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No Free Lunches, But 8-Figure Ransoms
Friday, April 14th, 2023
1. The Magic of Photoshop (and Kickbacks)
Adobe will pay $3 million after getting caught bribing government officials to buy their photoshop software - all allegedly of course. The US Justice Department called it a "kickback," but Adobe called it "marketing expenses." The company allegedly paid off companies with government contracts to push their software, resulting in inflated claims to be submitted to federal agencies. Between 2011 and 2020, Adobe made it rain, handing out a percentage of the purchase price of their software to these customers. Looks like they got caught with their Photoshop pants down.
2. Western Digital’s Security About As Effective As Screen Door on a Submarine
Hackers have allegedly stolen 10 terabytes of sensitive customer data from Western Digital, a company that is supposed to specialize in data storage and security. Perhaps, keeping it secure was an expensive add-on... To prevent the release of the stolen information, the hackers have demanded a "minimum eight figures" as ransom from the company… With that payout, should we all get into hacking? In an even more hilarious twist, the hackers rubbed it in by sharing a file signed with Western Digital’s digital signature with TechCrunch, a popular tech news publication, proving that they can now sign files to impersonate the company. Despite repeated reach-outs, Western Digital has refused to comment on the incident, leaving everyone wondering what they are hiding.
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3. Elevating While Downgrading Employee Benefits
Benefits administration platform Elevate has secured $28 million in funding, proving once again that there's always a market for companies that promise to make employee benefits processing less of a pain. CEO Brian Cosgray revealed that the money will go towards things like product development and hiring – you know, the usual stuff. With its AI-powered claims processing and real-time reimbursement capabilities, Elevate is poised to take the benefits world by storm, while its partnerships with a user base in the "six-figure" range have some saying it's the next big thing. We believe this embodies a changing landscape in employer-employee relations. Tech companies face a hard truth given the current economic climate: if you're forced to focus on profitability, you can't subsidize employees’ lavish travel and meals that even Michelin would envy.
4. The Devil Works Hard, Helen Dixon Works Harder
The European Data Protection Board has put Helen Dixon, Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, in the hot seat, giving her a month to decide whether to block Facebook's data transfer from Europe to the US over fears of the US snooping in on the information. Good thing Facebook has a longstanding history of enforcing user privacy! If Dixon says yes, this could lead to a total overhaul in Facebook’s infrastructure, forcing them to either suspend Facebook services in Europe or find a new, compliant way to transfer data. It'd be a game-changer for other tech companies who also transfer data across the Atlantic - everyone would have to follow the new rules now.
5. Twitter's New Feature: Paying for Content You’d Used to Get for Free
Twitter is launching a subscription feature that will allow users to offer followers long-form text and video content for a fee, not a totally unexpected move given platforms like OnlyFans, Patreon, and Youtube’s recent creator monetization offering. Users will receive all of the money subscribers pay, minus platform fees charged by Android and iOS, but Twitter won’t take a cut for the first 12 months. All this is thanks to none other than CEO Elon Musk, who's determined to save Twitter's revenue after a sharp drop in advertising income last year. He's recently claimed that the company is now "roughly breaking even," which is definitely something a CEO would say… What's his definition of "roughly"?