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Tesco website and app back online after hack attempt

Technology | The Guardian

Consumers were unable to book deliveries or amend existing orders in outage that started on Saturday

Tesco’s website and app are up and running again after a hack, which left thousands of customers unable to shop online at the weekend.

The outage, which meant customers were unable to unable to book deliveries or amend existing orders, began on Saturday morning and continued into Sunday.

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October 25th 2021, 8:40 am

We waited months for Tesla to repair accident damage

Technology | The Guardian

We were left paying £500 a month to lease the car but couldn’t use it because a part had not arrived

In May we accidentally backed our Tesla Model 3 into a wall. No other car was involved and it seemingly caused minimal damage. It was travelling at less than 5mph.

I was advised to take it to Werren’s Bedford, a Tesla-approved bodyshop recommended by the manufacturer’s Milton Keynes service centre and approved by my car insurer, Admiral.

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October 25th 2021, 5:40 am

Our society is troubled. Beware those who blame it all on big tech | Nesrine Malik

Technology | The Guardian

The push for online regulation risks absolving the right of responsibility for the toxicity they continually stoke

Every time a dramatic, unforeseen political event happens, there follows a left-field fixation that some out-of-control technology created it. Whenever this fear about big tech comes around we are told that something new, even more toxic, has infiltrated our public discourse, triggering hatred towards politicians and public figures, conspiracy theories about Covid and even major political events like Brexit. The concern over anonymity online becomes a particular worry – as if ending it will somehow, like throwing a blanket at a raging house fire, subdue our fevered state.

You may remember that during the summer’s onslaught of racist abuse towards black players in the England football team, instead of reckoning with the fact that racism still haunts this country, we busied ourselves with bluster about how “cowards” online would be silenced if we only just demanded they identify themselves.

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October 25th 2021, 5:40 am

Five questions in Westminster for Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Technology | The Guardian

MPs and peers to pick brain of former Facebook employee in connection with draft online safety bill

Frances Haugen brings her searing assessment of Facebook to Westminster on Monday with an appearance at the joint committee scrutinising the draft online safety bill.

The former facebook employee has provoked an onslaught of criticism of Mark Zuckerberg’s company by releasing tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents outlining the firm’s failure to keep harmful content off its platforms (as well as its eponymous social network, Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp). She has already testified to US senators this month at a hearing in which she accused the company of putting “astronomical profits before people”.

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October 25th 2021, 3:11 am

Microsoft Surface Go 3 review: small Windows 11 tablet can’t keep up

Technology | The Guardian

Beautiful, well-made design does not hide the poor performance and battery life at this price

Microsoft’s smallest tablet PC gets Windows 11, newer chips and a small price cut but really needed more to make it worth the investment.

The Surface Go 3 has a tempting starting price of £369 ($399/A$629) – £30 less than its predecessor – but the cheapest model is saddled with a small amount of slow speed storage, making the mid-range 128GB model the real starting point, and it comes in at £499. Neither comes with the £99 keyboard, which is essential for such a machine. Still, it is Microsoft’s cheapest machine behind the £549 Surface Laptop Go.

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October 25th 2021, 3:11 am

Frances Haugen to testify to MPs about Facebook and online harm

Technology | The Guardian

Whistleblower and critic of Mark Zuckerberg will give evidence to MPs scrutinising online safety bill

The Facebook whistleblower is to give evidence to MPs and peers scrutinising the online safety bill, amid calls for a toughening up of the landmark legislation.

Frances Haugen has triggered a deep crisis at Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire after she released tens of thousands of internal documents detailing the company’s failure to keep its users safe from harmful content. On Monday Haugen, 37, will testify in person at the joint committee scrutinising the draft online safety bill, a piece of legislation that places a duty of care on social media companies to protect users – with the threat of substantial fines if they fail to do so.

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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October 25th 2021, 3:11 am

Facebook rolls out campaign to fight misinformation before Australian election

Technology | The Guardian

Social media giant teams up with newswire AAP to push videos encouraging voters to critically examine facts

Facebook and the Australian Associated Press newswire service will roll out “check the facts” videos over the next month as the social media giant prepares for a federal election campaign that could be filled with misinformation and disinformation.

The videos, to be pushed in Australia on the Facebook and Instagram platforms until 24 November, will encourage people to critically examine information they are presented with and improve their overall media literacy. AAP will also provide material on how to identify misinformation.

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October 24th 2021, 9:25 pm

Facebook boss ‘not willing to protect public from harm’

Technology | The Guardian

Frances Haugen says chief executive has not shown any desire to shield users from the consequences of harmful content

The Facebook whistleblower whose revelations have tipped the social media giant into crisis has launched a stinging new criticism of Mark Zuckerberg, saying he has not shown any readiness to protect the public from the harm his company is causing.

Frances Haugen told the Observer that Facebook’s founder and chief executive had not displayed a desire to run the company in a way that shields the public from the consequences of harmful content.

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October 23rd 2021, 10:55 pm

Frances Haugen: ‘I never wanted to be a whistleblower. But lives were in danger’

Technology | The Guardian

The woman whose revelations have rocked Facebook tells how spending time with her mother, a priest, motivated her to speak out

This was not Frances Haugen’s plan A. The Facebook whistleblower says she does not like being the centre of attention, but what she saw while working at Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire compelled her into action – and made her famous.

“When I look at what I did, this was not my plan A. It wasn’t my plan B, it wasn’t my plan C. It was like my plan J or something,” she laughs. “No one sat me down and said ‘what I want you to do is whistleblow’.”

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October 23rd 2021, 10:55 pm

Facebook executive says tech firms need stronger regulation

Technology | The Guardian

Vice-president of content policy believes government regulation can ‘establish standards all companies should meet’

The tech industry “needs regulation” because it should not be left to make the rules on issues including harmful online content on its own, a Facebook executive has said.

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice-president of content policy, believes that “government regulation can establish standards all companies should meet”.

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October 23rd 2021, 7:56 pm

Facebook missed weeks of warning signs over Capitol attack, documents suggest

Technology | The Guardian

Materials provided by Frances Haugen to media outlets shine light on how company apparently stumbled into 6 January

As extremist supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on 6 January, battling police and forcing lawmakers into hiding, an insurrection of a different kind was taking place inside the world’s largest social media company.

Thousands of miles away, in California, Facebook engineers were racing to tweak internal controls to slow the spread of misinformation and content likely to incite further violence.

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October 23rd 2021, 12:39 pm

New Facebook whistleblower says company knowingly allowed hate speech – report

Technology | The Guardian

Anonymous former employee tells Washington Post site let illegal activity occur on platform

Another Facebook whistleblower has come forward with allegations against the company, claiming it knowingly allowed hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms, according to a new report.

An anonymous former Facebook employee told the Washington Post that they had submitted a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which handles regulation to protect investors in publicly traded companies.

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October 22nd 2021, 7:08 pm

Lyft recorded 4,000 reports of sexual assault within three years

Technology | The Guardian

Company reveals figures, including 1,800 reports in 2019, as ride-hailing companies face growing safety scrutiny

The ride-hailing app Lyft received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assaults during rides from 2017 to 2019, the company revealed in a new report, including 1,800 reports in 2019 alone.

Lyft revealed the numbers on Thursday, after having pledged in 2019 to do so. In its report, the company said the number of sexual assault reports collected through its app had risen from 1,096 in 2017 to 1,255 in 2018 and 1,807 in 2019.

Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organisations. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 802 9999. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html

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October 22nd 2021, 5:08 pm

Finally, Facebook can say it’s not the most toxic social network | Marina Hyde

Technology | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s plans to launch a platform are good news for Mark Zuckerberg, who’ll be busy prebutting the next damning exposé of his company

By rights, these should really be what we might euphemise as Donald Trump’s “hidden years”. Though he might not have been expected to descend immediately to full late-era Howard Hughes – four-inch fingernails and tissue boxes on his feet – the aesthetics of this third act in Trump’s American life felt promisingly tragicomic.

