Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
UK politicians face legal challenge over self-destructing messages
by Paul Hill
The law firm Foxglove and the non-profit The Citizens have teamed up to challenge the government over disappearing messages on platforms like WhatsApp and Signal that are in widespread use by politicians, according to a report in The Guardian. The two groups say self-destructing messages are a threat to transparency and the archival of messages that are required in UK law.
Commenting on the legal challenge, Cori Crider, a director at Foxglove, said:
In 1958, legislation was passed in the UK that required documents to be archived. According to The Guardian, the law also applies to digital formats such as emails. The introduction of easy-to-use self-destructing messages means that politician can more easily sidestep this legislation and campaigners say this mustn’t be allowed to happen.
Clarity over whether digital communications were covered by the 1958 legislation came ten years ago when the Information Commissioner’s Office has to tell Michael Gove MP and his office to stop using private email accounts to conduct government work due to concerns that messages sent through these channels wouldn’t be archived as required by the law.
Speaking to the BBC, the Cabinet Office has said that processes are in place to record official communications and that there are periodic reviews to ensure that collection methods are sufficient.
Vodafone: Lockdown led to 40% jump in network usage
by Paul Hill
New research published by Vodafone UK reveals that there was a 40% increase in the amount of streaming and downloading on its network since the first UK lockdown that began on March 23, 2020. In normal times, it said the peak time for binge-watching boxsets was at 6:30 pm but during lockdown a quarter of adults admitted to watching their favourite shows at 11 am instead.
According to the broadband provider, Line of Duty, Friends, and Only Fools and Horses were among the top boxsets over the last 12 months. Other popular shows were Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey. The results were based on a group of 2,000 adults that were questioned as part of the study.
Commenting on these findings, Vodafone UK Consumer Director Max Taylor said:
Earlier this month, Vodafone UK announced the availability of Pro Broadband packages which start at £35 per month for 35Mbps. It described these packages as "unbreakable" because they come with Wi-Fi extenders to boost coverage and a SIM card so that you can stay online even if the broadband goes down. With more people learning and working from home, as well as streaming more content, Vodafone’s “unbreakable” internet seems like a timely product launch.
Ofcom: A third of users found hate speech on video sites in the last 90 days
by Paul Hill
The UK’s digital regulator, Ofcom, has published new findings that suggest a third of people who accessed video-sharing websites such as YouTube came across hateful content in the last three months suggesting content policing may not be working. The new findings were released to coincide with new rules, published by Ofcom, which video-sharing platforms (VSPs) must comply with.
Ofcom’s study found that a third of users had found hateful content online; the regulator said the content was normally directed towards certain racial groups, religious groups, transgender people and according to sexual orientation.
Beyond that content, a quarter of those asked said they had been exposed to bullying, abusive behaviour and other threats. A fifth of respondents said that they had witnessed or experienced racist content online and those from a minority ethnic background were more likely to have encountered this content.
As younger people tend to be more adept with technology, its unsurprising to hear from Ofcom that 13- to 17-year-olds were more likely to have been exposed to harmful content online in the last three months. Seven in ten of VSP users who responded said they came across harmful content but this rose to eight in ten among 13- to 17-year-olds.
The regulator also found that 60% of VSP users that responded were unaware of the safety and protection features on the websites they use and only 25% have ever flagged or reported content they thought was harmful. To help raise awareness, Ofcom has told VSPs that they need to introduce clear upload rules, make it easy to flag or report content, and it said that adult sites should introduce age-verification systems.
If sites fail to comply with Ofcom’s decisions, it will investigate and take action. Some of the measures it could enforce include fines, requiring a provider to take specific actions, and in serious cases, it could restrict access to the service.
UK consortium to boost health care with medical drones
by Paul Hill
A UK-based consortium made up of Skyfarer, O2, Cranfield University, Phoenix Wings, and Altitude Angel is attempting to improve health care by creating a drone network that can speed up patient response and sample return times as well as make blood deliveries needed for transfusions.
In the future, the consortium hopes to create a national infrastructure that will enable same-day delivery with autonomous drones but for the time being, it will be focusing on the Midlands area of England which include cities such as Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, and Wolverhampton.
In terms of its progress so far, the consortium has secured operational authorisation for extended visual line of sight operations (EVLOS) with an overweight unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from the Civil Aviation Authority. This will allow the group to do short-range flight tests which are due to commence after Easter.
In the next stage of the project, the consortium is going to carry out a study that will find out the best location for a potential drone corridor where UAVs will be able to deliver medical supplies without the need for a human driver. In the summer, the consortium will also perform delivery trials to see how the hardware performs.
If the consortium can prove UAVs are an effective method for medical supply deliveries it will improve the supply of blood needed for transfusions and it could also reduce the number of heavy-good vehicles on the roads. HGVs currently make up 17% of the UK’s domestic transport emissions so taking some of these off the roads will be beneficial.
Each of the members of the consortium is bringing unique expertise and resources. O2 will work with Ofcom to develop SIM cards for use in drones making medical deliveries to ensure they fly safely, Cranfield University will help stage the trials with its airport, Altitude Angel has the technology to let the consortium’s drones share airspace with planes safely and securely, Phoenix Wings will be providing a drone capable of carrying blood, and Skyfarer will co-ordinate. O2 said that Innovate UK will provide the funding for the project.
Sky re-brands NOW TV and introduces NOW Membership
by Paul Hill
Sky has announced that it’s re-branding NOW TV with a new name and look. From now on, the service will simply be called NOW and NOW Passes have been replaced by NOW Membership which begins at £3.99 per month, just like Passes. According to Sky, the new and less convoluted name aims to reflect the simplicity of the service.
Sky’s NOW service offers several NOW Membership offers refined for what you want to watch, they include Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, Kids, and hayu. Each of the Membership options can be enhanced with a £3 Boost each month which enables streaming across three devices at the same time in full 1080p HD and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
Commenting on the re-branding, Marina Storti, Managing Director at NOW, said:
The re-branding will begin in the UK before being adapted and rolled out in Italy, Ireland, and Germany. In the UK, the re-branding has already gone live on the NOW website.