ABL-Tech Member News & Industry Trendletter * March 23, 2023

>>> Laith Pahlawan is Founder and CEO of The Orange Crew, a managed IT services and support company serving Orange County and Los Angeles. Orange Crew's mission is to "Make it Ridiculously! Easy to work with IT." The Orange Crew provides tailor-made services to all companies seeking IT support regardless of the size of their staff, budget, or operations. Seeing a gap in the IT services industry, The Orange Crew focuses on providing responsive IT support through both on-site and remote technology assistance. Today, fruitful IT solutions are custom designed to help the client's valued customers achieve and maintain the ideal IT working environment to support their goals. The Orange Crew's services include managed IT services, network and computer security, data backup and recovery, business telephone services, VOIP, and more. Industries served include accounting and law firms, engineering and design firms, small- to mid-size companies, municipalities, non-profits, and charter schools. Laith has led The Orange Crew since 2016, as well as its predecessor company, Acompuco, since 2002, when that company was merged with Latitude to create The Orange Crew. Earlier, he was IT Manager at TeleTech; IT Manager at Interwood Marketing Group; and Lead IT Support Specialist for Rider Travel Group. Laith has joined the West Los Angeles Round Table.

WILL BE HELD IN PERSON (with a Zoom option):
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    We'll be discussing Internal & External Business Sense Are Both Important: Are You Developing Both?

  • 4/06 - OC - featuring Marshall Toplansky of Chapman Business School
  • 4/07 - SGV - featuring Ali Payani of LookinLA
  • 4/14 - WLA - featuring Ali Payani of LookinLA
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Alvaka Announces Water Cybersecurity Partnership with Insurance Administrator & Lloyd's

Alvaka has been selected by Allied Public Risk, LLC to provide critical software patching services for water-related entities seeking cyber coverage via the CalMutuals JPRIMA program underwritten by Lloyd's of London. "Water-related entities are finding it difficult to get any, no less affordable, cybersecurity coverage," said Susan Allen, CEO of CalMutuals JPRIMA. "This program is designed to help increase cyber liability insurance quality, affordability, and availability for our members. Furthermore, by selecting Alvaka as the go-to partner for patching of critical systems, we are helping guide members to trusted solutions." Alvaka's Kevin McDonald said. "It's true serendipity that the White House announced a more aggressive approach to National Cybersecurity Policy, with heavy emphasis on water and other critical infrastructure this past week. The partners in this program understand the critical nature of our work. We are ready to lead in securing our most precious resources." (Oli Thordarson, SGV)

California Lightworks Unveils SpectraMax 1000: The Ultimate LED Grow Light

California Lightworks has announced the launch of its new SpectraMax Vertical 1000 (SMV-1000), an extremely powerful, feature-packed vertical grow light that boasts the highest Photosynthetically Active Radiation light output the company has ever offered. Designed to replace a 1000W High-Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide fixture, the SMV-1000 is the lightest all-aluminum fixture in its class. It features programmable digital spectrum control that allows for tailoring of the light spectrum to each growth phase as well as plant strain. It's also compatible with California Lightworks' digital touchscreen controller, which allows complete control of timing, intensity, and spectrum. (George Mekhtarian, SGV)

Coherent Named a Top-Rated ESG Company + Introduces WaveShaper & WaveAnalyzer

Coherent Corp. has been named a 2023 Top-Rated ESG Company by Sustainalytics, an independent research, ratings, and analytics firm that reports on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance to institutional investors and companies. Coherent was one of just 21 technology hardware companies earning the Regional Top-Rated designation for the U.S. and Canada.
MEANWHILE, Coherent introduced its WaveShaper and WaveAnalyzer product platforms for operation across the super C-band. Coherent addresses this use case with its new programmable optical processors and optical spectrum analyzers that operate across the super C-band, from 1523.9 nm to 1572.7 nm. (Randy Heyler, SGV)

