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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Across the UK, small businesses are in something of a panic over GDPR. And among those worried about whether they will be ready for the new data protection laws are 650 firms based in Westminster.

I am talking about MPs - and there is worrying evidence that they and their staff may be getting poor advice.

The issue was raised in the Commons yesterday by Labour MP Chris Bryant.

He tweeted this: "Just raised a point of order on the ludicrous exaggerated advice to MPs on the General Data Protection Regulation that we should delete all casework information from before June 2018."

Mr Bryant told me that his staff had attended a GDPR training session organised by the House of Commons. It seems they were informed that the new law meant that they could not keep any information about constituency cases that had been completed. They came away with the impression that all data from before the last general election would have to be deleted.

The MP said this would make it impossible to do his job properly, comparing it to a doctor getting rid of all previous files on patients. "My constituents expect me to have their previous details when they visit."

It seems staff in some MPs' offices have already deleted old casework data, having been told that "all MPs are doing this".

But this morning, the Speaker responded to Chris Bryant's concerns, telling the House of Commons that it was not at all clear that the trainers had advised deletion of data.

MP Chris Bryant

"Despite vigorous inquiry yesterday by the House Authorities and the contractor commissioned by the House Authorities to support Members and their staff, no trace has been found by those responsible of such advice having been given."

Earlier, one Conservative MP told me that his staff had not seen any need for mass deletion. He showed me a letter from the chairman of the Commons Administration Committee relaying what seems like more measured advice from the information commissioner.

The letter includes this line: "The impact of the GDPR should be limited if you are compliant with the current laws and regulations."

That should be comforting, although I suspect some MPs will be nervously asking their staff to just check what their data policy has been over the years.

While the advice on issues such as how to respond to requests from constituents to erase data is reasonably complex, the letter quotes the Information Commissioner's Office as saying they are "not going to be looking at perfection, we're going to be looking for commitment".

Nevertheless, many MPs may have been tempted to take a safety first approach - just like all those firms that have sent you an email asking for your consent to remain on their mailing lists, when it probably was not necessary.

You may say that the very people who have been examining the data protection legislation should be better informed. But they are among many small businesses still struggling to make their way through the fog of confusing advice.

There have been plenty of warnings about the huge fines awaiting those who fall foul of GDPR - perhaps that message from the information commissioner about not looking for perfection straight away needs to be reinforced.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

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The government has halted researchers and others from accessing personal information about UK schoolchildren, it has emerged.

The Department for Education said the step was a temporary move to modify the national pupil database's approval process.

It told the BBC that the step was required to be compliant with a shake-up of EU data privacy rules.

The law gives children and others new rights and comes into force on 25 May.

"The department takes the use of personal information and the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation very seriously," the DfE said in a statement.

"We've temporarily paused applications for data from the national pupil Database ahead of the implementation of the GDPR."

The national pupil database is designed to help experts study the effect of different educational strategies over time.

Access was "paused" on 1 May, and the DfE has said it expects to provide further information in June.

Campaigners have raised concerns that many parents are unaware that data on millions of English schoolchildren can be shared with academics and businesses.

Applicants can request different levels of access, with the highest level includingindividual children's names, addresses, ethnicities and disabilities, among other factors.

A recent survey by the data privacy campaign Defend Digital Me suggested most parents (69%) did not know about the data-sharing.

Currently, parents and children are not allowed access to their data.

Gender, ethnicity, exam performance and reasons for absence can all be accessed by third parties under certain rules.

Defend Digital Me is calling for a change in how the data is managed.

Prof Ross Anderson - a leading cyber-security expert at the University of Cambridge - has also raised concerns, despite the fact that other researchers at the institution have made use of the data.

"The government is forcing schools to collect data that are then sold or given to firms that exploit it, with no meaningful consent," he blogged on Monday.

"There is not even the normal right to request subject access so you can check whether the information about you is right and have it corrected if it's wrong.

"Our elected representatives make a lot of noise about protecting children; time to call them on it."

Academic research

English records in the national pupil database have been kept since 1998 and include more than 21 million named English schoolchildren.

Freedom of Information (FoI) requests made by Defend Digital Me also found data on 1.2 million Scottish children had been collected since 2007, though in that case the pupils were not named.

