Tech Digest daily roundup: NHS Covid-19 app future in doubt


There’s doubt over the future of the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app for England and Wales, as the government prepares to relax restrictions in England on 19 July. But one advisor says the app has proved effective and urged the government not to drop it. Among the restrictions that the Prime Minister said would be scrapped in England is a requirement to check in at venues. A QR code scanner allowing people to check in has been a key feature of the NHS Covid-19 app. In recent days there have been complaints from many businesses that the app is sending out far too many alerts, causing disruption as employees are sent home. BBC

A Chinese-owned technology company has seized control of Britain’s biggest microchip plant after forcing its owners to sell the facility when they failed to deliver on a contract. Nexperia acquired 100pc of Newport Wafer Fab’s factory in South Wales on Monday by triggering a contractual clause that allowed it to take command of the site. Executives at the facility had urged ministers to prevent the sale, and sought funding for an alternative rescue bid, but the Government refused to intervene despite fears for national security. Ministers are now facing a backlash from MPs who have accused them of turning a blind eye to Communist China’s efforts to dominate the market in chips, the crucial building blocks of modern electronics. Telegraph 

Counter-terrorism police are using Netmums to highlight the risks of online radicalisation among children. UK law enforcement is growing increasingly concerned about the number of under-18s being groomed by extremists, particularly on the far right. In the year to March 2021, 13% of suspects arrested for terrorism offences were aged under 18, compared to 5% the previous year. Children were also the only age group to show an increase in this period. Of the 21 children arrested up to March 2021, 15 or 71% were linked to extreme right-wing beliefs, and the proportion has been growing since 2015. In that year less than 20% of under-24s were held for far-right beliefs, rising to 60% in 2020. Yahoo!

India has officially stripped Twitter of liability protections over user-uploaded content as the government cracks down on the social media platform. In a similar fashion to social media regulation in most democracies, India had previously given the platform immunity regarding any defamatory or hostile messages posted by its users. But a new law that came into effect in May enabled the government to remove this immunity if, as in this case, Twitter was judged to have failed to respond to legal instructions to remove posts and share information on the identity of the posters. Sky News

A New Zealand academic says Twitter temporarily restricted her account after she mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping. University of Canterbury Professor Anne-Marie Brady is an expert on China’s attempts to exert political influence around the world and has been an outspoken critic of its ruling Communist Party. Last week, she sent tweets poking fun at the party’s 100th anniversary celebrations. She said two of those tweets were temporarily marked “unavailable” by Twitter and her account was temporarily restricted over the weekend, before it was restored on Monday. AP News


Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to