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Digital Digest – 3 March

In this week’s digital digest we look at the NHS employing a data analytics firm to help cut patient backlog and the ASA’s ban on a cryptocurrency ad campaign.

We then take a look at big tech as Tesla doubles its car production in China and Apple joins a growing number of companies pulling out of Russia.

Closer To Home

Watchdog bans London tube Floki Inu cryptocurrency ad campaign

An advertising campaign for a cryptocurrency named after Elon Musk’s pet dog has been banned for misleading consumers. The advertisements encouraged people who had missed out on similar crypto crazes to get in on the action, but the Advertising Standards Agency judged that the advert trivialised the risk of investment despite small print on the advert warning that investments can “go up as well as down”.

The company’s use of a cartoon logo based on Musk’s dog, as well as naming it after the billionaire’s pet, were aimed at brand recognition but the ASA saw this as being used to underplay the potentially damaging effects of crypto investment. The position of the advertisement, on a tube network, was also cited as a factor contributing to the ruling due to the wide target audience that the advertisement spoke to.

This ruling is symptomatic of a wider appetite for increased regulation on crypto. The Treasury committed in January to cracking down on crypto advertisements by bringing them under the the Financial Conduct Authority’s remit.

Palantir technology to help cut NHS elective care backlog

Palantir, a US data analytics firm with ties to the defence and security industries, will roll out its software across 30 NHS hospital trusts after a pilot of its technology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust proved successful in reducing the inpatient waiting list by 28%. The NHS is currently facing a backlog of six million patients, it is hoped that the use of the tech can help alleviate some of this pressure.

Palantir has become a favourite partner of the NHS in recent years having been used during the pandemic for the management of PPE equipment and ventilators as well as helping to facilitate the successive vaccine rollout.

The six million patient backlog of those waiting for non-urgent medical services has increased from under four and a half million pre-pandemic. The technology is going to be used in various ways in order to facilitate smoother operations for the NHS, including to reduce the number of appointment cancellations.

Big Tech

Tesla plans to double car production in China

Tesla is planning to double production in China with an expansion to its Shanghai factory. Construction is understood to commence later this month.

Reuters understands that once the new plant is fully operational, Tesla will be able to produce up to two million cars per year, an increase from the 1.1 million produced in 2021. This figure would exceed the output from other Chinese plants, with Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen producing between 1 million and 1.6 million annually. Tesla’s impressive plans for expansion represent the rising demand for electric vehicles within both Chinese and global markets.

Tesla’s plans do not stop in China, with proposed plans for a new plant in Berlin. It is understood that approval has been delayed by a court case challenging a licence granted to its water supplier. The German plant is crucial to Tesla’s plans to compete with Volkswagen on the European market.

Apple joins companies pulling back from Russia over Ukraine attack

Apple joins other major firms in taking action against Russia following their widely condemned invasion of Ukraine. The tech giant released a statement on Tuesday 1st March, saying that it was ‘deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine’ and that they stood ‘with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence’.

Apple has halted all product sales in Russia, limited the use of Apple Pay and other services in Russian territory and removed Russian state media, RT News and Sputnik News from their Apple Store outside Russia. The decision came as big tech companies faced increased pressure to respond to the conflict. Apple joins other tech companies such as Reddit, who quarantined their r/Russia channel in response to rises in misinformation, and Meta, who have barred Russian state-run media from selling adverts on Facebook and Instagram.

Also In The News

  1. UK taxpayers are set to take a golden share in a top secret military tech firm Ultra Electronics, in return a takeover bid for the firm can be pushed through. See here.

  2. Fitbit, the Google owned fitness tech company, has recalled almost two million smartwatches due to a ‘burn hazard’. See here.

  3. The Home Office is targeting Facebook investors, including Vanguard and BlackRock, to pressure the tech giant to allow government access to encrypted content. See here.

  4. Airbnb has announced it will offer free housing to 100,000 refugees, covering the costs incurred by any host that agrees to take part. See here.

  5. Crypto exchange boss, Binance, has resisted calls for a blanket ban on Russian transactions. See here.

Worth A Read

  1. The Guardian: The data game: what Amazon knows about you and how to stop it

  2. The Daily Telegraph: Kanye West’s baffling, bizarre music player may be the future of music – and it’s British

  3. The Times: TikTok a new propaganda machine in Russian invasion


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