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Latest Big Data News


Google and Microsoft clash over proposed EU facial recognition ban

An EU proposal to temporarily ban facial recognition technology has divided opinion in the upper echelons of the techsphere, with leaders from Google and Microsoft offering divergent responses to the proposed bill.

Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai was quick to back the proposal, that leaked online this week, over concerns the technology could be misused. Meanwhile, Microsoft President and chief legal officer Brad Smith said an outright ban would be a step too far and called for a more measured response.


Google boss claims AI must be regulated

Writing in the Financial Times, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said new rules were needed to ensure it was developed and used responsibly. Artificial intelligence is “too important” not to be regulated because of the damage it could cause if left unchecked, the boss of Google has said. Sundar Pichai said the correct use of AI had the potential to save lives, but issues such as deepfakes and the “nefarious uses of facial recognition” showed it could also be a danger to public safety.


Insight Partners snaps up data backup giant Veeam for $5B

Insight Partners has announced the acquisition of Swiss software startup Veeam for $5 billion, just months after the private equity firm invested $500 million in the data management company.

Veeam, which posted revenues of $1 billion last year and has 365,000 customers worldwide, helps companies manage data backup and recovery across public clouds and their in-house data centres. Following the deal, Veeam will become a US company.


EU complaint filed over Government NHS data deal with Amazon

The online tech giant has been given free access to NHS data – excluding confidential information – but campaigners say Amazon should pay for it. The Government has been accused of breaching state aid rules by allowing Amazon to have access to public NHS data for free.


750,000 US birth certificate applications exposed in cloud data leak

More than 752,000 US birth certificate applications have been discovered in an unsecured cloud storage container, leaving hoards of personal information there for the taking, TechCrunch reports.

The certificates were stored by an unnamed company that enables people to obtain copies of birth and death documents from state governments in the United States.


Nearly half of students want voice assistant to help with work, research finds

Nearly half of students would like to be given access to a voice-activated assistant to help with their studies, new research suggests.

The technology – now common in many smartphones and smart home speakers – is seen as a vital resource among those studying, with 70 percent of those asked claiming they would not be able to cope without an internet connection.


UK competition watchdog to probe Google takeover of Looker

Google’s buyout of data analytics firm Looker is to be probed by the UK’s competition watchdog to determine the deal’s impact on the UK and other markets.

The tech giant announced the 2.6 billion dollar (£2 billion) acquisition of the California-founded firm in June as part of an effort to expand its Google Cloud business.

Both companies were already working together before the agreement was reached, with around 350 customers such as Buzzfeed, Hearst and Yahoo!


TikTok bans paid political adverts

TikTok has decided not to allow paid political adverts on its platform, as the 2020 US election fast approaches.

The video-driven social media app has made the move amid increased scrutiny over political advertising on other social networks, particularly Facebook.

TikTok attracts millions of people across the world, mostly younger users, making it a potential target to reach first-time voters.


UK signs ‘historic’ data sharing agreement with US

A “historic” agreement on sharing data will “dramatically speed up” investigations into criminals’ online activity, the Home Secretary has said.

Priti Patel and US attorney general William Barr signed the arrangement – the first of its kind – on Thursday evening when she visited Washington DC, the Home Office said.

Ms Patel said: “Terrorists and paedophiles continue to exploit the internet to spread their messages of hate, plan attacks on our citizens and target the most vulnerable.


Waze to share traffic data with UK transport authorities via Google Cloud

Mapping service Waze is to make data gathered from across the UK accessible to local authorities to help them plan transport upgrades in the future.

The tech firm’s maps use crowd-sourced data from users to update on traffic conditions and other live information about road congestion.


Google wins legal fight to keep ‘right to be forgotten’ EU-only

Europe’s top court has told Google it does not have to make the “right to be forgotten” available worldwide.

The measure already allows citizens in EU countries to demand any results about them considered “inadequate, irrelevant or… excessive” to be removed, if the search is carried out in an EU country – even though the web page would still exist, delisting from a search engine makes it harder for people to find.


Google gives users more control over Assistant voice recordings

Google has said it will reduce the amount of voice data it stores, following a scandal linked to AI assistants and how audio data from users was being listened to by human reviewers.

The technology giant said that while its own Voice and Audio Activity (VAA) programme has always been opt-in, it will now ask every user to re-affirm their choice before it recommences.



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