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Ride-sharing apps Uber and Didi equate surveillance with safety

After a passenger was murdered on May 6, Chinese ride-sharing provider Didi Chuxing says it’s considering recording trips made using its platform. How it would work: Passengers would trigger the audio and video recordings by pressing an SOS button in the Didi app, and a customer representative would monitor them in real time. Backstory: The move is a response to public outcry after a young woman who used Didi’s carpooling service was found dead after her driver allegedly propositioned her.

Didi’s app had social features designed to help people identify fellow commuters, but drivers reportedly used it to gauge physical appearance when selecting passengers. Why it matters: Chinese consumers tend to accept surveillance technologies more readily than those in other societies, but driver assaults on ride-sharing passengers are a global problem. If Didi adopts recordings as a safety measure, other ride-hailing companies are likely to follow.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently told the Washington Post that his company is considering capturing video of Uber trips to convince consumers that it’s “the safest mobility platform around.”

Source:Image credit:

  • Flickr | BeyondDC

Amazon Go’s cashier-less stores are coming to Chicago and San Francisco

Amazon Go is heading to Chicago and San Francisco, according to a report from The Seattle Times, marking the first expansion of the online retailer’s cashier-less grocery store from its initial Seattle location.

Per The Seattle Times, Amazon has posted job listings for store managers at upcoming locations in Chicago and San Francisco.

An Amazon representative later confirmed that the company is planning to open Amazon Go stores in those cities, although no timetable or date has been announced yet.

The news isn’t a complete surprise to those who have been watching Amazon closely. Curbed reported back in February that Amazon had bought a retail space in Chicago, and The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that Amazon would be opening a retail space near Union Square, but today’s news is the first official word on the new stores.

The first Amazon Go location opened back in January near Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle.

The automated store has customers scan their phone when they first arrive, and then uses a variety of cameras and sensors to track what items customers have picked up and automatically charge them when they leave the store.

President Trump says that he is working to get ZTE ‘back into business, fast’

President Donald Trump says that he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way for Chinese telecom company to “get back into business, fast,” following last week’s announcement that it was pausing its “major operating activities.”

ZTE said in a filing that it has just enough cash to remain afloat if it pauses operations following a US ban on exports to the company in April. Last month, The US Department of Commerce banned exports to the company for seven years, saying that it failed to uphold the terms of a plea agreement after it pled guilty to breaking sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The company said that this ban would “severely impact the survival and development of ZTE,” and that it’s bene in talks with the US to try and reverse or change the ban.

President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.

Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018

The company’s predicament has clearly reached the upper levels of government: the telecom company is one of the largest in China, with more than 80,000 employees.

In his tweet, Trump indicated that the company has lost “too many jobs” in China, and that he’s instructed the Department of Commerce to “get it done.”

ZTE’s troubles come after months of scrutiny from the US over concerns that the company could post a risk to national security.

In January, Texas Representative Mike Conaway introduced a bill that would ban US government agencies from using phones and equipment from ZTE and fellow Chinese telecom Huawei, while FCC chairman Ajit Pai confirmed a proposal that would discourage US carriers and wireless providers from purchasing equipment from them.

Earlier this month, the Department of Defense ordered US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE phones.

The company faces similar scrutiny in the UK, where the cybersecurity watchdog National Cyber Security Centre issued a letter warning against the company’s use or services.

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