Welcome back from what we hope was a refreshing summer break. Things in Brussels are (almost) in full swing. Now that all of the Commissioner candidates have been announced, we can continue our speculating about who gets which file. And with Commission President von der Leyen noting that there will be two Commission Vice Presidents for the areas of climate and digitalisation – it’s obvious how important these portfolios will be for the next five years. We’re excited to see what else is in store for the tech and digital sectors!  

-The Cambre Tech Team 

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Tech Team

You’ll never lose your keys again [Wired] 

Tired of losing your keys, carrying your hard drive around, or having to deal with piracy laws? Biohacking might be the answer for you! Biohacking has moved beyond people implanting things like car fobs into their arms. PegLeg was created by a group of biohackers and is a small subdermal wireless router and hard drive implanted in...you guessed it…a leg. Anyone near the device can access and download the hundreds of gigabytes saved on the hard drive, making it ideal for…spies? Practical uses seem sparse, and having just read Dan Brown’s book Origin where, spoiler alert, its announced humans and technology will eventually become one, we’re a little skeptical of where this could go. 

Why phones that secretly listen to us are a myth [BBC] 

Recently on the internet and on social media, there have been numerous claims that the big internet giants such as Facebook or Google are spying on users, listening to their juicy conversations in order to serve hyper-targeted adverts. A recent research investigation carried out by a mobile security company has, in fact, found that this is not true. We can safely talk. No secret transfer of significant data to date. However, the reality is that advertisers still have all sorts of sophisticated tricks profiling users – such as location data, browsing history, pixel tracking – to name a few. Apparently, they can know what we could be interested in even before we do. Real Black Mirror stuff.   

A solution to your airplane travel guilt [Bloomberg] 

Sometimes it can feel like all your good, green intentions are suddenly erased as soon as you book a plane ticket. Thankfully, there’s an app for that. Project Wren, taking cues from Spotify and Netflix, offer a web-based tool to quantify your carbon emissions and then make regular payments into projects that will absorb those emissions. Another service takes a set amount each month and directs it to renewable energy projects. While these initiatives are a great step towards personal footprint offsetting, it’s important to remember that much of the power to transition to a greener future lies in the hands of national governments.  

The good, the bad and the EU [Carnegie Europe] 

As landmark movie ‘The Matrix’ turns 20, we are coming to terms with the fact that AI not only exists but will mark our lifetime. Feelings about it oscillate between hyped optimism and fears of a techpocalypseDoomsayers may be justified, seeing how the two AI powers – US and China – already seem plunged into an AI “arms race”. And then there is the EU. Trying to come up with a different, value-based narrative and become the ethical, ‘Trustworthy AI superpower. This approach might save us from regretting – like Einstein did with nuclear weapons – a great innovation. To succeed, Europe must quickly agree to go beyond guidelines and branding and make this a hard principle for all its funding, research and rules.  

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In case you haven’t had enough… 

How One Texas County Stopped a Ransomware Attack [WSJ] 

The frighteningly simple technique that hijacked Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account [The Verge] 

Chinese face-swapping app goes viral, sparks privacy concerns [Reuters]