The 45th president would live out an excruciatingly undignified post-office twilight down at Mar-a-Lago, railing like some 19th-hole Lear about his lost kingdom, shuffling his sad buffet tray of trans fats along the line in the communal restaurants of his home/tacky-members’-club hybrid, and grabbing the mic at weddings held on the premises to assure bemused guests that he was days, maybe even hours, away from securing gamechanging recounts in this or that state.

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist

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October 22nd 2021, 12:13 pm

Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outlets

Technology | The Guardian

Home feed promotes rightwing tweets over those from the left, internal research finds

Twitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources.

The social media platform examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter, focusing primarily on US news sources such as Fox News, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

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October 22nd 2021, 12:13 pm

The death of Charles Babbage, mathematician and inventor – archive, 23 October 1871

Technology | The Guardian

23 October 1871: Babbage’s calculating machines are seen as the forerunners of modern programmable computers

The death is announced of Mr Charles Babbage, who has long held high rank among the mathematicians of the day. He was born on 26 December 1792, and having been privately educated, proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge where he took his BA degree in 1814; but, curiously enough, his name does not appear in the mathematical tripos. In the course of his mathematical studies he found fault with the logarithmic tables then in use as being defective and unfaithful; and in order to improve them visited the various centres of machine labour in England and on the continent, and on his return directed the construction of a “difference engine” for the use of the government.

Another result of this tour was the production of his work on the Economy of Manufactures. By 1833 a portion of his machine (popularly known as “the calculating machine”) was prepared, and its operations were entirely successful. It was, however, never completed. He next prepared his Table of Logarithms of the Natural Numbers from 1 to 108,000, a work which was so highly esteemed that it was very soon afterwards translated into almost all the European languages.

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October 22nd 2021, 6:17 am

France hails victory as Facebook agrees to pay newspapers for content

Technology | The Guardian

Social media firm announces deal after long-running battle with national and regional newspapers

France has hailed a victory in its long-running quest for fairer action from tech companies after Facebook reached an agreement with a group of national and regional newspapers to pay for content shared by its users.

Facebook on Thursday announced a licensing agreement with the APIG alliance of French national and regional newspapers, which includes Le Parisien and Ouest-France as well as smaller titles. It said this meant “people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected”.

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October 21st 2021, 4:46 pm

Group that spread false Covid claims doubled Facebook interactions in six months

Technology | The Guardian

Revelations about World Doctors Alliance pages raise questions about platform’s efforts to control misinformation

An international pressure group that spread false and conspiratorial claims about Covid-19 more than doubled the average number of interactions it got on Facebook in the first six months of 2021 in spite of renewed efforts to curb misinformation on the platform, according to a report.

Pages owned by the World Doctors Alliance – a group of current and former medical professionals and academics from seven countries – received 617,000 interactions in June 2021, up from 255,000 in January, according to a six-month rolling average.

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October 21st 2021, 4:46 pm

Tesla reports record quarterly earnings despite global supply chain meltdown

Technology | The Guardian

The company’s car sales are set to overtake last year’s figures even as construction of its new Texas factory is underway

Tesla saw its biggest quarterly net earnings in history, the company said on Wednesday, propelled by record electric vehicle sales last summer, amid a shortage of computer chips and other materials.

The company made $1.62bn in the third quarter, beating its old record of $1.14bn, set just in the second quarter of this year. The profit was nearly five times greater than the $331m Tesla made in the same quarter in 2019.

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October 20th 2021, 10:19 pm

Facebonk, Bacefook, Hellsite: Zuck, the internet has some rebranding suggestions

Technology | The Guardian

After news broke of the troubled social media company planning to rebrand its toxic image, ideas flew fast and plentiful

Facebook is reportedly preparing to unveil a new name as the company seeks to rebrand, and the internet has already come through with some pointed suggestions.

The plans, first reported by the Verge on Tuesday, come at a time of upheaval for the company. In the last few months alone, Facebook has been served with a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, was the subject of a congressional hearing after a whistleblower revealed worrying internal practices at the company, and is facing a walkout of moderators over working conditions.

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October 20th 2021, 10:19 pm

Instagram displays ad offering fake Covid vaccine certificates in Australia

Technology | The Guardian

Account behind the advert has been suspended after appearing on the platform’s Stories feed

Instagram has displayed an ad promoting fake vaccination certificates in Australia at a time when New South Wales and Victoria are emerging from Covid lockdowns and requiring people to present proof of vaccination.

Vaccination status can be proven at venues in the two states over the next few months using a printed certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register, a digital certificate on a person’s phone, or a record added to QR code check-in apps.

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October 20th 2021, 3:01 pm

Pinterest shares soar amid reports of $39bn takeover by PayPal

Technology | The Guardian

​​PayPal is reportedly exploring the acquisition of social media company Pinterest, according to Bloomberg News.

PayPal, the financial technology company based in San Jose, California, recently approached Pinterest about a potential deal that would value Pinterest at roughly $39bn, according to Bloomberg. The price is close to its market value on Wednesday. PayPal has a market cap of $304bn.

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October 20th 2021, 3:01 pm

Boris Johnson promises 'tough' crackdown on online abuse and extremism – video

Technology | The Guardian

Boris Johnson has promised to present the delayed online harms bill to parliament before Christmas after the killing of David Amess. He made his comments after Keir Starmer urged him to work collaboratively in clamping down on web-based extremism. Johnson also appeared to agree to another of Starmer’s requests, that the bill would include a commitment to possible criminal sanctions against tech company bosses who do not do enough to remove harmful or illegal content

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

Boris Johnson promises online harms bill debate before Christmas

Technology | The Guardian

Prime minister also says bill will include criminal sanctions against those allowing ‘foul content’ online

Boris Johnson has promised to present the delayed online harms bill to parliament before Christmas in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess, after Keir Starmer urged him to work collaboratively in clamping down on web-based extremism.

The prime minister also appeared to agree to another of Starmer’s requests, that the bill would include a commitment to possible criminal sanctions against tech company bosses who do not do enough to remove harmful or illegal content.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

New logo? Call itself ‘FCBK’? Bring back poking? How Facebook could rebrand

Technology | The Guardian

Can the social media giant rebrand itself without alienating users? Here are five suggestions

Facebook’s proposed rebrand comes at a crucial time for the company. On one hand, Mark Zuckerberg’s increasing focus on the “metaverse” seems to hint that he has ambitions far beyond simply destroying every non-Facebook industry on the planet. But at the same time, he also has to unveil this new unstoppable machine of death without scaring off too many regular Facebook users. How will he be able to manage such an impossible highwire act? Here are some suggestions.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

Netflix employees join wave of tech activism with walkout over Chappelle controversy

Technology | The Guardian

Slew of walkouts by tech workers, unthinkable mere years ago, shows workers ‘now understand their labor power’, expert says

Employees at Netflix will halt work on Wednesday in a virtual walkout to condemn the streaming platform’s handling of complaints against Dave Chappelle’s new special.

The action is the latest in a string of highly visible organizing efforts in the tech sector, as workers increasingly take their grievances about company policies and decisions public.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

Pinterest to launch new features to help with ‘emotional wellbeing’

Technology | The Guardian

New tweaks, including ability to respond to or develop other users’ ideas pins, come amid public outcry over social media failings

Pinterest will offer users the chance to riff on Jennifer Lopez’s Halloween costume as it launches new products to emphasise its appeal to “emotional wellbeing” amid a storm of negative publicity surrounding social media firms.

The digital pinboard business is introducing a “Takes” product that allows users to respond to someone else’s ideas pin – or video post – with their own version, whether it is trying out a fellow user’s food recipe or replicating an artist’s sketch. The US company is launching the service with a Lopez idea pin, where the music star invites people to post their “killer Halloween costume”.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

SpaceX could make Elon Musk world’s first trillionaire, says Morgan Stanley

Technology | The Guardian

Most of world’s richest person’s fortune so far has come from electric car company Tesla

Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, with an estimated $241bn fortune, could become the first trillionaire, an investment bank has predicted.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley forecast that Musk, who has made most of his wealth from the electric car company Tesla, could make much more money from his fledgling space exploration business SpaceX.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

TechScape: From Friends to Squid Game – why Netflix viewing figures matter

Technology | The Guardian

Up for discussion in the Guardian tech newsletter: the problem with the streaming company’s outlandish claims

I’m going to try to convince you that you should care about exactly how many people watched the moral panic-inducing hit Netflix series Squid Game. Yes, I know there’s a lot going on in the world. But bear with me: I think this really matters regarding how we understand our culture – and the balance of power in a media business where data is king.

