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Tech News

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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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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Microsoft earnings exceed $100bn on cloud services revenue
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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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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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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Cracking news: improved smartphone glass twice as likely to survive drops
Posted on Thursday July 19, 2018

New version of Gorilla Glass used in iPhone and Samsung devices could help make smashed screens a thing of the past

Glass-maker Corning has unveiled a new version of its Gorilla Glass used in the majority of smartphone displays, which it says is twice as likely to survive being dropped.

As phones get bigger, and come with glass on the back as well as the front, the potential for smashed devices has increased. While cases have helped, even heavily protected phone screens still end up shattered from impact and then stress from being bent, squeezed or bumped in a pocket or bag.

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Zuckerberg defends Facebook users' right to be wrong – even Holocaust deniers
Posted on Wednesday July 18, 2018

CEO explains decision not to censor conspiracy theories but says the platform will try to ‘reduce distribution of content’

Mark Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t “think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong”.

In an interview with Recode published on Wednesday, the CEO also explained Facebook’s decision to allow the far-right conspiracy theory website Infowars to continue using the platform, saying the social network would try to “reduce the distribution of that content”, but would not censor the page.

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Google fined £3.8bn by EU over Android antitrust violations
Posted on Wednesday July 18, 2018

Firm to launch appeal because ‘Android has created more choice for everyone, not less’

Google has been hit with a landmark €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union over “serious illegal behaviour” to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile phones.

The European commission imposed the record penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices using its Android operating system, which is used on 80% of all phones. Manufacturers that refused Google would not be allowed to use its Google Play online store and streaming service.

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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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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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Whatever happened to that $35,000 Tesla Model 3 you still can’t buy?
Posted on Friday May 25, 2018

As tax credits threaten to run out and more powerful and expensive versions launch, buyers are still waiting

This week saw Tesla’s enigmatic chief executive Elon Musk take to Twitter to announce two more powerful, and more expensive, versions of the auto firm’s Model 3 – the much lauded “mass market” vehicle that appears, for now, to be veering further and further away from its $35,000 price tag.

The new dual-motor Model 3 and its souped-up range-topping “performance” version, which costs $78,000 and, as Musk claims, will be 15% quicker than German rival BMW’s $66,500 (£59,905 in the UK) M3, are not unexpected. Tesla did a similar thing with its Model S, launching dual-motor and performance versions with ever more dizzying price tags.

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❤️ it or it, World Emoji Day is here
Posted on Tuesday July 17, 2018

Today’s the day to celebrate the little pictures that changed the way we talk online

Today is the fifth World Emoji Day – a day to celebrate the tiny images on our phones that have transformed the way people chat online. Here are some things you need to know about those funny little pictures :

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

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

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.

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

Major personal data hack uncovered in Singapore, affecting about a quarter of the population - government

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.

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.

Roblox blames 'gang rape' on hacker adding code to game
Posted on Wednesday July 18, 2018

The makers of the online children's game say a hacker uploaded malicious code to one of its servers.

Google hit with €4.3bn Android fine from EU
Posted on Wednesday July 18, 2018

The European Commission has claimed Android unfairly cemented Google's dominance of search.

 


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