What a week it has been! The Schrems II ruling has shaken EU-US data flows to the core. With limited legal grounds left for transatlantic data flows to continue, it will be interesting to see whether Europe and the US will explore the creation of a Privacy Shield 2.0 (or Safe Harbor 3.0?) compliant with the European Court of Justice’s ruling. Not to mention how conducive the current state of transatlantic relations is to swift agreement on a workable solution. To be continued…

From our side, #TechAways is signing off for the summer, we will back in early September with more tech news and updates!

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Tech Team

Twitter hack triggers jitters [Financial Times

It’s been a big week on the cybersecurity front. We saw an unprecedented security breach at Twitter when cyber-criminals hacked the US accounts of such public figures as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Elon Musk in a ‘double-your-Bitcoin’ scam. Twitter scrambled to apologise but is still trying to get to the bottom of the reputation-denting incident. Whatever the outcome, questions are coming over the security of Twitter in the lead-up to the US presidential election. On top of that was news of Russia-backed hackers targeting pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions in the UK, US and Canada that are working on potential COVID-19 vaccines. The Russian government has denied the claims by US and UK intelligence authorities. What’s undeniable however is that such developments will do nothing to calm jittery nerves in these anxious times – particularly in cybersecurity-conscious Europe.

As if online courses could not get worse… [The Verge

With everyone adapting to the new normal of living with a pandemic, online classes have been the standard policy at most universities, including the US. But the Trump administration and ICE (the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) thought otherwise: on July 6th, it issued a policy that all international students who will take full online courses in the fall 2020 semester would be potentially be sent back home. After much protest and a lawsuit, ICE rightfully rescinded its policy. It’s already stressful enough to study for your future career in a pandemic, without having to be worried about your visa expiring ending sooner than you think!

Will Instagram’s ‘Reels’ reel in the TikTok-ers? [TechCrunch

As scrutiny grows over TikTok’s privacy issues, Instagram is trying to step into the gap with its new short-form video app ‘Reels.’ Launched in India this month after TikTok was banned in the country, Instagram has announced that the app will arrive in the US and 50 other countries in a matter of weeks. Like TikTok, Reels allows users to create short, 15-second clips set to music and offers many similar editing tools. Because of Instagram’s built-in market it has a chance of edging TikTok out, but more and more TikTok rivals are emerging, and re-emerging so competition will be fierce. Our biggest question – does this era of “Zoomers” even get the reference from the name Reels 🎞️?

Robot stacking shelves in your local supermarket [Reuters

A supermarket chain in Tokyo is leading the way in retail automation: by 2022 they intend to deploy robots in their supermarkets to fill shelves and stack sandwiches. With less workforce available, Japanese companies are quicker making long-term investments into automation, including robots. The robots don’t always fully ‘take over’ the tasks, often they are developed to allow their operators to work remotely or more efficiently. Also, this supermarket robot looks like a kangaroo. Why? Because apparently customers feel uncomfortable around human-looking robots!

In case you haven’t had enough… 

Russia-linked hackers accused of targeting Covid-19 vaccine developers (Financial Times) 

Deepfake used to attack activist couple shows new disinformation frontier (Reuters) 

15 states will follow California’s push to electrify trucks and buses (The Verge) 

Hollywood stays away from Facebook ad boycott (The New York Times)