Hello and welcome to The Week in Tech, your weekly roundup of the top technology news stories from across the globe.
When I said last week that we had been ran off our feet with news, particularly of the investment kind, I definitely spoke too soon.
The past seven days have been exhausting for tech and business journalists everywhere. The Cambridge Analytica and Facebook fiasco has kept the news wheel spinning, creating all sorts of headlines and shedding light on the importance of data and privacy – but more on that later.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the investment rounds closed this week.
First up, Made.com announced the closure of a £40m funding round to expand across Europe.
Manchester-based Matillion raised $20m from a host of Silicon Valley-based investors; and blockchain startup Everledger, which wants to leverage distributed ledgers to try and prevent fraud, raised $10.4m.
Two new investment funds also surfaced this week. Audio giant Bose has a spare $50m to back companies which could help its AR platform and Blockchain Capital raised $150m to continue backing crypto startups across the globe.
I mentioned the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook debacle earlier, but it’s certainly something which you should read about in detail, given the implications for data, privacy and the need for greater transparency.
As a result of the news and Mark Zuckerberg’s tardy response, #DeleteFacebook started trending, calling on people to delete their Facebook accounts and restrict the access of third party apps.
Politicians and regulators from both side of the pond waded in too, summoning Zuckerberg to explain what had gone wrong and why.
The UK’s culture secretary Matt Hancock went as far as saying that data protection laws should be fast-tracked by government in response to the scandal. Hancock said he was looking to agree new powers being demanded by the country’s data protection watchdog during a speech to journalists and MPs at Westminster. The events of the past week, he said, had marked a “turning point” in the attitude of the public.
Chancellor’s FinTech strategy
UK chancellor Philip Hammond outlined his FinTech Sector Strategy at the HM Treasury’s International Conference held in London yesterday.
As part of the strategy, Hammond announced a new cryptoassets task force, new steps in ‘robo-regulation’ and a new FinTech bridge with Australia.
Hammond said: “From the square mile in London to Scotland’s Silicon Glen, the UK leads the world in harnessing the power of FinTech as we create an economy fit for the future.
“I am committed to helping the sector grow and flourish, and our ambitious Sector Strategy sets out how we will ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution. As part of that, a new task force will help the UK to manage the risks around cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.”
Uber’s self-driving car casualty
Video of the ‘first’ self-driving car crash that resulted in the death of a pedestrian in Arizona reportedly shows “catastrophic failure” in Uber’s tech.
According to experts in the field, who said the video showed how the autonomous system had made a mistake on one of its most basic functions.
The footage, released by police, showed the vehicle functioning on autonomous mode and not slowing down or detecting the woman even though she was visible prior to the crash.
Multiple experts have weighed in on the accident, raising questions about Uber’s proprietary Lidar technology, which is essentially a system of lasers used by self-driving vehicles to ‘see’ the world around them.
That’s all I have time for today … see you next Friday!