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Technology companies go on a banning spree, Apple changes policy because of Taylor Swift, Amazon updates its customer reviews algorithm, and the life and death of an Apple iPhone.

Google Cracks Down on Revenge Porn

Google is cracking down on revenge porn, promising to remove “nude or sexually explicit images” from search results when requested to do so. Revenge porn is when someone (usually an ex-partner or someone with an ax to grind) posts explicit pictures online without the person’s consent.

In order to counter the rise of revenge porn What Is Revenge Porn, And Are You At Risk From It? What Is Revenge Porn, And Are You At Risk From It? Read More , Google will, over the next few weeks, introduce a Web form which victims can fill in to request the relevant images no longer show up in Google search results.

Google is the first to admit this won’t solve the problem entirely. However, even if the images still exist on a deplorable website somewhere or other, removing them from Google should help prevent them from spreading. I mean, they’ll still be on Bing, but that’s OK because no one uses Bing Bing Images vs Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing Images vs Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing’s image search once challenged Google, offering more features and a better design. With infinite scrolling and the ability to search for similar images, Bing was legitimately better than Google at image search just a... Read More anyway.

Uber Introduces No-Firearms Policy

Uber has banned guns from being carried in all its vehicles. The ride-sharing taxi app told New Republic, “We have adopted a no-firearms policy to ensure that both drivers and riders feel safe and comfortable on the platform.” This change to its official policy came into force on June 10th.

Uber previously allowed its drivers to carry guns as long as doing so “abide[d] by local, state, and federal laws pertaining to transporting firearms in vehicles.” The company acted after “reviewing recent feedback from both riders and driver-partners”. Note how Uber still won’t call its drivers “employees” despite one recently earning that recognition Uber Drivers Are Employees, German Ketchup Links to Porn, And More... [Tech News Digest] Uber Drivers Are Employees, German Ketchup Links to Porn, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also: AT&T is fined $100 million for its crippled "unlimited" plans, Reddit plans to encrypt all traffic by default, and what might be the best wedding footage of all time. Read More .

Etsy Goes Hunting for Witches

Etsy Etsy - An Alternative To eBay For Handmade Products Etsy - An Alternative To eBay For Handmade Products Read More has banned the sale of metaphysical items such as spells and hexes. These were previously considered acceptable as long as the buyer got a tangible product out of the transaction, even if that was just a photo of the spell being cast. However, the whole genre has now been banned.

The new policy regarding spells states, “Any metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome (e.g., love, revenge) is not allowed, even if it delivers a tangible item.”

Shops selling such items through the online marketplace have been suspended, which has led to an inevitable backlash. According to The Daily Dot, there is already a petition trying to force Etsy to reverse its decision, and a forum thread regarding the change has inspired hundreds of angry comments.

Apple Listens to Taylor Swift

Apple has changed a policy based on a request from Taylor Swift. The pop princess wasn’t happy at the prospect of giving her music away for free as a result of three-month free trials of Apple Music Apple Unveils Apple Music at WWDC, U.S. Army Website Hacked, & More... [Tech News Digest] Apple Unveils Apple Music at WWDC, U.S. Army Website Hacked, & More... [Tech News Digest] Apple Music arrives at last, the United States Army gets hacked, Uwe Boll's Kickstarter rage, Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box movies, and Grand Theft Auto V in real life. Read More for everyone. So she wrote a letter condemning Apple. The company responded by promising to pay artists, including Swift.

This change of policy is likely to cost the company dearly in terms of cold, hard cash. It will now have to fund the free trials of Apple Music Will You Be Subscribing to Apple Music? [MakeUseOf Poll] Will You Be Subscribing to Apple Music? [MakeUseOf Poll] Apple has finally unveiled Apple Music. While it isn't actually being launched until June 30th, we already know all there is to know about Apple Music. So, will you be subscribing? Read More with its own money. Not that it’s lacking in the necessary funds, obviously. However, free publicity of the kind Apple is currently enjoying is priceless. And righting a wrong is extremely good PR. So, everyone’s a winner. Potentially.

Amazon Updates Customer Reviews

Amazon is updating its customer reviews Deleting Fake Amazon Reviews, Streaming for Comic-Con Geeks, & More... [Tech News Digest] Deleting Fake Amazon Reviews, Streaming for Comic-Con Geeks, & More... [Tech News Digest] Fake Amazon reviews, streaming movies for Comic-Con geeks, LinkedIn buys Lynda, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Pacapong combines Pac-Man and Pong, and the Netflix Watch is coming soon. Read More , with a new machine learning platform designed to help deliver the most useful reviews to people browsing the site for potential purchases. The system is already in place, having been switched on in the United States on Friday (June 19th).

According to CNET, the new platform gives more credence to newer reviews, reviews from verified purchasers of individual products, and reviews voted up for being helpful. Overall star ratings for products will change as a result, as they will no longer be a pure average of all ratings.

The Life and Death of an iPhone

And finally, if you have ever wondered what life is like for an Apple iPhone (we’re guessing not, but still), then this short film is just for you. If shows the birth, life, and death of an iPhone, all filmed from the perspective of the iPhone itself.

Except iPhones never really die, especially if the owner is responsible enough to sell it on or give it away 4 Things You MUST Do When Selling or Giving Away Your Old Computer, Phone or Tablet 4 Things You MUST Do When Selling or Giving Away Your Old Computer, Phone or Tablet Here’s a fun thing I like to do: buy an old hard drive on eBay, then run recovery software on it. It’s a little data treasure hunt, and you’ll be amazed at what you can... Read More to ensure it doesn’t end up in landfill. This particular one ends up in China with a new owner who will love and cherish it as much as the previous owner. How sweet! [H/T Gizmodo]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Google right to crack down on revenge porn? Is Uber right to ban guns from its vehicles? Is Etsy right to ban spells? Was Taylor Swift right to challenge Apple? Do you ever take notice of Amazon customer reviews?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

  1. fcd76218
    June 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Forbidding drivers and passengers from carrying guns is a Politically Correct move which is totally unenforceable. It is a lose-lose proposition for Uber. If they enforce the prohibition on the drivers then they admit that the drivers are employees. If the drivers are independent contractors then Uber cannot forbid them to carry.

    BTW - in all cities and countries that Uber operates in there are already laws governing the possession of guns. Yet both taxi drivers and taxi passengers still carry (and use) illegal weapons.

    • Diablo Ramierez
      June 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      I don't know about Uber not being able to forbid someone. Employee or not, they are contractors that represent Uber and if they want to keep doing so, they have to abide by the rules set forth in their agreement. Just like Uber tells them how much to charge.

  2. Chris Worthington
    June 23, 2015 at 4:55 am

    I thought Uber wasn't employing their drivers, they were just a software company. Can they make this demand of their independent contractors?

  3. William Ewing
    June 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    So how, exactly is UBER suggesting a driver determine if a rider is carrying concealed? Have they considered the possibility of a discrimination suit?

    • fcd76218
      June 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      How is Uber going to stop their "subcontractors" from carrying?

  4. Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
    June 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    With regard to "employees" or "lovers" or "friends", they are all just associations that should be covered by the LIBERAL concept of freedom of association.

    Those looking to divide associations up into "politically meaningful" associations , like personal associations or economic associations, are the ones who are dangerous to your health.

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