Hashtag Trending – Whistleblower uncovers surveillance program; Instacart strike; Streaming struggles

A whistleblower unearths a new Saudia Arabia mass surveillance program, delivery workers are asking for better support during the pandemic, and streaming services are seeing record use.

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Revealed: Saudis suspected of phone spying campaign in US from technology

A whistleblower has revealed an apparent mass surveillance program by Saudi Arabia. Trending on Reddit, this whistleblower alleged that the region used a vulnerability in the telecom network to track its citizens when they travel to the United States. According to the whistleblower, Saudia Arabia logged nearly 2.3 million tracking requests between November 2019 to present. Security experts who have seen the data also corroborated the idea that the tracking requests seem indicative of a surveillance program. It’s not yet known if the Saudi telecom companies knew of this activity, nor did the Saudi embassy release any statement regarding the news.

When the coronavirus pandemic has driven up delivery services use, Amazon and Instacart’s delivery workers are planning a walk-out over inadequate protection. The workers’ main demands include more paid sick time off for those who have yet to test positive for the virus, more extensive warehouse cleaning, and more general hygiene products like hand sanitizers. There has been 11 confirmed cases of the virus at Amazon’s warehouses to date, causing Amazon to provide unlimited unpaid leave for employees who are fearful of the virus.

People in isolation are turning to digital entertainment to stave off boredom. As shown in recent months, digital streaming usage has exploded across all platforms. Netflix, HBO, Amazon and Disney+ are all seeing record bandwidth. The demand is so high, that it’s proving too strenuous for the network infrastructure. In response, video providers are being asked to scale back their stream quality to prevent service interruptions to other critical services.

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 Alex Coop, thanks for listening.

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