by Sarah Potter
Monday…already?! We guess that means that here is your latest round-up of all the big tech industry news. Facebook never fails to provide us with a newsworthy headline, and they join Apple, a botnet network, broadband and a game-changing charger in this week’s top stories. Read on to learn more.
Facebook arguing for LESS privacy? Who’d have guessed that one… With Apple launching ‘ATT’ (App Tracking Transparency) to its devices - coming to iPhones in “early spring”, for the first time, apps will now require users’ permission in order to track them around the web.
Apple’s ATT plans have brought stark criticism from Facebook, which claimed late last year that it would kill small businesses by preventing them from advertising to would-be customers.
Tim Cook hit back on Thursday, defending ATT and attacking Facebook. He said the company expected many users to block tracking entirely.
So which side of the fence do you sit on? Is tracking a small price to pay for targeted ads, or is Apple the good guy in protecting its users?
Much has been discussed about the digital poverty divide – but this is even clearer evidence that something needs to be done. After all, decent connectivity is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s vital for accessibility to many key services.
According to a survey by Citizens Advice, one in six households is struggling to afford broadband during the current UK lockdowns. The charity warned that the poorest people were effectively being “locked out” of access to key services. Only three of the 13 largest broadband providers offer affordable tariffs for those on low-income benefits, it said.
It is calling on the government to force providers to offer cheaper plans to people struggling financially.
If you’d like to support some of our work in closing the digital poverty divide, you can donate here.
In positive news, and in the fight against tech used for malicious purposes, Emotet, one of the world's most dangerous cybercrime services, has been taken down following one of the largest ever internationally-coordinated actions against cyber criminals.
Although it began as banking malware designed to steal financial credentials, Emotet had become an infrastructure tool leased out to cyber criminals to break into victim computer networks and install additional malicious software.
It took law enforcement across the UK, North America and Europe over two years to map the system's infrastructure. With that information secured, National Police of Ukraine raided properties to capture the computers it was being controlled from.
Although they are unable to uninstall the malware from victim's computers, the infected machines are now being redirected towards infrastructure which the police are controlling - preventing criminals from using them to steal more data or send phishing emails.
Charging your phone. It started with those tiny, frayed cables where you had to leave your phone on the other side of the room to charge. This slowly progressed to the 2 metre cords that allowed you to browse while charging, and most recently we had the introduction of wireless charging pads.
But here’s the news that every person who always loses cables, and ‘forgets’ to stick their phone on charge, will rejoice at: Xiaomi has unveiled the new Mi Air Charge technology that can remotely charge your devices without the need for cables or pads.
They have been developing charging tech has five-phase interference antennas built in to accurately detect and latch onto a smartphone. Then, 144 antennas transmit concentrated millimetre waves directly to the phone to charge the device.
Unfortunately, there are currently no details on when it'll be available or what devices will be compatible with the tech. It's likely you'll need to have a specific smartphone to work with this technology when it is on sale. But we say ‘watch this space’ and expect solutions like this to trickle down into the mainstream.
Well, that's your roundup for this week - until next time!