This Week in Tech: Apple Wants to Be Your Privacy Champion

Hello and welcome back to SHIFT’s weekly roundup of the most notable news in the world of technology. These are the stories that our B2B tech teams have been monitoring throughout the week:

Show time for Apple

Apple held a big event on Monday where Tim Cook unveiled (kind of?) a whole lot of new stuff. The company announced an ad-free subscription video service AppleTV+ alongside friends like Oprah and Steve Carell, a subscription service that provides access to magazines and digital publications called Apple News+, a gaming service called Apple Arcade and a fancy looking new credit card.

All potentially interesting new services, but the event left many followers feeling downright confused. While there were plenty of celebrities to build excitement, most key details where never announced – including price, release dates or trailers for the new content. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Throughout the whole event, there was one prevailing theme that strongly resonated – Apple wants you to know that it cares about privacy. Cook emphasized how careful the company would be with user data when discussing each product – obvious digs at Facebook and Google. Plus, the new Apple Card could have a major impact on fraud associated with Apple Pay, as Forbes’ Thomas Brewster details in this great piece.

Employees pushing back against biometrics

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, more and more employees are challenging organizations in court over how their biometric data is being used and stored. This is an issue we’ve seen coming for some time now – biometric authentication is, in theory, more secure and accurate than simple passwords, but there is far more damage that can be done if that data winds up in the wrong hands (you can’t just replace your fingerprint).

I’m glad my name isn’t Elizabeth Holmes…

PR nightmares don’t just impact those responsible for the mess – they can also be rough on people that have absolutely nothing to do with it. Business Insider has a great piece on the 857 people in the United States that are also named Elizabeth Holmes (the ones that weren’t the founders of Theranos).  It can lead to loads of angry texts, emails and social media messages from complete strangers. I did a quick Google search, and I don’t see any startup unicorn founders named Dave Heffernan, so I think I’m good.

Amazon tries to improve fairness in AI

The e-commerce super company has announced that its working with the US National Science Foundation to give a total of $10 million in research grants in an effort to improve fairness in artificial intelligence. This comes after Amazon has faced some harsh criticism for selling its facial recognition software, Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies.

Related pro tip

Tim Cook did some big-league public speaking this week at the Apple Event. Speaking in front of an audience can be tough in any profession, but if you’re in PR and want some solid tips, check out this blog post.

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