Tech World

Tech World: Airbnb fights modern slavery, Uber hints at expansion plans and more

Welcome to Tech World, your quick roundup of some of the top technology news stories from across the globe.

This month, we bring you the latest on Airbnb’s plans to fight modern slavery, Facebook’s issues in Belgium and more. For this episode’s Hot Topic interview, we spoke to EY’s Sue Robinson about gender parity.

First though, here are your top international stories.

Airbnb fights modern slavery

Sharing economy giant Airbnb will invest in new tech in a bid to clamp down on modern slavery amid reports that traffickers are using its properties as “pop-up brothels”.

Airbnb told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that it would be teaming up with an anti-trafficking charity to train staff, develop new systems and work with the authorities to pin point signs of slavery.

Concerns date back to 2014, when reports surfaced of prostitutes using Airbnb rentals in New York, while pop-up brothels in short-term rental properties have also been reported across the UK.

Airbnb, which is valued at approximately $31 billion and operates in almost 200 countries, claims it is part of a growing drive to eradicate modern slavery from the hospitality sector.

Facebook gets told off

A Belgian court has told Facebook to stop tracking users without consent, asking it to delete all the data it had gathered on people who had not used its platform.

Belgium’s privacy watchdog said the website had broken privacy laws by placing cookies on third-party websites, but the social network, which is facing fines of up to 250,000 euros a day, has said it will appeal the ruling.

Sony’s plans in Japan

In other news, multinational conglomerate Sony announced several partnerships to start a ride-hailing service using AI in its home country Japan.

The Japanese electronics giant said it would partner with Daiwa Motor Transportation Corporation and five other taxi companies to establish the new service this Spring.

Uber’s expansion push

A few hours after Sony’s announcement, Uber’s CEO hinted at his firm’s plans to expand further into the island nation.

Uber’s plans come after it retreated from several key international markets and amid reports that it’s considering selling its Southeast Asia unit to Singapore-based rival Grab.

Keep watching to see this month’s Hot Topics Interview, featuring Sue Robinson from EY talking about gender parity and diversity in the workplace.