The information, collected by the DfE, is generally gathered via school censuses.

Country Number of children Year data collection started Named?
England 21,230,000 1998 Yes
Scotland 1,265,501 2007 No
Wales 1,034,907 2003 Yes
Northern Ireland 327,122 2006 Yes

Source: Defend Digital Me

Records of who has accessed the data and why are available on the DfE's website.

Requests from academic researchers make up the majority of data extract applications processed by the DfE.

Many relate to projects studying education in the UK, for example.

Academic researchers' use of personal datasets has faced scrutiny recently - notably after it was revealed that data gathered by a Cambridge University researcher had been passed to Cambridge Analytica.

There is no suggestion that Cambridge Analytica had accessed national pupil database records.

Presentational grey line

Who accesses data on school children?

Besides academic researchers, there are also requests from private companies, which use the data to aid education policy consulting services to local authorities.

The Home Office has requested data on schoolchildren under its immigration control and Syrian resettlement programmes - though the latter request has yet to receive approval.

The BBC's Newsnight programme also requested data, in March 2017, when it was producing a package on the English school system. It was given tier-two access, which includes pupils' ages and ethnicities but not names or home addresses.

The DfE records that Newsnight later destroyed the data in accordance with rules around access.

Defend Digital Me has said that the government does not currently allow parents or children the right to see records relating to them or to have them corrected if inaccurate.

According to the group's survey of 1,004 English parents - carried out by Survation - 79% would choose to see the records if they were able to.

"Defend Digital Me is campaigning to have that changed, and wants the government to respect children's subject access rights... in the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]," the report said.

Jen Persson, the group's director, told the BBC: "As a mother with three children in primary school four years ago, I didn't know there was a national pupil database at all or that my children's personal data were stored at named level, given away to commercial third parties."

'Parents unaware'

She said that everything she had since discovered, thanks to research and FoI requests, was "not widely known at all".

The research by Defend Digital Me "raises serious questions", said Ailidh Callander, a legal officer at civil liberties group Privacy International.

"It is important that data practices in the education sector are examined thoroughly - particularly given the sensitivity of children's data," she told the BBC.

Defend Digital Me has also investigated the use of web monitoring software on computers used at school

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that it had engaged with the DfE about its processing of pupil data in the past "and continues to do so".

"The GDPR requires that personal data is processed fairly, lawfully and transparently, as well as enhancing people's rights," she said.

"We understand that the DfE is reviewing its processing of pupil data as part of its GDPR preparations. And the ICO will continue to engage with the DfE on this."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

When Paul Curtis designed an app for his running club, he had no idea it would become a big hit across the country.

Freelance designer Paul, from Coventry , joined Massey Ferguson Running Club in 2016. He saw an opportunity to help his fellow club members get easier access to news and personal best records – and so he designed an app.

It was such a success, other clubs came calling – and now the My Running Club app has been made available across the UK.

“I put together the app just to help out and make sure everyone could easily keep on top of what was going on, stay in contact with each other and share their successes all in one place,” Paul explained.

“It was put together over the course of a year and after we started using it, word must have spread because we had other clubs getting in touch to see if there was a version they could use.”

Margaret Bull with Paul Curtis

Paul took his original idea to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , and received help and support via the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

“The actual design part of the app was something that I am very familiar with, but the ideas on how to push My Running Club as a business was where the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce really helped,” he said.

“I worked with a mentor at the Chamber, Margaret Bull, who assisted me in marketing and pricing and where we might also add in extra services to help the business grow.”

The app has now expanded and can be used to monitor track and field events and triathlon races.

“You can now customise the app in terms of its design to suit your running club and we have more than 10 clubs across the country taking part,” Paul adds. “The feedback has been great and of course I still get feedback from members of the Massey Ferguson Running Club.”

Margaret Bull, business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , said: “Paul came to us with his app technically completed, so the main emphasis was on developing his marketing strategy and defining his client profile.

