What’s new in tech
Palantir’s predictive policing
For the past six years, “one of the world’s most secretive and powerful tech firms” has quietly used New Orleans as a testing ground for its predictive-policing technology, said Ali Winston in TheVerge.com. Palantir, the data-mining firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, began a partnership with the New Orleans police in 2012 to attempt to forecast “which people are likely drivers or victims of violence” or are gang members. Palantir software, which relied in part on data provided by police, “traced people’s ties to gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence.” The program’s existence is not well known; some members of the City Council were unaware of the partnership when contacted by TheVerge.com.
Amazon’s smart-doorbell maker
Amazon has agreed to purchase the connected-doorbell startup Ring for about $1 billion, said Alex Barinka in Bloomberg.com. The move follows last year’s introduction of Amazon Key, which allows verified delivery drivers to deposit packages directly into a shopper’s home with the help of a smart lock. Both moves aim to guard against an online-shopping scourge: theft from doorsteps. Ring manufactures and markets video doorbells and security cameras that connect to users’ phones or computers, “letting them see and speak to anyone on their property from afar.” The acquisition places Amazon in “direct competition” with security-camera makers such as Nest Labs, Honeywell, and Canary Connect.
Facebook takes aim at LinkedIn
Facebook is making a more significant push into online job listings, said Kaya Yurieff in CNN.com. The social media company announced last week that users will be able “to apply for local jobs directly” on its Facebook Jobs platform. “Users in the U.S. and Canada have been able to see job postings on Facebook since last year,” and this expansion includes making the jobs platform available in more than 40 international markets, including the U.K., Spain, and Brazil. The company is clearly escalating its battle with the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, which has more than 546 million users in some 200 countries and pitches itself as the premiere business-oriented social media platform. Facebook’s effort will involve a range of new tools, including “the ability to schedule interviews and create job posts on mobile.”