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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.

Uber Drivers Are Employees In California

Basically no one works for Uber – at least, that’s what the $40 billion company claims. The more than 167,000 drivers around the world are all independent contractors, driving their own cars, all of whom just happen to use Uber’s technology to find customers.

That might be changing, at least in California. A ruling by The California Labor Commission this week awarded San Francisco resident Barbara Ann Berwick, a former Uber driver, $4,000 in “unpaid wages” – something independent contractors are not entitled to.

Uber, and other sharing economy companies What Is The Sharing Economy, And What Does It Mean For You? What Is The Sharing Economy, And What Does It Mean For You? It's really just ordinary people meeting a demand with resources they own, in order to make a profit – but what does that look like? Read More like TaskRabbit and Handy, could end up seeing similar scrutiny throughout the golden state. Uber, for its part, claims the ruling applies only to Berwick.

German Ketchup Bottles Are Linking To Porn

All Daniel Korell wanted to do was design his own ketchup label. Instead, he got porn.

How did that happen?

Heinz ran a promotion between 2012 and 2014, allowing ketchup lovers to make a custom bottle. To start the process, customers needed to scan a QR code that pointed to a landing page.

At least, it did point to a landing page… until Heinz let the domain expire. Someone working for German porn site Fundorado noticed the expiration and bought the domain, meaning anyone who scanned an old bottle of ketchup was in for a surprise.

One of the awesome things about QR codes Four Reasons QR Codes Are Unquestionably Awesome! Four Reasons QR Codes Are Unquestionably Awesome! There's only one universal truth in the world of technology today: people can't get enough of scanning QR codes. Whether they're driving to work, reading a magazine or just taking a walk, people love the... Read More is that you’ve no idea where they’ll end up taking you, and this is a good example of what can happen. Heinz has apologized, and the whole incident is a good reminder of what happens when you let a domain name expire 4 Web Domains That Were Bought Before The Owner Could Take Action 4 Web Domains That Were Bought Before The Owner Could Take Action Domain names – they’re the real estate of the Internet. Without them, we’d have nowhere to go, and our lives would be spent staring at an empty computer screen (or maybe filled with time spent... Read More .

AT&T Fined $100 Million For Throttling “Unlimited” Customers

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) won’t let AT&T be – at least, not when it comes to calling a plan “Unlimited” only to throttle customers who use “too much” data. The government agency is fining AT&T to the tune of $100 million for the practice.

It’s the largest fine ever levied by the FCC.

AT&T, argued the FCC, wasn’t being clear to customers that its “Unlimited” data plans were anything but. Sure, customers could keep using their phones after the throttle, but at speeds too slow for video calls or even standard-definition videos.

“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” said FCC Commission Tom Wheeler. “Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.”

The FCC has been busy this week: it’s also suing Time Warner Cable for violating net neutrality.

Reddit To Encrypt All Traffic Using SSL

One year after enabling SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), Reddit is making encryption the default for all visitors.

HTTPS enables secure connections between users and websites What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default Security concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody's mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by... Read More , meaning it’s much more difficult for would-be hackers to monitor your activity on any site that enables it by default. Reddit announced this week that all traffic on the site will default to using this standard.

Reddit’s users aren’t a happy bunch of late, after the site banned five subreddits Free Speech vs. Harassment: Why Did Reddit Ban Five Subreddits? Free Speech vs. Harassment: Why Did Reddit Ban Five Subreddits? Read More because of harassment problems. Maybe encryption will help smooth things over?

And Finally, Watch This Drone-Captured Wedding Video

No, seriously, just watch it. It’s filmed with a drone and…

Wow.

The important question, of course, is whether the drone is okay. Rest assured, the video’s creator cleared things up in the comments, saying all it needed was a quick repair job:

The blades break easily, so I just replaced them and was flying again within 10 min.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you think Uber’s drivers are employees or was this a bad ruling? Are you afraid of where a QR code might lead? Who do you think the FCC will go after next? Is increased encryption a good thing for the Web? Let’s talk about this, and share links to the best drone fail videos, in the comments below.

  1. Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
    June 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    We need a Federal Communication Commission like we need a Federal Speech Commission or a Federal Press Commission.

    The regular justice system would do although I suspect many wish government to manage and control our communication freedoms .

    • Justin Pot
      June 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Yeah, Comcast and co. need to be completely unchecked! That'll help prompt innovation.

      • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
        June 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm

        You have a bigger more coercive monopoly involved here !

        It's called the state.

        • Justin Pot
          June 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm

          You mean that thing that literally invented the Internet, and helps maintain it? You're right, they should have less say about how everything works than the insanely profitable entities that merely provide last mile access to networks they don't really pay to maintain. Your reasons and logic have won me over, sir!

        • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
          June 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm

          Most of these internet/cable companies are rich precisely because governments gave them monopolies over local areas to begin with while squeezing out any plausible competition.

          The issue of businesses out of control is also based upon what I think is the false assumption that large coercive monopolies like the state are here to make the world right and correct the uncontrolled business even though the state is the monopoly without any check (beside the voter) and final say in everything.

          My view of them is, to say the least, very skeptical as to their "inherent goodness".

          Propaganda :D

        • Justin Pot
          June 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm

          No one is saying that government is inherently good, but I think net neutrality is a good concept to enforce in a country where so many regional monopolies exist. Competition would be the ideal solution, but I'm at a loss as to how to create that.

  2. fcd76218
    June 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

    " the $40 billion company"
    That is what Wall Street values Uber at (shares outstanding x price per share). It is not the amount of Uber's profit or even its income.

    Uber and other sharing economy companies want to have their cake and eat it too by keeping most of the income and letting its employees?/contractors? absorb most, if not all, the expenses.

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