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Digital Digest – 20 August

Dose Media

In this week’s Digital Digest, we look at the backlash to the UK’s deployment of new facial-recognition AI CCTV guidance and the collapse of Amazon’s UK drone service.

We then take a look at big tech, as Wikipedia is hacked, Facebook bans the Taliban and US lawmakers who take on Apple and Google’s respective app stores.

CLOSER TO HOME

Privacy campaigners warn over new facial-recognition AI CCTV guidance given to police and councils

A proposed code of practice covering police use of live facial recognition in England and Wales has been criticised by human rights groups. One of the main critics, former CCTV watchdog Tony Porter said the new rules were “bare bones” and offered unclear guidance.

Live facial-recognition systems compare faces captured on closed-circuit television with those on a watch-list, alerting officers to a match. Despite two campaign groups calling for the practice to be ended entirely the Home Officehas hit back, saying the technology empowers police.

The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream

Five years ago Amazon’s Prime Air UK operations were the pièce de résistancein the conglomerate’s plans to introduce a drone delivery service. The public were promised delivery drones would become a reality “within months”.

However, these promises have not materialised. The project’s entire UK data analysis team is currently in redundancy rounds following round after round of redundancies in 2020 and 2021.

Amazon continues to be elusive on the future of the project and will not confirm whether it plans on going ahead with its drone delivery dreams in the UK or elsewhere. This comes as numerous employees and former employees speak out about the internal implosion of the project which had the potential to revolutionise e-commerce.

BIG TECH

Wikipedia hacked as swastikas appear across the site

Wikipedia users were confronted by the Nazi swastika on Monday after a hacker managed to edit the background template on a number of pages across the online encyclopedia.

A number of articles covering a diverse range of topics were affected in the hack, according to a Wikimedia spokesperson confirmed.

According to Wikimedia, the vandalism “was reverted by Wikipedia volunteers within five minutes” with additional protections added to templates across the site shortly after.

Facebook bans the Taliban

Facebook starts actively identifying and taking down Taliban content, following the group’s victory in Afghanistan.

The tech company has defended proactively removing Taliban content, telling the media as a terrorist organisation sanctioned under US law, it breaches the company’s “Dangerous Organization” policy.

Facebook has faced criticism in the past for failing to remove incitement and hate speech from its platform, which is likely why they have acted swiftly on this occasion.

US Lawmakers Take a Direct Shot at Apple and Google App Stores

The way in which smartphones and applications work in the future may change drastically if the US Congress approves a bill aimed at weakening the “gatekeeper control” wielded by tech giants.

This bill would be the culmination of recent attempts to regulate the power of what has been dubbed the “smartphone duopoly” of Apple and Google. More specifically, the new legislation would enable other tech companies to have a larger share in the market and democratise the way in which smartphone users are able to access and download apps from third party app stores.

Whether or not the proposed laws have the effect intended is another story, will there simply be a redistribution of power among existing corporations or an empowering of smaller companies so they can compete in an already saturated market?

ALSO IN THE NEWS

  1. A group of TikTok vigilantes collectively known as “The Great Londini” is hunting down and outing trolls and cyberbullies on the platform, claiming they can find someone’s real identity in seven to eight clicks. See here

  2. The US federal agency in charge of road safety is opening an official investigation into Tesla’s “self-driving” Autopilot system following 11 Tesla crashes since 2018. See here

  3. Facebook and Google announced their plans to build a new subsea cable network to improve internet connectivity across the Asia-Pacific region, connecting Singapore, Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia. See here

  4. Apple’s plans to try curb child sexual abuse material (CSAM) through measures such as scanning on-device images to find CSAM have generated backlash and worries over user protection. See here.

  5. Ransomware has evolved at a terrifying pace to the point of being a serious global threat to nations and organisations across the world, yet professionals in the cybersecurity industry are sceptical about efforts to counter its spread and growth. See here.

WORTH A READ

  1. The Drum: Minted: Why brands and agencies are rushing into NFTs

  2. Wired: Afghans are racing to erase their online lives

  3. Marketing Week: Machine learning is helping brands create insight-led customer experiences

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