Tech Facts April 2014

By 2nd May 2014December 14th, 2017Technology & Business Intelligence

Mozilla co-founder and Javascript inventor Breandan Eich resigned as CEO of the company, staying less than two weeks in the position. Eich also stepped down from the Mozilla Foundation’s board, after public pressure for his $1,000 donation to an anti-gay marriage ballot proposition in California, in 2008.

Twitter rolled out a new look for all users, making the profile pages more visual, like Facebook and Google+. Large profile and cover photos, mosaic-view of activities, a new favourites section, and a pin button are some of the new features. The company is also, according to reports, planning to roll out 15 new types of timeline advertisements in the coming months.

GitHub announced that its co-founder and president Tom Preston-Werner resigned after claims that he and his wife harassed an employee, Julie Ann Horvath. In March, Horvath quit, claiming that the company had become a hostile work environment, where she experienced sexism and gender-based harassment, due to her outspokenness on the issues around women in tech. An independent investigation found evidence of mistakes and errors of judgment, and the event made an impact on the company, that are now “implementing a number of new HR and employee-led initiatives as well as training opportunities to make sure employee concerns and conflicts are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately”, according to Github’s CEO Chris Wanstrath. Horvath however, believes the investigation was basically a sham. “There was a series of conversations with a “mediator” who sought to relieve GitHub of any legal responsibility,” she said on Twitter. “There was no investigation.”

heartbleedAfter the sudden chaos caused by Heartbleed, a security bug that could be used to pull a chunk of working memory from any server running OpenSSL, a new project, the Core Infrastructure Initiative, was formed by the Linux Foundation. Its members include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Intel amongst others. The project is devoted to fund open source projects that are in the critical path for core computing functions.

Former Microsoft CEO >Bill Gates admitted that he would support Microsoft’s new CEO if he chose to sell the Xbox division. Over the years, investors have been calling for Microsoft to sell off Bing and Xbox, but the company has continued to invest in both. Xbox runs Windows 8 and has a focus on TV and “living room entertainment”, making it difficult for Microsoft to sell off hardware and software separate.

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the >FBI is currently building a facial recognition database that will contain 52 million photos by 2015. The database, called Next Generation Identification (NGI), will also contain criminal and non-criminal records side by side, and any query will return both types of data. In a statement from February, the Obama administration declared that “Facial recognition technology has the potential to improve services for consumers, support innovation by businesses, and affect identification and authentication online and offline”. “However, the technology poses distinct consumer privacy challenges.”

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a legislation for all internet traffic to be treated equally, “without discrimination, restriction or interference, independent of the sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application.” The net neutrality law will stop an ISP from being one of the factors that can slow down sites and services, ensuring that customers will receive the maximum speeds possible from all websites. ISPs will be allowed to slow down traffic only to ease congestion, on a non-discriminatory basis, without traffic shaping. The law is part of telecom reforms dubbed “Connected Continent,” which will also create a “single telecoms market” for all EU nations, putting an end to roaming fees within the European Union by December 2015.

Gmail is now 10 years old, and in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Google says it has stopped scanning student Gmail accounts for advertising purposes. The search giant is also reportedly planning to disable email scanning on its Google Apps services for businesses and government.