13-01-2018 NIJHUM RUDRA
Nijhum Rudra gives a rundown of the top tech hullabaloos that shook the tech world in 2017
The year 2017 won many laurels for innovations and product developments but it also had its fair share of controversies that shook the tech-world. From Cupertino tech giant’s apology for throttling the batteries of older iPhones to the proclamation by a German researcher about security flaws of WhatsApp end-to-end encryption, the year kept witnessing eruptions of controversies that had captured global attention.
Apple’s iPhone Throttle
The Cupertino tech tycoon has been accused for throttling the older iPhones with its OS update for which several lawsuits were filed against the company. The massive criticism has forced Apple to apologize for the same and it assured to replace the older batteries in discount. As part of compensation it decided to replace the batteries of iPhone 6 and above from $79 to $29 until the end of the year.
Apples said in its apology letter, “We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.”
WhatsApp Security Flaws
German cyber researchers who assembled at the recent Real World Crypto security conference in Switzerland revealed that there are severe security errors in the WhatsApp platform. The report in Wired mentioned any third person could be added to any group chat without the admin’s consent. Anyone who controls and administers the platform’s servers can do the same.
Any third person, thereby nullifying the end-to-end encryption and crushing the confidentiality of the group, can access all the forwarded and ongoing messages.
The Blue Whale Menace
This online game commenced in 2016 and is also known as the suicidal game. The game has multiple tasks, which the gamer has to complete within 50 days and then the final challenge asks the player to commit suicide. Many kids around the world including at least one Indian kid are said to have committed suicide under the influence of this game that forced the Indian government to ask Google and Facebook to wipe out the links of the game.
Google Engineer’s Chauvinist Memo
Back in August Google was surrounded by a massive turmoil when James Damore, Google’s engineer introduced an “anti-diversity" memo stating that the company offers more benefits and comforts for women coupled with an inclusive work environments. Damore generated widespread outrage by suggesting that the under-representation of women at Google was a result of women's lesser interest in software engineering—rather than discrimination within the technology sector. Damroe was fired almost immediately while Google's VP of Diversity, Integrity, & Governance, Google's VP of Diversity, Integrity, & Governance issued a statement to clarify any doubt about Google’s commitment towards diversity and women empowerment. But we have not heard the last of this controversy. Damore along with another former Googler David Gudeman has filed a lawsuit accusing Google of systematic and illegal discrimination against conservatives and white men and belittling them for their political views. https://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320
LeEco’s Unexpected Exit from India
This Chinese smartphone maker achieved considerable success in India with the selling of top-notch smartphones at a very affordable price. It commenced its business in the nation a year ago and slowly, it entered in selling smart TVs. Back in March, it suddenly terminated 85 percent of its employees without paying their remunerations. This move has led people in India to have suspicion on other Chinese electronics companies as well.