(As a treat, if you stick with this newsletter then further down I’ll tell you about some of the biggest flops that Netflix would prefer you didn’t know about.)

British Netflix users spent more time watching old episodes of Friends in 2020 than watching big-budget original series the Crown.

The three most popular new releases in the UK during August were Clickbait (watched by 2.34m Netflix accounts), Hit & Run (2.1m households), and The Chair (1.64m). These are high ratings but Channel 5 can top them.

Sex Education Series 3 was released on the same day as Squid Game and performed just as well in Europe – but has had a fraction of the hype.

Shows such Bridgerton, Afterlife and The Queen’s Gambit were all hitting over 80% completion rates in the UK – meaning people were hooked and watched to the end of each series.

At the other end of the market, the five shows with the worst series completion rates were The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (just 35% of viewers finished it), What/If (45%), The Irregulars (53%), White Lines (56%), and Sex/Life (56%) – which explains why most of them were cancelled.

Any film that is watched to the end by 70% of people is a success. Martin Scorsese’s big-budget much-hyped Irishman? That struggled, on their metrics.

People now watch original series in a very short space of time – about a quarter of people who watched Squid Game finished it within two days.

Even though Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are not far apart in terms of signed-up users, Netflix dwarfs Amazon when it comes to people actually watching their content.

Oh and almost no one chooses to watch the credits nowadays. Sorry to everyone who made the programmes, we’ve already autoplayed the next episode.

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October 20th 2021, 12:18 pm

Facebook plans to change its name as part of company rebrand – report

Technology | The Guardian

Rebrand could position tech giant’s social media app as one of many products under a parent company which oversees the likes of Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus

Social media giant Facebook is planning to rebrand the company with a new name next week, the Verge reported on Tuesday, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on 28 October, but it could be unveiled sooner, the Verge report said.

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October 20th 2021, 5:17 am

Apple iPhone 13 mini review: still the boss of small phones

Technology | The Guardian

Mini model trounces competition with great camera and performance, but isn’t the best iPhone for the year

The iPhone 13 mini takes what’s great about the full-size iPhone 13 and squeezes it into a body not much larger than the iPhone 5S without cutting back on features or power.

The smallest of Apple’s 2021 lineup costs £679 ($699/A$1,199), sitting above the £389 iPhone SE and below the £779 iPhone 13.

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October 20th 2021, 5:17 am

AI projects to tackle racial inequality in UK healthcare, says Javid

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: health secretary signs up to hi-tech schemes countering health disparities and reflecting minority ethnic groups’ data

Artificial intelligence is to be used to tackle racial inequalities in the NHS under government plans to “level up” healthcare.

It is hoped that millions of black, Asian and minority ethnic Britons will benefit from revolutionary computer techniques designed to transform care and speed up diagnoses of potentially deadly conditions.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has given the green light to a series of hi-tech initiatives aimed at tackling health disparities in the UK. It comes amid mounting concern over the issue among senior ministers.

New projects include drawing up fresh standards for health data inclusivity amid fears that the datasets at the moment fail to adequately represent people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Another project will use computer algorithms to investigate factors behind adverse maternity incidents involving BAME mothers. The results could lead to recommended changes, which could include new training for midwives and nurses. Black women are five times more likely to die in the UK due to complications during pregnancy compared with white women.

Javid said he was committed to “removing barriers” in the NHS so that “every one of us, no matter our background, can live healthier, longer lives”.

Experts have warned for years that some people from BAME communities have poorer health than the overall population. More recently, the pandemic took a disproportionate toll on these groups.

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October 20th 2021, 5:17 am

FCA to warn younger investors off cryptos and other high-risk products

Technology | The Guardian

Hype and the thrill of gambling are pushing inexperienced people into danger, says City watchdog

Social media hype and the gambling-like thrill of competing to get rich quick are driving younger investors to turn to cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange trading and other high-risk products, according to the City watchdog.

The Financial Conduct Authority said it was seeing more people chasing high returns and was concerned that many new investors were increasingly putting money into high-risk investments which may not be right for them.

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October 20th 2021, 5:17 am

This government is helping big tech to undermine British democracy | David Puttnam

Technology | The Guardian

I leave the Lords with a heavy heart, as ministers kowtow to new and unaccountable forms of power

I’m retiring from the House of Lords after 24 years. In doing so I’ve found myself cast in the role of “reluctant whistleblower”.

I believe we are sleepwalking towards a form of unaccountable power the like of which, in the modern era, the UK has never previously experienced. This was the theme of the Shirley Williams Memorial Lecture, which I delivered last Friday, setting out my serious concerns for democracy based on what I have observed during a lengthy spell on the red benches. It is hard to ignore the manipulative impact this train wreck of a government is having on the wellbeing of our nation.

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October 20th 2021, 5:17 am

Google Pixel 6 phones launch with custom chips and aggressive pricing

Technology | The Guardian

Top new Androids have bigger cameras, Tensor processor and five years of support

Google has finally launched its flagship Pixel 6 smartphones as it aims to beat competitors on camera and performance while undercutting them on price.

Previewed by Google in August, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are the Android-maker’s attempt to compete with Apple and Samsung at the high end of the market after disappointing results with its previous mid-range entries.

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October 19th 2021, 1:16 pm

At least 13 phone firms hit by suspected Chinese hackers since 2019, say experts

Technology | The Guardian

LightBasin hackers were able to obtain subscriber information and call metadata, says CrowdStrike

At least 13 phone companies around the world have been compromised since 2019 by sophisticated hackers who are believed to come from China, a cybersecurity expert group has said.

The roaming hackers – known as LightBasin – were able to “search and find” individual mobile phones and “target accordingly”, according to CrowdStrike, a group regularly cited by western intelligence.

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October 19th 2021, 1:16 pm

Bill Gates reportedly advised to end inappropriate emails with female employee in 2008

Technology | The Guardian

A Wall Street Journal report revealed execs approached the CEO in 2008 about flirtatious emails to a female midlevel staffer

Bill Gates was allegedly advised in 2008 by executives at the company to halt inappropriate communication with a female employee, according to a new report.

The claims, published by the Wall Street Journal, are the latest to shed light on potential misconduct by Gates while he was still working at Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal had previously revealed claims Gates left the company’s board amid an investigation into a past affair with a staffer.

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October 19th 2021, 9:35 am

Is a ‘negative microwave’ – a device that quickly cools food and drink – possible?

Technology | The Guardian

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

I’ve been grappling for decades about how you’d get a “negative
microwave” to work, a device that very quickly cools things such as food or drinks without having to pre-fill it with something that’s already cold. I understand many of the reasons why it’s near impossible but is it actually impossible? Maybe quantum physics can mysteriously do it. George Stewart

Post your answers (and new questions) below or send them to nq@theguardian.com. A selection will be published on Sunday.

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October 19th 2021, 9:35 am

Tesco takes on Amazon Fresh with launch of ‘just walk out’ store

Technology | The Guardian

GetGo store uses weight sensors and skeleton outlines to track shoppers, who are billed when they leave

Tesco is fighting back against Amazon with its first “just walk out” store, where it is possible to buy groceries without having to scan items or visit a till.

The supermarket’s GetGo store in Holborn, central London, follows a small trial of a similar store at Tesco head office in Welwyn Garden City, which has been selling goods to the retailer’s staff since 2019.

