1 in 4 Under 7s have smartphone, thousands of Tesla Cybertrucks recalled


A quarter of children under seven have their own smartphone, new figures reveal, with some as young as three owning the devices. Research from technology regulator Ofcom found a sharp increase in ownership of the devices by young children and widespread use of apps designed for teenagers. Ofcom’s annual study of technology use across Britain found that “infant school children are increasingly online and given more digital independence by parents”. It comes as Rishi Sunak considers a crackdown on use of phones and social media by under-16s. Telegraph 

The UK’s terror watchdog has criticised Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta for lowering the minimum age for WhatsApp users from 16 to 13, warning that the “extraordinary” move could expose more teenagers to extreme content. Jonathan Hall KC said more children could now access material that Meta cannot regulate, including content related to terror or sexual exploitation. Hall, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, told LBC radio that the use of end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp left Meta unable to take down dangerous material. The Guardian

Tesla, the electric car company owned by Elon Musk, has recalled thousands of its new Cybertrucks over safety concerns. It is because their accelerator pedals currently risk getting trapped by the interior trim, increasing the possibility of crashes. The BBC recently spoke to a whistleblower at the company who had raised concerns over the safety of pedals of previous Tesla models. Tesla has been contacted for comment. The recall affects 3,878 Cybertrucks, which cost roughly $61,000 (£48,320), made between November 2023 and April 2024. BBC 

Microsoft Research Asia released a new paper introducing VASA, a framework for generating lifelike talking faces. The researchers presented their model, dubbed VASA-1, that can generate realistic videos based only on a single static image and a speech audio clip. The full paper is available at arXiv. The results are impressive and beat all previous tools that use generative artificial intelligence to produce realistic deepfakes. What is particularly interesting about VASA-1 is the overall ability to emulate natural facial expressions, a wide range of emotions, and lip-sync ability with very few artifacts. Neowin

Apple said it had removed Meta mobile communications applications WhatsApp and Threads from its online store in China under direction from the country’s internet regulator. The iPhone maker said on Friday that the Cyberspace Administration of China had ordered the applications’ removal from the Apple App Store in the country because of “national security concerns”. “We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” Apple said. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. FT.com

An ex-NASA physicist warns cheap satellite ‘megaconstellations’ like Elon Musk‘s Starlink could disrupt Earth’s magnetosphere exposing all life to deadly cosmic rays. Dr. Sierra Solter-Hunt’s new study draws on new estimates that Musk’s SpaceX is burning up over 2,755 lbs (1.3 tons) of wireless internet satellite debris into Earth’s atmosphere every hour — creating a metal layer of ‘conductive particulate’ in orbit. ‘I was very surprised,’ physicist Dr Solter-Hunt told DailyMail.com. ‘No one has given much research to the accumulation of metal dust from the space industry.’ DailyMail


Chris Price
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