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Hashtag Trending, July 12 – Washing machine privacy; executive order for net neutrality; wireless earphones need right to repair

Smarthomes are asking for too much data, Joe Biden signs an executive order to restore net neutrality, and the call for the right to repair is highlighted with wireless earphones.

It’s all the biz/tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Monday July 12 and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Appliances are starting to ask for more information as they get smarter. For example, some Reddit users voiced their concerns when the Samsung Washing Machine app demanded their location access and contacts list. Smart home apps connect appliances to a phone so the users can control when and how they work without touching the machine. Although they do give users greater freedom over their household chores, many believe that the loss of privacy outweighs the convenience they provide. Reddit isn’t the only place where users are venting at. The review section for Samsung’s Washing Machine app is peppered with negative comments, calling the permissions absurd and unacceptable.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday to revive net neutrality rules. The order called on U.S. agencies like the FTC and FCC to ensure competition in the telecommunication market. Under net neutrality, the internet service providers must treat all traffic equally, regardless of their origin or service type. Additionally, the order’s other provisions include codifying right to repair rules and tighter review of tech monopolies.

On the topic of the right to repair, Apple’s AirPods are now being used as a case for its need. It’s an inescapable reality that as batteries degrade over many charge and discharge cycles, they simply can’t last as long as when they were new. Without the ability to replace AirPods batteries, users are stuck with less than an hour of use time, compared to four or five hours when the earphones were new. Though frustrating, many consumers resign to the fate and buy a new pair despite the headphone being perfectly functional otherwise. Apple isn’t the only one with this problem, however; almost all wireless earphones today do not let users replace their batteries. Designs with right to repair in mind would not only save consumers money, but also reduce e-waste.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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