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October 19th 2021, 9:35 am

Samsung stands by as my TV warranty expires

Technology | The Guardian

After endless attempts to either repair or replace the broken screen, the company decided my warranty had now elapsed

I bought a £2,000 8K TV from Richer Sounds in August last year but just short of its first birthday the screen stopped working. I reported it to Richer Sounds immediately who said it has to be dealt with by Samsung as it had happened within the first year, despite the store offering a six-year warranty.

I went through a long stream of emails and phone calls back and forth as Samsung tried to troubleshoot the problem. It insisted I supply a video of the TV not working, which I did. After many, many back and forths it agreed to send out an engineer, but the contractor told me I had to pay a £100 callout charge as the TV was now out of warranty.

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October 19th 2021, 9:35 am

Facebook to create 10,000 jobs in EU to help build ‘metaverse’

Technology | The Guardian

Social network says it wants to ensure virtual world is built responsibly

Facebook is creating 10,000 jobs in the EU as part of its push to build a virtual world for its users.

The company has trumpeted the “metaverse” as the next big phase of growth for large tech companies and recently announced a $50m (£36m) investment programme to ensure that this metaworld is built “responsibly”.

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October 18th 2021, 7:02 pm

Apple launches new AirPods and revamped MacBook Pro laptops

Technology | The Guardian

High-end MacBooks get big redesign with more ports, better screens and M1 Pro and Max chips

Apple has announced new third-generation AirPods and its much-anticipated new MacBook Pro laptops, with new screens and high-end M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

During a livestreamed event on Monday, the Apple chief executive, Tim Cook, unveiled the redesigned Bluetooth earbuds and the first of the company’s revamped high-end computers as it continues its switch from Intel to chips of its own design.

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October 18th 2021, 7:02 pm

ICO to step in after schools use facial recognition to speed up lunch queue

Technology | The Guardian

Privacy campaigners raise concerns after nine schools in North Ayrshire scan faces of pupils to take payments

The Information Commissioner’s Office is to intervene over concerns about the use of facial recognition technology on pupils queueing for lunch in school canteens in the UK.

Nine schools in North Ayrshire began taking payments for school lunches this week by scanning the faces of their pupils, according to a report in the Financial Times. More schools are expected to follow.

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October 18th 2021, 7:02 pm

Man jailed for kidnapping boy who was said to have made money from bitcoin

Technology | The Guardian

Fourteen-year-old was bundled into car in Bradford by gang who wanted £10,000 ransom, court heard

A schoolboy who was thought to have made money trading in bitcoin was kidnapped by a gang who demanded £10,000 for his safe return, a court heard.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was confronted outside a takeaway in Bradford in May and bundled into a car.

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October 18th 2021, 7:02 pm

Small firms’ fury as Amazon offers £3,000 sign-up bonus to attract Christmas staff

Technology | The Guardian

Warning that online giant’s move will lead to higher prices and empty shelves in shops

Amazon is offering signing-up bonuses of up to £3,000 in areas of Britain with labour shortages, to attract workers in time for the Christmas surge in demand.

The Food and Drink Federation says there is a “battle for labour” in the run-up to Christmas, with Amazon trying to recruit 20,000 temporary staff. Many food and hospitality firms cannot compete with the pay now being offered by the online giant and this may affect Christmas deliveries and supplies.

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October 17th 2021, 6:14 am

Facebook’s policing of vitriol is even more lackluster outside the US, critics say

Technology | The Guardian

Digital activists around the world are urging Facebook to take seriously how its algorithm incites misinformation and ethnic violence

On a cloudy evening in Nairobi, Berhan Taye is scrolling through a spreadsheet in which she has helped document more than 140 Facebook posts from Ethiopia that contain hate speech. There are videos of child abuse, texts of hate speech against different ethnic groups, and hours-long live streams inciting hatred. These posts breach Facebook community guidelines in any context. Yet for Taye and her colleagues, this is what Facebook’s news feed has looked like for years in Ethiopia.

Because there aren’t enough content moderators focused on Ethiopia, it has been up to Taye, an independent researcher looking at technology’s impact on civil society, and a team of grassroots volunteers to collect and then report misinformation and hate speech to Facebook.

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October 17th 2021, 5:31 am

From Fortnite to Fifa, online video game players warned of rise in fraud

Technology | The Guardian

After games boom in pandemic, gangs are using phishing and malware to cheat fans out of money and reveal their personal data

Players of online video games such as Roblox, Fortnite and Fifa are being warned to watch out for scammers, amid concerns that gangs are targeting the platforms.

Multiplayer games boomed during the pandemic lockdowns as people turned to socialising in virtual spaces.

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October 17th 2021, 5:31 am

Apple’s plan to scan images will allow governments into smartphones | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

Client-side scanning, as the technology is called, should really be treated like wiretapping and regulated accordingly

For centuries, cryptography was the exclusive preserve of the state. Then, in 1976, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman came up with a practical method for establishing a shared secret key over an authenticated (but not confidential) communications channel without using a prior shared secret. The following year, three MIT scholars – Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman – came up with the RSA algorithm (named after their initials) for implementing it. It was the beginning of public-key cryptography – at least in the public domain.

From the very beginning, state authorities were not amused by this development. They were even less amused when in 1991 Phil Zimmermann created Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) software for signing, encrypting and decrypting texts, emails, files and other things. PGP raised the spectre of ordinary citizens – or at any rate the more geeky of them – being able to wrap their electronic communications in an envelope that not even the most powerful state could open. In fact, the US government was so enraged by Zimmermann’s work that it defined PGP as a munition, which meant that it was a crime to export it to Warsaw Pact countries. (The cold war was still relatively hot then.)

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October 16th 2021, 1:17 pm

Privacy fears as Moscow metro rolls out facial recognition pay system

Technology | The Guardian

Campaigners say Face Pay, launched in over 240 stations, is ‘dangerous step’ in efforts to control population

The Moscow metro has rolled out what authorities have lauded as the world’s first mass-scale facial recognition payment system, amid privacy concerns over the new technology.

The cashless, cardless and phoneless system, named Face Pay, launched at more than 240 stations across the Russian capital on Friday.

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October 16th 2021, 6:01 am

‘It spreads like a disease’: how pro-eating-disorder videos reach teens on TikTok

Technology | The Guardian

Although the platform bans content promoting dangerous weight loss, hashtags such as #skinnycheck can still be found

Instagram has attracted a firestorm after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed internal research showing the platform downplayed proof of its toxic effects – including the rise of eating disorders – on children.

But such issues are not limited to the Facebook-owned social media company. The Guardian has found a variety of harmful pro-anorexia hashtags remain searchable on the popular video-sharing app TikTok, where corresponding videos have billions of views combined.

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October 16th 2021, 1:16 am

Apple fires employee Janneke Parrish, leader of #AppleToo movement

Technology | The Guardian

Some workers at the company viewed the firing as retaliation for her role as an organizer, the Verge reported

Apple has fired one of the leaders of #AppleToo, an employee movement organized in response to alleged patterns of discrimination, racism and sexism at the company.

The tech company terminated Janneke Parrish, a program manager on Apple Maps, for “non-compliance” after she reportedly deleted files from her work device – including apps such as Google Drive, Robinhood and Pokémon Go – amid an internal investigation, the Verge reported.

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October 15th 2021, 4:48 pm

WhatsApp to bring in encryption for backup chats after privacy fears

Technology | The Guardian

Users can set encryption key for chats on Google Drive or iCloud to prevent authorities demanding access from provider

WhatsApp is allowing users to encrypt their backed-up chats, making them unreadable without access to a password or 64-digit encryption key.

Facebook, the messaging app’s owner, said from Thursday some users would be able to fully encrypt messages stored on Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud. The company said it would be introducing the feature slowly to people with the latest version of WhatsApp.

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October 15th 2021, 12:32 pm

Google warns of surge in activity by state-backed hackers

Technology | The Guardian

More than 50,000 alerts sent so far this year, including of an Iranian group that targeted a UK university

Google has warned of a surge in activity by government-backed hackers this year, including attacks from an Iranian group whose targets included a UK university.

