This Week in Tech – 11/12/2017

Equifax Sells Your Salary History to Debt Collectors, Financial Service Companies, and Prospective Employers

The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled what may be the most powerful and thorough private database of Americans’ personal information ever created, containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults. Some of the information in the little-known database, created through an Equifax-owned company called The Work Number, is sold to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities


Voters Say “Yes” to City-Run Broadband in Colorado

Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado, yesterday approved a ballot question that authorizes the city to build a broadband network, rejecting a cable and telecom industry campaign against the initiative. Fort Collins voters said “yes” to a ballot question that gives the city council permission “to establish a telecommunications utility to provide broadband services,” The Coloradoan wrote. “Unofficial, partial returns as of 12:42 a.m. showed the measure passing with 57.15 percent of the vote.”


San Francisco Just Took a Huge Step Towards Internet Utopia

Last week, San Francisco became the first major city in America to pledge to connect all of its homes and businesses to a fiber optic network. I urge you to read that sentence again. It’s a ray of light. In an era of short-term, deeply partisan do-nothing-ism, the city’s straightforward, deeply practical determination shines. Americans, it turns out, are capable of great things—even if only at the city level these days


Bill Gates Buys Big Chunk of Land in Arizona to Build ‘Smart City’

One of Bill Gates’ investment firms has spent $80 million to kickstart the development of a brand-new community in the far West Valley. The large plot of land is about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix off I-10 near Tonopah. The proposed community, made up of close to 25,000 acres of land, is called Belmont. According to Belmont Partners, a real estate investment group based in Arizona, the goal is to turn the land into its own “smart city.”


Re:scam | AI Email Program Designed to Reply to Email Scammers

Chatbots. They’re usually a waste of your time, so why not have them waste someone else’s instead? Better yet: why not have them waste an email scammer’s time. That’s the premise behind Re:scam, an email chatbot operated by New Zealand cybersecurity firm Netsafe. Next time you get a dodgy email in your inbox, says Netsafe, forward it on to me@rescam.org, and a proxy email address will start replying to the scammer for you, doing its very utmost to waste their time. You can see a few sample dialogues in the video above, or check out a longer back-and-forth below


South Korea Is Building a $35 Billion City Designed to Eliminate the Need for Cars

When residents of the International Business District (IBD) in Songdo, South Korea go to work, pick up their kids from school, or shop for groceries, driving is optional. That’s because the $35 billion district — currently a work-in-progress about the size of downtown Boston — was designed to eliminate the need for cars. A project that began in 2002, the area prioritizes mass transit, like buses, subways, and bikes, instead of road traffic, according to Stan Gale, the chairman of Gale International, the developer behind the IBD


Coal Only Supplied 2 Percent of U.K. Electricity in the First 6 Months of 2017

According to data from the U.K. government, coal-fired power plants only supplied 2% of electricity in the United Kingdom during the first six months of 2017. This is a stark contrast to just five years ago, where coal supplied about 40% of the U.K.’s electricity needs each year. At the same time, renewables have quickly ramped up and now supply a quarter of electricity in the country

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *