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Tech News

WhatsApp to restrict message forwarding after India mob lynchings
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

Facebook-owned messaging service wants to crack down on viral spread of hateful misinformation

WhatsApp’s users will only be able to forward messages to 20 people, as the Facebook-owned messaging service attempts to crack down on the viral spread of hateful misinformation.

In India, where false rumours about child abduction spread virally over WhatsApp, leading to several vigilante murders over the past year, the new limit will be even stricter: each message can be forwarded just five times. In that country, where according to Facebook “people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world”, WhatsApp is also removing the “quick forward” feature, a button that appears next to photos, videos and links. The previous forwarding cap, rarely hit by users, was more than 250.

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NHS to receive £487m technology boost
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

Matt Hancock lists top three priorities as tech, workforce and illness prevention

The health and social care secretary has pledged almost half a billion pounds to transform technology in the NHS in an attempt to reduce staff workloads and improve patient care.

In his first speech since being appointed to the post, Matt Hancock listed technology as one of his top three initial priorities and evangelised about how it could help achieve improvements in the other two – workforce and prevention of illness.

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Our obsession with sci-fi technology: Chips with Everything podcast
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

In July 2018 a Dutch company showcased what it calls the first ever flying car already fit for purpose, at the Farnborough Airshow. But do we need flying cars in our lives?

Subscribe and review: Acast, Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, AudioBoom, Mixcloud. Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter, or email us at chipspodcast@theguardian.com.

Any time technology throws up a new problem for society, you’re guaranteed to see someone say, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got this.”

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Microsoft revenue exceeds $100bn boosted by cloud services
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

Strong results attributed to reorganizing the company’s priorities to cloud computing and artificial intelligence

Microsoft’s revenue exceeded $100bn for the first time in fiscal year 2018, the company reported Thursday, as the legacy software company’s efforts to reinvent itself as a major player in cloud computing continued to pay off.

Microsoft stock jumped more than 4% in after-hours trading as the company beat analyst expectations with earnings for the quarter of $8.8bn, or $1.14 per share.

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Donald Trump lambasts EU over $5.1bn fine for Google
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

  • ‘They have truly taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!’
  • Google guilty of ‘serious illegal behaviour’ over Android apps

Donald Trump has attacked the European Union’s decision to fine Google $5.1bn (£3.8bn) for “serious illegal behaviour”.

The European commission announced the record fine on Wednesday after an investigation found the tech company had required smartphone operators to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps or lose access to its online store and streaming service.

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FamilyOFive: YouTube bans 'pranksters' after child abuse conviction
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

Michael and Heather Martin were sentenced to five years of probation last year for treatment of children in videos

YouTube has banned a family of vloggers from its platform, after the parents were convicted of child neglect in the course of filming their popular “prank” videos.

Michael and Heather Martin,who post videos under the name FamilyOFive, were sentenced to five years of probation for child neglect in September last year, after viewers raised alarm over their treatment of their children in videos.

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Farting unicorn row: artist reaches settlement with Elon Musk
Posted on Saturday July 21, 2018

Tom Edwards from Colorado, who challenged Musk’s use of motif without attribution, reaches agreement with Tesla tycoon

A Colorado artist says he has reached a settlement with Elon Musk after challenging the Tesla tycoon’s use of a farting unicorn motif that he had drawn as an ironic tribute to electric cars.

Musk used the cartoon image on Twitter, without attribution, to promote his Tesla electric car range, and ignored Tom Edwards’ attempts to come to a licensing arrangement, telling the artist’s daughter it would be “kinda lame” to sue.

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Facebook suspends another analytics firm amid questions over surveillance
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

Crimson Hexagon suspended as concerns surface over company’s federal contracts and ties to Russia and Turkey

Facebook has suspended a social media analytics firm from accessing user data while it investigates potential violations of its policy barring surveillance.

The firm, Crimson Hexagon, boasts an impressive list of blue chip clients and claims to have collected more than 1tn public social media posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sources. It uses artificial intelligence and image analysis to monitor social media and provide customers with insights into public sentiment about their brands.

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Facebook to publish data on Irish abortion referendum ads
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

Social media company to provide details of spending on ads targeting Irish voters

Facebook is to publish comprehensive data on political advertising during Ireland’s abortion referendum campaign, giving an unprecedented insight into targeting of voters on social media, and setting a powerful precedent for election transparency.