The search group said that so far in 2021 it had sent more than 50,000 warnings to account holders that they had been a target of government-backed phishing or malware attempts. This represents an increase of a third on the same period last year, Google said in a blogpost, with the rise attributed to an “unusually large campaign” by a Russian hacking group known as APT28, or Fancy Bear.

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October 15th 2021, 9:47 am

AI and maths to play bigger role in global diplomacy, says expert

Technology | The Guardian

Professor of negotiation and conflict management says recent advances mean techniques will be used more

International diplomacy has traditionally relied on bargaining power, covert channels of communication and personal chemistry between leaders. But a new era is upon us in which the dispassionate insights of AI algorithms and mathematical techniques such as game theory will play a growing role in deals struck between nations, according to the co-founder of the world’s first centre for science in diplomacy.

Michael Ambühl, a professor of negotiation and conflict management and former chief Swiss-EU negotiator, said that recent advances in AI and machine learning mean that these technologies now have a meaningful part to play in international diplomacy, including at the Cop26 summit later this month and in post-Brexit deals on trade and immigration.

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October 15th 2021, 7:46 am

Fairphone 4 review: ethical repairable phone gets big upgrade

Technology | The Guardian

New design and 5G updates modular smartphone but camera not as good as some cheaper rivals

The most ethical, repairable smartphone you can buy is back with a new model, this time with 5G and a fresh look but a weak camera.

The new Fairphone 4 costs £499 from the Dutch cooperative of the same name and continues the mission to make phones from materials sourced as ethically as possible that you can take apart and fix without an electrical engineering degree.

Screen: 6.3in FHD+ LCD (410ppi)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G

RAM: 6 or 8GB

Storage: 128 or 256GB + microSD card

Operating system: Fairphone OS based on Android 11

Camera: dual 48MP rear, 25MP selfie camera

Connectivity: 5G, esim, wifi6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and GPS

Water resistance: IP54 (rain resistance)

Dimensions: 162 x 75.5 x 10.5mm

Weight: 225g

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October 15th 2021, 2:46 am

Facebook must prioritise children’s wellbeing, Zuckerberg is told

Technology | The Guardian

UK campaigners write to chief executive with list of demands to ensure online safety of young people

Facebook has lost the trust of parents, is prioritising commercial gain over children’s needs and must take steps to restore faith in its platforms, a global alliance of child protection campaigners and experts has warned Mark Zuckerberg.

The Facebook founder and chief executive is urged to publish its internal assessments of the risks young people face on its services in a letter with 59 signatories including the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Child Rescue Coalition in the UK.

Share all its internal research on the impact its platforms have on children’s wellbeing.

Set out what research has been conducted on how the company’s services contribute to child sexual abuse.

Publish risk assessments of how its platforms affect children.

Provide details of an internal reputational review of its products.

Review the child protection implications of encrypted messaging.

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October 15th 2021, 12:45 am

Lawmakers seek to rein in big tech with bills aimed at competition and liability

Technology | The Guardian

One bill would prevent platforms from giving preference to their own products, the other would remove Section 230 protections

US lawmakers announced two major new proposals seeking to rein in the power of big tech, days after the revelations from a former Facebook employee spotlighted the company’s sweeping impact.

The first bill, proposed by a group of senators headed by Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Chuck Grassley would bar big tech platforms from favoring their own products and services.

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October 14th 2021, 6:31 pm

Cambridge University halts £400m deal with UAE over Pegasus spyware claims

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: UK institution was in line for huge donation but has paused talks due to concerns Gulf state used hacking software

The University of Cambridge has broken off talks with the United Arab Emirates over a record £400m collaboration after claims about the Gulf state’s use of controversial Pegasus hacking software, the university’s vice-chancellor has said.

The proposed deal, hailed by the university in July as a “potential strategic partnership … helping to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our planet” – would have included the largest donation of its kind in the university’s history, spanning a decade and involving direct investment from the UAE of more than £310m.

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October 14th 2021, 4:46 pm

Telegram is warned app ‘nurtures subculture deifying terrorists’

Technology | The Guardian

Hope not Hate urges messaging app to act on privacy policy that ‘facilitates’ murderous content

MPs, leaders of faith communities, and groups involved in countering hate have sent a letter to Telegram urging it to take action as it emerged as an “app of choice” for racists and violent extremists.

An image was projected on to Telegram’s offices in London this week by the campaign group Hope not Hate, which has organised the letter, in a move to shame the company.

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October 14th 2021, 10:58 am

‘Insufficient and very defensive’: how Nick Clegg became the fall guy for Facebook’s failures

Technology | The Guardian

After election humiliation and Brexit, the former UK deputy prime minister swapped Westminster for a £2.7m job in Silicon Valley. The catch? Serving as the public face of the crisis-hit company

On Sunday, Nick Clegg did a succession of interviews with some of the US’s biggest TV news shows. In his role as Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs and communications, he was defending his company after weeks of headlines about its latest crisis – this time involving Frances Haugen, a Facebook staffer turned whistleblower who had testified days earlier before a committee of the US Senate. The story centred on a stash of company documents that Haugen had given to the Wall Street Journal. The central allegation, which Facebook vehemently denies, was that the company had ignored its own research into the harms caused by some of its products in favour of the pursuit of “astronomical profits”.

Anyone au fait with the five grim years Clegg spent as the UK’s deputy prime minister would have had the familiar impression of someone emphasising his good intentions in almost impossible circumstances. His facial expression regularly expressed a sort of righteous exasperation; his words seemed to imply that if only his critics could grasp the facts, everything would quickly die down. Like any well-briefed politician, he emphasised a handful of statistics: the 40,000 content moderators Facebook employs, the $13bn (£9.5bn) it says it has spent cracking down on misinformation and hate speech; the company’s claim that the latter accounts for only five of every 10,000 Facebook posts.

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October 14th 2021, 9:21 am

Leave no trace: how a teenage hacker lost himself online

Technology | The Guardian

Edwin Robbe had a troubled life, but found excitement and purpose by joining an audacious community of hackers. Then the real world caught up with his online activities

José Robbe was leaving her place of work in Rotterdam when she saw a man and a woman walking towards her. It was a Tuesday afternoon, 20 March 2012. “Are you Mrs Robbe?” She nodded. The woman, who was wearing jeans and a black windcheater, explained that she was with the police. “I’d like to talk to you for a minute. It’s about your son, Edwin. We’re arresting him.” José stared, frozen. The woman asked if she would accompany them. Warily, José agreed.

At the police car, the officer told her they intended to surprise her son at the family home in Barendrecht, just south of Rotterdam, and arrest him on the spot. She asked if José wanted to be there for her son’s arrest. “No,” she replied grimly. It felt as if she had just betrayed her son. To stand by and watch would make it even worse. The police asked José for her house keys and dropped her off at a plaza by the local supermarket a few blocks from her house. She felt terrible as the officers drove away to arrest her eldest child, just a troubled 17-year-old. A little while later, three officers emerged from the house, escorting Edwin between them. He offered no resistance.

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October 14th 2021, 9:21 am

Facebook rule protects journalists and activists as ‘involuntary’ public figures

Technology | The Guardian

The company, under wide-ranging scrutiny for harms linked to its platforms, increased protections against harassment and bullying

Facebook will count activists and journalists as “involuntary” public figures and increase protections against harassment and bullying targeted at these groups, its global safety chief said in an interview this week.

The social media company, which allows more critical commentary of public figures than of private individuals, is changing its approach on the harassment of journalists and “human rights defenders”, who it says are in the public eye due to their work rather than their public personas.

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October 14th 2021, 12:03 am

US leads world in bitcoin mining after China crackdown sends industry overseas

Technology | The Guardian

Industry’s huge use of electricity could present an awkward question for Joe Biden ahead of the Cop26 climate talks

The United States has overtaken China to account for the largest share of the world’s bitcoin mining, according to data published by researchers at Cambridge University.

The figures demonstrate the impact of a crackdown on bitcoin trading and mining launched by the Chinese government in late May, which devastated the industry and caused miners to shut up shop or move overseas.

