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DIGIT Tech News Roundup: 25th of October 2019

Ross Kelly


Tech News

In this edition of the DIGIT Tech News Roundup column, we highlight some of the top-trending technology and business news stories in the week beginning 21st October 2019. 

DIGIT’s Top-trending Tech News Stories

Facebook prepares to tackle general election misinformation campaigns

Facebook will implement new measures to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation during the next UK general election, the company has confirmed.

Measures set to be launched include an extension to its current partnership with fact-checking service Full Fact and improvements to political ad archives to boost transparency.

Any political ads and content related to social issues – such as the environment, immigration or health – will require the poster to verify their identity. Details on who has paid for election ads will be stored on the company’s political archive and can be explored by anyone regardless if they are a Facebook user or not.

Facebook’s vice president of policy solutions, Richard Allen, outlined the social media giant’s plans in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

“Anybody who wants to run a political ad on our platforms in the UK must go through a verification process and provide ID documents to prove who they are and that they live here,” Allen explained.

“Political ads are then labelled so you can see who has paid for them. We also put them into an Ad Library for seven years so that everyone can see what ads are running, what types of people saw them, and how much was spent.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

SoftBank completes multi-billion-dollar WeWork rescue deal

Softbank will inject nearly $10 billion into WeWork as part of a bailout scheme to achieve greater control of the beleaguered property behemoth.

The funding package will include $5 billion (£3.9bn) in new financing, as well as the launch of a tender offer of up to $3 billion (£2.3bn) for existing shareholders, Softbank confirmed yesterday.

Part of this deal will see the Japanese investment group “accelerate” an existing commitment to provide $1.5 billion in funding for WeWork.

Announcing the funding package, SoftBank chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, commented: “It is not unusual for the world’s leading technology disruptors to experience growth challenges as the one WeWork just faced.

“Since the vision remains unchanged, SoftBank has decided to double down on the company by providing a significant capital infusion and operational support. We remain committed to WeWork, its employees, its member customers and landlords.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Topolytics secures £500k contract to build digital waste tracking system

Edinburgh-based data analytics business, Topolytics, has been awarded a £500,000 contract to build the UK’s first digital waste tracking system.

The system will track and analyse waste transactions across the UK and enable environmental regulators in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to generate an up-to-date view of waste movements. Long-term, the system could help drive improvements to the UK’s waste management systems and support efforts to counter waste crime.

The contract will be administered by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under the UK GovTech Catalyst programme.

This builds on a feasibility study undertaken earlier this year, which saw the Edinburgh business collaborate with the Ordnance Survey to explore how the waste tracking system could work.

The second phase of the project will see Topolytics once again team up with the Ordnance Survey, as well as new partners Google Cloud and SAP, to develop a working version of the data-driven tracking system. This will be based around the company’s WasteMap analytics platform.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Edinburgh Council reveals plans to reach carbon neutral status

The City of Edinburgh Council has published its road map to help the capital achieve ‘carbon neutral’ status by 2030.

Published this week, the ‘short window improvement plan’ outlines a series of immediate and short-term actions encompassing a range of council responsibilities, including transport, housing, energy and waste/recycling.

The road map highlights some of the actions under consideration by the Council ahead of the publication of the City Sustainability Strategy next year.

Today (Friday 25th October), members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee will consider the road map proposals. The committee will also receive interim updates from academics at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) to evaluate Edinburgh’s current carbon footprint.

The ECCI will also develop a range of reduction scenarios across the public, commercial, industry and domestic sectors.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Experts recreate the face of 600-year-old Aberdeen skeleton

Experts have recreated the face of a man who lived 600 years ago using facial reconstruction technology.

The man’s skeleton, dubbed SK 125, along with 60 other full skeletons and more than 4,000 bone fragments, was unearthed when excavation work began on the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2015.

Those working on the remains said that SK 125 will provide them with insights into the health and lifestyle of medieval people living in Scotland. Construction work was temporarily suspended to allow archaeologists to investigate further to learn more about what life might have been like for those buried at the site, formerly Blackfriars Dominican Friary, which is thought to have been founded AD1222-1249.

After close analysis of SK 125, experts said they believe the man was at least 46 years of age at the time of his death, between 5ft 2in and 5ft 5in in height, and suffered from extensive dental and joint disease.

Based on the evidence, researchers at AOC Archaeology Group said the man’s diet suggested he was not from Aberdeen, but may have spent his youth in the northwest Highlands or Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

In Case you Missed It…

AWS servers hit by DDoS attack

Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers were hit by a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack yesterday, which saw companies unable to access services for eight hours.

Some customers suffered an outage to services throughout the attack, which took place from 6.30pm on Tuesday till 2.30am on Wednesday morning.

In a statement circulated to customers, AWS Support said: “We are investigating reports of occasional DNS resolution errors. The AWS DNS servers are currently under a DDoS attack.

“Our DDoS mitigations are absorbing the vast majority of this traffic, but these mitigations are also flagging some legitimate customer queries at this time. We are actively working on additional mitigations, as well as tracking down the source of the attack to shut it down.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article via here.

Government to boost artificial intelligence skills

The UK Government has announced a funding boost to improve artificial intelligence (AI) skills across the country, with £200 million put toward 1,000 PhD places over the next five years.

Industry and government will collaborate closely as part of the funding scheme, which will see students focusing on how AI can improve healthcare, aviation and the manufacturing industry.

An additional £170 million has been pledged toward funding 1,700 PhD places in biosciences, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

Commenting on the funding announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’re investing millions of pounds to create hundreds of AI and bioscience PhDs, so research and development can thrive here in the UK and solve the biggest challenges that face us – from climate change to better healthcare.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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