Amazon agrees to a $25 million settlement over child privacy violations, demand continues for Java developers in 2023, and more


Amazon has agreed to pay $25 million (R490 million) to settle complaints that its Alexa voice assistant breached children’s privacy rights. Kodak Alaris and CoCre8 Technology Solutions sign a distribution agreement, and SA BRICS Business Council is looking for tech experts for the BRICS challenge.

Amazon agrees to a $25 million settlement over child privacy violations

Amazon has agreed to pay $25 million (R490 million) to settle complaints that its Alexa voice assistant breached children’s privacy rights.

After being accused of neglecting to remove Alexa recordings at the request of parents, the business agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It was discovered to have stored sensitive data for years.

Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera will also pay out after workers have unrestricted access to consumers’ data.According to a filing in federal court in the District of Columbia, Ring will pay $5.8 million (R114 million) to authorities.

According to the FTC lawsuit, Amazon clearly and frequently told its users, including parents, that they may erase recorded audio recordings. According to the complaint, Amazon did not do this, instead retaining data for years and utilising it illegally to further develop its Alexa algorithm.

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection director, Samuel Levine, accused Amazon of “misleading parents, keeping children's recordings indefinitely, and flouting parents’ deletion requests” in a statement. He went on to say that the corporation “sacrificed privacy for profits”.

The FTC also said that Ring, which Amazon purchased in 2018, allowed “thousands of employees and contractors” to view recordings of customers’ private spaces. According to the body, they were able to watch and obtain sensitive video material from clients for their own interests.

Demand continues for Java developers in 2023

In the rapidly evolving world of software development, Java has consistently proven its resilience and adaptability. Its well-known ‘write once, run anywhere’ approach has seen it dominate the programming language landscape for more than two decades.

Even today, Java has demonstrated its usefulness in a range of applications from data science and embedded systems to graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and artificial intelligence (AI) operations. This is according to Frik van der Westhuizen, CEO of EQPlus Technologies.

“The demand for Java developers has never gone down. It has remained one of the most in-demand programming languages in the world. Java’s versatility is reflected in its ubiquitous presence across various sectors. It is especially its cross-platform capabilities that make Java a favourite among developers,” Frik says.

Take data science as an example. Java is perfectly positioned for an environment that requires handling, analysing, and visualising large data sets. Its object-oriented design helps to ensure code can be easily reused and modular programmes can be developed to cater for virtually any business requirement. Furthermore, Java’s platform independence and ability to integrate with other languages and platforms make it even more suitable for diverse data science tasks.

Additionally, Frik notes that the continuous evolution of Java contributes to its sustained demand. “Java continues to adapt and evolve as more advanced technologies become available. This sees the language catering for different use cases while providing skilled developers with the means to expand their focus areas and create solutions for any number of industries,” he says.

The high demand for Java developers is driven by their proficiency in creating resilient applications.

“These developers can design solutions that can scale according to business demand while maintaining their integrity and security. These are just some of the competencies that make Java developers such prized assets for any organisation looking to embrace a digital-first approach to operations,” he says.

Java has remained a stable pillar in the ever-changing landscape of programming languages, thanks to its adaptability, durability, and ongoing evolution.

“The demand for Java developers will persist as long as innovation and technology continue to intertwine. As we approach the midpoint of the year, the need for Java developers is anticipated to remain strong. In fact, with Java’s applications constantly broadening and diversifying, developers well-versed in Java will likely be at the cutting edge of the most riveting technological breakthroughs,” he concludes.

Kodak Alaris and CoCre8 Technology Solutions sign a distribution agreement

Kodak Alaris, a worldwide technology company focusing on digitising and managing business information, has inked a distribution deal with CoCre8 Technology Solutions, a leading provider of software and hardware solutions for Southern African enterprises.

CoCre8 will be able to distribute the Kodak Alaris portfolio of document scanners, capture software, and professional services to customers in the Southern African region as a result of the deal.

The collaboration will give organisations access to Kodak Alaris’s whole portfolio of innovative and industry-leading solutions, allowing them to optimise business processes, boost efficiency, and cut costs.

“We are excited to partner with CoCre8 to expand our reach and provide our solutions to more customers in the Southern African region,” said Elias Mouchantaf, general manager at Kodak Alaris.

“CoCre8 has a strong reputation for delivering high-quality solutions and services, and we believe that our partnership will enable businesses in the region to benefit from our innovations and expertise.”

“Digital transformation is critical to all organisations, placing emphasis on how data needs to empower business leaders, as well as how it needs to be stored, secured, and managed. As such, CoCre8 is ecstatic to announce its partnership with Kodak Alaris as the official enterprise distributor for Africa,” said Hannes Burger, CEO of CoCre8. ”

The collaboration between Kodak Alaris and CoCre8 is expected to boost both companies’ positions in the region and provide cutting-edge digitisation solutions to provide businesses with seamless and effective ways to manage their documents and data.

SA BRICS Business Council is looking for tech experts for the BRICS challenge

South Africa's brightest up-and-coming tech gurus are being sought by the SA BRICS Business Council to represent the country in the BRICS Future Skills Challenge. This year’s Future Skills Olympics will aid in the resolution of BRICS-related issues like energy, water, and health.

This year’s Future Skills Olympics will focus on addressing the BRICS nations’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa’s) energy, water, and health-related concerns.

The BRICS Future Skills Challenge will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 12 to 15 September 2023, both in person and electronically. With hundreds of participants expected, the council hopes to choose 120 South Africans and reimburse their travel expenses. The selected participants will collaborate with subject matter experts to tackle real-world problems in their particular skill areas.

University and TVET college students, as well as professionals aged 16 to 35, are eligible applicants. Participants will have the opportunity to compete against their BRICS counterparts, either individually or as part of a team.

The numerous benefits of participating in the challenge were emphasised by Joanne Brink, founder of TechWays and project lead at BRICS Future Skills. She emphasised that selected individuals will receive training, exposure to real-world case studies, and foreign experience to boost their CVs.

“The competition will not only showcase the skills of our tech professionals, but also help to identify areas where there is a skills deficit. This knowledge will guide us in focusing our efforts to build a pipeline of future tech skills in South Africa,” she said

To prepare participants, webinar training sessions will be held on Saturdays throughout August, guided by industry professionals. Agri IOT, building information modelling, cyber security, data science, digital twin, drones, internet marketing, manufacturing robots, mobile app development, renewable energy, and robotic process automation will be among the skill categories featured in the competition.

Individuals interested in participating in the BRICS Future Skills Challenge can apply at until 30 June 2023.

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