Posted Apr. 10, 2017 at 6:02 a.m.

Tech wrap: Google equal pay dispute; Uber vs. Waymo; Twitter Trump dispute; hackers target NSA

Published: 2017-04-10 06:02:00
Updated: 2017-04-10 06:02:00

Bulldog Bulldog

In today's Bulldog wrapup of the latest technology news:

  • US regulators accuse Google of underpaying female workers
  • Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case
  • Twitter: US backs down on seeking anti-Trump user records
  • Hacker group releases password to alleged NSA files

The details:

  • US regulators accuse Google of underpaying female workers

Government investigators looking into how Google pays its employees have accused the tech giant of shortchanging women doing similar work to men.

A U.S. Department of Labor official disclosed the agency's allegations during a Friday court hearing in San Francisco.

"We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce," Janette Wipper, a Labor Department regional director, testified, according to a report published by The Guardian.

Google said it vehemently disagreed with the charges, which the Mountain View, California, company said it hadn't heard until Wipper's court appearance.

"Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap," Google said in its statement.

Google and other technology companies have been trying to improve hiring practices that have historically doled out most of their technical jobs to white and Asian men. Their efforts to strike a better balance have been mostly unsuccessful so far.

For instance, only 19 percent of Google's technology jobs are held by women. Overall, nearly one-third of Google's more than 70,000 workers are women.

  • Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case

Uber is scoffing at claims that its expansion into self-driving cars hinges on trade secrets stolen from a Google spinoff, arguing that its ride-hailing service has been working on potentially superior technology.

The legal defense, presented in documents filed Friday in San Francisco federal court, marks Uber's first detailed response to explosive allegations that its self-driving cars rely on crucial technology designed by Waymo. That company was created from an autonomous-vehicle project started at Google eight years ago.

Once a Google ally, Uber emerged as a rival in the self-driving car market in early 2015 when it began developing its own fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Now, Waymo is trying to thwart that effort by persuading U.S. District Judge William Alsup to block Uber's self-car driving expansion on the grounds that it hinges on a high-tech heist. The case's outcome could alter the race to build self-driving cars that may transform transportation, reduce traffic deaths and launch a huge new industry.

Waymo filed suit against Uber in February, claiming that a former manager, Anthony Levandowski, stole its patented ideas. After the alleged theft, Levandowski left Google early last year to found a self-driving car startup called Otto that Uber bought for $680 million last August.

  • Twitter: US backs down on seeking anti-Trump user records

The U.S. government has dropped its request for Twitter to produce records that could identify users behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump, the company said Friday.

As a result, Twitter is withdrawing a federal lawsuit that challenged the government's request. On Thursday, Twitter charged that efforts by the government to "unmask" the people behind the account violated the First Amendment.

"The speed with which the government buckled shows just how blatantly unconstitutional its demand was in the first place," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Esha Bhandari said in a statement. Bhandari represents the unidentified person or people behind the Twitter account.

The account in question is @ALT_uscis, a reference to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. In the two months of its existence, the account has been critical of the Trump administration's immigration policies. The account described its users to The Associated Press in February as employees and former employees of the agency.

The account is one of dozens of rogue Twitter accounts that have sprung up since Trump took office, purporting to represent current or former federal employees at various agencies who oppose the administration's policies. Other such "alternative" — or "alt" — accounts include @Alt_CDC for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and @AltUSEPA for the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Hacker group releases password to alleged NSA files

A secretive group that published a trove of hacking tools allegedly used by U.S. spies has released a password that it says can unlock related files.

In a Medium post , the "Shadow Brokers" group revealed a password to files associated with the leaked toolkit, purportedly from the U.S. National Security Agency . Some security experts tweeted that the password works, but that couldn't be independently verified.

An October leak by the group included information that experts said might identify computers used to obscure U.S. electronic eavesdropping.

The group's post also included a discursive rant against President Donald Trump, including criticism of the recent U.S. airstrike on a Syrian air base, Trump's attacks on some congressional Republicans and his decision to remove adviser Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council.

WRAL TechWire any time: Twitter, Facebook

Copyright 2017 WRAL TechWire. All rights reserved.
Editor's Blog

Editor's Blog

The latest blog posts from our WRAL TechWire and WRAL editors. Read more articles…

Please Log In to add a comment.

Latest for Insiders