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7 Jul

Grameenphone, Telenor and UNICEF join hands in Bangladesh to protect children online

Unicef, Grameenphone and Telenor have signed a partnership agreement in Dhaka on 4 July, whereby through a project  titled 'Strengthening and Scaling Child Online Protection in Bangladesh’ they plan to train over 1.2 million children on cyber safety. The program will also train 4,00,000 parents, teachers and caregivers on how to support in protecting children online and expects to reach up to 20 million people through integrated communication campaign and around 50,000 people in taking supportive action. The project also aims to come up with an action plan to mainstream child protection online initiative in Bangladesh.

5 Jul

Latin American governments urged to detail spectrum awarding plan 

In the last Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT19), much of the debate addressed the need to accord more spectrum to operators ahead of the arrival of 5G. Governments should award spectrum with a clear understanding of how it shall assist in achieving digital inclusion goals. That was one of the main outcomes of the CLT19, according to Bnamericas. Until September 2018, Latin American countries had awarded an average of 363,8MHz of spectrum. The amount represents only 28% of the 1300MHz advised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2015. Private stakeholders claimed that regulators should precise a clear view to operators to guarantee that they have legal security to make their investments. Telefónica highlighted that telecom operators make 70% of investment in the digital environment, but receive 40% of the income as a consequence of the over the top (OTT) emergence including Google and Facebook. The company pointed out that the sector has completely changed in the past 20 years and it is still regulated in the same way. The congress also stressed that high prices to award spectrum and taxes will result in less investment in infrastructure and high prices for the end users. The GSMA predicts that 5G technologies will contribute US$20,8 billion to Latin American economies by 2034. Facebook required changes in the regulatory focus because telecommunication is migrating from a voice to a data model. The congress was organised by the Latin American telecoms association (Asiet), the GSMA, the ITU, and Latin American development bank CAF. 


5 Jul

The Scottish government seeks IoT suppliers for the public sector

The Scottish government published a notice, looking for Internet of Things (IoT) suppliers to take part in a dynamic purchasing system of IoT technologies intended for the public sector (including universities, health sector and voluntary and charity organizations). According to the notice, although the Scottish public sector is in its early stage in IoT use, a growth is expected in the matter during the next two years. This announcement follows the launching of IoT Scotland which took place earlier this year.

3 Jul

Scientists use AI to develop flu vaccine

Scientists at Flinders University in Australia have developed a flu vaccine using artificial intelligence (AI). As part of the vaccine development process, scientists used two AI programs: one was taught to recognise vaccines that worked against flu and those that did not; the second created a large number of imaginary compounds and then put together a shortlist with what the program thought to be the 10 most effective. According to Professor Nikolay Petrovsky, the use of AI 'had accelerated the vaccine discovery process, cut costs massively, and had enabled the development of a more efficient vaccine'. The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funded the study, is now working on putting the vaccine on trial.

2 Jul

US NIST outlines proposals for federal engagement in setting AI standards

The US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a draft plan regarding the engagement of the US government in artificial intelligence (AI) standardisation processes. In NIST's view, the US government 'should commit to deeper, consistent, long-term engagement in AI standards development activities to help the US to speed the pace of trustworthy AI technologies'. As such, federal agencies need more AI standards-related knowledge, leadership, and cooperation. Then, the federal government has to promote focused research on how AI trustworthiness can be incorporated within standards. Expanding public-private partnerships to develop and use AI standards is another recommendation outlined by the NSIT. Lastly, the US administration should strategically engage with international parties to advance AI standards for US economic and national security need. The plan is under public consultation until 19 July 2019.

2 Jul

Civil rights audit concludes that Facebook’s policy against white supremacy is insufficient

Since March 2019 Facebook’s has implemented a new policy banning from the platform any content that used the term ‘white nationalist’.  An external audit, conducted by former American Civil Liberties Union (UCLU) director Laura Murphy, reported that Facebook’s present white nationalism policy is too limited, because it bans only explicit support of the term ‘white nationalism’ or ‘white separatism’. As a result, content that expressly supports white nationalist ideology without using the terms has flourished in the platform. Facebook reacted to the audit by having formalised a civil rights team at the platform. The team will identify hate slogans and symbols connected to white nationalism and white separatism. Despite Facebook’s efforts on content moderation, online intermediaries are exempted from liability for illegal third-party content in the United States.

2 Jul

Tik Tok being investigated for issues in handling data related to children



The Chinese video sharing Tik Tok is being investigated in the UK for how it handles the personal data of children and the security measures it takes for children in their platform. This investigation which began in February this year was triggered by  the fine imposed on the company by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for similar violations

Addressing the parliamentary committee, Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner said that the company was potentially violating the general data protection regulation (GDPR) which “requires the company to provide different services and different protections for children”.

1 Jul

Tech companies lobby against UK proposal to enforce duty of care

The Internet Association (IA), an American lobbying group formed by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter among others, have publicly attacked the UK online harms proposal that imposes online platform a duty of care to protect users. The government of the UK has published for consultation a regulatory proposal to address online harms, which includes the enactment of a statutory duty of care on online businesses for their users’ safety; the appointment of an independent regulator to oversee and enforce the regulation; and extraterritorial application of the statute. The proposal was opened to public consultation until 1 of July.

28 Jun

UK government plans to invest £22 million in tech for farming

UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced the names of 31 tech-agriculture projects that will receive government funding worth £22 million with an additional industry contribution of £8.8 million. The projects involve the use of Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in agriculture to cut down on pollution, minimise waste, and produce more food. The projects include the use of electricity instead of chemicals to kill weeds, development of ground penetrating radars, underground scans, and AI to monitor  and identify crops ready to harvest, and the use of sensors and GPS trackers in farms to allow the cattle to graze freely.

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