The briefing on technology
The latest news, trends and data on technology
Technology news in numbers
The surge in year-on-year profits reported by semiconductor leaders ASML. The ongoing global chip shortage has put its lithography machines in very high demand among semiconductor suppliers.
The amount Microsoft plans to invest over the next five years to build a new data centre in Malaysia. The tech titan has also pledged to upskill one million Malaysians by the end of 2023.
The amount in lost revenues the global semiconductor shortage is expected to cost carmakers in 2021, according to AlixPartners.
This is how many global users will be using software-based facial recognition for payments by 2025, according to a report published by Juniper Research.
How many Amazon workers voted against forming a union in Bessemer, Alabama. 738 workers backed the effort amid claims of union bashing from Amazon. These claims became subject of a National Labor Relations Board probe in May.
The dangerously big difference in metric tonnes between a Boeing 737’s actual weight and what its load sheet indicated. An incorrect estimate for the weight of the passengers was given due to check-in software assuming that all passengers titled “Miss” were children. But many were not – talk about a near-miss.
Cryptocurrencies stumble amid Xinjiang blackout and crackdown rumours
Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed a boom during the pandemic. However, the bitcoin bull run may be over as governments crack down on cryptocurrencies, while a power outage in the Chinese Xinjiang region saw the price of several digital assets tumble in April.
In mid-April, bitcoin reached a record $64,747, up from about $7,000 a year ago. Since then, the price has fallen by almost 29% as of 16 May when it traded at $48,434. Other digital currencies have experienced similar drops, apart from Dogecoin, which has enjoyed a surge thanks to comments made by Tesla's famous CEO Elon Musk.
The main reason for the drop, as cited at the time, was that lawmakers look set to come down hard on cryptocurrency. The US Treasury is reportedly preparing a crackdown against money laundering done via crypto. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has previously warned that bitcoin is often used “for illicit finance.”
Turkey’s central bank has also banned bitcoin and digital assets being used to buy goods and services. It cited the risk of “non-recoverable losses"; and fears over cryptocurrencies not being subject to “any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority”, Al Jazeera reported. In the UK meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority banned the sale of derivatives and exchange traded notes that reference certain types of cryptoassets to retail consumers in October.
Analysts also suggest that a power outage in the Chinese Xinjiang region could've been a contributing factor behind the initial cryptocurrency tumble. The blackout was caused by maintenance work after recent flooding caused security risks. It is believed that much of the world’s bitcoin mining is done in Xinjiang, making it an important part of the distributed network underpinning the cryptocurrency. Data website CoinMarketCap reported that the blackout caused almost half of the bitcoin network to go dark for 48 hours.
Image credit: Stuttgart / Shutterstock.com
From the news
Using “password” as your password will be against the law – UK gov
The UK government will introduce new reforms to strengthen Internet of Things (IoT) devices’ cybersecurity. The government also suggested an outright ban against easy-to-guess passwords such as “password” or “admin”. This echoes a recent warning from the National Cyber Security Centre against using passwords such as significant dates, maiden names or the names of pets.
Ubiquiti: Attackers never said they had customer data. And we believe them
Networking and Internet of Things (IoT) vendor Ubiquiti has responded to allegations that it deliberately downplayed a data breach in January. In a statement posted to its user forum, the company says it has “no evidence that customer information was accessed” and that “nothing has changed with respect to our analysis of customer data and the security of our products since our notification on January 11”.
Nvidia Arm deal: UK probes “national security” of sale to US company
The UK government has launched a probe into Nvidia’s planned $40bn purchase of microchip designer Arm on “national security grounds”. Arm is currently owned by Japan’s Softbank, who acquired Arm in 2016 for $31.4bn. That deal though did not receive the same level of scrutiny as the Nvidia takeover.
Biden pushes for new world order in bid to actually collect tax from Big Tech
President Joe Biden has proposed increasing the US federal corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. He has also suggested a global corporate tax baseline of 21%, which his administration says will prevent a so-called “race to the bottom” between countries lowering rates to attract multinationals to their shores.
Apple denies dominating market as it makes Facebook cry uncle
Apple has denied copying competitors’ ideas at a senate antitrust hearing. The iPhone maker’s chief compliance officer Kyle Andeer was grilled at a senate hearing on Wednesday about whether or not the $2tn company stifles competition. Google’s senior director of public policy and government relations Wilson White was also along for the ride and faced the same barrage of questions.
US adds China’s most powerful computer to its blacklist
The ongoing trade war between the USA and China continues, with the US adding a further seven Chinese organisations active in the field of supercomputing to its trade blacklist. Perhaps the most prominent of the blacklisted organisations is the Wuxi supercomputing centre, home to the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer – the most powerful publicly-known computer in China and fourth most powerful in the world according to the Top500 rankings.
BACK TO TOP