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The Week in Tech: Amazon becomes a $1trn company, Theranos to dissolve and more

jeff bezos

Hello and welcome to the Week in Tech, your weekly roundup of the top technology news from the past seven days.

This week, we bring you the latest UK tech investment news, Amazon’s new valuation, Theranos’ impending closure and more.



Here are some of the rounds closed by UK tech firms over the past seven days:

Home Secretary warns tech giants

Sajid Javid, the UK’s home secretary, has said he will “not be afraid to take action” against tech companies if they do not collaborate to tackle online child sexual abuse.

Javid said he demanded companies take more measures of face new legislation.

He went on to claim that some websites were refusing to take the issue seriously; highlighting the live-streaming of child abuse as a growing problem.

However, tech giants including Facebook, Google and Microsoft say they are committed to combating the problem.

James Dyson Award winner

This year’s winner of the James Dyson Award has been announced.

The O-Wind Turbine, a turbine that’s able to capture inner city wind and transform it into electricity, has won the award.

The device, which is both low-cost and portable, can be attached to the sides of buildings.

Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani from Lancaster University invented the device.

Card glitch

Thousands of UK consumers have been charged twice for debit card payments.

The mistake was due to an issue with a particular card terminal run by Cardnet, a joint venture between First Data and Lloyds Bank.

As a result of the error, funds were drawn from bank accounts twice but transactions only showed up once on many receipts.

Lloyds Banking Group said under 5% of Cardnet machine transactions were affected on part of 29 August and that all affected customers had been issued a refund.

British Airways breach

British Airways’ chief executive Alex Cruz told the BBC that hackers carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on its website.

According to the airline, personal and financial details of customers making bookings had been compromised.

It’s believed some 380,000 transactions were affected, although the compromised data did not include travel or passport details.

The airline confirmed the breach took place 22:58 BST on 21 August and 21:45 BST on 5 September.



Amazon become the second US-listed business to reach a market value of more than $1trn (£779bn).

The e-commerce giant’s shares increased by approximately 2% to a high of $2,050.50 in morning trade before decreasing.

The news comes after Apple reached the same milestone early last month.

Set up in 1994, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and Jeff Bezos, tts chief executive, is the world’s richest man. Bezos has a net worth of more than $160bn.

Analysts and commentators from all over the globe weighed in, exploring the reasons behind Amazon’s staggering growth. The Next Web‘s Matthew Hughes offered a candid explanation here.

Facebook and Twitter attend US hearing

All eyes were on Facebook and Twitter earlier this week after top executives from the companies said they had taken too long to tackle foreign attempts to meddle in the US presidential election won by Donald Trump.

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey responded to lawmakers during a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Google failed to send a representative.

During the hearing, Sandberg said Facebook was “too slow” to act on election interference, while Dorsey admitted his platform was “unprepared and ill-equipped” for the “weaponisation” of debate.

Democratic senator Mark Warner said he was “deeply disappointed” that Google hadn’t sent its own top corporate leadership to the hearing.

Theranos to shut down

In other news, Theranos, the scandal-hit blood-testing startup is to formally dissolve.

The news was confirmed by the company’s chief executive David Taylor in an email to shareholders.

In the email, Taylor said Theranos had run “out of time” to secure additional investment or a buyer.

Elizabeth Holmes, the company’s founder, and Ramesh Balwani, the former president are facing criminal charges of wire fraud.

Prosecutors allege they both tried to defraud investors, doctors and patients.

Featured image by Steve Jurvetson.