“It’s very often the case that people have a great idea but it’s actually the business side where help is needed – and that’s where we can assist.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council , Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

Free trials of the app are available. Contact hello@myrunningclub.net

Source: coventrytelegraph.net
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

Image result for rescue drones

Drones may be best known for taking impressive aerial videos and inspecting buildings, infrastructure and crops, but they also promise to improve mobile and internet connectivity for emergency services and consumers.

Poor mobile signal in rural areas is frustrating, but it can also be life-threatening in emergency situations. Slow emergency response times mean higher mortality rates.

Mobile signals are usually sent via base stations, attached to buildings or special masts. These are tough to put up in a hurry - so why not attach a base station to a drone?

For the last two years, the Finnish tech firm Nokia and British mobile operator EE have been flying small quadcopter drones mounted with portable mobile base stations in Scotland.

The idea is that in an emergency, a drone could hover over a disaster area to provide instant 4G mobile network coverage with a 50km (31 mile) radius.

But drones can't fly for very long before the battery runs out - 30 minutes is a typical maximum.

So US telecoms giant AT&T is developing a large, helicopter-like drone known as the "Flying COW", short for "Cell on Wings". It is tethered to the ground by a cable that gives it power.

This enables the drone stay in the air 24-hours-a-day at a maximum height of 168m (550ft).

AT&T says it used Flying COW to provide emergency 4G coverage to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in November. Each drone was able to cover an area measuring 36 sq km.

Nokia wants to take things a step further, and turn police vans and fire engines into command and control centres to help emergency responders make crucial decisions much faster than they do today.

The idea is for fire engines to have their own personal 4G network with a 50km radius.

From the command centre, fire fighters would launch drones and use their cameras to survey the scene. The same concept is being used for search and rescue, with artificial intelligence linking the drones together into a "swarm", so only one pilot is needed to direct a whole group of drones.

Image captionA firefighter from a UK fire and rescue service pilots a drone

Nokia is testing out the technology with Vodafone and firefighters in Dusseldorf, Germany.

"You don't need to send firemen into the hostile environment, you will have full situational awareness immediately," says Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia's vice president of advanced mobile networks solutions.

"What we see from the police is that this is much quicker and lower cost than a helicopter, which they still mostly use today."

British start-up Unmanned Life has developed software to send out multiple autonomous drones at the same time to gather information during a crisis, such as when a building is on fire.

One drone hovers in the air providing 4G coverage, while another flies around the building providing live video. A third equipped with heat sensors creates a heat map of the building, while a fourth uses sonar to map structural damage.

Unmanned Life is in talks to provide its system to BT and Verizon, who currently hold government contracts for emergency communication networks in the UK and US.

Swarms of co-operating drones, each with different tasks, help address the flight-time issue because single-function drones can be lighter.

And they can be lighter still if many of their computational and sensing functions - navigation for example - are undertaken by computers on the ground "talking" to the drones wirelessly.

The lighter the drone, the more it can carry.

In February, Ericsson tested this concept with BT and Verizon together with King's College London university in London to show that a drone could autonomously carry 5kg of medical supplies from one location to another, without human intervention.

A woman watches on a tablet as a man loads a drone with first aid supplies

The trial demonstrated that next-generation superfast 5G networks would be powerful enough to transfer data streams between the drone and the ground, as well as ensuring that the connection to the drone never dropped.

"I think drones together with 5G networks and the IoT [internet of things] offer tremendous opportunities," says Phil Bonner of Ericsson.

"We need to keep the drone very simple and cheap."

But drones for deliveries and emergency services will only be viable if they can be flown autonomously without crashing into buildings, trees, pylons, or each other.

So many tech and telecoms companies are racing to build air traffic control systems for them.

"Nokia has a system run on the 4G network that can connect all the drones and knows where they are," says Mr Robrecht.

"And we have a commercial aircraft 4G network covering the entire airspace in Europe in order to connect all the aircraft flying around.

"We're trying to work out how to connect the two networks."

Once this problem is solved, communications drones won't just be for the emergency services. They could help civilians in all sorts of ways too, such as at sports events.

Drones helped fans watching the 2018 Super Bowl enjoy better mobile connectivity

"One of the challenges we see is when people are using their devices in stadiums during the Super Bowl," says Art Pregler, AT&T's unmanned aircraft systems programme director.

