In this week’s Digital Digest we look closer to home at plans to push back sharing NHS patient data, Ofcom’s study into online habits during lockdown and the Sun’s Euros advert.
We then look at big tech as the state of Ohio sues Google, Facebook announces Trump’s ban extension and websites across the globe recover from unprecedented error.
CLOSER TO HOME
NHS patient data-sharing scheme pushed back over data-privacy fears
Plans to allow an NHS system to extract patient data from doctors’ surgeries in England have now been pushed back by two months amid worries over privacy. According to NHS Digital, the data will be used for a “wide variety of research and analysis to help run and improve health and care services”.
It replaces a data system called General Practice Extraction Service, which also allows for the study of pseudonymised data (and in certain cases, data with identifying elements). The other is what is seen as a lack of public information about the scheme, and the limited time for people to opt out.
Similar concerns led to the scrapping of an earlier data-sharing scheme in England in 2016 called Care.data. The extent to which this new system can get back on track entirely depends on the Government’s ability to assuage the public that their privacy concerns have been addressed.
British adults had more screen time during lockdown the rest of Europe
British adults spent more time online during lockdown than anywhere else in Europe, a new report by Ofcom has revealed.
Around half of UK adults – 49 per cent or around 26 million – visited an adult website or app during the pandemic. However lockdown saw an increase in romance scams, with money lost to fraudsters increasing by 12 per cent to £18.5 million.
TikTok in particular experienced ‘huge’ growth during the pandemic, Ofcom found, from 3.5 million UK adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million by March 2021.
‘Eur all invited’ says The Sun
Tabloid newspaper The Sun has launched a TV advert that sees father, son, family and friends celebrating the Euros football competition. The ad includes footage of a boy putting up a Sun-branded Euros poster on the fridge, his mum hanging bunting along the garden fence, the dad putting up a goal in the garden to play with friends before they all watch and enjoy a football match on the TV. A voiceover can be heard saying “Whether it’s your first tournament, or just feels like it, no one does football like The Sun. And ‘Eur all invited’.”
The ad was created by Pulse Creative, a News UK-dedicated joint venture between The&Partnership, M/SIX and Wunderman Thompson, and will run until 11 July across TV, radio and social media.
Ohio sues Google, claims tech giant should be regulated as public utility
The state of Ohio filed suit against Google on Tuesday, claiming the tech giant should be regulated as a public utility due to its “discriminatory and anti-competitive” practices. The complainant cited Google’s ability to create “no click searches,” which means a query that directs users “to other Google platforms, such as YouTube, Google Flights, Google Maps, Google News, Google Shopping and Google Travel.”
Google has claimed the lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers.
Facebook suspends Trump accounts for two years
Facebook has suspended former US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for two years. Head of Global Affairs & Former deputy-PM Nick Clegg wrote that Trump’s actions “constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available” and that Facebook would extend the restriction should he continue to post a risk to public safety. Clegg also shed light on Facebook’s policies, insisting that spreading misinformation was not enough to warrant a ban from the platform, but the speech must rise to the level of incitement to violence for moderators to justify removal.
Should Facebook reinstate Trump in two years time, he would have access to the social media platforms if he chooses to run in the 2024 presidential election. Nevertheless, Trump has hit back at the decision, calling it “an insult” to the millions who voted for him last year.
Websites back online after Fastly-linked glitch takes down internet
Thousands of government, news and social media websites across the globe were coming back online on Tuesday after getting hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to U.S.-based cloud company Fastly Inc.
High-traffic sites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times went down, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com.
Fasty said the bug had been triggered when just one of its customers had changed their settings, raising questions about the internet’s infrastructure.
ALSO IN THE NEWS
- 8.2 billion passwords have been leaked online in one of the biggest data breaches the world has ever seen
- NATO allies are to increase their AI defence co-operation to counter China’s growing dominance
- The US Senate passed legislation that provides more than $250bn to maintain a competitive edge over China in areas including AI, quantum computing and semiconductors
- 300 criminal gangs operating in more than 100 countries were duped into conducting illegal activities on an FBI monitored messaging app, leading to more than 800 arrests worldwide
WORTH A READ
- METRO: ‘We’ve reached a whole new demographic of people that we’ve been able to turn into customers!’: How one small business owner used digital marketing to boost her online sales
- FT: Down and out in Chinese tech
- The Drum: We need to reframe the debate on outcome-based pricing