India reportedly wants to build its own WhatsApp for government communications

India may have plans to follow France’s footsteps in building a chat app and requiring government employees to use it for official communications. The New Delhi government is said to be pondering about the need to have homegrown email and chat apps, local news outlet Economic Times reported on Thursday. The rationale behind the move […]

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Europe should ban AI for mass surveillance and social credit scoring, says advisory group

An independent expert group tasked with advising the European Commission to inform its regulatory response to artificial intelligence — to underpin EU lawmakers’ stated aim of ensuring AI developments are “human centric” — has published its policy and investment recommendations. This follows earlier ethics guidelines for “trustworthy AI”, put out by the High Level Expert […]

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NSA improperly collected Americans’ phone records for a second time, documents reveal

Newly released documents reveal the National Security Agency improperly collected Americans’ call records for a second time, just months after the agency was forced to purge hundreds of millions of collected calls and text records it unlawfully obtained. The document, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, shows the NSA had collected a “larger than […]

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UK law review eyes abusive trends like deepfaked porn and cyber flashing

The UK government has announced the next phase of a review of the law around the making and sharing of non-consensual intimate images, with ministers saying they want to ensure it keeps pace with evolving digital tech trends. The review is being initiated in response to concerns that abusive and offensive communications are on the […]

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U.S. Senator and consumer advocacy groups urge FTC to take action on YouTube’s alleged COPPA violations

The groups behind a push to get the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate YouTube’s alleged violation of children’s privacy law, COPPA, have today submitted a new letter to the FTC that lays out the appropriate sanctions the groups want the FTC to now take. The letter comes shortly after news broke that the FTC […]

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Sidewalk Labs’ blueprint for a ‘mini’ smart city is a massive data mine

Sidewalk Labs, the smart city technology firm owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, released a plan this week to redevelop a piece of Toronto’s eastern waterfront into its vision of an urban utopia — a ‘mini’ metropolis tucked inside a digital infrastructure burrito and bursting with gee-whiz tech-ery. A place where high-tech jobs and affordable […]

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Hackers are stealing years of call records from hacked cell networks

Security researchers say they have uncovered a massive espionage campaign involving the theft of call records from hacked cell network providers to conduct targeted surveillance on individuals of interest. The hackers have systematically broken in to more than 10 cell networks around the world to date over the past seven years to obtain massive amounts […]

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This robot crawls along wind turbine blades looking for invisible flaws

Wind turbines are a great source of clean power, but their apparent simplicity — just a big thing that spins — belie complex systems that wear down like any other, and can fail with disastrous consequences. Sandia National Labs researchers have created a robot that can inspect the enormous blades of turbines autonomously, helping keep our green power infrastructure in good kit.

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Climate change, AI and ethical leadership in ‘big tech’, with Amazon principal UX design lead Maren Costa

“I just want to be proud of the company that I work for,” Maren Costa told me recently. Costa is a Principal UX Design Lead at Amazon, for which she has worked since 2002. I was referred to her because of her leadership in the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group I covered earlier this […]

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Facebook makes another push to shape and define its own oversight

Facebook’s head of global spin and policy, former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, will give a speech later today providing more detail of the company’s plan to set up an ‘independent’ external oversight board to which people can appeal content decisions so that Facebook itself is not the sole entity making such decisions. In […]

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