CuraeSoft's coAmplifi Spotlighted in Biz Journals + Shares 4 Workforce Trends

CuraeSoft has been featured in several business journals recently. Business Insider published CuraeSoft Launches New Platform coAmplifi to Manage a Hybrid Workforce, which reports on the company's upcoming launch of coAmplifi, a workforce utilization and productivity management platform that enhances hybrid and remote work. The new SaaS platform fosters a dynamic workgroup environment, allowing organizations to manage remote workforces, including international workers.
AND, Startup to Follow's article - Remote and Hybrid work enabling SaaS platform, coAmplifi, launched by CuraeSoft - covers coAmplifi's launch plus CuraeSoft's history, culture and more.
FURTHER, International Business Times published CuraeSoft's Platform coAmplifi Helps Businesses Streamline Workflows, Stay Organized and Increase Productivity.
MEANWHILE, CuraeSoft CEO Mark Parinas shared four workforce trends he sees happening in 2023. In summary, they are: Employees will prioritize career mobility and upskilling; Employers will improve their benefits packages; AI like ChatGPT will reduce busy work for employees; and Businesses will improve the efficiency of hybrid & remote workforces. (Mark Parinas, WLA)

Delphi Display Systems Acquired by Toast

Toast announced that it has acquired Delphi Display Systems, a leading provider of digital display solutions and drive-thru technology for quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Specializing in advanced immersive technology, Delphi solutions have been installed at tens of thousands of sites globally. Delphi's technology extends Toast's growing suite of products that benefit QSRs and enterprise brands. Toast's solutions are designed to help QSRs improve speed of service, facilitate faster workflows for ordering and the kitchen, unlock additional revenue opportunities, and increase efficiency. (Ken Neeld, OC)

LookinLA Ranks #60 on Inc. 5000 Regionals for Fastest-Growing Private Companies & CEO Publishes Articles

LookinLA has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Pacific region by Inc. Magazine. With a two-year revenue growth of over 50%, LookinLA has secured the No. 60 spot on the third annual Inc. 5000 Regionals: Pacific list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington. MEANWHILE, LookinLA CEO Ali Payani has recently published articles: Mastering fast decision making to accelerate your business success for Fast Company, and Embracing The Future: How AI Is Revolutionizing Marketing And Sales, for Forbes. (Ali Payani, SGV)

Parasoft's Upcoming Webinar to Address AI-Enhanced Test Automation

Parasoft will present a webinar on March 28, at 9 a.m. PDT - Find & Fix Defects Faster With AI-Enhanced Test Automation - which will cover how your team can get application testing done faster; associate tests to requirements and code to see the impact of changes; identify which subset of tests you need to run for validating modified code; and get faster feedback within CI/CD to find and fix potential issues. (Elizabeth Kolawa, Ph.D., SGV)

Project Insight Provides Webinars & Insights on Project Management Tools

Project Insight (PI) has made its recent webinar - Switching Project Management Tools Gracefully: Keys to Success - available to watch on-demand; it covers how to select the right fit, make the transition, and onboard your team gracefully.
AND, on April 5, at 10:30 a.m. PT, PI will present a "15-minute Power Tutorial" - What is Your Team's Capacity? How to Get a Bird's Eye View of Capacity Planning for Future Programs and Projects, which will cover how PI can automatically calculate capacity from all the projects your project managers are working on without any extra work for the team. (Thomas Leffler, OC)

Dave Berkus on: Flexibility, Coachability & Controlled Euphoria

In Are you still flexible enough to be coached?, Dave shares that as an early-stage investor, "the first test for me is whether 'my' entrepreneur is flexible in both the plan and execution of their vision (since from experience almost everything about a business plan changes over time), and whether that person, no matter what age or experience, is coachable." He adds that early-stage investor groups often list these traits at or near the top of their list when filtering opportunities for investment, and that he has numerous stories from personal experience that reinforce these two traits as the most positive indicators of future success in business.
AND, in Things going right? Control your euphoria!, Dave notes that one thing a senior executive can count on is that someday, something will go right, very right. Well, after all the disappointments, pressure and outright failures, this is NEWS. Guided by the enthusiasm of the moment, management orders (fill in the blank from your own experience here) an early release, increased spend for marketing, hiring more people to handle expected demand or early manufacture, or maybe just feeling so optimistic that the conservative approval of spending is suspended in anticipation. But, Dave cautions, remember to think of the many steps in the supply chain. That success is just one of many such steps, and others will be affected almost always in negative ways not yet considered. Feeling a bit euphoric? Congratulations. Now calmly analyze the next steps to success before placing your foot on the accelerator. (Dave Berkus, SGV & WLA)

Get Visible Provides Business Tools & Resources

Jason Ciment, CEO of Get Visible, offers the following tips and resources:
>> For ChatGPT, download this Chrome extension. It puts a toolbar on your browser to access pre-loaded prompts.
>> Get video clips for emails, your website or social media posts.
>> Use this tool to read web page content out loud to you. (Jason Ciment, WLA)

