Tech Digest daily round up: Google still selling ‘unofficial’ ads for Government services


Google has failed to stop “shyster” websites advertising on its search engine, despite promising to fix the problem, the BBC has found. Adverts for unofficial services selling government documents such as travel permits and driving licences are against Google’s own rules. But the BBC found adverts for expensive third-party sellers every time it searched during a 12-month period. In a statement, Google said it had taken down billions of rule-breaking adverts. In the UK, changing the address on your driving licence is free – but Google consistently showed adverts for services charging £49.99. Applying for an Esta travel permit to visit the US should cost no more $14 (£10) – but Google repeatedly allowed adverts for websites charging more than $80. BBC

Apple (AAPL) is set to defend its lucrative App Store in a federal court in California on Monday, as a trial is scheduled to get underway to hear antitrust claims waged by Fortnite developer, Epic Games. The popular game with about 350 million registered players was booted from Apple’s and Google’s (GOOGGOOGL) app stores in August, and banned from their operating systems, after Epic Games circumvented the platforms by offering direct, in-game purchases at a 20% discount. Apple and Google both said the move violated their terms of service, justifying removal from the stores. Epic struck back by filing separate lawsuits against Google and Apple, claiming the removals were anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices that violate federal and California antitrust laws. Yahoo! News 

A Swiss quantum computing start-up has claimed a major breakthrough in encryption technology, beating British technologists to develop a system that can send theoretically unhackable messages around the world. Terra Quantum, a Swiss business developing ways to keep sensitive information safe from the ability of quantum computers to break traditional encryption, has found a new method of securely sending data on fibre optic cables for up to 40,000km (24,850 miles). The company’s new secure transmission method works using quantum key distribution, which is a way of sending data using quantum mechanics that many physicists say makes it impossible for hackers to intercept the data without alerting either side. Telegraph 

AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. Wireless company Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the once-pioneering tech platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal. Verizon said Monday that it will keep a 10% stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo. Yahoo at the end of the last century was the face of the internet, preceding the behemoth tech platforms to follow, such as Google and Facebook. And AOL was the portal, bringing almost everyone who logged on during the internet’s earliest days. Verizon spent about $9 billion buying AOL and Yahoo over two years starting in 2015, hoping to jump-start a digital media business that would compete with Google and Facebook. It didn’t work — those brands were already fading even then — as Google and Facebook and, increasingly, Amazon dominate the U.S. digital ad market. AP News

There is currently no technology on Earth that could stop a massive asteroid from wiping out Europe, according to a simulations carried out by leading space agencies. The week-long exercise led by Nasa concluded that catastrophe would be unavoidable, even given six months to prepare. The hypothetical impact scenario, which took place during a planetary defence conference hosted by the United Nations, proved that governments are woefully unprepared for this kind of disaster. “If confronted with the scenario in real life, we would not be able to launch any spacecraft on such short notice with current capabilities,” the participants said. Independent 


Chris Price
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