2021 in Review: April-June
Over 1800 US Government bodies accused of using facial recognition without permission. According to data collected by Buzzfeed news, thousands of government bodies in the US had been using Clearview AI facial recognition technology with minimal public oversight, in an obvious violation of individual’s privacy.
Facebook avoided requests to apologise over huge data leak. Malicious actors abused a contract-binding feature on Facebook in order to leak of personal identifiable information on hundreds of millions of Facebook users. However, Facebook attempted to deflect criticism of its data security practises whilst also failing to apologise to its users.
Remote working job postings soared in the tech industry. The words “work anywhere” increasingly started to appear within tech jobs, as well as specifications such as an ability to “handle everything” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK first started talking about using its NHS app as a vaccine passport for foreign holidays. The National Health Service (NHS) app had usually been used by patients to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments, and see medical records. However, as the UK started to see itself reopening for non-essential travel, transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed a vaccine passport would also be added to the existing app.
The semiconductor crisis continued to spread and grow as a result of COVID-19, shifts in consumer purchasing, sanctions and a drought in Taiwan. The impact of increased demand for consumer electronics over the pandemic effect car manufacturers production of connected cars.
G7 countries cooperate on digital regulation. Digital and technology ministers outlined their agenda for how technology could be used to facilitate the post-COVID recovery, suggesting closer collaboration in important areas of the digital economy. The European Union and G7 countries signed an agreement outlining their agenda for digital and technology. It included improving online safety, developing a more collaborative regulatory approach, and promoting the free flow of data across borders.
UK government invests £166.5 million into green technology. The funding was to be awarded to innovators, businesses, and academics across the UK to help in developing technologies that improve carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen.
UK MP’s back push to stop tech giants from claiming super-deduction tax relief prevented. The move aimed to prevent companies such as Amazon from using the governments new super-deduction policy to minimise their UK tax liabilities fails to win support in parliament.
Nokia and Microsoft collaborate to offer public cloud AI use-case library for telecoms. Nokia’s AVA AI use-case library is now delivered as a service on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud. It claims to combine telco-grade security and instant web scale architecture scalability.
A report found that more data was stolen in January 2021 than all of 2017. The report, written by Imperva, found that the volume of data breaches was growing and showed no sign of stopping or even slowing.
Google to offer free tech skills training to UK jobseekers. The online training aimed to cover areas such as UX design and IT support, became available through the Department for Work and Pensions within the UK to help jobseekers.
UK announced plans to have digital border by the end of 2025. The UK home secretary stated plans for immigration reform includes border crossing technology, an online immigration status service and an electronic travel authorisation system.
AWS reveals plans to expand re/Start cloud skills programme across more of the UK and Ireland. This meant that, for the first time, the AWS re/Start programme was available for individuals in Northern Ireland and Wales. The programme started in 2017 with a specific focus on equipping young people and ex-military personnel with cloud skills, but since expanded to include people who had been made redundant from non-tech careers as well.
Orange announces Europe’s first 5G SA fully end-to-end experimental cloud network. Global operator to launch regions first standalone fully end to end cloud network from devices to IS in a cloud-native mode.
Visa to pay €1.8 billion for Swedish open banking fintech Tink. Tink, founded in 2012, provides an Open Banking platform that allows financial institutions, FinTechs, and merchants to create financial managements tools, products, and services for European consumers, and businesses based on their financial data.
Vodafone confirms that European data centres will be powered by 100% green energy by July 2021. The telecoms giant claimed that it was on course to hit its huge milestone in its sustainability push with its whole European operation set to be 100% renewable by the 1st of July.
European Union states that it will set up new cyber response unit. Proposed Joint Cyber Unit aimed to tackle an increasing number of serious incidents impacting public services, businesses and citizens of the EU.
Indian telecoms start 5G trials, with mass adoption remaining vague. Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel started 5G trials in cities across India, however widespread adoption seemed unlikely as 5G technology requires huge investments, and the country’s telecoms companies were already facing financial problems
UK and the US to collaborate on developing technology and science partnership. The partnership hoped to explore joint collaboration in areas such as research, defence, security, innovation, intelligence and law enforcement. They also aimed to make sure technology is ‘used as a force for good.’
IBM denied US government data requests, stating that the US government had ‘no jurisdiction’ to request data from its European entities. In its response, IBM said it declined on the basis that it was “inconsistent” with the company’s principles.
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