"If there's a really good football play, they're all taking video or looking for an instant replay. That creates a lot of demand on the network.

"But we could have drones in the air augmenting our existing capacity, and that will improve their experience at the event."

Technology firm Ericsson thinks that in future we could even pay to have a drone launched if we need internet coverage on-demand in an area with bad signal - great for music festivals.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

Image result for bmw 5 series i electric car

Wireless charging is gradually becoming a more common feature for smartphones, so why not for electric cars, too?

Well, BMW is taking a major step in precisely that direction as it embarks on production of its cutting-edge inductive charging system in July 2018.

News of BMW’s decision to start manufacturing its charging pad comes courtesy of Car magazine, which said the system will work with many of the German carmaker’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, beginning with the 5-series 530e iPerformance.


It will be available to European customers by the end of the summer and — according to Autoblog — will also land in the U.S., albeit as a pilot program limited to 530e drivers in California. That’s pretty narrow; hopefully it won’t be too long before it becomes more widely available.

BMW’s charging technology comprises a base pad with an integrated primary coil that can be installed not only in a garage, but also outdoors. A secondary coil is located in the underside of the vehicle.

“An alternating magnetic field is generated between the two coils, through which electricity is transmitted without cables or contacts at a charge rate of up to 3.2kW,” the Munich-based automaker explains. “This form of power supply to the high-voltage battery is extremely convenient for customers and involves a charging time of around 3.5 hours.”

So how does it work in a real-world setting? Well, when the driver parks over the pad in a car that has the wireless technology, blue lines on the car’s display guide the driver to the precise position to enable charging to begin. Green circles appear when the vehicle is perfectly aligned.

Charging starts automatically the moment you turn off the ignition. Yes, it’s that simple.

An app keeps the driver informed of charging progress, and will also alert the driver to any disturbances to the process such as a cat or other animal resting on the pad. For the safety conscious, BMW says the inductive charging system’s field strength falls well within regulatory limits, while the electromagnetic radiation it produces is less than that of a typical kitchen hotplate.

BMW’s inductive charging technology has been several years in the making, with the company first revealing plans for the system in 2014 as part of a collaborative effort with Daimler.

The automaker’s introduction of the technology may be a touch on the tentative side, but with a slew of other carmakers working on similar systems, we can expect to see more rapid developments before too long, making charging electric vehicles such a convenient process that owners will hardly have to think about it.

Source: digitaltrends.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

Anyone who has ever visited England’s Lake District in the height of summer will know from bitter experience how the roads can become clogged with cars as travelers from around the world explore one of the country’s most beautiful national parks.

The operator of the park recently tested an electric-powered driverless pod as part of a pilot program to gain public feedback on how it feels to use the technology. The aim is to explore the possibility of integrating the autonomous pods in the local transportation system to help cut pollution and ease congestion on the park’s busy roads.

Developed by Westfield Technology Group, the diminutive vehicle uses sensors and cameras to detect road conditions and obstacles as it transports up to four people along designated routes.

It’s hoped the pods could be useful for last-mile journeys inside the park, for example, from the station to the hotel, or from the hotel to the top of a valley to start a hike.

“We’re constantly looking at new ways to balance the needs and enjoyment of people as they visit and move around the Lake District, whilst being mindful of the impact on the environment,” Richard Leafe, chief executive at the Lake District National Park, said in a release.

Leafe added: “Driverless pods are a really interesting concept and while this is not necessarily something that will be seen on the Lake District streets soon, it’s vital we explore a range of solutions for sustainable travel. We’re excited to see the pods in action this week and to hear from the public on whether they would use this type of transport in the Lake District.”

Julian Turner, boss of Westfield Technology Group, said his firm was using the Lake District project to identify “possible routes for the pod and talking to the local community about how we could meet their transport needs.” He added that the collaborative effort “will allow us to create a sustainable and accessible transport mode for journeys in the future.”

The feasibility study will run until June with the results helping the park to decide if this type of transport would suit the Lake District and be a good fit for those who live and visit there.

Similarly designed pods are already transporting passengers around Heathrow Airport, and have also been tested in parts of London, but it seems this is the first time the vehicle has been taken onto roads in the countryside.

