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Apple fires senior manager for alleged workplace sexism complaints

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Apple fired senior engineering program manager Ashley Gjøvik after allegations of leaking confidential information concerning statements of sexual harassment, surveillance, and the company’s hostile workplace environment.

The Big Tech giant invited Gjøvik via email for a discussion at the company to address the nature of the allegations expressed by the senior engineer. However, when she demanded that the conversation be conducted via email, to have written affirmation of what will be said, Apple refused and replied that she had “chosen not to participate in the discussion.” 

After that, Ashley Gjøvik was let go from her position at the company, effective tomorrow. 

“When I began raising workplace safety concerns in March and nearly immediately faced retaliation and intimidation, I started preparing myself for something exactly like this to happen,” Gjøvik said in a statement. 

“I am disappointed that a company I have loved since I was a little girl would treat their employees this way,” she added. 

In August, Gjøvik filed a complaint to the U.S. National Labor Agency against the iOS maker regarding 13 potential violations of the National Labors Relations Act, under the pretense that she was being sexually harassed by a manager. Then, the company forced Gjøvik to accept a paid administrative leave until the matter gets resolved. 

According to the former Apple engineer, the company asked her to lessen her authoritative tone during office presentations, to accept receiving complaints about her diversity training, including ones perceiving her as “too hard on the white man.”

While all this might appear heavy on the heart of an employee, Gjøvik also revealed in a tweet that the Big Tech titan stated that it was acceptable for a male director colleague to invite her for drinks, and discuss personal life matters with her. 

As for Apple, the company did not refrain from speaking its mind on the matter.

“We are and always have been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously, and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters,” Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock informed The Verge.

It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time an Apple employee submitted a complaint against the company’s work environment. 

In early September, a security engineer at Apple, Cher Scarlett, filed a complaint on behalf of herself and her colleagues with over 500 stories of occurrences concerning discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Daryn is a technical writer with thorough history and experience in both academic and digital writing fields.

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Google illustrations has just upped the tech giant’s game

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Google

If you’re not keen on placing your personal picture on your Google profile, or even if you find it difficult to find a picture that represents who you are, the search giant just found the perfect solution for you. 

Google has recently published a number of images under the name Google Illustrations, providing a wide variety of pictures representing animals, technology, and even space figures. 

“The new library of illustrations indicates that Google is taking a different approach from avatars like Snap’s Bitmoji or Microsoft’s Xbox avatars, which can let you make stylized representations of what you look like,” explained The Verge

Instead, Google illustrations offer different categories of objects and places to use for your avatar. 

Before your serotonin levels spike up, you should note that the illustrations are only available for Android users, according to Google. However, the tech giant is currently “working on” providing the illustrations to iOS users. 

The collection of illustrations available will also witness an expansion soon. In case none of the available avatars suit your liking, check back when Google welcomes more images. 

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Brave launches a non-tracking video call feature

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Brave

Brave Software, a privacy and security-based software firm is welcoming a video conference feature under the name “Brave Talk’, emphasizing a privacy-conscious video chat option embedded into its own browser.

Through clicking on the camera icon or by visiting the page talk.brave.com, users of the Brave browser can enjoy a non-tracking video call option and even invite participants who do not have the particular browser built in their devices.

Brave, which is one of the Chromium-based browsers competing to become an alternative window to the web, is now vying to join the video conferencing space next to platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft teams. However, unlike other video calling apps, Brave is placing privacy as the number one priority.

Founded in 2016, the company prides itself with its privacy-conscious tools. The new non-tracking video call feature uses an open-source called ‘Jitsi as a Service.” Given that the source can be used directly in Brave, users won’t have to install any apps or software that can potentially compromise their devices.

This is the main differentiator between Brave and platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Skype, who all have the power to monitor your calls.

“Brave Talk users can enable multiple layers of encryption on calls, so an eavesdropper cannot listen in on users’ calls, and our servers don’t save metadata, so calls, images, and activities are never recorded or shared without user consent.” The company explained according to ZDNet.

The Brave Talk feature is offered free of charge for one-on-one video conferences.

The new option also includes video group watch, livestreaming directly from YouTube, and unlimited call times.

However, a paid version does exist, allowing for even more benefits such as team calls with three or more users, having the ability to record calls, mute other users and enter a passcode to join a video call.

The paid version costs $7 a month for all international users, but the Chromium browser-based Brave has plans to launch the free version of Brave Talk for all Android and iOS users.

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NBCU Warns YouTube TV Subscribers Could Be Blacked Out

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YouTube said it has been unable to so far reach a new carriage agreement with NBCUniversal. The current contract expires on 30 September. If no new deal is struck by then, NBCUniversal content, such as Sunday Night Football, Jimmy Fallon or Law and Order SVU, will no longer be carried by Youtube TV.

NBCUniversal is warning YouTube TV subscribers that they are in danger of losing 14 channels from their streaming lineup if Google and NBCUniversal are unable to come to an agreement on carriage agreement terms.

If you are a YouTube TV subscriber, you may lose NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, The Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network.

Google said that if it gets equitable terms, it will renew its agreement with NBCU. Otherwise, subscribers will get a discount for the duration of a blackout, which could begin Thursday.

“If we are unable to reach a deal by Thursday, the NBCU lineup of channels will no longer be available on YouTube TV and we will decrease our monthly price by $10, from $64.99 to $54.99 (while this content remains off our platform),” Google said.

It added: “You can sign up for NBC’s own direct-to-consumer streaming service, Peacock, which they offer for $4.99/month to continue watching NBCU content, such as Sunday Night Football.”

In a statement, NBCU said it is seeking fair rates from Google for YouTube TV.

“Unfortunately, Google is refusing to make a deal at these fair rates and is willing to withhold entertainment, news and sports programming from their paying customers,” NBCU said.

“NBCUniversal feels a responsibility to inform our fans that they are at risk of losing their favorite shows if Google continues with their demands.”

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