Week Ending: July 6th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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It’s the start of a new month and believe it or not, we’re more than half way through 2018. Perhaps more surprisingly though, believe it or not, England won a penalty shootout this week in the World Cup! What a time to be alive.

In a break from football, this week’s I.T. and technology roundup comes to you with stories on a major data breach, Gmail and Facebook AI. Let’s explore the links which have populated news sites this week.

23,000 customers at risk as Fortnum & Mason suffer major data hack

There seems to be a new data hacking story each week and they’re certainly not getting any smaller. This week, news broke of a breach at British retailer, Fortnum & Mason, leaving 23,000 of its customers’ details at risk.

Details were exposed through a partnership with survey company, Typeform, regarding a specific survey form. Fortnum & Mason customers who voted in the store’s TV Personality of the Year category, may be at risk as the hack has uncovered their name, email and home addresses, and social media handles.

At 17.26pm on Friday 29 June, Typeform, a company that provides services that we have used in the past to collect survey responses and voting preferences, notified us that they had suffered a data breach and unfortunately some of our data had been compromised.

The data of approximately 23,000 competition and survey participants who inputted into a Typeform form has been involved in this breach. For the majority of people, only the email address has been exposed. For a smaller proportion of customers, other data such as address, contact number and social handle has been included. These forms did not request bank or payment details, or require passwords.

Fortnum & Mason’s statement

Read more on this via CityAM.

Third party developers are reading your Gmail

This week Google controversially explained that third-party app developers, not just machines, can sometimes read your emails. Those who have third-party apps connected to their accounts either willingly or by accident have given human staff permission to read their email exchanges.

It’s something that has been suspected in the industry and Google has suggested that it’s not against its policy. When authorising a third-party external service, users are prompted with choices to grant various permissions which can often include the ability to send, delete, read and manage your email.

It’s a scary thought that has been described as a “dirty secret” among people who work in the field - it will be interesting to see whether Google changes its stance on this anytime soon.

To learn more, visit this story on the BBC.

Facebook acquires AI firm

Social media giant Facebook has acquired the London-based AI firm, Bloomsbury AI, in a bid to help it better understand human speech. Facebook is seen as a major force in AI and is constantly looking to better its offering. The end goal, as explained by The Verge is: ‘to have AI that is so adept at understanding images, videos, and text that it can effectively moderate the entire social network’s platform, including Facebook, Instagram, and its many other properties.’

One of the problems Facebook has had to deal with in recent years has been unwanted content on its platform and the time it takes teams to identify and remove this. Bloomsbury AI could be a key factor in the platform getting to grips with this in the coming years.

Read more via The Verge.

Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.