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Last Week in Tech - October 4, 2021

Freddie Buckley

4 October, 2021

Last week was another riveting week in the world of technology. We had our quarterly team day on Friday so it’s a Monday round-up of the week before for a change! So sit back and enjoy our choice highlights of the best headlines over the last seven days.

It’s the end of Google as we know it

Well not quite, but it’s still been an uncomfortable week for the tech giant. Monday saw the kick-off of its appeal against the record £3.8 billion fine levied by the European Commission over its forced pre-installation of apps on smartphones.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Google faces three more challenges in the US with the aim of tackling monopolies. Should these complaints come to fruition in the form of antitrust laws, then we’re looking at the prospect of Google breaking up into a series of smaller businesses, and being unrecognisable from the goliath of tech we know today.

New concerns for contactless

 You may remember public concern a few years ago over fears criminals might be able to use contactless technology to drain current accounts. Well, there’s a new twist in the tale.

Research from the Computer Science departments at the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey has exploited a potential weakness in contactless payments via phone. The Apple Pay feature “Express Transit”, meant for ease of use when hopping in and out of tube stations, can be tricked into thinking a criminal with a small box of electrics is in fact a ticket barrier.

As scary as it may sound, it remains highly unlikely that such an attack could exist outside of laboratory conditions. For PR’s, stories such as this that rely on the fear factor to make a splash might carry short-term benefit, but are often forgotten as quickly as they appear.

Give it a rest – New law takes Amazon to task over breaks

Google isn’t the only technology giant to find itself in hot water this week.

Amazon has come under further scrutiny for its treatment of its warehouse staff. California state legislature has just passed a law prohibiting the firing of employees for failing to meet quotas that do not allow for rest breaks.

Whilst certainly a welcome step, the law exposes some less than positive practices from the tech giant, and the feeling is this won’t be the last we hear about the conditions in Amazon’s warehouses.