Police use of facial recognition cameras has been ruled "unlawful" by the Court of Appeal, in what was described as a "major victory" in the fight against the tech. The ruling, which comes almost a year after the High Court dismissed a case by Ed Bridges over South Wales Police's deployment of the kit, will mean the force will have to halt their long-running trial of facial recognition cameras. The Court of Appeal said it had made the decision as there was no clear guidance on where the police's live facial recognition technology, which compares live CCTV footage to a watchlist of faces and is called "AFR Locate", could be used and who could be put on the watchlist. It said the South Wales Police had also not taken reasonable steps to make enquiries over whether the tech was biased against race or gender. Some changes were needed to regulatory framework for police forces to start using the technology, it said, although the court stopped short of ruling that new legislation was needed. However, the decision was hailed as a victory by Mr Bridges, who had brought the legal claim against South Wales Police in 2018, arguing his privacy and data protection rights had been violated after his face was scanned whilst shopping. Previously, the High Court had said this had not been unlawful use of the tech, although it had “deep concerns” over its potential threat to privacy. On the Court of Appeal ruling, Mr Bridges said: “I’m delighted that the Court has agreed that facial recognition clearly threatens our rights. “This technology is an intrusive and discriminatory mass surveillance tool. For three years now South Wales Police has been using it against hundreds of thousands of us, without our consent and often without our knowledge. We should all be able to use our public spaces without being subjected to oppressive surveillance.”
SoftBank has confirmed it is looking at a float or sale of Arm, the Cambridge microprocessor company, as it swung into the black on an $11.7bn (£8.9bn) profit following a record loss earlier this year. In an investor presentation, Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, confirmed Arm was looking at a sale, float or partial sale. SoftBank has been looking at options for Arm, the Cambridge company it snapped up for £24bn in 2016. It is understood to be in talks with Nvidia, the US graphics chip company, while The Telegraph reported last month it was considering re-listing the company earlier than 2023 it had initially planned. Mr Son would not confirm the name of the company it was in talks with, but said: “We are having a negotiation and within this negotiation... going public is one of the options, partial sale is one of the options, selling whole is one of the options.”
Breaking up big social media companies like Facebook would put billions of people's personal information at serious risk, a leading Oxford think-tank has said. In a new report from the Oxford Internet Institute, researchers warned over growing regulatory pressure to curb Big Tech's dominance, with some watchdogs having pushed for large US firms to be broken up. The researchers said, in Facebook's case, this could lead to a restructuring or a closure of the main Facebook site, or even the company as a whole. Carl Ohman, one of those behind the report, said: "Companies regularly fail and shut down, yet existing regulatory frameworks simply don’t answer the question of what happens if a company like Facebook folds." Around 2.6 billion people use Facebook, giving the site access to vast amounts of data on its users, from their birthdays to their hobbies and relationships. The researchers urged policymakers to establish a new regulatory framework for what they termed "Systemically Important Technological Institutions", which would treat social media sites in a similar way to critical national infrastructure and public utilities. This would require that it would be possible for the "essential services" provided by Facebook, such as acting as a place for discussion for billions of people, to be "maintained or transferred" to another company.
Google's inventors are developing a home radar system that could scan the “vital signs” of people at home and raise the alarm if they need help.The tech giant’s devices would not only be able to locate where children and adults were in a property but would apparently be so sensitive it could pick up on their heart rhythms or breathing rate.
Losses at digital banking start-up Revolut rose to £106.5m in 2019, from £32.9m in 2018, as the business continued to expand internationally and hired nearly 2,000 new employees. Revolut’s revenues increased sharply to £163m in 2019, up from £58m in 2018. The start-up offers personal and business accounts to customers as part of its branchless bank approach, with customers able to pay monthly fees of £6.99 and £12.99 per month for perks such as medical insurance and virtual cards. The business had signed up more than 10 million customers for its personal bank accounts by the end of 2019, as well as 220,000 business accounts. Revolut has been expanding heavily over the past year, with the total number of employees of the company rising from 633 to 2,261 by the end of 2019. The company is planning to expand to America and has so far raised $580m (£443m) this year at a $5.5bn valuation. However, it warned that growth in the amount of customers signing up for Revolut accounts slowed during the coronavirus pandemic and said the company saw existing customers making fewer transactions during lockdown. Customers made more domestic transactions during lockdown as the amount of international travel dropped, causing a dip in transaction fees for the company as it takes a smaller stake from domestic transactions compared to overseas transfers. The company added that some Revolut services such as cryptocurrency trading had seen a rise in usage during the pandemic, however.
