan’s MediaTek, which is one of the world’s largest chip design firms. According to a report from Reuters, this arrangement is one of the most significant deals Intel has announced since it launched its foundry business early last year. A foundry business builds chips that other companies design. Intel and MediaTek have formed a strategic partnership to build chips for “a range of smart edge devices” using Intel Foundry Services, Intel revealed in its announcement. The aim of the partnership is to help MediaTek build a more resilient supply chain, with added capacity in the U.S. and Europe. Intel launched its foundry services in 2021 to take advantage of the surging demand for semiconductor manufacturing by offering “leading-edge process and packaging technology.” Last year, Intel announced that it would build chips for Qualcomm as part of its foundry launch.

The Navy recently has installed a 3D printer on board one of its ships, the Essex, to help test the new printing technology out at sea. The Naval Postgraduate School, which led the research effort on the technology, installed the printer on the Essex and ran diagnostic tests early July. During its testing and evaluation at sea, the new printer, which is capable of fabricating and printing aluminum, will produce various shipboard items. According to a report from the Navy Times, The Naval Postgraduate School worked with the company Xerox to receive its own 3D printer. Lieutenant Commander Nicolas Batista says that  “Having this printer aboard will essentially accelerate, enhance and increase our warfighting readiness.” Sailors on board will now have to be trained in how to properly use the equipment and technology.

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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