Tech Digest daily roundup: WhatsApp fined €225m for breach


WhatsApp has been fined €225m (£193m) by Ireland’s data watchdog for breaching privacy regulations. It is the largest fine ever from the Irish Data Protection Commission, and the second-highest under EU GDPR rules. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has its EU headquarters is in Ireland, and the Irish regulator is the lead authority for the tech giant in Europe. WhatsApp said it disagrees with the decision, and the severity of the fine, and plans to appeal. The fine relates to an investigation which began in 2018, about whether WhatsApp had been transparent enough about how it handles information. BBC 

Britain’s rail passengers can now receive alerts by WhatsApp when their train is delayed or cancelled. Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said travellers can get tailored information about disruption, alternative routes and how busy carriages are expected to be through the messaging app. The alerts were previously only available through Facebook Messenger. The service has been added to WhatsApp as part of efforts to support passengers returning to work and education after the summer holidays. Yahoo!

Virgin Galactic has been grounded by US authorities after the plane carrying Sir Richard Branson to the edge of space veered off course on its return to earth. The Federal Aviation Authority is investigating the mishap involving SpaceShipTwo that occurred over New Mexico on its return to Spaceport America on July 11. The regulator said the aircraft “deviated from its air traffic control clearance” after taking the Virgin billionaire to a height of 50 miles, where he and the crew experienced a brief period of weightlessness. Telegraph 

We already knew that Apple is hard at work on its own augmented and virtual reality headset. But a new report today suggests that the upcoming hybrid headset may rely on another Apple device to take advantage of all the features available on the device. In a new report by The Information, the outlet claims that the headset is designed to communicate or be tethered to a host device via a wireless connection, such as an iPhone or another Apple device. The reliance on another product within the Apple ecosystem is due to the headset’s custom 5-nanometer chips, which Apple recently completed. IGN Inc (AMZN.O) is planning to launch its Amazon-branded TV in the United States as soon as October, Business Insider reported on Thursday. The launch, involving teams from Amazon Devices and Lab126, has been in the works for almost two years, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. The TVs, which will be powered by voice assistant Alexa, are currently designed and manufactured by third parties, one of which is TCL, the report added. Reuters

NASA’s Perseverance rover appears to have succeeded in its second attempt to collect a rock sample from Mars as part of the search for signs of ancient life on the planet.The space agency announced that initial images downlinked from the rover show an intact sample in the tube, although poor sunlight conditions meant that subsequent images were inconclusive. NASA said that another round of images with better lighting will be taken to confirm that a sample has been captured before processing, following the failed first attempt. Sky News 

Chris Price
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