Adam Miller-Led Instil on: Convincing Your Board to Invest in Nonprofit Technology

In 6 Tips for Convincing Your Board to Invest in Nonprofit Technology, Instil acknowledges that with tight budgets and big missions, nonprofit leaders take their investments seriously. And big changes and purchases often need the buy-in of a company's board. Instil offers six tips for getting your board "on board" with your investment. In summary, they are: Meet individually with board members in advance; Show you've completed thoughtful research; Focus on the overall ROI; Anticipate and address fears through a future-focused lens; Leverage the help of your preferred potential vendor; and Avoid unnecessary jargon. (Adam Miller, JD, WLA)

Profi on: How Tech Will Shape Coaching & Consulting Industries

An on-demand replay and transcript of Profi's recent webinar - How Tech Will Shape Coaching & Consulting Industry in 2023 - which is co-hosted by CEO Alina Trigubenko, is available at the link. It provides insights on how to choose the best tech solutions for your business, the latest industry trends, and more. (Alina Trigubenko & Adam Miller, JD, WLA)

ProProfs on: How to Conduct Effective Skills Gap Analysis

In How to Conduct an Effective Skills Gap Analysis, ProProfs states that failing to conduct a skills gap analysis can result in poor productivity, production delays, quality issues, declining sales, reduced competitiveness, and other challenges that can impact an organization's success. They go on to explain what a skills gap analysis is, what it entails, its importance, how to carry it out, and how a quiz maker can help with it.
Other recent ProProfs blogs include: "Employee Training Assessment Guide: Train Smarter to Boost ROI" and "Sales Assessment Guide: Hire & Train Smarter to Build Winning Sales Teams." Read them here. (Sameer Bhatia, WLA)

Marshall Toplansky on: Will AI Replace Us?

A recent episode of the "Feudal Future Podcast," hosted by Marshall Toplansky and Joel Kotkin - entitled Will A.I. Replace Us? OpenAI & Chat GPT - includes a discussion with mathematician and academic, Dr. Daniele Struppa, author of 200+ refereed publications and editor of several volumes, about if these technologies will engender a new era of intellectual mediocrity, or will they spark the intellectually curious to new heights? (Marshall Toplansky, OC)

Angle Health Extolled by Pruven Capital

In its recent article, Why We Invested in Angle, Pruven Capital says that it's excited to support Angle Health in building the first AI-enabled, full-stack health insurance company focused on delivering a superior personalized digital member experience and better options for companies of all sizes. Pruven then shares a few insights from its deal memo highlighting why they invested.
ALSO, Angle's recent $58M funding round was detailed in a MedCityNews article. (Andy Leeka, ABL-Health LA)

Eitan Medical Opens New Manufacturing Facility Bolstered by Semi-Automated Production Lines

Eitan Medical recently announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility at the company's headquarters. On-site manufacturing will support Eitan Medical's production scale of its Pharmaceutical Solutions division. The facility will manufacture the Sorrel wearable drug delivery platform across multiple device configurations, including Sorrel vial- and cartridge-based wearable injectors, pre-filled and pre-loaded in primary containers up to 50ml, as well as small volume on-body injectors. Two semi-automated production lines incorporate both fully and semi-automated technologies and processes.
ALSO, the Eitan Medical GM of Pharmaceutical Solutions discusses the role of manufacturing in the development of drug delivery devices in a recent article - Enabling Drug Development Through Drug Delivery Manufacturing. (Roger Massengale, ABL-Health OC)

Elemeno Health Partners with URMC Golisano Children's Hospital

Elemeno Health and University of Rochester Medical Center-Golisano Children's Hospital (GCH) have partnered to implement a user-friendly application to support perioperative staff with just-in-time resources, digital communication, and actionable insights. The Elemeno app is helping GCH maintain consistency in surgical care and workflows, improve the onboarding experience, and promote an optimal experience for patients and their families. In this 2:32-minute video, see how GCH is utilizing the Elemeno app to promote effective team communication. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, ABL-Health Bay Area)