Source: digitaltrends.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 14th May 2018

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  • Facebook is reportedly looking into creating its own cryptocurrency.
  • On Tuesday, Facebook's head of Messenger, David Marcus, said he was looking into blockchain applications within the company.
  • The creation of a Facebook cryptocurrency might just be one of the avenues Marcus and his team are exploring.

Facebook is looking into creating its own cryptocurrency, according to a report by Cheddar.

Reportedly, unnamed sources familiar with the matter said Facebook was "very serious" about its consideration of building its own decentralized digital currency.

Cheddar's report follows an announcement from Facebook's head of Messenger, David Marcus, who said on Tuesday that he planned to leave his position to explore uses of the blockchain at Facebook.

At the time, Marcus didn't mention any possible applications for the blockchain.

But cryptocurrency insiders are speculating that Facebook's interest in blockchain technologymight have something to do with payments. Additionally, one former Facebook employee told Business Insider that Facebook might be interested in creating a digital currency that could be used as a system of payments on the site.


It's thought that if Facebook offered a cryptocurrency, it could create a seamless payment platform on the site that could be accessible even by people who are unbanked.

A Facebook spokesman told Business Insider that the company was "exploring many different applications."

"Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology," the company said in a statement, adding: "We don't have anything further to share."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 14th May 2018

MPs’ frustrations grow as new evidence in America reopens the issue of Kremlin influence

Image result for facebook

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, was the second executive Facebook offered up to answer questions from parliament’s select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

He took his place in the hot seat in the wake of the first attendee, Simon Milner, Facebook’s (now ex-) head of policy for Europe, who answered a series of questions about Cambridge Analytica’s non-use of Facebook data that came back to haunt the company in the furore that followed the Observer and New York Times revelations from Christopher Wylie.

Schroepfer is Facebook’s nerd-in-chief. He was the tech guy sent to answer a series of questions from MPs about how his platform had facilitated what appeared to be a wholesale assault on Britain’s democracy, and though there was much he couldn’t answer, when he was asked about spending by Russian entities directed at British voters before the referendum, he spoke confidently: “We did look several times at the connections between the IRA [the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency] … and the EU referendum and we found $1 of spend. We found almost nothing.”

But new evidence released by the United States Congress suggests adverts were targeted at UK Facebook users, and paid for in roubles, in the months preceding the short 10-week period “regulated” by the Electoral Commission but when the long campaigns were already under way.

This is the latest episode in a series of miscommunications between the company and British legislators, which has come to a head in the week the Electoral Commission finally published the findings of its investigation into the Leave.EU campaign.

Damian Collins, the chair of the DCMS committee, said: “We asked them to look for evidence of Russian influence and they came back and told us something we now know appears misleading. And we’re still waiting for answers to 40 questions that Mike Schroepfer was unable to answer, including if they have any record of any dark ads.

“It could be that these adverts are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just so hard getting any sort of information out of them, and then not knowing if that information is complete.”

Preliminary research undertaken by Twitter user Brexitshambles suggests anti-immigrant adverts were targeted at Facebook users in the UK and the US.

One – headlined “You’re not the only one to despise immigration”, which cost 4,884 roubles (£58) and received 4,055 views – was placed in January 2016. Another, which accused immigrants of stealing jobs, cost 5,514 roubles and received 14,396 impressions. Organic reach can mean such adverts are seen by a wider audience.

Facebook says that it only looked for adverts shown during the officially regulated campaign period. A spokesperson said: “The release of the set of IRA adverts confirms the position we shared with the Electoral Commission and DCMS committee. We did not find evidence of any significant, coordinated activity by the IRA operatives directed towards the Brexit referendum.

“This is supported by the release of this data set which shows a significant amount of activity by the IRA with only a handful of their ads listing the UK as a possible audience.”

Collins said that the committee was becoming increasingly frustrated by Facebook’s reluctance to answer questions and by founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ongoing refusal to come to the UK to testify.

Milner told the committee in February that Cambridge Analytica had no Facebook data and could not have got data from Facebook.

