Victory for Amazon as majority of Alabama warehouse workers vote against union – The Telegraph

victory-for-amazon-as-majority-of-alabama-warehouse-workers-vote-against-union-–-the-telegraph

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Man in Amazon warehouse
Historical vote goes in Amazon's favour

Amazon has quashed a historic unionisation vote in Alabama that would have led to the creation of its first union in the US and 

Workers at the Bessemer warehouse voted 1,798 to 738 against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, labour officials said. The final tally is yet to come in.  

The result means Amazon has avoided its biggest labour threat to date from its US workers, and has avoided its first unionised warehouse in America. 

Around 5,800 people work at Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama facility and 3,215 cast a vote. 

The union said  it would file a legal challenge against both the election and claims of unfair labour practices against Amazon workers. 

It has requested a hearing with the US labour regulator, the National Labor Relations Board to "to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees' freedom of choice."

All eyes were on Bessemer as a raft of Republican and Democrat politicians lent their support to the fight despite Amazon's fierce resistance. The election fuelled the debate on working conditions at one of the world's largest employers. 

Last week Amazon admitted that its delivery drivers were sometimes forced to urinate in bottles while working. 

It retracted a statement it made to a US politician in which it incorrectly denied an allegation made by US representative who criticised Amazon for claiming to be a “progressive workplace” while making “workers urinate in water bottles”.

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Google says tech trade relationship between US and Europe is 'fraying'

Google has urged the US and Europe to form a technology trade council, warning that their relationship is “fraying”,  comparing it with the US' relationship with China. 

“This erosion of trade norms isn’t limited to the US-China relationship," Google wrote in a blog post on Friday. "Even more concerningly, the technology trade relationship between the US and Europe — once one of the closest in the world — is fraying.”

Google used the open letter to lobby against Europe's "broad series of unilateral initiatives in areas ranging from digital taxes to market regulation" claiming that the failure to create global policies around technology trade matters had become an "afterthought" that risked harming "the 16 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic linked to transatlantic trade and investment". 

Google is passing on the costs of a new digital services tax to British advertisers, thwarting the government’s plan to claw back some of the revenue generated by the Silicon Valley giant on British shores. 

Majority vote against union in Alabama

Although the results are yet to be announced, counts show that the majority of Amazon workers have voted against a union in Alabama, which means the online retailer has avoided its biggest labour threat to date. 

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said it will challenge the results. 

"This particular union can't give us anything that Amazon does not already offer," LaVonette Stokes, a Bessemer employee who voted against unionising, told NPR. 

"There are a [lot] of people who never have issues."

Counting resumes on Amazon unionisation vote in Alabama 

The counting of votes in Alabama for a historic vote on unionisation by Amazon warehouse workers has resumed this afternoon.

The vote, carried out by post since February, represents one of the most serious unionisation efforts of Amazon workers in recent years.

Amazon looks set to prevail in the vote, with most of the warehouse workers who voted deciding not to unionise.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which organised the unionisation attempt, has said that 55pc of the warehouse’s 6,000 workers voted.

Amazon has lobbied against the unionisation attempt, encouraging workers not to vote in favour of it in in-person meetings as well as online messages.

Google warns that EU-US relations are 'fraying'

A top Google executive has warned that relations between the European Union and the US are “fraying” and urged the Biden administration to join the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

Writing in a blog post, Google’s vice president of government affairs & public policy Karan Bhatia said that “we’re seeing the erosion of a carefully nurtured global trading system.”

“This erosion of trade norms isn’t limited to the US-China relationship,” he continued. “Even more concerningly, the technology trade relationship between the US and Europe — once one of the closest in the world — is fraying.”

The historic technology trade partnership between the US & Europe is fraying. The US can work to repair this critical alliance by accepting Europe’s invitation to launch a Trade and Technology Council and building a digital partnership that works. https://t.co/QUhZuWDZYc

— Karan Bhatia (@Karan_K_Bhatia) April 9, 2021

He has called on the US to engage with the EU on technology regulation. Doing so could bring about a “non-discriminatory approach,” he said.

GE developing smartphone sensor to detect Covid-19

Scientists at General Electric (GE) are developing a new sensor that can fit inside a smartphone to detect virus such as Covid-19. 

“One of the first lines of defence against any virus is avoiding exposure, which is easier said than done when you can’t see it,” said Radislav Potyrailo, a principal scientist at GE Research.

“We are developing a sensor small enough to embed in a mobile device that could detect the presence of the Covid-19 virus.”

According to Fast Company, the sensor would include nanowells that can capture viruses. Within those weels  is an organic solven customised with nucleic acids to make the virus stick. 

An electrode at the base of the well will send electricity into the object to measure whether the captured virus is, for instance, Covid-19 or something else. 

