Tech Digest daily roundup: John Lewis Christmas ad is homage to E.T


A young alien experiencing her first Christmas is the star of this year’s John Lewis festive advertising campaign. The ad, titled Unexpected Guest and an homage to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, features a 14-year-old boy who spots the space traveller crash-landing in the woods. He introduces her to the joys of Christmas, from decorating a tree to eating mince pies, and gives her a jumper that twinkles with LED lights as a parting gift. However, the version available to buy will not have the same lights. John Lewis will sell a sustainable version instead after deciding that the light-up jumper was not environmentally friendly. Telegraph 

Volkswagen has provided the clearest look yet at its upcoming electric-powered ID Buzz with the unveiling of a camouflaged, pre-production version of the multi-seat MPV. The unveiling took place on the sidelines of a presentation dedicated to the new ID 5 at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. Planned for UK sale during the latter half of 2022, the ID Buzz is set to become Volkswagen’s fourth dedicated electric model, following the ID 3ID 4 and newly unveiled ID 5.  It will also be the first ID model to be offered both as a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle, with production planned to take place at VW’s commercial vehicle plant in Hannover, Germany from early next year. Autocar

The US is sanctioning an Israeli spyware company that it accused of supplying technology to foreign governments “to maliciously target government officials, journalists, business people, activists, academics, and embassy workers”. NSO Group had been accused of assisting despotic regimes in targeting journalists, political dissidents, and human rights activists in reports earlier this year. The company responded at the time that its spyware was only used by governments to hack the mobile phones of terrorists and serious criminals. However, the US Department of Commerce has now accused it and three other companies of “acting contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States”. Sky News

Image: Amazon

Amazon’s latest smart home device is the $69.99 Smart Air Quality Monitor, a small puck around half the size of the latest Amazon Echo that’s designed to keep an eye on the quality of the air in your home. It can track your home’s temperature and humidity, and the presence of dust, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A key selling point of the Smart Air Quality Monitor is its Alexa integration. It lets you ask compatible Alexa-enabled devices for an update on the air quality of the home at any time or view trends via the Alexa app or an Echo Show device. The Verge

The Labour Party has been affected by a “cyber incident” involving its members’ data. Labour said it was told on 29 October that it had been affected by the event by a third party firm that handled membership data on its behalf. As a result, “a significant quantity” of party data was “rendered inaccessible on their systems”. The Information Commissioner’s Office and National Cyber Security Centre are both looking into the incident. In a statement, Labour said it was working closely with the two authorities, as well as the National Crime Agency, to find out what had happened. BBC 


Chris Price
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