Tech Digest daily round up: Tesla profits boosted by Bitcoin, Spotify raises prices


Elon Musk’s Tesla made a strong start to the year with profits up and record deliveries of its electric cars. It came despite production hurdles due to a global shortage of computer chips that has also hit other carmakers. Mr Musk said the chip shortage caused “supply chain challenges”, although that “particular problem” had eased. Profits for the first three months of the year were $438m (£315m), up from $16m last year, bolstered by sales of Bitcoin and environmental credits. But the profits were dented by a $299m payment to Mr Musk as part of a controversial compensation plan struck in 2018. Revenue rose to $10.4bn, from $6bn in the same quarter last year. BBC

TikTok is to create a Transparency and Accountability Centre in Europe to provide an opportunity for experts and policymakers to see how the company builds and secures its platform. It comes as the social media platform continues to face questions over its security. Last week, the former Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield announced she was leading a legal claim against the video-sharing site, accusing the company of collecting children’s data on an “industrial scale” – claims which the firm denies. TikTok said the new Transparency and Accountability Centre – to be based in Ireland – would enable visiting experts to get an insight into how technology is used to keep the app’s users safe and how content moderation takes place involving both human reviewers and machine learning. The opening of a European branch follows the launch of a similar centre in the United States last year. Yahoo! News

is raising prices for some users in the UK, US and parts of Europe, the first time the music streaming company has increased monthly subscription costs in the markets. In the UK, the company’s Premium Student tier will rise from £4.99 per month to £5.99 and its two-person offering Duo will change from £12.99 per month to £13.99, according to an email sent to customers on Monday. Those signed up to Spotify’s Premium Family service will foot the largest increase, from £14.99 per month to £16.99. Individual Premium accounts will remain the same price of £9.99. Telegraph 

Apple’s new tool that allows its users to block apps from tracking them around the web has been rolled out as part of its latest software update. iOS 14.5, which became available to iPhone users on Monday evening, includes the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) tool, which requires developers wanting to collect data outside of their app to ask for user permission. Many apps use tracking and the data collected from it to inform targeted advertising – a key resource of revenue, but one that is also a source of concern for many privacy advocates. ATT will show iPhone and iPad users a pop-up prompt asking if they would like to give permission for the app to track their activity outside of the app, an alert which will also feature some text from the developer, where they are able to disclose why they would like the user to grant permission. Yahoo! News

Toyota has become the latest global auto giant to announce sweeping plans to expand its line-up of electric vehicles (EVs) and decarbonize its operations over the coming decades. The Japanese auto giant has been facing mounting criticism in recent years over its perceived failure to match the growing number of car manufacturers to announce ambitious EV plans, as it instead sought to build on its position as a leader in the hybrid market. However, last week it announced the launch of Toyota bZ, its newly established series of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as it unveiled a concept version of the Toyota bZ4X at the Auto Shanghai motor show. The move came as the company also pledged to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2050 as part of a new “home planet” strategy. Green Biz

Chris Price
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