Google In The News, Apps Track Everything And Bird Scooters Fly Into Town

On Episode 426 of the Waves of Tech, we are diving into the national and local implications of technology.  Google is in the news as the shutdown of Google+ speeds up after another breach exposes users’ data. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is heading to Capitol Hill to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee where user privacy, anti-conservative bias, and more is on the agenda.  In a shocking, or maybe not too shocking, report the New York Times reported an incredible piece on how enabled location services tracked an individual throughout the city to freakish detail. Locally, over 200 e-scooters hit the streets of Bakersfield overnight without the approval or consultation of city officials.

Google+ Speeds Up Shutdown After Breach

After learning that a security bug exposes nearly 52.5 million users’ personal information, Alphabet, Inc announced that the shutdown will be closer to April rather than August 2019 as originally planned.  The foiled social media application has been anything but popular since its inception, falling flat in personal, professional, and enterprise settings.

  • Software flaw allowed partner apps to access users’ private data, not good
  • The latest bug allowed name, email, gender and age to be skimmed
  • This is just another in a line of reasons to have Google testify in front of Congress
  • Data collection, user privacy, and storage of data is growing in concern

Sundar Pichai Heads to The Hill

After a two week delay after the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, an embattled Google CEO heads to testify in front of Democratic and Republican officials to answer questions surrounding accused anti-conservative bias, user privacy, overall working conditions, and sexual harassment claims.  This should be a fun day at the office.

  • Pichai met privately with GOP representatives in September to start conversations
  • Google is next in line to answer questions after Facebook and Twitter responded
  • This may lead to federal privacy legislation and legislative framework for privacy
  • A fear is that this is all a show to demonstrate progress when nothing is really happening

In Freakin’ Scary News…Apps Track Everything

Location services, are they our best or worst friends?  The answer is it depends. The New York Times assisted a New York resident when it was learned that a specific app tracked her from home to work, from work to the doctor, from doctor to hiking, and from hiking to Long Island.  Records show over 8,600 tracking points in four months alone.

  • The article did not disclose the app of use but raises a thousand questions
  • It’s clear and obvious app developers are improperly disclosing tracking details
  • In the hands of someone, the information and personal data collected is dangerous
  • We’ve entered the wild west of location services and companies have free range to skim

Overnight E-Scooters Land in Hometown

Last Friday morning, social media and local news quickly learned that Bird – a major player in the e-scooter business – had scattered nearly 200 scooters around Bakersfield.  The news made headlines as Bird not once contacted city officials requesting permission to operate in the city limits. Many benefits existed, but it does come with a hand full of serious concerns.

  • Scooters are excellent for compact, efficient, and economical transportation
  • On the other hand, scooterists often create havoc on sidewalks and in business districts
  • City officials contacted Bird to request a meeting after being sprung with the news
  • After much research and analysis, Bird identified Bakersfield as a viable market

Resources & Links

Google+ shutdown speeds up

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Apps track everything, all day, all the time

Bird scooters fly into Bakersfield

Waves of Tech micro-mobility episode

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