Collaborating Authors

Uber will reclassify drivers in the UK as workers


Starting on March 17th, Uber will classify all of its UK-based drivers as workers, reports The New York Times. While not full employees of the company, that's a distinction that will grant more than 70,000 individuals access to benefits like a minimum wage. In a filing with the SEC, Uber said it would enroll eligible drivers in a plan where the company will contribute approximately three percent of their pay toward their pension. It will also provide all drivers with paid holiday time at a rate of 12.07 percent of their earnings. The decision comes after the company lost a decisive legal battle in February. Partway through last month, the UK's Supreme Court upheld a ruling that said Uber drivers in the country are entitled to the legal rights and protections afforded to workers.

Uber Loses U.K. Court Battle Over Worker Rights WSJD - Technology

The U.K.'s top court ruled that a group of former drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. were entitled to a minimum wage and other benefits while working for the company, dealing a setback to Uber and other gig-economy firms in world-wide battles over their employment model. The U.K.'s Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued Friday, upheld lower court decisions that granted the 25 drivers a type of U.K. employment status at Uber. The company had appealed those rulings, maintaining that its car-service and food-delivery drivers were independent contractors, without employee rights. While Friday's decision directly applies only to the former Uber drivers involved, labor activists say it sets a potential precedent for others in the U.K. who work for companies in the gig economy, where apps distribute individual tasks to a pool of people that the app makers regard as independent contractors. Uber said the decision doesn't automatically reclassify all of its U.K. drivers, and noted that since the case was filed it has added driver benefits such as insurance for sickness and injury.

Great example of root cause analysis


This is an area of data science that the public is less familiar with. This example involves small data, simulations, and 18 years old crowdsourcing. It's an attempt to explain the cause of the TWA Flight 800 that exploded near New York on July 17, 1996. I raised the possibility that a potential cause for the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing last week, was being hit by a missile (accidental or not). Likewise, many people still believe that TWA 800 was destroyed by a missile.

Is Facebook listening to me through my phone? Mark Zuckerberg finally responds to 'conspiracy theory'

The Independent - Tech

Mark Zuckerberg has finally responded to a conspiracy theory that most of his users seem to believe. For years, Facebook users have claimed that the site seems to be listening to them, apparently through their phone's microphones. Usually, people come to this conclusion when they see uncannily accurate ads – holidays to countries just after they've spoken about them, for instance, or posts about new cars just after they have spoken about their current one breaking down. But the company has repeatedly denied it. Instead, the ads are just a consequence of the the company's extremely targeted ad network and the fact that people will forget the many posts they see that aren't relevant, those who deny the conspiracy theory say.

Twitter Says It's Cracking Down on Accounts Linked to QAnon Conspiracy Theory

TIME - Tech

Twitter said it would crack down on accounts and content related to QAnon, the far-right U.S. conspiracy theory popular among supporters of President Donald Trump. The measures include banning accounts associated with QAnon content, as well as blocking URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform. Twitter also said that it would stop highlighting and recommending tweets associated with QAnon. "We've been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm," the company said in a tweet. Accounts that are "engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension" will be suspended permanently, according to Twitter.