Week Ending: May 31st - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Well Google has been accused of being a sweatshop and we’ve seen the aftermath of Theresa May’s resignation! All in all, it’s been a busy week for news and we’ll forgive you if you’re not up to date with the goings on in the I.T. and technology world. So, here is our weekly roundup to get you right back up to speed!

IKEA fully embrace augmented reality

This week, IKEA has announced that it will be adding online shopping to its new augmented reality (AR) app. Up to this point, IKEA has limited remote shopping to its website, but by the end of 2019 shoppers across eight of IKEA’s top markets – including the UK – will be able to purchase directly from its new app. The app will allow its customers to purchase products that they can visualise in context of their own home.

IKEA launched their first AR app in 2017, but this is the first time they will be offering an end to end service via an app. With consumers increasingly looking for more convenient shopping experiences, this seems like an obvious step for the home furnishing giant which is also looking to trial smaller, downtown stores with a narrower range of products.

Facebook plans to launch cryptocurrency

In a much-anticipated move, Facebook has been in talks with the Bank of England about its plan to launch its own cryptocurrency, GlobalCoin, early next year. The currency will allow Facebook’s (two billion plus) users to change a number of international currencies – including US dollars – into its digital coins, which can then be used to buy things online and in stores or to transfer funds without a bank account.

Understandably, there are concerns surrounding the currency as Facebook is not regulated in the same way as banks are and, historically, Facebook doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to data privacy. Experts believe that these issues will make it difficult for the social media giant to make a success out of GlobalCoin. The US Senate wrote an open letter to Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, this month asking how the currency would work, what consumer protection would be offered and how Facebook will ensure its users’ data is secure. We eagerly await his response. Read more here.

EU approves cyber-attack sanctions

You might remember we featured the US’s Google ban for Huawei, due to its links to the Chinese government, in last week’s roundup and it seems they’re not the only ones concerned about the issue. The European Union has agreed to an automatic set of sanctions to punish any future cyber attackers.

Under the new regime, perpetrators of cyber-attacks will face restrictive measures including asset freezing and travel bans. This will apply to anyone who is found to have attempted to access or interfere with information systems or intercepted or interfered with data. The hope is that the new system will make it easier for the 28 member nations to act quickly in the event of a cyber-attack and that, for the first time, the EU will be able to impose the outlined measures.

Why is this coming into place now? Well the EU is “concerned by the rise of malicious behaviour in cyberspace that aims at undermining the EU’s integrity, security and economic competitiveness, with the eventual risk of conflict.” Russia and China regularly engage in cyber warfare against the EU and other nations, and were behind several high-profile attacks in recent months. Earlier this year, Chinese state-sponsored hackers were revealed to be behind attacks on Norwegian software firm Visma and European aerospace company Airbus.

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