Hashtag Trending – Right-to-repair Teslas; Surveillance tech buzz; SpaceX is turning heads

Tesla repairs are fundamentally changing in Massachusetts, social media is buzzing about how employers are using surveillance for COVID-19 tracking, and SpaceX has its eyes on tourism.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, November 17, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.


The newly passed right -to- repair law in Massachusetts will fundamentally change tesla repairs. As a recap, Question 1 from the recent presidential ballot passed, meaning car manufacturers, among others, must ensure independent repair stores have access to diagnostic tools used by the manufacturer. One mechanic told Vice that the move is a gamechanger for the expensive and timely repair of Teslas, however more needs to be done to have accessibility to Tesla’s software. The Tesla Service and Repair Information Portal allows body shops to sign up and get certified for “complimentary account access.” Anyone else looking to get repair and diagnostic information has to pay for a subscription. $100 buys you 24 hours of access while $3000 USD buys an annual subscription. Tesla did not give the right to repair law the thumbs up. The tech giant told Vice that “Question 1 goes well beyond what is necessary to perform this work, and it potentially jeopardizes vehicle and data security.”


Surveillance companies have had all eyes on them during this pandemic. Many companies are repurposing existing tech to address specific COVID-19 concerns. OneZero’s David Gershgorn reports that some companies are selling wearable devices that track employee movements and monitor for social distancing violations. For example, if you are interacting with a coworker who is also wearing the watch, the device estimates your distance based on how strong the signal is. An interaction with a strong signal over 15 minutes is recorded and uploaded to the cloud for the company to reference later if a worker tests positive. Employers can even decide to use the watch to monitor specific locations employees visit. Other companies are offering cameras that take employee temperatures from far away or have facial recognition to give employees access to secure areas. These tools provide convenience but, of course, privacy regulation concerns remain. [LinkedIn thread]


How do you feel about taking a vacation to space? SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station Sunday. The crew docked last night, marking the first time NASA is sending crew to space from a privately-owned spacecraft. The Crew 1 mission is a major step for space tourism and commerce. While NASA is the first customer for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, founder Elon Musk is open to more governments and wealthy tourists, Bloomberg reports. Others like Jeff Bezos, Virgin Galactic, and Boeing are proceeding with their own plans for space tourism. [LinkedIn thread]

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 Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening.

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