Apple boss Tim Cook has achieved billionaire status as the iPhone maker comes within striking distance of becoming the first ever US company to hit a $2 trillion (£1.53 trillion) valuation. The former chief operating officer, who took over as chief executive in 2011 following the death of founder Steve Jobs, joins a growing group of tech bosses who are enjoying increases in wealth during the pandemic. The 59-year-old earned $125m in 2019 and owns 847,969 shares in Apple. Calculations from Bloomberg Billionaires Index based on his holdings and compensation suggest he is now in an elite club of tech billionaires. Mr Cook said in 2015 that he plans to give most of his fortune away and has already gifted Apple shares worth millions of dollars. His wealth could be lower if he has made other undisclosed charitable gifts. His stake is small compared with the mammoth positions of founders such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who last week saw his personal wealth hit $100bn. Apple shares are distributed widely among different investors and executives, so the world’s most valuable company has minted very few billionaires among its employees. However, the company is on the brink of becoming the world’s first $2 trillion company after it revealed an 11pc increase in revenue to $59.7bn in the three months to the end of June, defying analyst expectations. In 2011, Apple's valuation was $350bn. Shares closed 1.4pc higher on Monday at $450.91, valuing Apple at $1.93 trillion.
The world must come together to take action on killer robots, according to a new report.There is increasing agreement among various countries that fully autonomous weapons should be banned to avoid the creation of such killer robots, the new report warns.
Throughout its gilded 70-year history, Lego has both driven and been driven by global pop culture. Few of the world's biggest fantasy properties remain untouched by the Danish construction toy's brickification. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Ghostbusters; all have long had their own intricate building sets and lavish models - a rite of passage extended more recently to newer phenomena such as Stranger Things and even Overwatch. Nevertheless, there seems something particularly significant about the team-up between Lego and Japanese gaming giant Nintendo for this sprawling range of Super Mario sets. Few toy brands can lay claim to influencing as many childhoods as these two. Never competitors, as such, with Nintendo operating in the digital world and Lego the physical, but both driven by their own sense of identity and meticulous quality control. As such, one can imagine the process to produce these sets was somewhat arduous at times, as the companies thrashed out a way of preserving those identities. Not that you would necessarily guess that from the sets themselves; unusual dioramas with a digital twist that captures the spirit of both. It starts with Mario himself, of course. Rather than the traditional mini-figure, Lego Mario is a chunkier interactive toy with a light up LED face and chest, QR scanner, motion-sensing and Bluetooth. Switch him on and his eyes light up as he chirrups 'It's-a Lego Mario time' in Charles Martinet's recognisable tone. Lift him off the ground and he makes Mario's bounding jump sound, lay him down and he goes to sleep, remove his dungarees and... 'mamma mia!'.
Ahead of the official release of Apple’s new Watch software later this year, the company has now unveiled the public beta for watchOS 7 and you can install it now if you really want to.The tech giant launched the iOS 14 public beta in July, an update which includes new widgets on the iPhone screen as well as an exciting new Translate app which works offline.
Earth is flying towards the Perseids meteor shower, offering a spectacle to people looking up to the sky.The event – which happens at the same time every year, peaking around the evening of Tuesday, 11 August and into the following day – will allow people to see streaking meteors as they shoot across the night sky.
Thousands of people have been struck by how an infrared picture of Jupiter's cyclones shared by Nasa made the planet look like a "pepperoni pizza".Nasa shared the image of Jupiter's polar region on Instagram to show how its James Webb Space Telescope had come across a cluster of cyclones on the planet.
Trying to suppress the internet, Bill Clinton once said, is like "trying to nail jello to the wall". Back in 2000 he was talking about China, which was then nearing the end of its years-long negotiations to join the World Trade Organisation. Today the United States itself, and Mr Clinton's successor Donald Trump, are just as busily hammering away at gelatin. It is not only President Trump's campaign against TikTok, which has given the app's Beijing-based owner ByteDance just 45 days to flog it to an American company. It is also his administration's general vow to disconnect from all "untrusted" Chinese apps, including WeChat – a sprawling "super-app" used by about one billion people for everything from hailing taxis to buying film tickets, whose exclusion from Apple's App Store could cut iPhone sales in China by 30pc. The European Union is also lending a hand. Its Privacy Shield agreement, which lets companies freely transfer data between it and the US, was recently struck down in court, while its regulators are growing ever more aggressive. Margrethe Vestager, the EU monopoly enforcer whose promotion in December was viewed as a top-level endorsement of her approach, told the Telegraph in April that she wanted to protect European start-ups from American "shopping spree[s]". All of which leaves Britain trapped in the middle, forced to choose which version of the internet it should cling to most closely. With the Government having reportedly given the nod to TikTok to establish its new global HQ in London, despite the pressure it received from Trump over Huawei, the flashpoint may not be far off.