The US company has told Irish politicians it will provide anonymised details of the amount spent on targeting Irish voters on its platform between 1 March and 25 May, and the number of referendum-linked ads that had been purchased.

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Mark Zuckerberg's remarks on Holocaust denial 'irresponsible'
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

Facebook founder had suggested site did not need to remove ‘unintentional’ denial

Mark Zuckerberg has been criticised by Jewish groups and anti-racism organisations for suggesting Holocaust denial should be allowed on Facebook because it could be unintentional.

In an interview on Wednesday, the Facebook founder said he found Holocaust denial “deeply offensive”, but added: “I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong … It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent.”

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Hoverboards: why they haven't got off to a McFlying start
Posted on Tuesday July 03, 2018

The gadgets inspired by Back to the Future Part II’s floating skateboards have failed to deliver

We could start by saying “they” didn’t promise us hoverboards. People want hoverboards because they saw one in the disappointing sequel Back to the Future Part II . But that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried to make them. Like other colourful retrofuturist fantasies, hoverboards were a lustmotif that spoke to a whole generation in the way that flying cars and jetpacks did to baby boomers.

Problem No 1: how would this thing hover? We have four choices: some type of thrust, a cushion of air, maglev or magic.

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What’s the best laptop for £300?
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

Jacy wants a laptop to run Excel spreadsheets but her budget is only £300. What are the best options?

What’s the best laptop for £300?

I saw your article helping someone find the right laptop for under £700, which I found very useful. I also need a laptop, mainly to run Microsoft Excel. I’d like a big screen and plenty of storage for under £300. Jacy

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Can I add an iPhone and Chromebook to my all-Microsoft system?
Posted on Thursday July 12, 2018

If Paul adds an iPhone and Chromebook to his Microsoft devices, will it lead to a mess of email addresses and accounts?

Over the past few years I have been using all Microsoft-oriented products: a Windows 10 laptop and desktop, a Windows phone (Lumia 950) and a Surface 2 (Windows RT) tablet. One advantage is that they all log on to a single Windows account with an Outlook email address. I use Outlook (from Office 365) to manage my email, contacts and calendar.

Because of the poor app support for the phone and Surface 2, I’m wondering about getting an iPhone and a Chromebook to replace the tablet and laptop. My laptop needs are likely to diminish once I have finished my PhD, and will be mainly email, word processing and presentations.

When this column started, in a previous century, most users only had one PC. Home users did not have broadband, so email was collected via a dial-up modem. Some people had handheld “organisers” from Palm, Psion and other suppliers, but they synced with PCs. Life was simple.

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What should I do about all the GDPR pop-ups on websites?
Posted on Thursday July 05, 2018

Barbara is constantly being interrupted by pop-ups about the new GDPR. Is there anything she can do?

Because of GDPR, it feels as though my internet access – my access to information – is now more restricted. I am constantly being interrupted by pop-ups that want me to agree to the website’s privacy policy, use of my data and so on, in order to “personalise my experience”. After recent revelations about unauthorised use of personal data, I’m wary of agreeing without checking what their proposals are, but I often just close the page because there are too many options and it’s too much of a bother. Am I being too paranoid? Barbara

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) only came into force on 25 May and it will take a while for some websites to adapt. Breaking the rules can result in fines of up to €20m, so at this point, information providers are probably more paranoid than you are.

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Can my employer read emails in my Gmail account?
Posted on Thursday June 28, 2018

Martin works for a large company that uses G Suite where the tech team can accesses employees’ emails. Can he prevent this?

I work for a large company and use the Gmail set up for my account. As a senior manager, I have many confidential conversations internally and externally via email.

I have found out that one of the tech guys accesses employee’s emails when requested to carry out checks by the CEO. Do they have the right to do this? I think it creates a feeling of mistrust and insecurity. Can I lock my account so only I can access it? Martin

Historically, the assumption has always been that companies own and can access mail used for company business. When I was a manager, I dictated letters to a secretary who typed them and filed copies. I never reached a level where these filing cabinets were locked and inaccessible, but they contained nothing of personal interest.

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Facebook's plan to kill dangerous fake news is ambitious – and perhaps impossible
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

New policy to tackle content that could fuel violence may be well-meaning, but the complexity of the task is mind-boggling

Facebook has been grappling with its role in spreading false news and disinformation for a few years, but a spate of mob violence in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar have spurred the social network into a knee-jerk policy change.

