Tech Digest daily roundup: GCHQ experts publish paper on protecting children online


Two senior technical directors at GCHQ (above), the UK’s cyber intelligence agency, have published a new paper analysing how technology companies could protect children from sexual abuse online. The impact of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime even if the abuse takes place online. Research by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found survivors often suffer serious physical and mental health conditions in later life. One of the challenges in tackling this online abuse is the growing number of services offering end-to-end encryption, technology which often undermines the existing safety features that many companies use to detect child sexual abuse material. Sky News

A Samsung ad criticised for showing a woman running alone at 02:00 has been cleared by the advertising watchdog. People complained that the smart watch campaign was irresponsible for encouraging unsafe behaviour. But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ads “did not encourage an unsafe practice and were not irresponsible”. Women’s Running magazine editor Esther Newman said the ruling “makes people think there’s nothing to worry about”. Samsung previously apologised for how the ‘Night Owls’ ad might have been received when it launched in April. BBC 

Google’s Wear OS platform has long been the laughing stock of the wearable community, but tides are finally shifting. After years of neglect, Wear OS is finally getting a fair shot. There’s been a lot more to get excited about in the Wear OS world over the past year or so. The Snapdragon Wear 4100 series bolstered Fossil’s latest crop of watches to be pretty solid performers, and the Galaxy Watch 4 ushered in Wear OS 3. Plus, Google is finally, actually making a Pixel Watch! But today saw the biggest boost to the Wear OS market to date – Qualcomm is finally making a good chip. That’s one of two things that is clearly giving Wear OS a chance to actually grow and thrive. 9 to 5 Google 

Minecraft will not allow non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to be used on the popular gaming platform, with the company describing them as antithetical to Minecraft’s “values of creative inclusion and playing together”. NFTs confer ownership of a unique digital item, typically an image or a video, with the ownership recorded on a decentralised digital register known as a blockchain. Digital files can usually be copied or deleted for free, but a NFT identifies the owner of the original file for the purposes of buying, selling, or trading the ownership – usually for cryptocurrency. Guardian 

Internet companies were forced to use hose pipes to protect their servers as temperatures surged on Tuesday, with Google and Oracle both suffering outages in the 40C heat. The tech giants blamed Britain’s record-breaking heatwave for knocking their data centres offline. Google and Oracle, which provide backbone internet services to tens of thousands of websites, admitted they had struggled to keep server equipment cool. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that some companies were turning to low-tech methods to keep their equipment cool, including running hosepipes onto the roof to spray air conditioning vents. Telegraph 

Chris Price
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