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Tech Team

May’s second favourite hobbyhorse [The Guardian]

This week’s EU Summit wasn’t (surprisingly!) all about Brexit. UK Prime Minister Theresa May came to Brussels to urge her counterparts to take strong actions against governments found responsible for cyber-attacks. She’s determined to fight back to protect European economies, democracies and global stability. During the summit, EU leaders announced they’ll call for action next year to combat “cyber-enabled illegal and malicious activities” before the European elections. But are sanctions against entities responsible for cyberattacks really the best way forward? It might be time to focus more on thwarting attacks before they happen.

Are we approaching a digital bill of rights? [Bloomberg]

As the US midterms and EU elections rapidly approach, the future role of technology in our societies is increasingly part of the political debate. From cybersecurity to defence, data privacy to labour issues, the impact of technology is in the crosshairs of elected leaders on both sides of the pond. Just this week, Representative Ro Khanna of California drafted a 10-point program that he is pitching as an internet bill of rights. And Alexander Stubb said at his launch event to become the next president of the European Commission that if elected he would organise an international convention on AI. Will the next year see a rush of tech-driven changes to fundamental legal positions around the globe?

Home attacks! [FT]

Our home appliances are potential cyber weapons – and that’s not sci-fi. The IoT creates new vulnerabilities. Though it’s much easier to hack an electric water heater than a hydroelectric power plant, the damages could be the same. Princeton researchers have found that a hacker could compromise the power grid in a targeted area by taking control of 18,000 electric water heaters. They estimate that by 2021, homes around the globe will contain more than 15 billion connected devices and 75% of smart home appliances could be potential victims for botnet attacks. Scary? It’s high time for manufacturers, users and policy-makers to consider ways to ramp up IoT product security.

Is Chinese tech ready to make a play for Western markets? [FT]

Until recently, many mainstream Chinese tech superstars like WeChat have remained tied to the Chinese market, either geographically or by language. With a market of more than a billion people, there are plenty of consumers to tap, but companies are increasingly looking to break out of the Chinese bubble. Meet mBot, from makeblock, a STEAM education robot aimed at making teaching and learning robot programming fun. The startup is now shipping 70% of its product overseas, mainly to the US, Europe and Japan. What was different about this company? It got its start on Kickstarter and had won international attention well before the product launched. Will this early attention to international markets be the future of Chinese tech?

In case you haven’t had enough:

Microsoft’s Nadella says AI can make the world more inclusive [Wired]

Atlanta airport launches America’s first “biometric terminal” [The Economist]

Bill Gates opens $116 million EU green investment fund [Bloomberg]

As e-scooters roll into American cities, so do safety concerns [NPR]

How tech workers became activists, leading a resistance movement that is shaking up Silicon Valley [FastCo]

Uber’s secret weapon is its team of economists [Quartz]

Google’s AI software seeks to detect advanced breast cancer better than we have before [Mic]

Why it’s so hard to punish companies for data breaches [NYT]

This robot co-taught a course at West Point [Axios]