Scientists have used mathematical modelling developed by Alan Turing to learn more about the behaviour of birds. Researchers used the method to study why flocks of long-tailed tits segregate themselves into different parts of the landscape. The team tracked the birds around Sheffield's Rivelin Valley which eventually produced a pattern across the landscape, and using maths helped the researchers to reveal the behaviours causing these patterns. Natasha Ellison, PhD student at the University of Sheffield who led the study, said: "Mathematical models help us understand nature in an extraordinary amount of ways and our study is a fantastic example of this. "Long-tailed tits are too small to be fitted with GPS trackers like larger animals, so researchers follow these tiny birds on foot, listening for bird calls and identifying birds with binoculars. "The field work is extremely time consuming and without the help of these mathematical models these behaviours wouldn't have been discovered."
Is it safe to ride public transit during the coronavirus pandemic? Transit systems around the world are requiring riders to wear masks and encouraging people to socially distance. Surfaces are also believed to pose a risk, though to a lesser degree, and transit systems are employing a variety of cleaning techniques.
Uber must begin classifying their drivers as employees, a California judge has ruled, condemning the company's "prolonged and brazen refusal" to comply with the US state's law. The app-based taxi company and its US competitor Lyft are being sued by the California Attorney General for failing to comply with a new law setting strict boundaries on when companies can classify workers as independent contractors, rather than employees who are entitled to benefits such as sick leave and health insurance. Uber has more than 100,000 drivers in California. In an order granting an injunction requested by the Attorney General to enforce the law, San Francisco judge Ethan Schulman said the state had demonstrated an "overwhelming likelihood" of winning the case. He rejected Uber's main defence, that drivers did not form a central part of its business, arguing that it "flies in the face of economic reality and common sense". Edan Alva, a Lyft driver and member of Gig Workers Rising, a California-based driver advocacy group, said: "Today, the court sided with workers and not corporations." Enforcement of the injunction will be delayed by 10 days to give the companies a chance to appeal, something Uber said it planned to do. Uber and Lyft have long argued that their business model should fall outside of traditional labour laws, offering drivers greater flexibility, but opponents argue that they underpay drivers, forcing them to work long hours to make a living. Uber has also been successfully taken to court in the UK over its practices. The Supreme Court is set to rule on its final appeal later this year.
The Pentagon plans to free up a big chunk of its military airwaves in the U.S. for high-speed internet service, part of a broader push to get ahead of China in the deployment of 5G wireless technology. The Trump administration announced Monday that it has identified radio spectrum used for radar defense systems that can be shared with commercial telecommunications providers without compromising national security. 5G is a new technical standard for the “fifth generation” of wireless networks that promises faster speeds; less lag, or “latency,” when connecting to the network; and the ability to connect many devices to the internet without bogging it down.
The volume of water loss from Antarctica’s floating ice shelves over the past 25 years would fill the Grand Canyon, according to a new study published on Monday.The continent’s ice shelves were found to have lost nearly 4,000 gigatons since 1994 due to melting from increased heat in the ocean as a result of the climate crisis.
Confusing Covidsafe app message led people to believe they had coronavirus, documents showNSW health department alerted its federal counterpart after GPs and testing clinics reported visits from ‘alarmed patients’
The European Union has begun critical talks with the US to rebuild a data-sharing deal that covers 800m people on both sides of the Atlantic. The Privacy Shield, the mechanism that allows thousands of companies to freely transfer personal data between the EU and the US, was invalidated after a landmark decision from Europe’s top court on July 16, dealing a blow to thousands of companies who depend on it to conduct ordinary business. Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce, said: “The European Union and the United States recognise the vital importance of data protection and the significance of cross-border data transfers to our citizens and economies. “We share a commitment to privacy and the rule of law, and to further deepening our economic relationship, and have collaborated on these matters for several decades.” The European Court of Justice threw out the framework amid concerns that government surveillance meant the US could not guarantee the privacy of Europeans to a standard set by the General Data Protection Regulation. Failure to reach an agreement could complicate Britain’s negotiations over its own treaty that would allow continued data transfers between the UK and EU after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Gene manipulation using algae could grow more crops with less waterEnhanced photosynthesis holds promise of higher yields in a drought-afflicted future