Amazon Instituting Temp Checks-Warehouse Workers; Facebook Messenger Launches Mac & Windows Desktop Apps; Zoom Freezes Features to Try To Fix Privacy Mess; Apple Introducing 1-Password Type Feature To Keychain

Amazon has unveiled a number of new measures to protect its employees (and users) during the coronavirus epidemic. Cnet.com reports that..effective next week…temperature checks will be required across the entire Amazon US and European operations network…including warehouses and delivery centers, as well as Whole Foods stores. Amazon had already been doing daily temperature checks on 100,000 employees. Anyone who shows up with over 100.4 degrees F of fever is sent home. Amazon had just shy of 800,000 employees worldwide at the end of last year, and has already put on an additional 80,000 new hires. They expect to drop well above the original $350 million in additional pay to workers as demand has jumped, and protests and strikes have broken out.

Nearly 9 years after it was rolled out, Facebook Messenger is finally getting its own, freestanding desktop app for Mac and Windows. According to techcrunch.com, there has been a more than 100% bump in desktop browser audio and video calling, which prompted Facebook to release the apps. They contain the same features as the browser version, but make it easier to keep your chat threads handy as compared to having Messenger buried in one of many tabs. Facebook had announced the apps at F8 a year ago, and had planned a press event rollout, but with the coronavirus situation, just went ahead and launched them without the fanfare.

Zoom has been catching hell over the NON end-to-end security in the app and the facts that they have sent data to Facebook without disclosing it…in addition to hackers crashing meetings. Now, theverge.com says Zoom will institute a 90 day feature freeze to focus on fixing privacy and security problems. It may be a bit late for some…a number of major companies have already blocked Zoom, and migrated to the likes of Microsoft Teams, which has built in secure video conferencing. Many companies were already using other Microsoft features, like their IM one for employees. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan pleads that the enormous increase in usage has strained the company…in March, they had more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid. He says supporting this number compared to the 10 million pre-shelter-in-place has been a huge drain on company resources. All true, but the privacy holes should have been plugged long ago. Time will tell if the 90 day hold on features will get things sufficiently secure to satisfy corporate users.

From some who have seen an early build of Apple’s iOS 14, they may be getting set to beef up their password management and make it more like Last Pass or 1 Password. According to gizmodo.com, Apple is testing improved security features for iCloud Keychain. These include warnings about repeated passwords or weak ones, or recommending setting up two-factor authentication. None of this is as effective as what the commercial password managers do, though. That may change with iOS 14, as Apple may go to their own version of 1 Password. Similar features already exist in Mac OS, but having it work across all Apple devices would be quite handy and much more secure. (Although Face ID has proved to be quite a step up in security on iOS gadgets…no word on how this might affect the use of it.)



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