Thursday's technology stories

May 21, 2020 - Technology

Facebook could have 50% of staff on remote work by 2030

Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images

In an internal meeting with staff on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is planning to shift the majority of its workforce to be able to work remotely in the next 5-10 years.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to quickly adopt remote working strategies. Tech companies, which are well-equipped for remote work, are preparing to make remote work the new normal for most of their employees.

Copyright Office: System for pulling content offline isn't working

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The process to get unlicensed versions of movies, music and other content taken off the internet isn't working as intended and should be updated, the Copyright Office said in an expansive report Thursday.

The big picture: Updating that system would require an act of Congress, which can now look to the Copyright Office's conclusions as it considers legislating on the matter.

May 21, 2020 - Technology

Tech accelerator aims to streamline airport security in coronavirus era

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A new consultancy run by former Customs and Homeland Security officials is teaming with Dcode, a government tech accelerator, to help spur new technologies to modernize security in air travel.

Why it matters: As they look to return to more typical volume, airlines face the tricky task of needing to securely screen passengers for both security and health risks, while also ensuring they don't create long lines and crowds that become a risk for coronavirus transmission.

May 21, 2020 - Technology

Ad panel finds AT&T's "5GE" misleading

Screenshot: AT&T.com

AT&T has used the label "5G Evolution" and a 5GE logo on phones for months to describe a version of its LTE network, but the U.S. ad industry's review board found the designations misleading on Wednesday and recommended AT&T stop using the terms in advertising.

Why it matters: The designation was long bemoaned by journalists, analysts, competitors and even quietly by some at the company. AT&T said it has already stopped using the term in its advertising.

A scooter will scoot to you in this Georgia town

Photo: Tortoise

Scooters that (somewhat) drive themselves are now a reality — at least in Peachtree Corners, a suburb right outside of Atlanta.

Driving the news: Scooter rental company Go X and Tortoise, a startup that's aiming to build self-driving tech for scooters, are rolling out their first fleet of 100 scooters in the Georgia town as part of a six-month pilot program with local tech incubator Curiosity Lab.

Meet Jio, everyone's favorite Indian tech investment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It’s been no secret that India’s Jio Platforms has very big ambitions, but now it’s getting support from some of the biggest tech heavyweights in the world.

Driving the news: In less than a month, the company has raised nearly $9 billion from private equity firms Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, and General Atlantic, as well as Facebook — which invested more than the three others combined, bringing Jio's total valuation now to $65 billion.

  • Thursday the Financial Times reported that KKR is in "advanced talks" to plow another $1.5 billion into Jio.
May 20, 2020 - Technology

Apple, Google release their coronavirus exposure notification tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Apple and Google said on Wednesday that they have finished the initial version of their exposure notification technology and are making it available to health authorities to build their apps. Android and iOS are both getting updates today to enable the technology.

Why it matters: The Bluetooth-based technology is designed to augment human contact tracing and offer a way for people to find out when someone they have been in close proximity with has tested positive for COVID-19.

May 20, 2020 - Technology

Scoop: Google lands cloud deal with Defense Department

Photo: Google

Google Cloud has landed a deal to help the Defense Department detect, protect against, and respond to cyber threats, Axios has learned. The deal, with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), is in the "seven figures," Google said, declining to be more specific.

Why it matters: It's a far cry from the controversial $10 billion JEDI deal, but Google hopes the win will lead to a broader deal down the road, as the Pentagon seeks to securely work with multiple public cloud providers.

May 20, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's aid to small business comes with a catch

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Big tech companies, including Facebook and Google, have made much of their efforts to help small businesses hurting from the pandemic. But the same programs that make life easier for those businesses today could end up separating them from their customers and ultimately hand even more power over to the tech giants.

Why it matters: Lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have devastated America's small businesses, and the fate of any economic recovery following the crisis will hang on whether they can be revived.