Category: Policy

June 10, 2019 Off

White House budget chief looks to delay Huawei ban

By Jill T Frey

The already complicated U.S./Huawei situation got a few more wrinkles this week. Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell T. Vought sent a letter to VP Mike Pence and members of Congress requesting a delay in the implementation of the forthcoming Huawei ban.

Sent June 4 and since obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the letter asks for delay in certain key parts of the Trump-signed National Defense Authorization Act that has caused the smartphone maker to be barred from doing business in the U.S.

“While the Administration recognizes the importance of these prohibitions to national security,” Vought writes, “a number of agencies have heard significant concerns from a wide range of potentially impacted stakeholders who would be affected.”

The U.S. has long contended that the source of its issues with the smartphone and telecom hardware giant has ties to the Chinese government that present security … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Tackling ‘big tech’ issues through storytelling, with Jessica Powell

By Jill T Frey

Jessica Powell, Google’s former head of PR from 2012-2018 (years in which Google required a not-insignificant amount of PR leadership), is now a rock star writer whose 2018 debut book, The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional But Essentially True Silicon Valley Story, was the first novel published by Medium.

I recently spoke with Powell for this series on the ethics of technology, because The Big Disruption, for all its manic energy and a playfulness at times bordering on sci-fi sitcom level-absurdity, should be viewed as a key work in the emerging field of tech ethics. In scenes like the one that begins below, her comic timing and characters help us see how “disruptive” technologies may not so much change humanity, as reveal it.

As a product manager, you are tasked with leading a team and bringing an idea to life. You are the visionary who must direct not

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June 7, 2019 Off

FCC passes measure urging carriers to block robocalls by default

By Jill T Frey

The FCC voted at its open meeting this week to adopt an anti-robocall measure, but it may or may not lead to any abatement of this maddening practice — and it might not be free, either. That said, it’s a start toward addressing a problem that’s far from simple and enormously irritating to consumers.

The last two years have seen the robocall problem grow and grow, and although there are steps you can take right now to improve things, they may not totally eliminate the issue or perhaps won’t be available on your plan or carrier.

Under fire for not acting quickly enough in the face of a nationwide epidemic of scam calls, the FCC has taken action about as fast as a federal regulator can be expected to, and there are two main parts to its plan to fight robocalls, one … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Economic development organizations: good or bad for entrepreneurial activity?

By Jill T Frey

In developing VC markets such as the Midwest, some may think that funding from the government or economic development organizations are a godsend for local entrepreneurs. Startups are often looking for all the help they can get, and a boost in funds or an attractive set of economic incentives can be perceived as the fuel they need to take the next step in their growth journey.

While this type of funding can be helpful, a startup should ensure that funding from these sources is … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

The 10 benefits and policies any modern workplace should have

By Jill T Frey

Want to attract (and retain) top talent, making your company’s workforce more competitive and cutting down on turnover costs to boot? The simplest way to do so starts with the benefits and policies you offer to employees.

We already know that benefits play a major hand in how candidates evaluate a job offer. One recent survey conducted by Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility, found that 87% of professional women say a benefits package is important or very … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

8 benefits and policies that are making your company seem outdated

By Jill T Frey

The competition for top talent today is more fierce than ever. And when it comes to attracting and retaining that talent, we know that benefits play a major hand in how well an employer fares.

To that end, Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility recently conducted research on the benefits today’s female talent cares most about. After surveying 1,000 professional women, we found a full 87% of them said a company’s benefits package was either important or very … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube will let bigot monetize if he removes link to homophobic merch

By Jill T Frey

YouTube has made the weakest, least courageous response to mass backlash regarding its ruling yesterday that right-wing personality Steven Crowder’s racist and homophobic attacks on Vox video producer Carlos Maza didn’t violate its policies. Now YouTube says it’s demonetized Crowder’s channel because his “pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community” …but it will restore Crowder’s ability to earn a cut of YouTube ad revenue as long as he removes the link in his videos/channel to his offensive merchandise shop and fixes “all of the issues” with his channel. Specifically, Crowder’s shop sells [Warning: disturbing language not condoned by TechCrunch] “Socialism is for f*gs” t-shirts, baby onesies and beer-pong cups.

[Update: In the wake of this article and YouTube’s focus on his homophobic slur shirts, Crowder has removed the hateful merchandise from his store.]

The unwillingness to remove Crowder from YouTube counters the frequent calls by conservative politicians … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

With antitrust investigations looming, Apple reverses course on bans of parental control apps

By Jill T Frey

With congressional probes and greater scrutiny from federal regulators on the horizon, Apple has abruptly reversed course on its bans of parental control apps available in its app store.

As reported by The New York Times, Apple quietly updated its App Store guidelines to reverse its decision to ban certain parental control apps.

The battle between Apple and certain app developers dates back to last year when the iPhone maker first put companies on notice that it would cut their access to the app store if they didn’t make changes to their monitoring technologies.

The heart of the issue is the use of mobile device management (MDM) technologies in the parental control apps that Apple has removed from the App Store, Apple said in a statement earlier this year.

These device management tools give to a third party control … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

Apple is now restricting Chinese language podcasts in China

By Jill T Frey

Just as podcasting hits the mainstream in the west, China, which is also experiencing an audio boom, is seeing restrictions tighten around shows as evidenced by new curbs from Apple.

This week, the U.S. tech giant has pulled a handful of Chinese-language podcasts from its Chinese Podcasts store, one of the few remaining channels for people in mainland China to find content immune from scrutiny by the country’s media regulators.

The crackdown seems to be taking an incremental pace so far. Three podcasters, including hosts of NickTalk and Two I.T. Uncles (两个iT大叔), confirmed with TechCrunch on Tuesday that their shows disappeared from Apple’s Chinese Podcasts app this week.

Several other noted shows, including Yitianshijie (一天世界), appear to remain unaffected, while others, such as Suijiya (随机鸭), seem to have suffered from a partial blockade. That’s to say that individual episodes appear in search results, but the podcast homepages are inaccessible, Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

China says it will ‘soon grant’ 5G licenses for commercial use

By Jill T Frey

There’s a widely accepted method to interpret China’s official announcements: the shorter the news, the heavier it is. Today, in one concise sentence, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s telecom regulator, announced that it will “soon grant 5G licenses for commercial use.”

That’s according to the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily. TechCrunch reported four months ago that China planned to “fast-track” the commercial use of the next-gen networking technology at a time when Huawei, the champion of the country’s 5G development, faces mounting pressure in the west as the U.S. lobbies its allies not to use Huawei technologies.

 

The Chinese firm is selling a majority stake of its undersea cable division weeks after the Trump administration blocked it from doing businesses with American companies.

The Chinese firm manages to find allies in other parts of the world. … Read the rest