The news reinforces MPs’ frustrations with a system that last week many of them were describing as “broken”. On Friday, 15 months after the first Observer article that triggered the Electoral Commission’s investigation into Leave.EU was published, it found the campaign – funded by Arron Banks and endorsed by Nigel Farage – guilty of multiple breaches of electoral law and referred the “responsible person” – its chief executive, Liz Bilney – to the police.

Banks described the commission’s report as a “politically motivated attack on Brexit”.

Leading academics and MPs called the delay in referring the matter to the police “catastrophic”, with others saying British democracy had failed. Liam Byrne, Labour’s shadow digital minister, described the current situation as “akin to the situation with rotten boroughs” in the 19th century. “It’s at that level. What we’re seeing is a wholesale failure of the entire system. We have 20th-century bodies fighting a 21st-century challenge to our democracy. It’s totally lamentable.”


The big picture here is it’s possible for an individual or group with lots of money to change the course of history

Damian Tambini, LSE

Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, said it was unacceptable that the Electoral Commission had still not referred the evidence about Vote Leave from Christopher Wylie and Shahmir Sanni – published in the Observer and submitted to the Electoral Commission – to the police. He said: “What they seem to have done, and are continuing to do, is to kick this into the long grass. There seems to be political pressure to kick this down the road until Britain has exited the EU.”

He accused the commission of ignoring what he considered key evidence, including about Cambridge Analytica. The commission had found Leave.EU guilty of not declaring work done by its referendum strategist, Goddard Gunster, but said it had found no evidence of work done by Cambridge Analytica.

“The whole thing stinks,” Kinnock said. “I wrote to the commission with evidence that the value of work carried out by Cambridge Analytica was around £800,000. The glib way it dismissed the multiple pieces of evidence about the company was extraordinary. I just think it is absolutely not fit for purpose.”

Gavin Millar QC, a leading expert in electoral law at Matrix Chambers, said: “Our entire democratic system is vulnerable and wide open to attack. If we allow this kind of money into campaigning on national basis – and the referendum was the paradigm for this – you have to have an organisation with teeth to police it.”

Damian Tambini, director of research in the department of media and communications at the London School of Economics, described the whole system as broken and said there was not a single investigatory body that seemed capable of uncovering the truth. “The DCMS Select Committee has found itself in this extraordinary position of, in effect, leading this investigation because it at least has the power to compel witnesses and evidence – something the Electoral Commission can’t do. It’s the classic British solution of muddling through.

“The big picture here is it’s possible for an individual or group with lots of money and some expertise to change the course of history and buy an election outcome. And with our regulatory system, we’ll never know if it’s happened.”

• This article was amended on 13 May 2018 to clarify that a remark from Damian Tambini referred to the DCMS Select Committee.


Source: theguardian.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 14th May 2018

Company also to hire 6,000 new staff in cyber security and customer service

Image result for bt

BT is planning to cut jobs by 13,000 over the next three years - more than had been rumoured only last week - as it looks to cut annual running costs by £1.5 billion. It will also sell-up its London headquarters on Newgate Street in the City and relocate to a cheaper location. 


The announcement today coincided with the unveiling of the company's annual results for the year to the end of March, which revealed revenue down by one per cent for the year, but by three per cent for the final quarter. 

At the same time, though, the company said it would hire about 6,000 front-line engineers, customer service and cyber security specialists.

BT said the job losses would come mainly from back office and middle management roles, with around two-thirds of the job cuts set to fall on the company's 80,000-strong UK workforce, with the remainder coming from the 18,000 staff it employs internationally.

"Decisions like this are not easy, we recognise that it is going to affect a lot of people but ultimately we need to do these things to ensure that we remain a competitive business going forward and that we can benchmark our performance against peer companies," said BT CEO Gavin Patterson. 

He added that it was the "right thing for the business" and would help take BT "into its next chapter".

The company is also planning to move out of its London headquarters in St Paul's, where the company has been based since 1874. The company will continue to maintain a "smaller presence" in London at a yet to be decided location.

BT was also last year hit by a £42 million fine from regulator Ofcom, plus a £300 million compensation bill, for its failings around ‘deemed consent' in its Openreach division. Ofcom has been working to break the BT/Openreach monopoly on fibre access for several years.

