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Hashtag Trending January 25th- DOJ files lawsuit against Google, Microsoft checking for out-of-support of Office and China leads in face recognition export

The US Department of Justice files an antitrust lawsuit against Google’s ad business, Microsoft looks to find out the number of unsupported Microsoft Office installed on Windows PCs and China leads in exports of face recognition technology.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, January 25th. And I am your host, Ashee Pamma

The US Department of Justice has filed its second antitrust lawsuit against Google, in just over two years, this time seeking to break up its advertising business. Google’s advertising business has drawn critics, CNBC explained, because the platform operates on multiple sides of the market — buying, selling and an ad exchange. The company has long denied that it dominates the online advertising market, pointing to the market share of competitors including Meta’s Facebook.The states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia joined the DOJ in the latest lawsuit. The Department’s earlier lawsuit, filed in October 2020 under the Trump administration, accused Google of using its alleged monopoly power to cut off competition for internet search through exclusionary agreements. That case is expected to go to trial in September.

Source: CNBC News

  Microsoft intends to find out how many out-of-support copies of Office are installed on Windows PCs, by pushing a patch through Microsoft Update, the Register wrote. The update, quietly mentioned in a support post, is targeting Office 2007 and 2010 versions which have been out of service for several years. Office 2013 is also being asked after as it’s due to lose support this coming April. “This update will run one time silently without installing anything on the user’s device,” Microsoft said, followed by instructions on how to download and install the update, which Microsoft said has been scanned to ensure it’s not infected by malware. Microsoft’s Show or Hide Updates troubleshooter for Windows 10 and 11 can be used to disable undesired ones from being installed but the unforeseen consequences are unknown.

Source: The Register

According to a report by academics at Harvard and MIT, China is the world’s biggest face recognition dealer. The report finds that Chinese companies account for 201 face recognition export deals, followed by US firms with 128 deals. China also has a lead in AI generally, with 250 out of a total of 1,636 export deals involving some form of AI. The second biggest exporter was the US, with 215 AI deals. The report argues that these exports may enable other governments to perform more surveillance, potentially harming citizens’ human rights. In recent years US lawmakers and presidents have expressed concern that China is gaining an edge over the US in AI technology. The report seems to offer hard evidence that the shift has already occurred, Wired reported.  

Source: Wired

SpaceX Starlink has entered into a coordination agreement with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to mitigate light pollution, emanating from its satellite network and interfering with ground-based astronomy observations. The agreement was enforced by the Biden FCC, which wouldn’t give approval for Starlink’s 30,000 satellite launches until such a deal was struck. As part of that agreement, Starlink said it would continue to work to dim its satellites to no brighter than the 7th magnitude, making them invisible to the naked eye and reducing, but not eliminating, their effect on sensitive astronomical instruments. The agreement is voluntary, since beyond the FCC requirement for such an agreement there is no law or policy requiring SpaceX or other satellite operators to mitigate the effects of their constellation on astronomy.

Source: Space News

According to LiveMint, nearly 80,000 Indian IT professionals on H-1B and L1 visas are now jobless and scrambling to find solutions to stay in the U.S., following mass layoffs at Google, Microsoft and Amazon last week. Workers on these non-immigrant visas now have to find a new job in the stipulated few months time allowed or change their visa status. Those on H-1B visas have to find a new job within 60 days or head back to India. Global Indian Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) and Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) launched a community-wide effort to try and help these IT professionals by connecting job seekers to job referrers. They also seek to influence policymakers and decision-makers of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Source: LiveMint

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 briefings 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. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Ashee Pamma.

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