Monday, 10 December 2018

Everything you need to know about Google’s controversial China plans in advance of Tuesday’s congressional hearing.

The search giant and other tech firms have had a history of issues in the country over where to draw the line on government censorship.

On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face a roomful of members of Congress demanding answers. One of the topics he’ll have to address is a growing area of concern from both the political left and right: His company’s previously secret plans to build a censored search engine in China.

Critics fear that the project, code-named Dragonfly, will enable the Chinese government to block its citizens from accessing information it doesn’t like and surveil its political opponents. A prototype of the product blacklisted specific search terms such as “human rights,” “Nobel Prize” and “student protest,” according to the Intercept.

It was also reported that Google would rely on a Chinese partner company for the infrastructure of the project, potentially leaving users’ search history vulnerable to be seized by the Chinese government, which regularly arrests and detains political dissidents.

By Shirin Ghaffary.
Full story at Recode.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Japan government to halt buying Huawei, ZTE equipment: sources.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to beef up its defenses against intelligence leaks and cyber attacks, sources told Reuters.

Chinese tech companies are under intense scrutiny from Washington and some prominent allies over ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.

A government ban in Japan will come after Huawei has already been locked out of the U.S. market and after Australia and New Zealand have blocked it from building 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

Full story at Reuters.
By Yoshiyasu Shida, Yoshifumi Takemoto.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

NASA Curiosity rover finds 'super shiny' object on surface of Mars.

NASA is to investigate the 'super shiny' object
found on the surface of Mars ( NASA )

NASA's Curiosity rover is to investigate a strange 'super shiny' object found on the surface of Mars.

Scientists said the rover is being sent to re-examine the small  shining object, which is being referred to as 'Little Colonsay'.

"One of the samples that we try to get a better look at is 'Little Colonsay", NASA said.

"The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny. 

"But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry.

By Asher Mcshane.
Full story at Standard.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Takeda shareholders agree to $60 bn Shire acquisition.

Takeda's near $60 bn purchase of Shire is the
biggest foreign takeover by a Japanese firm

Shareholders at Japanese drug giant Takeda on Wednesday approved a plan to buy Irish pharmaceuticals firm Shire in a deal worth around $60 billion, the biggest foreign takeover ever by a Japanese firm.

A group of rebel investors, including members of the founding family, tried to thwart the deal but were outvoted at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting held in the western city of Osaka where the company has its headquarters.

The scheme was "approved as originally proposed", said a statement from Takeda, adding it should come into effect in early January—pending approval from Shire shareholders, who are to vote on the merger plan later Wednesday in Dublin.

The deal, which will create one of the world's top 10 drug companies, caps a lengthy courtship by Takeda of its larger rival as it seeks to expand overseas.

By Miwa Suzuki.
Full story at Phys Org.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tumblr will ban all porn from its platform from December 17.

Many users of Tumblr are unhappy with a decision to ban all porn from the platform. 

It comes after child abuse images were found on the site, but has been criticised as a heavy handed approach given many of Tumblr’s most active users post legal adult content. 

From December 17, explicit content and most nudity will no longer be allowed on the site, with some non-sexual exceptions, such as a woman’s nipple while breastfeeding and health-related situations.

By Jen Mills.
Full story at Metro.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Brexit and digital identity – avoiding future restrictions on digital trade.

The UK has been a major contributor to European efforts to establish cross-border digital identities. Governments need to ensure that Brexit does not introduce unwanted restrictions that harm digital trade.

Regardless of your position on Brexit, the need for frictionless trade and cooperation across borders is critical for all nations. While this interaction is increasingly underpinned by digital technology, the notion that the internet has no borders, is not policed, or that e-commerce is any different, is flawed.

Unfortunately, the necessary cost of doing business and fostering international cooperation is not without friction and involves negotiating complex national and international regulations and tax schemes, as well as dealing with cultural differences. It is therefore highly likely that scrutiny of cross-border trade will only grow as the pace of digital transformation across society takes hold.

So how can commerce and cooperation be facilitated while mitigating risks and preventing fraud? To be competitive, any organisation must balance compliance, exposure to fraud and ever-greater customer reach with streamlined, secure onboarding processes and immersive customer experiences to attract and retain customers and protect its assets.

By Gillan Ward.
Full story at Computer Weekly.

Friday, 30 November 2018

DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather fined for promoting cryptocurrencies.

DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather are among
celebs in trouble over cryptocurrency ads

Both men concealed the fact that they had received money for promoting cryptocurrencies through their social media accounts.

Music producer DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr have settled charges in the US after they secretly received payments for promoting cryptocurrencies.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the pair have been fined without admitting or denying the accusations.

Mayweather failed to disclose that he had received promotional payments from three companies which had made Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) - a controversial method of raising capital by creating coins or tokens using the blockchain technology which underpins Bitcoin.

Full story at Sky News.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Data set to provide £30bn boost to Scotland’s economy.

Scotland’s economy stands to benefit from a £20 billion productivity boost if the opportunities of data are fully realised.

That was the view of Scottish Enterprise’s David Smith who spoke at The Scotsman Conference on Data Driven Innovation held in Paterson’s Land at the University of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Campus on Monday.

The event, chaired by Paul Forrest, chairman of MBN Solutions, was part of a series run in partnership with The Scotsman, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University to discuss the opportunities presented by the Data Driven Initiative (DDI) component of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal. 

Full story at Scotsman.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Scientist warns of misleading prostate cancer videos on YouTube.

Coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of an axial section through the human pelvis, showing prostate cancer. At centre is the enlarged prostate gland (pink) with a cancerous tumour (dark green, kidney-shaped). Read more: Twitter: | Facebook:

Videos on YouTube giving out medical information on prostate cancer aren’t to be trusted, say scientists. 

Many people turn to the internet in search of more details concerning health issues, with YouTube a prime location for explainer-type and advice videos. 

But research has found that 77% of the 150 most-viewed videos on the site relating to the disease contained factual errors or biased content, in either the video or its comments section.

By Jeff Parsons.
Full story at Metro.