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By Usama Jawad96
Most devices, including iPhones, could soon be forced to use USB-C charging
by Usama Jawad
Image via Google The European Commission (EC) has put forward a new proposal according to which all hardware manufacturers will be forced to use USB-C as the charging port for most devices. The motivation behind the proposed standard is that it will aid in reducing e-waste since consumers will be able to utilize charging cables from their old devices instead of purchasing new ones. The EC has also suggested that manufacturers drop chargers from their packaging altogether, something that several OEMs are already doing.
The proposal covers the use of USB-C charging in smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld consoles. Meanwhile, smartwatches, earbuds, and fitness trackers are exempt. EC executive vice-president Margarethe Vestager had the following to say about the proposal:
In totality, the EC has stated that USB-C with a unified fast charging technology implementation should become the standard. While the charger should be unbundled by OEMs, they are required to be more transparent towards consumers in terms of informing them about charging performance and support for fast charging, so that users can judge if their existing chargers fulfill respective criteria.
In terms of next steps, the legislation will need to go through a vote in the European Parliament today, and if successful, it will become law. Should that happen, hardware manufacturers will have up to two years to adopt USB-C as the standard. The legislation is most likely to affect Apple devices such as iPhones the most, as they still come with proprietary Lightning ports and cables. Should the proposal become law, Apple will be forced to substitute Lightning connectivity with USB-C ports across its device portfolio - where applicable - within the next two years.
Voters in California say gig economy drivers are contractors
by Paul Hill
While most people’s attention has been on the Presidential election, voters in California got to vote on something called Proposition 22 too. It asked voters whether app-based drivers should continue to be classified as contractors or whether they should be considered employees and gain extra rights; 58.42% said they should continue to be classified as contractors while 41.58% were in favour of changing their status.
Unsurprisingly, the big tech firms with a stake in the measure such as Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash backed the bid to classify workers as contractors. The firms were so invested in keeping their costs low, in fact, that they invested more than $200 million, which is a record, trying to convince people to vote in their favour.
Drivers and unions were hoping the public would vote the other way. Nicole Moore, a driver and organiser at Rideshare Drivers United, said that tech firms outspent the competition by 20:1 but ultimately, the decision will not stop workers and unions from demanding better working conditions. Had drivers been classified as employees, they would have been eligible for the minimum wage, unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
While the result is not what a lot of drivers wanted, Proposition 22 still requires some concessions from the likes of Uber and Lyft. They will have to provide some benefits such as vouchers to access subsidised health insurance and guarantee hourly earnings. The companies will also bolster safety by performing more background checks on drivers.
Source: The Guardian
Twitter begins U.S. voter registration campaign
by Paul Hill
Twitter has announced that it has formed a partnership with National Voter Registration Day to encourage more Americans to register for the upcoming presidential election. Users will be encouraged by various means on Twitter to register to vote or confirm their registration.
Users that are located in the United States will see a new prompt on their home timeline encouraging them to register to vote or confirm their registration using a service called TurboVote run by Democracy Works, a non-partisan and non-profit organization. This will help to ensure nobody who wants to vote gets turned away at the polling station.
Other measures being taken to encourage voting include:
A push alert being displayed that directs users to a page full of voter registration information. It will be available in more than 40 languages depending on each person’s app settings. A promoted campaign run by @TwitterGov will take over today’s U.S. Promoted Trend Spotlight with registration resources from TurboVote. A new Twitter hashtag emoji is being introduced with #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and #VoteReady is being introduced to “empower civic conversation” across the country. Going forward, Twitter says it will publish additional voting-related notices as the election gets closer. By ensuring people are registered to vote, the firm is helping to make sure that everyone in the country entitled to a vote gets their say.