News roundup – Apple thwarted by EU and Musk threatens to pull the plug on Twitter deal
Britain selects crypto technology to streamline markets
Britain will start testing distributed ledger technology (DLT), which underpins cryptoassets, for traditional market activities such as trading and settlement of stocks and bonds next year with the aim of becoming a global “crypto hub”, according to the finance ministry. It said DLT will make the financial market infrastructure more “innovative and efficient” for users by issuing financial assets in hours rather than days or weeks. The projects are set to be tested in a sandbox – a model UK regulators developed for nurturing fintech firms – that tests projects in environments involving real customers. The EU is finalising its own sandbox and rules for crypto markets.
EU deal forces Apple to change iPhone connectors by 2024
Apple must change the connector on iPhones sold in Europe by 2024, after EU countries and lawmakers agreed to a single technology for charging ports on mobile phones, tablets and cameras. The European Commission (EC) said that not only it will save users money but it will also be more straightforward. It added that Brussels has been requesting a single mobile charging port for over ten years, backed by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices. The move could see an increase in sales for Apple in 2024, according to analysts, encouraging Europeans to buy the latest tech instead of ones without USB-C.
Elon Musk threatens to pull the plug on Twitter deal
Elon Musk has threatened to walk away from his $44bn takeover of Twitter, accusing the social media company of “thwarting” his requests to learn more about its user base. This follows last week’s news that saw Twitter investors sue Musk over share price manipulation. In a letter filed with regulators, the Tesla owner said he was entitled to do his own measurement of spam accounts, yet Twitter defends its estimates. The letter stated that he is entitled to the data for transitioning Twitter’s business to his ownership and facilitating his transaction financing. It said Twitter’s actions are a “clear material breach” of its obligations and under the merger agreement and the Tesla owner reserves the right to terminate the transaction.
US Department of Defense welcomes AI with open arms
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within the Pentagon is accepting new contract proposals to advance algorithmic processing within the its AI projects. The proposals will drive its Artificial Intelligence Exploration initiative (AIE) which focuses on AI theory and application research. According to the program announcement, the goal of the AIE initiative is to invest in “high-risk, high-reward” topics that will lead to “quick” prototype development, and it will allow new technologies to refine the uncertainty estimates generated by algorithms to make better warfighting decisions, such as plotting the trajectory for an incoming fighter jet using data from several sensors or RADARs.
UK financial regulators to directly oversee cloud services
The UK’s financial watchdog will have the authority to make onsite visits to oversee cloud computing firms that provide “critical” services to financial companies, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The finance ministry said that over 65% of UK firms primarily used the same four cloud providers in 2020 which raised concerns of disruption if one of the cloud providers was hacked. Banks have already transferred some services to a handful of outside cloud computing firms to cut costs, but according to the ministry, it will designate which further services are to come under supervision of the Bank of England (BoE) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
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