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Week Ending: 7th February - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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As always, it has been a busy week in the world of I.T. and tech but with the likes of Brexit and the Coronavirus dominating most news headlines, you may have missed some of the comings and goings in I.T. and tech, our trusty roundup is here to bring you right up to date.

Google bug shares private videos

Tech giant Google was forced to apologise this week when it was found that a bug affecting Google Photos, shared users’ private videos with other users over a four-day period in November last year. Around 100,000 of the one billion Google Photos accounts were affected by the bug. This is around 0.01% of its customers.

The bug affected Google Takeout which enables users to export and archive the content of their accounts. It only affected videos and Google has said that photos were in no way compromised. Those affected would either have an incomplete archive or may have received other user’s content. Google has advised that customers delete the export and carry out the archive again.

In a statement, Google said: "We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened."

"It is very worrying that other people may receive your private videos with all the implications for your privacy and possibly safety and those of others," commented Pat Walshe, managing director of Privacy Matters.

App coding error causes confusion in US politics

With the US presidential election coming up later this year, the Democratic party is deep into choosing the best candidate to stand against the current President, Donald Trump. However, there has been a slight hiccup as an app which was supposed to speed up reporting results of the “caucus” in Iowa, malfunctioned due to a coding error. This caused confusion over the results, forcing the party to resort to manual systems to verify results.

Shadow, the company which developed the app, posted on Twitter: "We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night’s Iowa caucuses, and the uncertainty it has caused to candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers."

The party has said that the error was not due to the app being hacked or interfered with in any way. It claimed that the app was tested by cybersecurity experts prior to voting and no cybersecurity threat was found. Of course, President Trump used the opportunity to celebrate the incident as an example of his opponent’s incompetence. Read more here.

Germany to clamp down on big tech

The German government has proposed a clampdown on anti-competitive behaviour from big tech companies such as Apple and Google. This will put Germany at the forefront of European efforts to regulate digital platforms.

Essentially, the law will give regulators in the country powers to intervene if it believes that a company is dominating markets. This is the furthest any country has gone to regulate and tame the digital giants, and France and Italy are expected to follow suit in the not too distant future.

This comes as the UK government begins making plans for a regulator to police this same sector.

The idea reflects the findings of a review led by Jason Furman, chief economic adviser to former US president Barack Obama, which investigated the “emergence of powerful new companies” in the tech sector and recommended a dedicated regulator. Read more here.


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