Enterprise

Tech brands celebrating Pride month

LGBTQ+ rights are human rights

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a series of protests widely regarded as the historic event that ignited the gay liberation movement and the first Pride parade in 1970.

A lot of companies are joining in this year’s celebration by changing their logos or selling limited edition merchandise to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, but being an ally doesn’t stop at plastering a rainbow on everything and using #Pride online for the month of June. Here, we have compiled a list of tech brands who have taken concrete steps in creating equal opportunities for everyone and a more inclusive culture, not just this month but all year round:


Apple

Apple released a new watch band and watch face for the Apple Watch at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) this year in celebration of Pride. A portion of its proceeds will be donated to LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations including Encircle, Gender Spectrum, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Apart from Pride merch, Apple has long supported inclusion and diversity by hiring and advocating on behalf of underrepresented minorities, including LGBTQ+ people. For this, the company has been receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for 16 years now — a benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees.

Dell

 

Since 2002 Dell has been actively participating in and leading initiatives that support the LGBTQ+ community that the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index also deems the company as one of the best places to work for LGBT equality. The company provides healthcare benefits to its LGBTQ+ employees including parental leave, adoption assistance, and gender transition toolkit.

Dell is an active sponsor of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a nonprofit organization that partners with Top Fortune 500 companies in building resources and hosting events to help other companies around the globe in achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workplace equality. This year, Dell also hosted a Pride month training for its Nashville office to help its employees become better allies to the community.

Google

June 4 Google Doodle is a celebration of 50 years of Pride, created by Doodler Nate Swinehart who says, “working on this Doodle was a very personal project for me. As a member of the LBGTQ+ community, I am very familiar with the struggle of feeling included, accepted, and that I am a ‘part’ of this world.” Google also put up Pride Forever, which aims to preserve LGBTQ+ history for future generations by extending the Stonewall National Monument from its physical location in New York City to a digital experience that anyone can access on pride.google.com.

Apart from programs that support minorities, Google has Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) comprised of LGBT Googlers and their allies called Gayglers, as well as Trans at Google that seeks to ensure that the company’s products and policy stances are inclusive of all gender identities and expressions.

Instagram

Instagram recognizes that many of its users are members of the LGBTQ+ community. To celebrate Pride this year, the platform will display relevant hashtags in a rainbow gradient including #lgbtq, #bornperfect, and #pride2019 for a month. Using the hashtags in Stories will also turn the story ring into rainbow instead of Instagram’s gradient.

Instagram is updating gender options for users as well, “to be more inclusive and reflective of how people self-identify today.” There is also an LGBTQ+ teen guide on online well-being and self-care that Instagram created with The Trevor Project.

Lyft

Like Instagram, Lyft now offers a range of pronoun options to support transgender and non-binary riders. For transitioning drivers, Lyft provides them assistance with changing the name and gender designation on their driver’s license together with the National Center for Transgender Equality. Through its Round Up & Donate feature has donated over $5 million to HRC and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Lyft also has a Gender Inclusion & Affirmation policy created by members of the company’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, LyftOUT, that lays out comprehensive protections and benefits for its employees.

Microsoft

Later this month Microsoft is releasing a Surface Pro Pride Type Cover designed with and for the LGBTQ+ community, and donating US$ 100,000 to nonprofits in celebration of Pride. For its employees Microsoft has implemented anti-discrimination policies and benefits since 1989. In 1993, they were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex partners. Microsoft is also one of the companies that’s received a perfect score from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

To quote Microsoft, “we’ve come far in the last 50 years after Stonewall, but we haven’t gone far enough.” In many countries where tech companies operate, being queer is still a crime and LGBTQ+ rights are still not recognized.

It takes more than just hearing voices of the community to make the world more inclusive and non-discriminatory — individual allies and corporations play a big role in amplifying the movement. Let’s celebrate Pride not just by buying rainbow products that donate to a good cause or using hashtags this month, but also by eliminating bias in everything that we do and pushing for equal rights in the workplace and local communities until we no longer have to.

Happy Pride!

Apps

SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Enterprise

Huawei thinks about selling its 5G business

Will hopefully appease Western tensions

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Once again, Huawei is weighing all its options. As time rolls by, the company is slowly losing its grip on the Western market. Even after a temporary wave of full support, the US government has gone cold turkey. Huawei is still on the blacklist. In the meantime, the company’s temporary operating license is merely receiving extensions. Unfortunately, extensions don’t mean much without a definitive end.

Huawei is in dire straits. According to a recent interview with The Economist, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is mulling over a drastic move: selling its 5G business to the highest bidder.


Throughout the entire controversy, Huawei’s detractors have often decried the company’s 5G technology as a potential security threat. According to the detractors, the Chinese government can seize control of the company at any time.

Hence, a potential sale can alleviate geopolitical pressures. If a sale is concluded, the purchasing customer will have access to the technology’s inner workings. The customer can check if the network does have a Chinese backdoor built into it. Further, they can tailor the technology in any way they want.

Since plans are plans, the Huawei boss still doesn’t have any potential customers in mind. Likewise, the company has not announced a price yet. If you’re eyeing your wallet for a huge purchase, you’ll have to wait for when Huawei announces the sale.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is still getting the Android 10 update

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Enterprise

Razer CEO goes all-in for gaming and esports in Singapore

A whopping SG$ 10 million over one full year

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The world of gaming and esports is rapidly growing within Southeast Asia. So much so, that one of its biggest victories for recognition on the world stage is its inclusion in the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year. Not only is esports part of the list of sports each SEA country will participate in, but it is also a medalled sport in the competition.

For Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, it is time to take esports in Singapore to the next level. Earlier today, he announced through his Facebook account that he is committing SG$ 10 million to fund gaming and esports programs in Singapore. He plans to fund all gaming and esports activities — including its esports athletes over the next 12 months. Citing his gratitude for the continuous support from the Singaporean government, he wants to “give back and do more” for the gaming community in Singapore.


Razer, the official esports partner for the 30th SEA Games will also dedicate a portion of its investment to gaming companies in Singapore. In addition, Tan plans to continually fund Singapore’s esports team — Team X that will be participating in the upcoming SEA Games. 

The company launched initial efforts earlier this month in preparation for the SEA Games with the Razer SEA Games esports Bootcamp. Partnering with one of the world’s top DotA 2 teams in Evil Geniuses, they hosted  and trained over five eSports teams across SEA countries. Apart from that, they also opened a new RazerStore in Las Vegas, one of the major hot spots for esports in the United States.

The company hopes to fully transition their initiatives by 2020, when they will officially move operations to their new Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore.

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