It is also committed to closing the yawning £11.3 billion deficit in the corporate pension fund, with payments of £2.1 billion over the three years to 31 March 2020, together with a £2 billion contribution that will be funded by a bond issue. 

In response to the cull, Philippa Childs, the general secretary of the Prospect union, said: "The scale of these jobs cuts is higher than had been previously speculated on and come as a devastating blow to managers and professionals represented by Prospect.

"Many of the roles that BT is proposing to cut are highly skilled professionals and the loss of that expertise could impact BT's research and innovation capability."

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 14th May 2018

Notifications driving you crazy in Windows 10? Here's how to manage them better

how to turn off notifications in windows 10 settings

Notifications are the heart and soul of the Action Center in Windows 10, but receiving a barrage of notifications isn’t always welcome. That’s especially true if you have multiple apps pushing out notifications every time anything happens. The good news is you can easily turn notifications on and off in Windows 10 Settings, so long as you’ve already received a notification from it.


Here’s a quick rundown on how disable notifications for any installed app, as well as how to control the types of notifications you see.

Turn off notifications

Step 1: To add, disable, or enable notifications, begin by clicking the Action Center icon located on the right-hand side of the Windows taskbar.

Step 2: Then, click the All Settings button with the gear icon

Step 3: Select System in the top-left corner of the window.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 4: In “System,” click “Notifications & Actions” from the left-hand menu. This will take you to a screen providing access to all of the settings related to notifications and the Action Center.

how to configure notifications action center windows 10 settings choose and actions

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 5: Look for the Notifications subhead, where you will see a number of toggles for various types of notifications. The following is a list of the settings you can toggle on this screen:

  • Get notifications from apps and other senders.
  • Show notifications on the lock screen.
  • Show alarms, reminders, and incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen.
  • Hide notifications when duplicating my screen.
  • Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.

Turn them off as you need! If you don’t want any, just make sure they are all toggled off. Again, you’ll need to install the particular app you want to view notifications for if it’s not already built into your system, and you can receive a notification first before an app will show up in the list.

Bonus tip: How to dismiss notifications

Notifications are a phenomenal tool for keeping up with the hustle and bustle of our digital lives. However, an excess of notifications — especially ones you’ve previously seen — can clutter the Action Center and prevent you from seeing important notifications as they arrive.

To dismiss individual notifications, click the Action Center icon located on the right-hand side of the Windows taskbar and mouse over the notification that you’d like to dismiss. Then, click the “X” button directly to the right of the notification. You can also swipe a notification to the right to dismiss it quickly with either touch or by clicking and dragging with the mouse.

how to configure notifications action center windows 10 dismiss notification

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

You can dismiss all of the notifications for a given app by clicking on the “X” button to the right of the app group listing. You can also click “Clear all” to close every notification for all apps.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Note: Microsoft continues to integrate Windows 10 across all devices connected to the same Microsoft account. In the spirit of being better connected, Windows 10 notifications will dismiss on other Windows devices when you dismiss them in the Action Center on your desktop.

In-depth: How to customize notifications for each app

In Windows 10, you can choose to view or hear a combination of banner notifications — which consist of a pop-up in the lower-right corner of your display — and sounds. You can also configure various apps to only show notifications within the Action Center, with no other indication on arrival. A number of notification options are available for each app that supports them.

how to configure notifications action center windows 10 app notification customization

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

To access these settings, open the Notifications section of Settings, as before. Scroll down and click the name of the particular app you want to adjust the notifications for, to access a more advanced notification menu. Then, simply toggle on and off whichever preferences you choose, whether you want to receive banner notifications, sounds, or neither. Here are the settings you can configure for most app’s notifications:

  • Turn notifications on or off.
  • Turn notification banners — the boxes that show up for each notification and then disappear — on or off.
  • Determine whether to keep notifications private on the lock screen.
  • Turn notifications on or off in the Action Center.
  • Determine whether a sound plays for that app’s notifications.
  • Indicate how many notifications are visible in the Action Center before the drop-down “show more” menu appears, either one, three, five, 10, or 20 notifications.
  • Determine the priority of notifications, allowing an app’s notifications to show up on top of other less important app notifications.
Source: digitaltrends.com
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