10 things in tech you need to know today
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- Google’s former head of international relations, Ross LaJeunesse, says he was effectively pushed out last April after 11 years with the company after raising human rights concerns. LaJeunesse said he left because he spent two years pressuring Google to implement a comprehensive human rights policy while the company was pushing into China.
- Apple struck a new deal with chipmaker Imagination, the iPhone supplier it once almost crushed. Imagination said in a brief statement that it had a new licensing deal with Apple, ending a three-year spat that in 2017 resulted in the company’s sale to a private equity firm.
- TikTok published its first ever transparency report, and claimed that China made no censorship or information requests in the first half of 2019, while the US made 85. TikTok’s report shows that the US and India were most active in both content removal requests and in requesting information about users.
- Google’s DeepMind created an AI for spotting breast cancer that can outperform human radiologists. While the research is still at an early stage, DeepMind suggested it could be used as a “second reader” to give radiologists an automated second opinion.
- The world’s first “AI inventor” has been denied recognition by patent authorities in the UK and Europe. A six-strong squad of international legal experts is battling for designs conceived by artificial intelligence to be recognised in law, and has filed patent applications on its behalf around the world.
- Improbable, the UK software startup that raised millions from SoftBank, has lost a slew of executives in 2019. The company lost its chief financial officer, chief creative officer, and a top HR exec during the year.
- Amazon sent emails warning of termination to employees who spoke out against the company’s environmental policies, according to a report by The Washington Post. The Post reported that two employees had been censured for speaking out to the media about how Amazon’s cloud business might benefit oil and gas companies.
- Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the Amazon employee group that has publicly pushed the company to adopt aggressive climate change say they won’t stop, despite fears of being fired. The group issued a press release on Thursday saying a few of them were contacted by HR and legal last fall after two of them were named in a news article publicly criticising the company.
- Facebook abandoned its MSQRD augmented reality app soon after its acquisition in 2016, with users plummeting and the firm failing to release updates since then. Analysis by Business Insider indicates that the app, which was integrated into Facebook’s products, is now a zombie app.
- Google has halted access to its Nest Hub by Xiaomi cameras after one user reported seeing feeds from random people’s homes. One user reported seeing people asleep as well as images of a baby in its cot.
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