Tech Digest daily roundup: NSPCC says Online Safety Bill must be strengthened


The Government must go further in its Online Safety Bill to better tackle grooming and child abuse, the NSPCC has said in a new report. The children’s charity made the plea in the wake of new data which shows that reports of online child sexual abuse to police have risen by more than a quarter (27%) since 2018 when ministers first promised to legislate against online harms. In its report Time To Act, the NSPCC said it welcomed the “historic” Online Safety Bill, which is moving through Parliament, but has listed three areas it believes the Bill could be strengthened to better protect children. Yahoo!

WhatsApp is testing a new feature called Communities to organize groups in larger structures that could be used by workplaces or schools, the messaging service owned by Meta Platforms (FB.O) said on Thursday. WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said the feature would bring together groups, which are capped at 256 users, under bigger umbrellas where administrators could send alerts to a community of thousands. “This is really oriented at the communities you’re already a part of in your life that are doing private communication,” said Cathcart in an interview with Reuters, citing Salesforce-owned (CRM.N) Slack or Microsoft Teams (MSFT.O) as comparable types of communication. Reuters

Tesla boss Elon Musk has admitted he is “not sure” his takeover bid for social media firm Twitter will be successful. He made the comments at a conference just hours after revealing that he had offered to buy the company for $54.20 a share, valuing the firm at $43bn. Also on Thursday, Twitter’s chief executive told employees that the company was evaluating the approach. Parag Agrawal reportedly said at the staff meeting that the company was not being “held hostage” by the offer. BBC

Parag Agrawal had warned Twitter’s staff to expect a bumpy ride. “There will be distractions ahead,” the social network’s chief executive said in a note to employees earlier this week, as he revealed that Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, had turned down a seat on Twitter’s board. “The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else’s. Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.” When Musk is involved, however, tuning out the noise is easier said than done. Telegraph 

Life on Earth could have begun much earlier than previously thought, according to a new study. The evidence comes in a fist-sized rock from Quebec, Canada, which is estimated to be between 3.75 and 4.28 billion years old. Inside this rock, scientists at University College London have found a mysterious, complex plant-like structure. The rock was collected from the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt (NGB) formation which contains some of the oldest rocks on the surface of the planet. It was once part of the seafloor and although scientists aren’t sure whether that was 3.75 or 4.28 billion years ago, it remains a vital location for evidence of the very distant past. Sky News

Chris Price
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