Tech Digest daily roundup: UK Government defends demanding access to private messages


The technology secretary has defended a controversial section of the Online Safety Bill which would force messaging apps to access the content of private messages if requested by the regulator Ofcom. She said it was a sensible approach in order to protect children from abuse. But some tech firms, including WhatsApp and Signal, have threatened to leave the UK if forced to weaken their messaging security. The Bill is due to be passed in autumn. Michelle Donelan was speaking to the BBC on a visit to University College London where she announced £13m in funding for Artificial Intelligence projects in healthcare. BBC 

Amazon is considering becoming a major investor in Arm as it turns to the British chip maker’s technology to help power its data centres. The online retail giant is one of several technology companies involved in talks about buying shares in Arm, which is owned by Japanese investor SoftBank, when it floats for $60bn (£47bn) in New York next month. Chip giants Intel and Nvidia have also had discussions about investing as part of the float as a so-called anchor investor, a business that buys up a significant number of shares as part of the deal. Telegraph 

Elon Musk has accused the ABC of embracing censorship after Australia’s public broadcaster drastically reduced its presence on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Well of course they prefer censorship-friendly social media,” Musk posted on X in reply to an ABC news report about the move. “The Australian public does not.” The ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, on Wednesday said the broadcaster was shutting down almost all of its official accounts on X. The Guardian 

The Cybertruck’s exoskeleton concept will have to wait (Image: Tesla)

Tesla has almost given up on the exoskeleton concept that Elon Musk revealed to a great fanfare when announcing the Cybertruck. Back when he promised a US$39,900 Cybertruck starting price, Tesla’s CEO also waxed poetic about the steel frame that its futuristic electric pickup would be built on. “We created an exoskeleton,” he quipped, referring to the fact that Tesla wants to “move the mass outside” and have the walls of the Cybertruck to provide much of the supporting structure. Notebook Check 

Meta has rolled out the ability to verify a link to your Threads profile on social media platforms like Mastodon, according to a Threads post from Instagram head Adam Mosseri. To be clear, this isn’t a free way to get a blue checkmark next to your Threads name; you’ll probably need to pay Meta to get one of those. Instead, this new feature helps you prove on other platforms that a Threads profile that you link to is one that you own. But it also represents something bigger: an actual Threads feature from Meta that connects with decentralized social media. The Verge

Russia is increasing efforts to stop its citizens accessing the wider internet as it continues to strengthen its own “pervasive domestic information control”, the UK defence ministry has said.  Many Russians use virtual private networks (VPNs) when browsing the web to maintain privacy and bypass state-imposed censorship – despite them being illegal since 2017. “Over the last week, Russian authorities have likely increased their ongoing efforts to disrupt Russian citizens’ access to VPNs. Reports suggest many of the most popular VPNs have become unusable in some regions,” the ministry said. The state has also started to “scare citizens into avoiding VPNs by claiming they put their personal data at risk”, it added. Sky News

Chris Price
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