LigoLab Webinar Will Address Optimizing Lab Operations to Prevent Staff Burnout

On March 28, at 10 a.m. PDT, LigoLab will present a webinar - How to Optimize Laboratory Operations to Beat Pathologist Burnout & Combat Staffing Shortages - co-hosted by CEO Suren Avunjian. Attendees will learn how intuitive, automation-driven LIS software can help mitigate the root causes of burnout by streamlining workflows, eliminating manual tasks, and increasing efficiency, accuracy, and job satisfaction.
AND, LigoLab's article, Laboratory Information Systems and the Key Role They Play in Lab Data Analytics, details the company's participation in Medical Laboratory Observer magazine's annual State of the Industry report that focused on Lab Data Analytics. (Suren Avunjian, ABL-Health LA)

Nelson Hardiman Examines the Peril & Promise of Chatbot Therapy

Harry Nelson, of Nelson Hardiman, has written an article - "My Therapist Sounds like a Robot" The Peril and Promise of Chatbot Therapy - which delves into how in recent years, healthcare organizations and providers are increasingly using various forms of artificial intelligence, such as chatbot technology, to interface with patients or to provide personalized communication on a larger scale. (Harry Nelson, JD, ABL-Health LA)

Microsoft's Bing Chatbot Now Lets You Create Images Via OpenAI's DALL-E

Microsoft has added an AI-powered image creator to its Bing search engine as of March 21. The Bing Image Creator will be powered by an "advanced version" of OpenAI's DALL-E model and will let Bing users create images by simply writing what you want to generate. Microsoft is also bringing this Bing Image Creator to its Edge browser. A new icon will appear in the Edge sidebar that allows you to create images in a text entry prompt. (https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/21/23649943/microsoft-bing-openai-dall-e-image-creator-ai)

ALSO, Microsoft to Add AI Functionality to Excel, Word, Outlook

Microsoft has also unveiled plans to incorporate artificial intelligence into Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel using the same technology that powers Chat GPT. The company is also rolling out a concept known as Business Chat, which could help users understand Microsoft 365 data and carry out various tasks. (https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/16/tech/openai-gpt-microsoft-365)

How to Use ChatGPT: "Everything You Need to Know"

ChatGPT has been on the minds of many of us in recent weeks, including those leading Google, Microsoft, and Meta, as it became the fastest growing 'app' of all time, even surpassing TikTok. ZDNet has published an article explaining how to use it and what for, https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-use-chatgpt/

How AI is Saving Homes & Lives in California During Wildfire Season

The state of California is now harnessing a powerful tool to dampen the effects of wildfires, namely artificial intelligence, and specifically machine learning. The abundance of satellite imagery and geo-spatial data makes deep learning a worthy adversary to a mighty foe that is unpredictable and swift. It is still in the early days of AI's fight against fire, but the ability to churn through billions of images both historical and current and pick out telltale patterns that point to potential hotspots gives Californians a potent new weapon against this force of nature. From detection to predictive analysis to preventive action to evacuation procedures, a recent ZDNet article shares some ways that AI is being used in that fight: https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-ai-is-saving-homes-and-lives-in-california-during-wildfire-season/

US Chamber of Commerce Pushes for AI Regulation, Warns It Could Disrupt Economy

As tech companies continue to leverage the powers of artificial intelligence, U.S. regulators are worried that the technology's fortitude will outpace existing laws and provisions. As a result, the US Chamber of Commerce called for AI to be regulated. U.S. lawmakers say that without proper legislative oversight, AI could become a national security risk or a hindrance to educational integrity. Little legislation currently exists to regulate AI, which is a significant concern for US policymakers. Like other aspects of technology, the dangers and pitfalls of an innovative and transformative technology tend to outpace laws.

Following the widespread adoption of ChatGPT, lawmakers are trying to stay on top of the technology's growth and are attempting to foresee the technology's dangers. The US Chamber of Commerce expects AI to contribute $13 trillion in global economic growth and for every business and government agency to use AI by the end of the decade. According to the Chamber's report, AI can increase economic opportunities and income, decrease the costs of medical and scientific trials, and simplify consumer interactions. But the Chamber recognizes that there's an opportunity for jobs to be displaced at the hands of AI and insists the government has a responsibility to ensure citizens are protected. (https://www.zdnet.com/article/us-chamber-of-commerce-pushes-for-ai-regulation-warns-it-can-disrupt-economy/)

Google Announces More AI Partnerships + Launches Open Source Tools to Help Developers Build Digital Health Apps

Google recently announced a slew of new healthcare AI partnerships, as well as an open source tool kit for developing digital health tools and new search functionality. In the AI space, Google said it has been working with the Mayo Clinic for the past three years to research tools for radiotherapy planning during cancer treatment. The partners focused on developing a model that could automatically outline or contour around organs on CT scans, limiting their exposure to radiation. Google said the partners would now focus on further research, model development and commercialization.