A new LinkedIn scam is sending fake job ads to steal personal details

LinkedIn users are being warned about a scam that by a group of criminals called 'Golden Chicken' that targets job hunters. .

A report from security firm eSentire details how “Golden Chicken” is sending out fake employments offers in a bid to steal personal data.

Here is eSentire's explanation of how it works:

Hackers are spearphishing victims with a malicious zip file using the job position listed on the target’s LinkedIn profile.

For example, if the LinkedIn member’s job is listed as 
Senior Account Executive—International Freight the malicious zip file would be titled 
Senior Account Executive—International Freight position (note the “position” added to the end).Upon opening the fake job offer, the victim unwittingly initiates the stealthy installation of the fileless backdoor, more_eggs.

Once loaded, the sophisticated backdoor can download additional malicious plugins and provide hands-on access to the victim’s computer.

India uses facial biometrics to spot people who have had the Covid vaccine

India’s is testing out facial recognition technology to identify people queuing at Covid-19 vaccination centres and create a national list of those who have had the vaccine. 

The system using facial scans taken under India's Aadhaar naitional ID scheme, according to the Register. 

With 99pc of Indian adults enrolled in the scheme, Aadhaar is the world's largest biometric ID database.

Launched in 2009 by Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of Indian technology outsourcing giant Infosys, it was originally viewed as a way of registering Indians - millions of whom lack birth certificates or other ID - so they could access their rightful welfare payments and prevent the mass pilfering of state subsidy schemes.

In exchange for providing fingerprints, face and retina scans, people who sign up for Aadhaar get a 12-digit ID number. The cards cover welfare and tax payments as well as the ability to access social services. Now, they're being tied to Covid status. 

US sanctions Chinese computer makers in widening tech fight

China's government on Friday criticised the Biden administration's curbs on access to U.S. technology for its supercomputer developers and said sanctions "only strengthen China's determination" to invent its own.

The sanctions announced Thursday are the latest sign President Joe Biden is sticking to the tough line taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, toward Chinese tech industries seen by Washington as potential threats.

The step adds to conflict over the ruling Communist Party's industrial plans, access to American technology and accusations of computer attacks and theft of business secrets.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, accused Washington of misusing phony security warnings to "maliciously suppress" Chinese industry.

"Containment and suppression by the United States cannot stop the pace of China's scientific and technological progress, but will only strengthen China's determination and will to innovate independently," Zhao said.

Zhao said Beijing would protect its companies, echoing Chinese warnings after previous U.S. trade penalties that often are followed by no action.

The latest penalties block access to US technology for researchers and manufacturers the Commerce Department said build supercomputers used by the Chinese military in weapons development. They can be used to simulate nuclear explosions and the aerodynamics of high-speed or stealth aircraft and missiles.

Want a strong passport? Don't use pet names

Cybersecurity experts are urging people to create harder-to-crack passwords after new research found 15pc of British people use their pet's name as a log-in.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) argues that such passwords can make it easier for hackers to force their way into people's accounts by simply guessing common pet names.

It comes after a survey commissioned by the centre, which is part of GCHQ, found that many people were using passwords made up of things which can be easily predicted - including a pet's name (15pc), the name of a family member (14pc), a significant date (13pc) or a favourite sports team (6pc).

In addition, a further 6pc admitted they used the word "password" as all or part of their password.

The NCSC study also found that more than a quarter of people had set up at least four new password-protected accounts in the last year, which the organisation said further highlighted the importance of using strong passwords, with more data than ever to protect.

Facebook deletes 16,000 fake review groups following CMA investigation 

Facebook is being publicly criticised again for hosting fake review sales groups, with the social network announcing today that it has deleted 16,000 groups.

An investigation carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that a thriving network of groups selling fake or misleading online reviews remained on Facebook, despite the company promising last year to stamp out the practice.

As well as deleting the groups, Facebook has said it will suspend or ban repeat offenders in the world of fake reviews and announced that it would use automated technology to stop the groups reforming.

Facebook has also said it will make it harder for people to search for fake reviews groups on its main site as well as Instagram.

Following our intervention, Facebook has removed over 16,000 groups that were dealing in fake and misleading reviews.

It has also made changes to its systems to better identify, remove and prevent this content from reappearing.

Find out more: https://t.co/yw7zByeD5H pic.twitter.com/LpBlEXpGH4

— Competition & Markets Authority (@CMAgovUK) April 9, 2021

Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA, said that “Facebook has a duty to do all it can to stop the trading of such content on its platforms. After we intervened again, the company made significant changes – but it is disappointing it has taken them over a year to fix these issues.”

“We will continue to keep a close eye on Facebook, including its Instagram business,” he added. “Should we find it is failing to honour its commitments, we will not hesitate to take further action.”

