Hashtag Trending March 10 – Algorithmic Accountability Act; Apple’s pricey accessory; Twitter’s Tor onion service

An updated act could hold big tech accountable for algorithms, Apple’s new accessory is costly, and Twitter is launching a version of its site as a Tor onion service.

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

The updated Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022 could well, hold big tech companies accountable for their algorithms. The updated act, first revealed in January, would require impact assessments when companies are using automated systems to make important decisions, providing users and regulators with much-needed clarity around when and how these systems are being used. According to an article by Slate, the impact assessments required under the Act would outline the features of any algorithmic system in the public’s interest. Most importantly, the bill requires companies to state how they consulted with impacted communities and how they plan on mitigating negative impacts. Reports will be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and released through a publicly accessible repository. The FTC would also release an annual report with trends, lessons, and statistics, to be transparent around when and how automated systems are used.

Apple introduced some new pricey accessories on Tuesday. The new offerings include a $1,600 monitor in an aluminum casing called Studio Display. It comes with a Thunderbolt 4 Cable, which is a 1-meter cord to connect to a computer or device. The 1.8-meter version costs $129, and those looking for a longer cord will have to pay $159 for a three-meter version. Before the introduction of the Thunderbolt 4 Cable, the Thunderbolt 3, a two-metre cable that Apple sold separately in 2020 cost $129. This was considered pretty pricey, according to a Business Insider article.

Twitter is rolling out a version of its site as a Tor onion service, optimizing it for the privacy-focused network. The service was announced via a Tweet from Software Engineer Alec Muffet. The Tor network has been added to Twitter’s supported browsers page. While Twitter’s ordinary website was available via Tor, the latest version enhances protection to the already anonymized browsing experience and is specifically designed for the network. Onion services are sometimes called hidden services or “dark web” services, although the latter can refer to explicitly criminal sites like the Silk Road drug market, reports The Verge. Several popular sites offer Tor-specific versions, including the DuckDuckGo search engine, The New York Times, the BBC, and ProPublica. Twitter’s onion service forces users to use Tor’s network, since it doesn’t work with ordinary browsers, and it protects against certain security risks introduced by standard web addresses

And now for something a bit different. Since selling the first Xbox in Japan 20 years ago, only 2.3 million Xbox consoles across all generations have been sold in the country. Microsoft has always struggled to sell the Xbox in Japan. The main reason for this is because of Sony’s dominance and home-field advantage. However, Microsoft hasn’t stopped trying. During the Xbox 360 era, Microsoft aired numerous Xbox ads on TV and enlisted famous Japanese celebrities to help sell the unit. Unfortunately for Microsoft, even with its determination, Xbox sales are low in Japan compared to other countries. The original Xbox sold over 24 million globally, and the Xbox 360 sold over 84 million. To compare Sony sales, domestically, Sony sold 19 million PlayStation 1s and 24 million PlayStation 2s.

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 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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