Google Fined $3.8 Million in Settlement Over Alleged Hiring and Pay Discrimination

Illustration for article titled Google Fined $3.8 Million in Settlement Over Alleged Hiring and Pay Discrimination

Photo: Amy Osborne (Getty Images)

After a drawn-out battle, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has finally settled with Google, which will now pay out or set aside $3.8 million to remedy allegations it discriminated against over 5,000 woman and Asian engineers. Over $2.5 million of that will go directly to the workers. It’s a nice headline, but it’ll take at least a few more zeros for Google to feel enough pain to change its ways.

In the settlement, the DoL says that it found that Google paid woman software engineers less than their male counterparts, and that Google was less likely to hire women and Asian candidates. Speaking about the case back in 2017, DoL regional solicitor Janet Herold told the Guardian that the agency had found evidence that Google’s discrimination against women was “quite extreme,” even for the tech

Read More

Comcast Improves Low-Cost Internet After Student Pressure

In a victory for student activists pushing to close the digital divide, Comcast announced today that it will be increasing speeds for its low-cost Internet Essentials plan, which some families have said wasn’t fast enough for online learning.

Since the pandemic forced schools online last spring, students have been arguing that the speeds Comcast offered at a discount to low-income households — 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload — weren’t sufficient for remote classes, especially in homes with multiple people using the internet at the same time. Comcast said it will increase those speeds to 50 Mbps and 5 Mbps, respectively.

While Comcast’s increase did not fully meet the students’ demands, the teenagers were nonetheless in a celebratory mood at a press conference held outside Baltimore City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

“This news is very exciting for all of us,” said Aliyah Abid, one of the

Read More

Microsoft Offers To Step In If Rival Google Quits Australia

US technology giant Microsoft offered Wednesday to fill the void if rival Google follows through on a threat to turn off its search engine in Australia over government plans to make it pay for news content.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement that the company “fully supports” proposed legislation that would force Google and Facebook to compensate media for using their journalism.

Facebook and Google have both threatened to block key services in Australia if the rules, now before parliament, become law in their current form.

But Smith said the proposal “reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses” and “represents a fundamental step towards a more level playing field and a fairer digital ecosystem for consumers, business, and society.”

Smith said Microsoft was ready to improve its Bing search engine, currently a minnow compared to Google’s globally dominant product, and

Read More

Rocket startup Astra plans to go public in $2.1 billion deal

“We’re seeing hundreds of companies that want to get from anywhere on Earth to anywhere in space on their schedule — not wait years to get a lot of things to one place,” said Astra founder and chef executive Chris Kemp in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this week. “So we’re really focused on building a much smaller rocket, produced in much higher volume, launched from a much larger number of locations.”

Kemp, a former chief technology officer for IT at NASA, said the deal was the best way to raise significant funding and gain access to public markets.

Astra offers launch services of payloads ranging from 50 to 150 kilograms, or as much as 330 pounds, and expects to begin deliveries into space by the end of the year. The company says it has booked more than $150 million in revenue from more than 50 planned launches. NASA

Read More