Electric scooter apps downloaded 390,000 times in the UK 

The Government’s decision to allow trials of electric scooter rental businesses on public highways in the UK has led to the apps being downloaded 390,000 times in the UK, according to App Annie data.

Local councils were able to hold trials of the apps, which let people pay per minute to rent the electric scooters, from last year.

Voi accounts for over 50% of all UK e-scooter app downloads - 203k out of 390k (via AppAnnie). Downloads rising WoW as warmer weather starts to creep in!

Looking forward to reach tipping point in cities where we see mass migration from cars to micro-mobility. Not long to go now! pic.twitter.com/IML6EOeTaN

— Richard Corbett (@RichardCorbett_) April 9, 2021

Fierce competition has broken out in the field, with up to 20 rival businesses bidding for the same contracts.

So far, it appears that Swedish operator Voi has picked up the most downloads in the UK. The company poached its UK head, Richard Corbett, from US rival Bird.

Deliveroo shares drop 2pc 

Shares in food delivery business Deliveroo have dropped 2pc today, pushing the company’s stock even further below its 390p float price.

Deliveroo shares fell as low as 272p on Friday, strengthening analyst concerns that the business is unlikely to see enough interest from retail traders to recover its sizeable losses from last week’s float.

The company had one of the worst stock market debuts in record when its share price collapsed 26pc, wiping £2bn off its valuation.

Impossible Foods plans $10bn float 

An Impossible Whopper made by Burger King with Impossible Foods

Credit:
Getty Images 

Technology investors have in recent years backed a number of artificial meat businesses, hoping that they can benefit from a move away from costly meat production.

US business Impossible Foods, which has been backed by a number of prominent technology investors, is reportedly planning to float in the US which could bring its valuation to as high as $10bn (£7.3bn), Reuters reports.

The business raised money last year at a $4bn valuation. The float could be a traditional listing taking place in the next 12 months or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (commonly known as a “SPAC”).

An Impossible Foods float would be welcomed by its investors including Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Viking Global Investors and Bill Gates.

Amazon appears to emerge victorious in unionisation vote 

A closely-watched vote of workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama appeared to suggest that the e-commerce giant has prevailed in its attempt to fight unionisation efforts overnight.

The vote, carried out by post since February, represents one of the most serious unionisation efforts of Amazon workers in recent years.

So NLRB is calling it a night with a little less than half of the votes tallied in the amazon union election in Alabama.

Right now it's:

1100 no to 463

The no votes have been leading by more than 2 to 1 margint. Tough gap for union to close.

Counting resumes tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/stWyhAS7kC

— Spencer Soper (@spencersoper) April 8, 2021

A count of the vote livestreamed over Zoom last night was paused with 1,100 votes against unionisation and 463 in support.

Journalists watching the count tallied the votes by hand. Counting will resume later today.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which organised the unionisation attempt, has said that 55pc of the warehouse’s 6,000 workers voted.

Amazon has lobbied against the unionisation attempt, encouraging workers not to vote in favour of it in in-person meetings as well as online messages.

Neuralink allows a monkey to play Pong with its brain 

When Elon Musk isn’t attempting to revolutionise the car industry with Tesla or take humanity to Mars with SpaceX, he likes to relax by helping humans control computers with their brain using his other start-up Neuralink.

The company has given an update on its progress, showing a macaque monkey controlling a computer using an implant that Neuralink inserted into its brain.

The monkey, keen to receive a tasty smoothie, learns to control the games on-screen by moving a joystick. 

Neuralink learns how the monkey’s brain issues controls to its arm to move the joystick, and eventually the joystick was unplugged and removed, leaving the monkey able to control the game using just its brain.

First @Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021

Musk’s plan is for Neuralink to eventually work for humans, allowing paralysed people to type on their smartphone using their mind, for example. If the technology continues to develop, he hopes that it could help paralysed people to walk again.

Five things to start your day  

1) Project Liberty: Epic's secret war with Apple over Fortnite revealed Court filings reveal the two-year masterplan that led Epic Games into a global legal battle with Apple

2) GameStop shares rise as it reveals plans to elect activist investor as chairman The billionaire investor wants to turn the company's fortunes around

3) World faces shortage of broadband routers thanks to chip crisis Broadband providers are seeing delays of more than a year when ordering internet routers

4) Pub staff will check drinkers' phones to prove they have registered with Test and Trace Pub bosses raise concerns that new rule will place additional burden on staff and could lead to abuse from customers 

5) Bitcoin is a 'Chinese financial weapon', says tech billionaire Peter Thiel The Silicon Valley mega-investor suggested Bitcoin should be treated as a 'Chinese financial weapon' and subject to stricter US scrutiny

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