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October 14th 2021, 12:03 am

Spot on or unfair? Facebook employees split on whistleblower Frances Haugen’s critique

Technology | The Guardian

Inside the notoriously insular company, employees’ perceptions of Haugen appear to be divided

When former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen testified before the Senate last Tuesday, she painted an unsightly picture of the social networking company.

As a member of the company’s civic misinformation team for almost two years until her departure in May, Haugen shared insights the company had previously hidden – from Facebook’s willingness to propagate hateful content on its platforms to keep users engaged to research proving Instagram’s detrimental effects on teen girls’ mental health – and leaked thousands of pages of internal documents backing up her claims.

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October 14th 2021, 12:03 am

‘This is a story that needs to be told’: BBC film tackles Climategate scandal

Technology | The Guardian

Scientist Philip Jones is resigned, but ready for a fresh wave of abuse when drama The Trick tries to put the record straight on accusations that he falsified data on global heating

Twelve years ago, Professor Philip Jones was subject to a barrage of hate mail and death threats that pushed him close to suicide. Emails, hacked from his laboratory, proved climate change research was a fraud, it was claimed.

Now Jones faces a repeat of that grim onslaught when the BBC One film, The Trick, is screened on 18 October. It will tell the story, sympathetically, of his tribulations at the hands of climate change deniers.

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October 13th 2021, 1:50 pm

Bitcoin could trigger financial meltdown, warns Bank of England deputy

Technology | The Guardian

Sir Jon Cunliffe likened danger to 2008 crash and called for tough regulation of cryptocurrencies

A senior Bank of England policymaker has warned that digital currencies like bitcoin could trigger a financial meltdown unless governments step forward with tough regulations.

Likening the growth of cryptocurrencies to the spiralling value of US sub-prime mortgages before the 2008 financial crash, deputy governor Sir Jon Cunliffe said there was danger financial markets could be rocked in a few years by an event of similar magnitude.

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October 13th 2021, 1:50 pm

Snapchat outage leaves users unable to send or receive messages

Technology | The Guardian

Difficulty accessing app comes at bad time for platform in fight against TikTok

Snapchat, the messaging app that has been engaged in a battle with its rival TikTok, went down for tens of thousands of users on Wednesday.

Difficulties with accessing the Snapchat app, as well as sending or receiving messages, were registered by tens of thousands of users, who were told by the company to “hang tight”.

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October 13th 2021, 1:50 pm

Dubai’s ruler and the Pegasus phone hacking exposed in a UK court

Technology | The Guardian

A high court judge has ruled that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum hacked the phone of his ex-wife Princess Haya using Pegasus spyware. In this episode we look at the implications of the affair

Earlier this year we brought you an investigation into the use of controversial spyware called Pegasus. As part of that series we revealed that the phone number of Princess Haya, the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai, had appeared in a data leak of numbers selected as possible targets for surveillance by governments with access to Pegasus. This software gives the user the ability to access photos, videos, phone calls – everything on the target’s mobile phone.

Last week that story took a dramatic twist. The Guardian’s defence and security editor Dan Sabbagh tells Rachel Humphreys that new documents released in a UK court reveal rulings by a senior judge that confirmed that Haya was successfully hacked along with members of her legal and security teams. The judge also ruled that on the balance of probabilities, the hack was ordered by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

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October 13th 2021, 9:33 am

Amazon could owe drivers thousands in rights claim, says law firm

Technology | The Guardian

Leigh Day launches group action for drivers classed as self-employed and not entitled to employee rights

Amazon could owe compensation totalling £140m to thousands of drivers delivering its parcels, according to a law firm that is launching a group claim on their behalf.

Drivers who deliver for Amazon through its “delivery service partners” are classed as self-employed, meaning they are not entitled to employee rights such as holiday pay and the minimum wage, while they also do not have an employment contract.

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October 13th 2021, 9:33 am

TechScape: UK online safety bill could set tone for global social media regulation

Technology | The Guardian

Up for discussion in the Guardian tech newsletter: Facebook and Google will be watching closely as MPs and peers consider proposed landmark legislation

Even before the arrival of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, social media companies were feeling the heat from regulators and politicians. It is white-hot now.

We were well past the tipping point of mild concern from governments and watchdogs anyway, but Haugen’s document leaks and Senate testimony have given greater legitimacy and impetus to those who say something has to be done.

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October 13th 2021, 9:33 am

Apple may cut iPhone 13 production by millions as US warns of Christmas shortages

Technology | The Guardian

Shares in Apple fall as global chip shortage and supply chain issues prompt White House to admit there could be empty shelves during festive season

Apple may slash the number of iPhone 13s it will make this year by up to 10m because of a shortage of computer chips amid a worldwide supply chain crunch that led the White House to warn that “there will be things that people can’t get” at Christmas.

Apple was expected to produce 90m units of the new iPhone models this year but has told its manufacturers that the number would be lower because chip suppliers including Broadcom and Texas Instruments were struggling to deliver components, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

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October 13th 2021, 12:45 am

A boy wrote about his suicide attempt. He didn’t realize his school’s Gaggle software was watching

Technology | The Guardian

Round-the-clock surveillance of students’ accounts raises tricky privacy concerns. And do they really help keep kids safe?

In the midst of a pandemic and a national uprising, Teeth Logsdon-Wallace was kept awake at night last summer by the constant sounds of helicopters and sirens.

For the 13-year-old from Minneapolis, who lives close to where George Floyd was murdered in May 2020, the pandemic-induced isolation and social unrest amplified the emotional distress he was experiencing as a result of gender dysphoria. His billowing depression landed him in the hospital after he tried to kill himself. During that dark stretch, he spent his days in an outpatient psychiatric facility, where he listened to a punk song on loop that promised things would soon “get better”. Eventually they did.

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October 12th 2021, 2:18 pm

‘She opens the app and gets bombarded’: parents on Instagram, teens and eating disorders

Technology | The Guardian

Mothers describe their daughters’ dangerous experiences after whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Michelle noticed her teenage daughters were spending substantially more time on Instagram.

The girls were feeling isolated and bored during lockdown, the Arizona mom, who has asked to only be identified by her first name to maintain her children’s privacy, recalled. She hoped social media could be a way for them to remain connected with their friends and community.

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October 12th 2021, 12:30 pm

Digital gender gap: men 50% more likely to be online in some countries – report

Technology | The Guardian

Failure to ensure women have equal access to the internet hampering developing economies and fuelling gender inequality

A failure to ensure women have equal access to the internet has cost low-income countries $1tn (£730bn) over the past decade and could mean an additional loss of $500bn by 2025 if governments don’t take action, according to new research.

Last year, governments in 32 countries, including India, Egypt and Nigeria, lost an estimated $126bn in gross domestic product because women were unable to contribute to the digital economy.

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October 11th 2021, 3:45 pm

Russia and neighbours are source of most ransomware, says UK cyber chief

Technology | The Guardian

Lindy Cameron, head of National Cyber Security Centre, says extortion is most serious online threat to UK

Cybercriminals from Russia and neighbouring states are behind the majority of online extortion conducted against businesses and other organisations in Britain, according to the chief of the UK’s cybersecurity agency.

Lindy Cameron, the chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said ransomware “presents the most immediate danger” of all cyber threats faced by the UK, in a speech to the Chatham House thinktank.

