Week Ending: 29th November - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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It’s been another busy week in the world of I.T. and tech, with the announcement of a plan to save the internet, Twitter launching then pausing its inactive account cull and an alarming smart car cyber risk report. If you’ve been hiding from the Black Friday mania you could be forgiven for missing all that. But worry not, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to date.

Inventor of internet announces plan to save it

The founding father of the internet, Sir Tim Berners Lee, has launched a plan to save the internet from abuse on a global scale. He says that the rise of fake news, political manipulation and privacy issues is threatening to throw the net into what he calls “digital dystopia”.

The plan involves a ‘Contract for the web’ and will require the endorsement of governments as well as individuals and companies. The single aim of the plan is to protect the internet from abuse.

When he invented the internet, Berners-Lee had a vision of it being for the benefit of humanity, but he believes that certain groups are now abusing the web for their own gain.

The contract has been a year in the making, with contributions from 80 organisations. It outlines nine principles (three for each group - governments, organisations and individuals) to protect the internet. It is currently backed by 150 organisations including Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Facebook; however, backers must show how they are implementing the principles and working on solutions or face being removed from the list. If this is enforced it is probable the likes of Google and Facebook won’t last that long. Read more here.

Twitter pauses inactive account cull

On Monday social media giant Twitter announced it would disable any accounts it deemed to be inactive.

Twitter began warning users in the EU who had not signed in for six months or more that unless they signed in and agreed to its latest terms and conditions their accounts would be deleted. This, it said was to ensure that the company continues to comply with GDPR.

However, following huge backlash from users the company has said it will now “pause” these plans until it has a process for “memorialising” users who have passed away. The company admitted that it hadn’t even considered this issue or the grief that could be caused by the removal of these accounts.

Other social media networks offer a memorialisation process, where family members can request a user account is kept on the network but frozen in time, so to speak. Twitter has now said it intends to create a similar tool to protect these accounts.

Risk of cyberthreats on smart cars expected to rise

A report published by The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) this week, has found that the cyber risk associated with increased connectivity in cars is likely to rise with the emergence of 5G. It claims that smart cars are “increasingly affected by the growth of machine learning and AI” and this number is set to rise further.

More worrying is the type of damage that cyberattacks on smart cars could cause. Beyond the loss and use of sensitive personal information, attacks on smart cars could lead to road traffic accidents and endanger road users, leading to loss of life.

In recent years, researchers have used proof-of-concept attacks to take control of smart vehicles and one such study was able to send the vehicle off road. This led to the recall of over a million cars. Other tests have seen cars being hijacked and performing illegitimate actions such as stopping the engine and enabling the immobiliser.

Having said that, there is a growing interest in autonomous cars and a recent worldwide survey found 58% of respondents were willing to try a driverless car.

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