Tech Giants Are Plunged Into Political Firestorm 科技巨頭蘋果 捲入政治風暴
文/Jack Nicas, Daisuke Wakabaya
On Feb. 6, 2018, Apple received a grand jury subpoena for the names and phone records connected to 109 email addresses and phone numbers. It was one of the more than 250 data requests that the company received on average from U.S. law enforcement each week at the time. An Apple paralegal complied and provided the information.
This year, a gag order on the subpoena expired. Apple said it alerted the people who were the subjects of the subpoena, just as it does with dozens of customers each day. But this request was out of the ordinary.
Without knowing it, Apple said, it had handed over the data of congressional staffers, their families and at least two members of Congress, including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., then the House Intelligence Committee's ranking member and now its chair. It turned out the subpoena was part of a wide-ranging investigation by the Trump administration into leaks of classified information.
The revelations have now plunged Apple into the middle of a firestorm over the Trump administration's efforts to find the sources of news stories, and the handling underscores the flood of law enforcement requests that tech companies increasingly contend with. The number of these requests has soared in recent years to thousands a week, putting Apple and other tech giants like Google and Microsoft in an uncomfortable position between law enforcement, the courts and the customers whose privacy they have promised to protect.
The companies regularly comply with the requests because they are legally required to do so. The subpoenas can be vague, so Apple, Google and others are often unclear on the nature or subject of an investigation. They can challenge some of subpoenas if they are too broad or if they relate to a corporate client. In the first six months of 2020, Apple challenged 238 demands from the government for its customers' account data, or 4% of such requests.
As part of the same leak investigation by the Trump administration, Google fought a gag order this year on a subpoena to turn over data on the emails of four New York Times reporters. Google argued that its contract as The Times' corporate email provider required it to inform the newspaper of any government requests for its emails, said Ted Boutrous, an outside lawyer for The Times.
But more frequently than not, the companies comply with law enforcement demands. And that underlines an awkward truth: As their products become more central to people's lives, the world's largest tech companies have become surveillance intermediaries and crucial partners to authorities.
From Appetizers to Tuition, Incentives to Job Seekers Grow 美就業市場火熱 雇主祭新招搶人
文/Nelson D. Schwartz
College subsidies for children and spouses. Free rooms for summer hotel employees and a set of knives for aspiring culinary workers. And appetizers on the house for anyone willing to sit down for a restaurant job interview.
Determined to lure new employees and retain existing ones in a suddenly hot job market, employers are turning to new incentives that go beyond traditional monetary rewards. In some cases, the offerings include the potential to reshape career paths, like college scholarships and guaranteed admission to management training programs.
The sudden reopening of vast swaths of the U.S. economy has left companies scrambling for workers as summer approaches, especially in the service sector. What's more, in many cases the inducements are on top of increases in hourly pay.
The result is a cornucopia of new benefits as human resources officers and employees alike rethink what makes for a compelling compensation package. And in a pathbreaking move, some businesses are extending educational benefits to families of employees.
The labor market was relatively tight before the pandemic stuck in early 2020, but the rise of noncash offerings is a new wrinkle. Many large companies find themselves pitted against other giants in the search for workers with similar types of skills and experience and want to stand out, especially in the rush to staff back up after the pandemic.
"We knew we had to do something radically different to make Waste Management attractive when you have other companies looking for the same type of worker," said Tamla Oates-Forney, chief people officer at Waste Management. "There is such a war for talent that compensation isn't a differentiator."
"You can never have too many drivers," she said. "When you think about Amazon and Walmart, we're going after the same population."
The company will pay for employees to earn bachelor's and associate degrees, as well as certificates in areas like data analytics and business management. In a significant expansion, Waste Management will begin offering these scholarships to spouses and children of workers this year.