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October 11th 2021, 3:45 pm

Take back control of access to TikTok | Brief letters

Technology | The Guardian

TikTok | Children’s books | Child refugees | Travelling fairs | Duels

It isn’t TikTok that’s letting kids see inappropriate posts, it’s their parents (Revealed: anti-vaccine TikTok videos being viewed by children as young as nine, 8 October). There are controls that can stop young people signing up; it’s up to their parents and guardians to use them. I suggest a “revert to defaults” on kids’ devices once a day, or as often as necessary. Then get TikTok to deal with the liars. Take back control, people!
David Reed
London

• I fully agree that “good children’s books are not a luxury” (Editorial, 8 October). In common with many children’s authors, self-publishing had to be my route. Now, five books and 16,500 sales on, I regularly delight in such feedback as: “I had to read your book to my child five times last night!” Lacking celebrity, and doing all our own marketing, we self-publishers soldier on.
Sue Wilkins
Matlock, Derbyshire

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October 11th 2021, 3:45 pm

American schools gave kids laptops during the pandemic. Then they spied on them | Jessa Crispin

Technology | The Guardian

According to one survey, 81% of teachers in America said their schools monitor devices. Students are not always aware

When the pandemic started last year, countless forms of inequality were exposed – including the millions of American families who don’t have access to laptops or broadband internet. After some delays, schools across the country jumped into action and distributed technology to allow students to learn remotely. The catch? They ended up spying on students. “For their own good”, of course.

According to recent research by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), “86% of teachers reported that, during the pandemic, schools provided tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks to students at twice the rate (43%) prior to the pandemic, an illustration of schools’ attempts to close disparities in digital access.”

Jessa Crispin is a Guardian US columnist

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 and online chat is also available. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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October 11th 2021, 3:45 pm

How to blow the whistle on Facebook – from someone who already did

Technology | The Guardian

This April, Sophie Zhang told the world about her employer’s failure to combat deception and abuse. Her advice? No screenshots, lawyer up – and trust yourself

Two years ago, I did something I almost never do: I put on a dress. Then I dropped my phone and other electronics off at the home of friends who had agreed to tell anyone who asked that I was at their place the entire time, and headed to the Oakland offices of the Guardian for my first meeting with a reporter.

Leaving my electronics was a safeguard against possible tracking by my then employer, Facebook. The dress was an additional layer of alibi: I theorized that if anyone from work saw me and could contradict my first alibi, they might conclude that my unusual behavior was evidence of nothing more than an affair.

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October 11th 2021, 1:16 am

Facebook: Nick Clegg avoids questions on whistleblower Haugen’s testimony

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook executive wouldn’t say if he believed platform bore responsibility for amplifying baseless claims of stolen election

The Facebook executive Nick Clegg took a damage-limitation tour of US political talkshows on Sunday, but remained evasive over questions about the social media giant’s contribution to the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January this year.

The former British deputy prime minister, now Facebook vice-president of global affairs, was responding to a barrage of damaging claims from the whistleblower Frances Haugen.

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October 10th 2021, 2:15 pm

‘Galactic Britain’: how Cornwall is winning the European space race

Technology | The Guardian

After last week’s publication of the national space strategy, photojournalist Jonny Weeks explores how the south-west is primed for the first launch of a satellite-bearing rocket from UK soil

“When we first started, people would laugh at us,” says Melissa Thorpe as she guides a group of visitors around an exhibition in a vast hangar at Newquay airport. “But now look, we’re only a matter of months from launch.”

Sweeping around a tall black curtain, she reveals a 21-metre space rocket glimmering under red spot lights. Children’s eyes widen and the adults in the group are agog.

A model of the 747 aeroplane, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, which will carry the Launcher One rocket beneath one of its wings.

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October 10th 2021, 2:15 pm

Squid Game’s success reopens debate over who should pay for rising internet traffic

Technology | The Guardian

Demand for capacity grows on back of hit Netflix shows, online games and more

The breakout success of the Korean drama Squid Game has prompted a local broadband provider to launch legal action to force the maker, Netflix, to help pay for the huge surge in traffic, the latest flashpoint in the argument over who should carry the burden of the spiralling costs of data fuelled by the global streaming boom.

From Netflix’s latest global sensation and livestreamed Premier League football matches on Amazon Prime Video, to bandwidth-busting traffic when hit online games such as Fortnite or Call of Duty are updated, the demand for internet capacity has undergone unprecedented growth in recent years.

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October 10th 2021, 2:15 pm

Frances Haugen takes on Facebook: the making of a modern US hero

Technology | The Guardian

In her explosive Senate testimony, the former employee exposed how the tech giant puts profit before the public good

The journey from disillusioned ex-employee to modern-day heroine took Frances Haugen less than five months. The 37-year-old logged out of Facebook’s company network for the last time in May and last week was being publicly lauded a “21st-century American hero” on Washington’s Capitol Hill.

That journey was paved with tens of thousands of internal documents, taken from Facebook’s internal system by Haugen, that formed the backbone of a series of damning revelations first published in the Wall Street Journal last month. They revealed that Facebook knew its products were damaging the mental health of teenage girls, resisted changes that would make the content of its main platform less divisive and knew its main platform was being used to incite ethnic violence in Ethiopia.

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October 10th 2021, 3:14 am

Facebook whistleblower testimony should prompt new oversight – Schiff

Technology | The Guardian

‘I think we need regulation to protect people’s private data,’ influential Democrat says in wake of Frances Haugen revelations

Testimony in Congress this week by the whistleblower Frances Haugen should prompt action to implement meaningful oversight of Facebook and other tech giants, the influential California Democrat Adam Schiff told the Guardian in an interview to be published on Sunday.

“I think we need regulation to protect people’s private data,” the chair of the House intelligence committee said.

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October 9th 2021, 4:45 pm

China is cutting its tech giants down to size. Should the west learn from this? | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

Xi Jinping has grasped a fundamental truth in his quest to win the technology race – that internet companies are all ultimately disposable

This is story of two parallel universes. Over in the western one, neoliberal capitalism rules. In the other – the Chinese universe – a different system presides. In both universes, government concern over the growing power of giant tech companies has been growing for a while, but there the similarities end.

In the west, governments and legislatures were asleep at the wheel as the tech companies zoomed along their rapid growth paths. But in the past few years, democratic institutions have belatedly lumbered into action, or at any rate into a semblance of activity. Since 2010, for example, Europe has launched more than 36 regulatory probes against big tech, including 10 from the European commission and 26 from individual European countries. I keep a spreadsheet of these actions, which, in addition to the EU suits, currently lists seven major actions by US authorities, three by the UK Competition and Markets Authority and two by the German federal cartel office. And it seems that there are about 70 such actions in progress across the world.

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October 9th 2021, 12:45 pm

UK takes on Elon Musk in the broadband space race

Technology | The Guardian

A heavily criticised investment in OneWeb could bring the government a first bite at the lucrative satellite internet market

They are invisible to the naked eye, but can leave a streak of light across an astronomer’s telescope. Above our heads, the constellation of small satellites orbiting the Earth is expanding every month. Often no bigger than a fridge, they are part of a new space race as rivals compete to beam broadband internet to the hardest-to-reach places on Earth.

The frontrunners are Starlink, backed by US tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, and OneWeb, which is part- owned by the British taxpayer. The latter’s plan to build a network of 650 satellites is a centrepiece of the UK’s space strategy, unveiled in September.

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October 9th 2021, 12:45 pm

Facebook is ‘biased against facts’, says Nobel prize winner

Technology | The Guardian

Philippines journalist Maria Ressa says social media firm is threat to democracy and failing to halt spread of misinformation

The campaigning Philippines journalist Maria Ressa, who was last week awarded the Nobel peace prize, has launched a stinging attack on Facebook, accusing the social media firm of being a threat to democracy that was “biased against facts” and failed to prevent the spread of disinformation.

She said its algorithms “prioritise the spread of lies laced with anger and hate over facts”.

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October 9th 2021, 10:30 am

NSO Pegasus spyware can no longer target UK phone numbers

Technology | The Guardian

Israeli maker of surveillance software blocked +44 code after detecting hack against Princess Haya, source says

The powerful spyware used to hack into mobile phones belonging to Princess Haya and her divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton is no longer effective against UK numbers, sources familiar with the software’s developer have said.

NSO Group, the Israeli maker of the Pegasus surveillance tool, implemented a change preventing client countries from targeting +44 numbers, the sources said, after it became aware of the British hacking scandal on 5 August last year.

