July 15, 2021

Those who have concerns about privacy on smartphones often focus on apps that track users’ internet browsing history or even their movements through GPS. But while such violations of privacy are becoming more well-known to users, many others appear to be unaware that some apps have open access to their contact lists. For instance, therapist Gabriela Buendia was shocked to discover that the payment app Venmo had shared a list of her phone contacts as well as data about everyone Continue reading

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October 20, 2020

Since its founding in 1998, Google has grown into one of the largest companies in history. Last year it earned more than $34 billion from search revenue, an enormous amount that analysts predict will grow to $42.5 billion by 2022. Google’s parent company Alphabet is valued at more than $1 trillion and holds $120 billion in cash reserves. The company’s name has even become synonymous with search as millions of people around the world “google” all sorts of information every Continue reading

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February 7, 2020

Targeted advertising has become the economic engine of the Internet for big companies like Facebook and Google that collect all sorts of data about their users. This video details how tech giants track people online in order to gather information for advertisers, a widespread practice that is nevertheless hugely controversial. 

Questions:

  1. How has the use of cookies changed from the early days of the Internet to today?
  2. Do you think legislators should regulate how companies track people online for Continue reading
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January 9, 2020

In recent years, many Silicon Valley tech firms have pledged to make sustainability a top priority. But as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft develop environmentally friendly operations, oil companies are also using their technology to extract more petrochemicals from the earth. The video below takes an in-depth look at the history of oil extraction and how modern tech companies are risking their reputations by getting involved with the fossil fuel industry. 

Questions:

  1. How does machine learning help tech companies become Continue reading
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November 15, 2019

This week, Google announced that it’s launching a banking service next year that will offer “smart checking” accounts to mobile-focused customers. Known as Cache, the program is the result of a collaboration between the search giant and two banks: Citigroup and Stanford Credit Union. Although details of the partnership remain limited at this time, Google eventually wants Cache to become an extension of its Google Pay app. The company also claims that customers will “benefit from useful insights and budgeting Continue reading

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September 19, 2019

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a landmark labor law that guarantees wage and benefit protections for gig economy workers. The primary targets of this legislation are the state’s many Uber and Lyft drivers who are currently classified as independent contractors. When the new law comes into effect next year, the state will reclassify these contracted workers as regular employees entitled to a minimum wage, sick days, and other benefits. 

“Today the so-called gig companies present themselves as Continue reading

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September 13, 2019

As the trade war with China heats up, Apple is starting to move some of its production to other nations throughout its global supplier network. But don’t expect the tech giant to return home to the U.S. anytime soon. This video shows how difficult it would be for Apple to manufacture its most popular products domestically and explores how the company could approach this problem in the future.

Questions:

  1. Why did Apple move production of the 2013 Mac Pro to Continue reading
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September 12, 2019

On Monday, attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories announced that Google would face a broad and bipartisan antitrust investigation. Lawmakers said the search giant’s domination of “all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet” could be harmful to consumers as well as the web at large. Google currently captures 75 percent of all spending on search ads in the U.S., leading to more than $48 billion in revenue from ads alone.

According to lawmakers, Continue reading

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July 25, 2019

Since 2009 the website Genius has provided music lovers with a reliable source for lyrics to countless songs. A few years ago, though, the company noticed that someone else was exploring the site along with its usual batch of curious fans. The situation started when Genius published the lyrics to the hit song “Panda” by Desiigner with help from the artist himself. Since the company received assistance directly from the source, their lyrics served as the only accurate transcription of Continue reading

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March 26, 2019

On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook stepped onto a big stage at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, to make some important announcements. Events like these are meant to remind Apple fans of the times when late founder Steve Jobs stepped on the same stage to reveal world-changing products like the iPhone and iPad. Unlike on those occasions, however, Cook didn’t unveil any new or updated gadgets at Monday’s event. Instead, celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey Continue reading

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