December 5, 2021

Hashtag Trending Nov. 23 – WhatsApp privacy policy change; German state transisition to open source; Microsoft Edge installment payments


WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy in Europe after a record fine, a German state is transitioning to using open source software, and Microsoft Edge gets a buy now, pay later feature.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, November 23, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

WhatsApp is tweaking its privacy policy in Europe after receiving a record fine from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The company was issued a 190 million Euro fine in September over disclosure on how it handles user data. The amount was second only to Amazon, which was hit by a 636 euro fine in July. WhatsApp is appealing the fine, but said it has amended its privacy policy to be more transparent to the user. The changes will take effect immediately. Meanwhile, the company maintains that there will be no service change for users.

Schleswig-Holstein, a northern German state, will be switching almost completely to open-source software for its government devices. The plan has been in the works for years, and has already seen civil servants replacing Windows with Linux, and Microsoft Office with open source alternatives such as LibreOffice and OnlyOffice. The transition is already well underway. According to a state spokesperson, 90 per cent of state administration remote meetings have been conducted on open source conferencing tools.

Microsoft’s Edge browser has just received a buy now, pay later option. The feature is powered by Zip, allows customers to split payments between $35 to $1000 into four installments over six weeks. There will be no interest fees if the payments are made on time. The feature has seen mixed reception. One Reuter article worried about more ads when shopping, and at least one user is worried about feature bloat, describing the feature as nothing more than a revenue grab for holiday shopping seasons.

And now for something a little different. Amid the labour shortage, some restaurants are turning to technology and automation to fill vacant staff roles. And they’re certainly cheaper than hiring real people. According to a Dallas restaurant, its robots, rented from American Robotech, costs just $15 a day. And while the robots can’t elegantly serve food, they can help transport the food from the kitchen to the dining room, or move dirty plates from the table to the sink. They also have voice recognition software and Lidar sensors to avoid hitting objects.

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. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.



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