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October 9th 2021, 3:00 am

Calls for investigation after court finds Dubai ruler hacked ex-wife’s phone

Technology | The Guardian

MPs and human rights groups ask parliament to look into how Sheikh Mohammed deployed sophisticated spyware

MPs and human rights groups have called on ministers and parliament to investigate how the ruler of Dubai was able deploy sophisticated spyware to hack the phones of his ex-wife and her legal team in Britain last summer.

Their demands follow the revelation of the spying scandal on Wednesday, which emerged after English courts concluded that agents of Sheikh Mohammed had infiltrated Princess Haya’s phone using controversial NSO Pegasus software.

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October 9th 2021, 3:00 am

‘Welcome to the party’: five past tech whistleblowers on the pitfalls of speaking out

Technology | The Guardian

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, joined a growing list of Silicon Valley former employees to call out company policies

When Frances Haugen revealed she was the Facebook whistleblower who supplied internal documents to Congress and the Wall Street Journal, she joined a growing list of current and former Silicon Valley employees who’ve come forward to call out military contracts, racism, sexism, contributions to climate crisis, pay disparities and more in the industry.

In the past days, the Guardian spoke with five former employees of Amazon, Google, and Pinterest who’ve spoken out about their companies’ policies. The conversations revealed Haugen’s experience has been singular in some respects. Few of them received the international praise bestowed upon her. Some of them said they have faced termination, retaliation, harassment and prolonged litigation.

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October 9th 2021, 1:44 am

‘I might delete it’: Facebook’s problem with younger users

Technology | The Guardian

According to leaked research, the firm has found engagement among a key demographic is in decline

Oliver Coughlan embodies Facebook’s problems with teen and young adult audiences – a growing number of them do not like it. The 23-year-old says he stopped using Facebook regularly three years ago and he is considering deleting the app. His sole use for it now is to check people’s birthdays.

“I haven’t deleted it yet but I might do soon – I really don’t like the company’s monopolistic behaviour,” said Oliver, a British student based in the Netherlands. He added that the EU referendum and the 2016 US presidential election, and the online anger that accompanied those polls, convinced him that he wanted to spend less time on Facebook’s main platform.

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

Facebook Messenger and Instagram hit by second outage in a week

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook apologises to users struggling to access picture feeds and send messages

Facebook has confirmed that some users were having trouble accessing its apps and services, days after the social media giant suffered a six-hour outage triggered by an error during routine maintenance on its network of data centres.

Some users on Friday were unable to load their Instagram feeds, while others were not able to send messages on Facebook Messenger.

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

Twitter trials warnings about ‘intense’ conversations

Technology | The Guardian

Users urged to ‘look out for each other’ and ‘remember the human’ as platform tries to limit abuse

Twitter users poised to dive into a heated online debate will be warned they are about to enter an “intense” conversation, under a safety trial.

The social media platform is testing a feature that drops a notice under a potentially contentious exchange, stating: “Heads up. Conversations like this can be intense.” Another prompt, which appears to be aimed at people making a reply, goes to greater lengths to calm down users and urges the tweeter to “look out for each other”, “remember the human” and note that “diverse perspectives have value”.

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

Revealed: anti-vaccine TikTok videos being viewed by children as young as nine

Technology | The Guardian

Covid misinformation remains on site for months adding to concern over impact of social media on young people

Lies and conspiracy theories about Covid-19, which have amassed millions of views and are accessible to young children, have been available on the social media platform TikTok for months.

TikTok accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers that discourage vaccination and peddle myths about Covid survival rates were uncovered by NewsGuard, an organisation that monitors online misinformation.

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

Facebook has just suffered its most devastating PR catastrophe yet | Siva Vaidhyanathan

Technology | The Guardian

We must demand that Facebook tell the full, unvarnished truth. Fortunately for us, the public, the truth tends to come through despite Facebook officials’ best efforts to obscure it

Imagine what it’s like to work at Facebook this week. For about five years much of the world has slowly turned against the service that once promised to connect the world and spread democracy and cookies and puppies and such. But this week, in the wake of revelations of serious malfeasance and moral irresponsibility by Facebook’s leaders, it must be unbearable to face friends and family, even distant Facebook friends.

In recent days, Frances Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s “civic integrity team”, has launched a deft and professional public assault on the company. Unlike previous Facebook whistleblowers, like former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, Haugen managed to capture the interest and attention of policy leaders and journalists around the world. We have to ask why Haugen has had so much traction and impact when Zhang, who was fired for raising objections within the company to Facebook’s human rights problems, did not.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

California companies can no longer silence workers in victory for tech activists

Technology | The Guardian

Silenced No More Act makes it illegal for firms to prevent employees from speaking out about harassment or discrimination

In an important victory for Silicon Valley activists and California workers, the governor has signed a law making it illegal for companies to bar employees from speaking out about harassment and discrimination.

The new law is the result of hard-fought advocacy work by those in the tech industry who have long spoken out against the restrictive confidentiality arrangements, known as nondisclosure agreements or NDAs, which are intended to protect industry secrets but have also created a culture of silence around wrongdoing.

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October 8th 2021, 5:12 pm

Tesla headquarters will move from California to Texas, Elon Musk announces

Technology | The Guardian

CEO confirms move in shareholder meeting after clashes with California officials over pandemic restrictions

Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will move its headquarters from California to Texas, following through on a threat he had hinted at for several months.

The company has been building a new plant in Austin and the CEO confirmed the move in a shareholder meeting on Thursday. He gave no timeline, however, and said the electric car maker will keep expanding its manufacturing capacity in the Golden State.

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October 7th 2021, 9:58 pm

For millions, the WhatsApp outage could have been a matter of life and death | Humza Jilani

Technology | The Guardian

Social media is a lifeline in many countries, and Facebook must do more to protect its systems from routine failures

Regulators in the US, UK and the EU are gearing up to probe Facebook over anticompetitive practices, its impact on the mental health of children and its destabilising impact on democracies.

As these investigations begin, we should think of the 4 October global outage as a warning of the dangers that come with piling the lifelines and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people into a single behemoth.

Humza Jilani led Project Lifeline’s medico-legal asylum project in Matamoros, Mexico, in 2019. His reporting has previously appeared in Foreign Policy. A Marshall scholar, he is an MPhil student in international relations at Oxford

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October 7th 2021, 2:25 pm

End of the satellite dish? Sky launches its own smart TV

Technology | The Guardian

Company says Sky Glass will be paid for ‘like a mobile phone’ and removes need for dish or set-top box

Sky has launched its own range of smart TVs, removing the need for customers to use a satellite dish or set-top box, as the pay-TV company shifts its offering to remain competitive in the streaming era.

The broadband-powered TV set, called Sky Glass, will be be available to buy in the UK from 18 October and in Sky’s other European markets next year. The new service will aggregate content from streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, as well as Sky channels and content from other broadcasters.

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October 7th 2021, 2:25 pm

‘Facebook can’t keep its head in the sand’: five experts debate the company’s future

Technology | The Guardian

Whistleblower Frances Haugen testified the company is harming children and putting profits over safety, but what lies ahead?

The congressional testimony of Frances Haugen is being described as a potential watershed moment after the former Facebook employee turned whistleblower warned lawmakers must “act now” to rein in the social media company.

But the impact of the hearing – in which Haugen used her time at Facebook and leaked internal research to build a case that it is harming children, destabilizing democracies, and putting profits over safety – is uncertain, as lawmakers, experts and regulators remain split over the path forward.

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October 7th 2021, 2:25 pm

Facebook’s role in Myanmar and Ethiopia under new scrutiny

Technology | The Guardian

Whistleblower Frances Haugen adds to long-held concerns that social media site is fuelling violence and instability

Whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony to US senators on Tuesday shone a light on violence and instability in Myanmar and Ethiopia in recent years and long-held concerns about links with activity on Facebook.

“What we saw in Myanmar and are now seeing in Ethiopia are only the opening chapters of a story so terrifying, no one wants to read the end of it,” Haugen said in her striking testimony. Haugen warned that Facebook was “literally fanning ethnic violence” in places such as Ethiopia because it was not policing its service adequately outside the US.

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October 7th 2021, 4:25 am
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