Google also partnered with Kenya-based maternal and neonatal health nonprofit Jacaranda Health to investigate how AI tools could improve care for pregnant women. It's also working with Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan to study using AI-embedded ultrasound to find early signs of breast cancer and partnering with South Africa-based Right to Care to provide AI-backed tuberculosis screenings in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, Google launched its Open Health Stack, a suite of open source tools intended to help developers create digital health products in under-resourced areas. (https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/google-announces-more-ai-partnerships-and-other-health-updates)

Over a Quarter of the 100 Hardest-Working Cities in America are in California

WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared the 116 most-populated cities to determine which are the hardest-working, using direct work factors, including average workweek hours, employment rate and worker engagement, and indirect work factors, including average commute, average volunteer hours and average leisure time per day. According to the analysis, these California cities are among the 100 most hardworking - implying the Bay Area is the "hardest working region," led by #1 San Francisco; San Jose (29); Fremont (31); and Oakland (50). San Diego follows at #61. Orange County cities rank lower: Irvine (67); Santa Ana (70); Anaheim (71); with LA County - Los Angeles (77); Long Beach (78), and Riverside (96) bringing up the rear. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/rankings-and-ratings/100-hardest-working-cities-in-america.html)

Survey: Hiring Outlook Remains Optimistic, but Upskilling is Needed

Despite recent layoffs and ongoing concerns about a recession, employers remain optimistic about their hiring plans for the second quarter of 2023, according to a March 14 report from the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. Hiring intentions remained unchanged from last quarter - with a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +23%. However, employers said they're still struggling to find the right people. About 77% reported difficulty in filling roles, rising 2% year-over-year and marking a 17-year high in global talent shortages.

The most optimistic outlooks were reported for roles in IT, communication services and finance/real estate. The lowest outlooks were reported in healthcare and life sciences, industrials and materials, and consumer goods and services, though these industries still reported positive hiring trends for Q2. In terms of technical skills, the most-desired roles are in IT and data, engineering, and sales and marketing. For soft skills, organizations placed high value on reliability and self-discipline, resilience and adaptability, critical thinking and analysis, creativity and originality, and reasoning and problem-solving. With the 17-year high in talent shortages, business leaders also remain focused on retention, according to another recent survey, through upskilling, leadership development and employee experience programs. (https://www.hrdive.com/news/hiring-outlook-remains-optimistic-but-upskilling-needed/645313/)

Cost Control Edges Out Cybersecurity as Top Cloud Concern: Report

Controlling costs overtook security as the primary cloud management concern for the first time in over a decade, Flexera found in its recently published State of Cloud report. 82% said managing cloud spend was their top cloud challenge, edging out security and lack of cloud expertise, at 79% and 78% respectively. The software company surveyed 750 cloud decision-makers in late 2022. (https://www.ciodive.com/news/cloud-cost-tops-cybersecurity-tech-skills-flexera/644398/)

What the "New Automation" Means for Technology Careers

"The entire history of software engineering is one of rising levels of abstraction," says Grady Booch, IBM chief scientist of software engineering, and premier thought leader in the technology space. If you have used ChatGPT, you probably gave thought to the construction of your query - but no thought at all about the construction of its supporting infrastructure - servers, databases, networks, or even its large language models. Welcome to the age of abstraction, where one no longer requires in-depth knowledge of the plumbing underneath applications and devices - or, increasingly, even the data science. Some refer to the emerging constellation of technologies - artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics (both software and physical) - as the "new automation," which will handle many rote or low-level tasks, but increasingly taking on more complex jobs. The catch is that it's going to take a range of skills, now in short supply, to effectively introduce the "new automation." (https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-the-new-automation-means-for-technology-careers/)

