Google is once again delaying its return to the office in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, although it’s now planning a change to the way people work when they get back. The New York Times has obtained company-wide email from Sundar Pichai indicating that the company will not only push back reopenings to September 2021, but pilot a “flexible workweek” when in-person work resumes. Staff would be expected to work in the office for at least three days of “collaboration,” but could spend any other days at home.
Disney is mining a different kind of nostalgia to fuel its shift toward streaming. The company has revealed plans for a Willow sequel series for Disney+ that should start production in 2021. While much of the plot is still a mystery, the show will take place “years” after the events of the movie and will mark the return of farmer-turned-hero Willow Ufgood. And yes, Warwick Davis will reprise his role.
Cryptomining hacks aren’t new by any stretch, but a string of recent incidents is raising eyebrows. ZDNet reports that culprits infected multiple European supercomputers with Monero mining malware in the past week, including the University of Edinburgh’s ARCHER, five of bwHPC’scomputer clusters and most recently a cluster at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University. That’s unusual by itself, but there appears to be a common thread between the hacks. Continue reading Supercomputers across Europe have fallen to cryptomining hacks
Marriott might soon face a stiff penalty for the massive November 2018 data breach. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office plans to fine the hotel chain £99,200,396 (about $123.7 million) for allegedly violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation through the incident. Marriott didn’t conduct “sufficient due diligence” when it bought Starwood, according to the regulator, and “should also have done more” to improve security.
Netflix isn’t just expanding its footprint in California. The streaming behemoth is planning to open a production hub in New Mexico by acquiring Albuquerque’s ABQ Studios — its first purchase of a production studio complex. It’s making the deal (which is still in “final negotiations”) in part due to incentives, which include up to $10 million in Local Economic Development Act funding from the state as well as a maximum of $4.5 million from Albuquerque.
Ticketmaster claims it’s fighting scalpers tooth and nail, but it may be aiding them in private. Exposés at CBC News and the Toronto Star have shown the company courting professional scalpers, even when it’s clear they’re using bots or otherwise violating Ticketmaster’s terms of service. The company quietly launched a secretive ticket inventory system, TradeDesk, that lets scalpers upload high volumes of tickets and quickly resell them at the price of their choice. Moreover, Ticketmaster salespeople caught on camera were adamant that they didn’t verify whether or not TradeDesk users were violating terms of service, including the use of bots — at least one rep was fully aware of the activity.
More tech companies are about to face congressional scrutiny. Leaders from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter and Google are scheduled to testify before a US Senate panel at a data privacy hearing on September 26th. Senators will grill the companies on their existing approaches to privacy, how Congress can press for “clear privacy expectations” and how firms will adapt to stricter requirements like the European Union’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.