Apple will reportedly not challenge the recent vote by employees at its Towson Town Center retail location in Maryland to unionize. Citing a person familiar with the companys plans, Reuters reports the tech giant will participate in the bargaining process in good faith. Apple declined to comment on the report.On June 19th, workers at the Towson Town Center Apple Store voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Of the approximately 110 employees who were eligible to participate in the election, 65 voted yes. Towson Town Center was the first Apple retail location in the US to vote on unionization after organizers at a store in Georgia called off an election over intimidation claims.If the reporting from Reuters is accurate and Apple does not plan to challenge the Towson vote, the companys approach would put it at odds with much of corporate America. Amazon, for instance, quickly came out against the historic vote at its JFK8 facility in Staten Island, saying it would appeal the result over allegations the Amazon Labor Union had intimidated workers and committed electioneering. Even if their appeals are ultimately thrown out, companies will typically challenge union votes as a way to delay the bargaining process and pour water on other organizing efforts.
A group of Democratic senators is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google over their collection of mobile users' information. In a letter addressed to FTC Chair Lina Khan, the lawmakers Senators Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory A. Booker and Sara Jacobs accuse the tech giants of "engaging in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users' personal data." They added that the companies "facilitated these harmful practices by building advertising-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems."The senators specifically mentioned in their letter how individuals seeking abortions will become particularly vulnerable if their data, especially their location information, is collected and shared. They wrote the letter shortly before the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade, making abortion immediately illegal in states with trigger laws. They explained that data brokers are already selling location information of people visiting abortion providers. The senators also stressed how that information can now be used by private citizens incentivized by "bounty hunter" laws targeting individuals seeking an abortion. Android and Google were built with tracking identifiers that are used for advertising purposes. While the identifiers are supposed to be anonymous, the senators said data brokers are selling databases linking them to consumer names, email addresses and telephone numbers. Apple rolled out an update for iOS last year to implement stricter app tracking privacy measures, requiring apps to ask for permission before collecting users' unique Identification for Advertisers device code. Google, they said, still enables that tracking identifier by default. The company previously introduced features to make it harder to track users across apps, though, and it recently vowed to refine Privacy Sandbox on Android, "with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions." The tech giant told Ars Technica: "Google never sells user data, and Google Play strictly prohibits the sale of user data by developers... Any claims that advertising ID was created to facilitate data sale are simply false."Despite the solutions the companies had introduced, the lawmakers said they'd already caused harm. They're now asking the FTC to look into the role Apple and Google played in "transforming online advertising into an intense system of surveillance that incentivizes and facilitates the unrestrained collection and constant sale of Americans personal data."Wyden and 41 other Democratic lawmakers also urged Google last month to stop collecting and keeping location data that could be used against people who've had or are seeking abortions. More recently, another group of lawmakers led by Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Elissa Slotkin asked the company to "crack down on manipulative search results" that lead people seeking abortions to anti-abortion clinics" instead.
Does the crypto crash mean the blockchain Is over?Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics RadioIn this installment of Recommended Listening, Freakonomics Radio begins a three-part series on all things blockchain. The podcast will tackle everything from Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to NFTs and the technology that powers it all. Spotifys billion-dollar bet on podcasting has yet to pay offLucas Shaw, BloombergShaw takes us inside Spotify's big spending spree, from what was happening behind the scenes, the decision to hand Joe Rogan a mountain of money and a rift between the company and the Obamas over content. "All told, the Obamas recorded about 15 hours of audio for Spotify," he explains. "Technically, they fulfilled their deal, but their output was less than what Rogan releases in a couple of weeks."How OXO conquered the American kitchenDan Kois, SlateThe story behind the company that created the Good Grips handle and took over the kitchen "for customers of differing abilities and confidence levels," becoming the top culinary gadget maker in terms of market share.