Holograms at Front Desk to Replace Real People at Some Best Western Hotels

CIC Hospitality is opening 30 boutique Aiden by Best Western hotels in Scandinavia - with front desks manned by holograms. The first hologram system was recently installed in Herning, Denmark. After walking through the front door and past a motion detector, the guest is greeted with a pre-recorded hologram video that's projected into a Holobox, which is 6+ feet tall and 3 feet wide and contains a touchscreen. The guest is then presented with options on the touchscreen and can indicate if help is needed from a live person, in which case a customer service worker is able to connect remotely and appear as a hologram within the box. Having a hologram at the front could be passed off as a gimmick at first, but it plays into the operator's long-term strategy of increasing efficiency while maintaining a personal touch. CIC plans to install the boxes in eight Aiden hotels this year, with the aim to include them at all 30 Aiden hotels coming online in Scandinavia. (https://skift.com/2023/03/08/holograms-behind-the-front-desk-replace-real-people-at-aiden-by-best-western/)

DOJ Releases Guidance on Driving Compliance-Promoting Behavior

The U.S. Department of Justice, in its continued efforts to drive compliance-promoting behavior, has focused its attention on corporate compensation structures as a way "to shift the burden of corporate malfeasance away from uninvolved shareholders" to those more directly involved in misconduct. In assessing these structures, the DOJ will look for compensation systems that use affirmative metrics and benchmarks to reward compliance-promoting behavior (e.g., promotions, rewards, bonuses), while imposing financial penalties for misconduct to serve as a deterrent that fosters a culture of compliance (e.g., compensation clawbacks or prohibition of bonuses for employees who do not satisfy compliance requirements). In furtherance of this goal, the DOJ also announced its Pilot Program on Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks. (https://www.sheppardhealthlaw.com/2023/03/articles/doj/doj-releases-guidance-on-evaluation-of-corporate-compliance-program-concerning-compensation-and-employee-use-of-personal-devices-and-personal-messaging-applications/)

Biden Requests Significant IT, Cyber Investment Increases for 2023

President Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget request seeks $65 billion for civilian federal agencies - an 11% increase over the $58.4B requested last year - as well as a significant increase in cybersecurity spending. The budget request seeks $10.9B in cybersecurity spending for non-defense agencies, an 11% increase over the $9.8B last year. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would benefit from that spending increase, with a proposed budget of $2.5B for 2023, a nearly $500 million increase from its current budget. The administration released several fact sheets outlining the priority areas set to receive funding, including emerging focuses like broadband connectivity and federal information technology systems. Budget requests include: $65B billion in public spending on broadband deployment; $13M for research into advanced communications; $187M for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to focus on crafting new standards for the adoption of critical and emerging technologies such as AI, quantum sciences and biotechnologies; $300M for the Technology Modernization Fund; $7.8B for the Office of Science with the Department of Energy to support research within national laboratories and universities with a focus on quantum information science and AI regarding environmental sustainability, emphasizing data analytics and advanced computing to better prepare for public health emergencies. (https://www.nextgov.com/policy/2022/03/biden-budget-request-boosts-it-spending-significantly/363670/)

After Twitter Layoffs, California Bill Would Strengthen Protections for Workers

State of California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force employers to give workers more notice of mass layoffs and would extend these protections to contract workers, who currently are excluded under state and federal law. The proposed legislation would require employers who lay off more than 50 workers at a time to give employees 90 days' notice. It would also prohibit employers from pressuring workers to sign away their rights through waivers, nondisclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements in exchange for severance pay. Curtailing the use of such agreements would be a major development in the tech industry, which has been under fire for tying severance packages to non-disparagement agreements. (https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2023-03-08/after-twitter-layoffs-california-bill-would-strengthen-protections-for-workers?utm_id=89251&sfmc_id=486066)

Congress Urged to Hold US Social Media Companies - Not Just Tik Tok - Accountable

The national-security and mental-health risks posed by TikTok are shared by other social media platforms, according to an advocacy group that's urging Congress to also hold US companies accountable ahead of high-profile testimony from TikTok's CEO. The Tech Oversight Project, a nonprofit, says Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. employ the same harmful business practices as TikTok and are increasingly copying some of the video-sharing app's design features. All of these platforms have "force fed children dangerous and harmful content with predatory algorithms, aided US adversaries and worked against US national interests at home and abroad, and failed to protect users' personal data," the group says in a memo shared with Bloomberg News.

MEANWHILE, the White House has urged Congress to focus on passing one bipartisan Senate bill that would give the administration the authority to evaluate and mitigate the national security risk of any adversary-owned technology such as TikTok. (https://www.financialexpress.com/brandwagon/tiktok-like-risk-posed-by-all-social-media-platforms-tech-oversight-project-says/3017114/) (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-20/tiktok-like-risks-shared-by-meta-google-amazon-and-apple-group-says)

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