Until now, Facebook has dealt with disinformation by making it less prominent in people’s news feeds. This week, the company announced it would start to delete inaccurate or misleading information created or shared “with the purpose of contributing to or exacerbating violence or physical harm”.

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The EU fining Google over Android is too little, too late, say experts
Posted on Wednesday July 18, 2018

Industry analysts fear action against anti-competitive behaviour will punish consumers more than Google

The European commission has fined Google £3.8bn for anti-competitive behaviour regarding its Android mobile operating system. It’s looking to force the company to cede some control, but is it too little too late?

The record fine is not to be dismissed, but for Google it is the EU’s suggested remedy – the prising loose of its tight grip around Android – that may have the largest impact.

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The truth about gaming disorder, from Fortnite to World of Warcraft
Posted on Friday June 22, 2018

As the number of young gamers has risen sharply, so have addiction narratives

Gaming disorder may be a newly recognised condition, but disordered gaming is anything but new. In 2010, a Korean couple was arrested for fatal child neglect spurred by an obsession with Prius Online. Five years earlier, another Korean man collapsed and died after a 50-hour session playing StarCraft in an internet cafe.

In the west, World of Warcraft, released in 2004, was one of the first games to trigger addiction narratives in the mainstream press, with the game blamed for causing college students to drop out of university and others losing careers and families.

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Fears mount over WhatsApp's role in spreading fake news
Posted on Sunday June 17, 2018

App blamed for circulating false information in India, Brazil, Kenya and now the UK

Abijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das were driving back from a visit to a waterfall in the Indian province of Assam earlier this month when they stopped in a village to ask for directions. The two men were pulled out of their car and beaten to death by a mob who accused them of stealing children.

“The villagers got suspicious of the strangers as for the last three or four days messages were going around on WhatsApp, as well as through word of mouth, about child lifters roaming the area,” Mukesh Agrawal, a local police officer said.

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What would you do if your teenager became an overnight Instagram sensation?
Posted on Sunday July 22, 2018

After photographs go viral, your child becomes a social-media influencer and a celebrity on Instagram. Should you step in? Parents reveal the contrasting conflicts of instant fame

When Charlotte D’Alessio was 16 she accidentally became a social media influencer. The Canadian-born teen had recently moved from Toronto to Los Angeles with her family when, in the spring of her first year in LA, she attended the music festival Coachella with a few of her new mates.

While at Coachella, Charlotte and her friend Josie changed outfits several times, taking a few pictures of themselves in bodysuits, bikini tops and jean shorts (the typical Coachella nouveau-boho uniform) and posted them on social media. So far so normal. But when the successful LA photographer Bryant Eslava took some photos of the girls and tagged them on his account, their images began to go viral. Soon the girls were seeing themselves everywhere, featured in roundups of the festival and in the “popular” galleries of Tumblr and Instagram. They were gaining hundreds and thousands of followers by the minute and being followed by strangers who’d comment “I found them!” and then tag their image to their followers in turn.

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Hackers 'targeting US mid-term elections'
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

According to Microsoft, at least three Congressional candidates have been targeted by hackers.

Elon Musk's farting unicorn fight settled
Posted on Saturday July 21, 2018

The billionaire chief executive of Tesla got in a row with a Colorado potter over use of the image.

India lynchings: WhatsApp sets new rules after mob killings
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

The changes come as violence in India is blamed on rumours of child abductions, spread via WhatsApp.

Singapore personal data hack hits 1.5m, health authority says
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

The attack by hackers on a health database has affected about a quarter of the population.

Hackers net almost $1m in Russian bank raid
Posted on Friday July 20, 2018

The theft is the latest in a series by the MoneyTaker gang which has targeted Russian banks

UK criticises security of Huawei products
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

The report revealed shortcomings in the Chinese firm's engineering processes.

Zuckerberg in Holocaust denial row
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

The Facebook founder's assertion that Holocaust deniers should be given a voice has outraged many.

PUBG game apologises for 'offensive mask'
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

The makers of a popular online game apologise after an in-game item upsets some Korean fans.

Money to help Trump immigrants rejected
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

A software company criticised for working with US Border Control has a donation to a refugee charity rejected.

Google's Loon brings internet-by-balloon to Kenya
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

The network of balloons travels by predicting the speed and direction of winds in the stratosphere.

 


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