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Week Ending: 18th October - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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From the government retracting the Prime Minister’s fibre broadband promise, to jobseekers’ details being left exposed, and news on an autonomous ship, this week has been another busy one in the world of I.T. and tech. In case you missed them, here are some of the stories we think you need to know about this week.

Autonomous ship to make historic journey

A UK based engineering team has announced plans to create a fully autonomous ship that will cross the Atlantic in September 2020, to commemorate a 400-year-old journey. The ship will leave from Plymouth, UK and make its way across the ocean to Plymouth, Massachusetts to mark 400 years since the first pilgrims made their way to US shores on the Mayflower in 1620.

The Mayflower took two months to cross the Atlantic, however, The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will make the journey in just two weeks and will collect data throughout the voyage. It will be the first time an autonomous, unmanned ship has ever made such a journey, however, the team behind the ship believe this is a nod towards the next 400 years of sea travel and technology.

The MAS will collect data about microplastics during its trip and will use sensor guiding technology including RADAR, LIDAR, GPS, satellites and cameras to aid its decision-making process as the onshore team will only be able to assist it until it passes the Isles of Scilly. Once it passes this point the MAS is on its own the onboard deep learning software will help the vessel to collect data to avoid collisions. However, in the Atlantic, the greatest risk is storms rather than other vessels. Read more here.

Thousands of job seekers’ data exposed

Two jobs boards have left thousands of CV’s exposed as they failed to secure the cloud ‘buckets’ in which they were stored. US-based Authentic Jobs and UK based Sonic Jobs made over 250,000 CV’s publicly accessible when they made the settings on their buckets – cloud storage folders provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the biggest cloud service in the world – public.

This meant that when anyone uploaded their CV or applied for a job, anyone who knew the location of the bucket could access their information. This included names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Once they were alerted the companies made the buckets private and both are said to be investigating how they were made public.

The breaches were discovered by a data researcher and it has raised questions about the dangers of storing data in this insecure manner and will draw attention to how easy it is for buckets to be wrongly configured. There have been a number of other occasions in which AWS buckets have been accidentally configured for public access by organisations, including Verizon, Dow Jones, GoDaddy and wrestling company WWE.

5G to be accessible in every home

The government has announced that despite Boris Johnson’s pledge earlier this year, it is not aiming to roll out fibre broadband to every home in the UK by 2025. Mr Johnson proposed this target when campaigning to become the Conservative leader. However, ministers are now seeking to roll out gigabit-speeds across the country. They have not given a specific end date though.

Businesses have questioned the need to have fibre connected to every home. They say it’s unnecessary to physically connect every home to the fibre network when 5G will be as fast and much cheaper. There is a huge cost associated with laying fibre especially in rural areas, however, the 5G network can be provided wirelessly for a much lower cost.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has now apparently listened and chosen to pursue a tech-agnostic approach. Rather than stipulating that buildings will need to be connected to exchanges by fibre links, the focus is on promising gigabit speeds, which the DCMS says should allow a HD feature length film to be downloaded in under 45 seconds.


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