• Biden Administration Considering White House Person To Lead Antitrust Efforts
    President Joe Biden is considering creating a White House position focused on competition policy and issues relating to antitrust, reports Reuters. The idea, according to sources, is related to antitrust enforcement among big tech platforms like Google, Facebook, and others.
  • Google Follows Adobe, Finally Kills Off Flash Plug-In Support
    Google's Chrome's latest update, Chrome 88 browser, finally took steps to not include Adobe Flash. Adobe, in 2017, called on the indusry to end the life of the plug-in tool. Adobe stopped supporting Flash in December 2020.
  • Former Google Engineer Anthony Levandowski Among Trump's Long LIst Of Pardons
    Before leaving office, President Trump released a long list of pardons. Among them was Anthony Levandowski, former Google engineer who pleaded guilty to stealing technology related to self-driving cars before becoming the head of Uber’s rival unit. A San Francisco judge in August sentenced Levandowski to 18 months in prison, but said he could start his term after the pandemic subsided. 
  • YouTube Tests Way For Consumers To Shop From Videos
    YouTube last week began testing a new way for people to find and purchase products in videos that brands have uploaded to the platform. To view a list of the featured products, shoppers need only click on the shopping bag icon at the bottom left corner of the video. Viewers then have an option to explore each product’s page to see more information, related videos, and purchase options for the product. Other tests that ran last year include a new way for to watch Shorts, a new short form video experience that lets creators create short videos from the YouTube …
  • Large Brands Funded Misinformation
    An analysis of programmatic advertising data from Newsguard shows many of the world’s largest and most trusted brands have been financially supporting websites known for running misinformation. For example, American Express advertised on SputnikNews.com, a Russian government-controlled site that targets propaganda to U.S. audiences. Brands advertising on election misinformation included government agencies funded by taxpayer dollars, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which placed ads on seven election misinformation sites and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which placed ads on two.
  • Researchers Crack Google's reCAPTCHA Code
    Researcher Nikolai Tschacher found a way to use the Speed-to-Text API from Google to bypass the reCAPTCHA interface. The digital security expert submitted the findings on January 2, 2021, becoming what one blogger suggests is the first time anyone cracked the code to bypass the reCAPTCHA. These reCAPTCHAs also come in audio messages. Tschacher managed to bypass audio and visual. He explains. 
  • Facebook's Ad Integrity Chief Leaves
    Rob Leathern -- former Facebook director of product management who handled sensitive subjects such as politics and coronavirus misinformation -- left the company on December 30. In a post he wrote about “leaving Facebook to work on consumer privacy beyond just ads and social media,” without disclosing where he was headed.
  • France Resumes Collecting Digital Taxes From Google, Others
    France has resumed collecting digital taxes on big tech companies like Google. Earlier this year, France and a few other European countries agreed that tech companies should pay more taxes in the countries where their users and clients are located, mostly to boost tax revenue. France agreed to suspend collection of a tax on digital revenue from large technology companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, and the U.S. delayed the application of tariffs it put on French goods in retaliation for the tax.
  • Apple, Google, Microsoft Form Health Care Partnerships
    Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are among the top 11 tech icons partnering with health care companies, according to Jackie Dress, who put together a list to help people search for information. One partnership includes Google, which launched a new Google Health app on December 9 that connects individuals to clinical studies. The company partnered with Boston-based Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital for the app's first study, which focuses on respiratory illness.
  • How Internet Speeds Changed During COVID-19
    The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shutdown workplaces and schools across the country, but many Americans shifted to working and studying from home. WhistleOut analyzed how internet speeds across the United States changed from before the pandemic to now.
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