DIGIT Tech News Roundup – 19th April 2019

Tech News Roundup August

Facebook’s never-ending scandals, robot television presenters and Pinterest’s megabucks first day of trading are some of the top-trending tech news stories from this week. 

DIGIT’s Top Trending Stories

UK Porn Block to go Live in July

The UK’s controversial age verification system for online pornography will come into effect on the 15th of July, the government has confirmed.

When the measures come into effect, the UK will become the first country in the world to establish age-verification rules for online pornographic content. The new rules mean that commercial providers of online pornography will be required to carry out “robust” age verification checks on users to ensure they are aged 18 years or over.

Websites that fail to implement the new checks could face being blocked by internet service providers or having access to payment services withdrawn, the government confirmed in a statement.

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

RGU Launches Creative Accelerator Programme

Robert Gordon University will offer support and funding to 12 startup teams encompassing a range of industries through its creative accelerator programme.

The new initiative, which will run for 12 weeks beginning in June, is being spearheaded by Look Again, part of Gray’s School of Art, in collaboration with RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG).

Applications are now being sought from people working in the creative industries, and successful applicants will receive up to £1,500 of funding each. Applicants accepted to the programme will benefit from mentorship, training and development opportunities, while also gaining access to a workspace at the new Look Again project space in Aberdeen.

Classes will also be delivered focusing on entrepreneurship, commercialisation, brand and marketing in the RGU Innovation Space at the new ONE Digital and Entrepreneurship Hub, which opens its doors this summer.

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

Amiqus & ProxyAddress to Help Homeless People Access Services

ProxyAddress founder, Chris Hildrey, will partner with Scottish software company Amiqus Resolution to build secure identity verification software to help vulnerable people.

The new software will be used by ProxyAddress, a government-backed startup, to provide people facing homelessness with a secure, stable address.

When facing homelessness or the loss of a permanent address as a means of identification, people are at an increased risk of losing access to basic services, such as bank accounts or benefits. To tackle the issue, ProxyAddress uses vacant addresses owned by local authorities and others to connect those facing homelessness with the support they need.

However, before local authorities can issue a proxy address, in accordance with the latest anti-money laundering regulation, they need a secure and reliable method of verifying the identity of the person in need of assistance. The new software created through the partnership will help solve this problem by being in line with the latest anti-money laundering regulations while providing verification.

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

Facebook Bans Far-right Groups and Hate Figures

A host of far-right figures and organisations known to “spread hate” have been banned from Facebook following a crackdown by the social media giant.

Twelve organisations and individuals have been banned by the site as part of its focus on tackling hate speech. The company is taking on people and organisations who promote a “violent or hateful mission” via the platform.

The British National Party (BNP), along with former party chairman, Nick Griffin, were banned by the social media giant. BNP party leader Paul Golding and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen have also been banned.

The English Defence League and one of its founding members, Paul Ray, are included in the ban while the National Front and Knights Templar International are also excluded.

Similarly, far-right activist Jack Renshaw has been banned. Renshaw is a former spokesperson for neo-Nazi organisation National Front who plotted to murder West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper.

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

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In Case You Missed It…

Facebook’s Nightmare Week

Facebook has once again been under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Earlier this week it was revealed that the firm had “unintentionally” harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users registered with the social media platform.

The company said the email contact collection was due to a flawed verification process which instructed users to supply the password for their email address. Facebook said that the practice has since been changed and is in the process of informing users’ whose email contacts may have been harvested.

Facebook also shed light on its ongoing password security incident, which it says has now affected “millions” of Instagram users and not the “tens of thousands” that were initially believed to have been exposed.

In an updated blog post first published last month, the company said: “We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format.

“We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users. We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.”

Facebook is yet to reveal how many “millions” have been affected.

Russian News Channel Introduces Robot Presenter

A state news channel in Russia, Rossiya 24, has added a new member to its team in the form of a robot presenter.

The robot, named Alex, has already caused quite a bit of controversy, prompting complaints from viewers about his appearance. Developed by a Russian firm, Promobot, Alex is modelled in the image of the company’s co-founder, Alexei Yuzhakov and delivers news bulletins.

Alex cost more than one million roubles (£12,000) to develop, according to Promobot.

While Alex can only move his neck and certain facial features at the moment, the long-term goal will see him boast fully-mobile limbs.

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

Huge Interest in Pinterest…

Social media website Pinterest ended its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange with a bang. Shares at the firm rose by nearly one-third during its first day, which commentators said has restored faith in tech IPOs on Wall Street.

On Wednesday this week, the company set the price for its 75 million shares at $19, above its target range between $15 and $17. Following an opening trade at $23.75, the website’s market valuation rose to an eye-watering $15.8 billion.

This initial success for Pinterest has set the stage for another high-profile listing as the US IPO market prepares for ride-hailing behemoth, Uber Technologies.

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

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