Author: Natasha Lomas

London’s transport regulator looks to startups to help fix urban mobility

TECHCRUNCH London’s transport regulator, TfL has announced a partnership with Bosch for its forthcoming co-working space in Shoreditch. The civic tech project is intended to run for 18 months as a pilot — though Bosch’s ‘Connectory’ co-working facility won’t open until the end of January. A company spokeswoman confirmed the partnership is nonetheless up and running now. The aim of the collaborative project is to share data and expertise, including by tapping into London’s startup ecosystem, to land on new ideas for tackling urban mobility issues — from traffic jams to awful air quality. Transport issues are especially pressing...

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A tale of two scooter cities

TECHCRUNCH The kids in Madrid’s El Retiro Park are loving their new on-demand joyriding toys. Lime launched its scooters in the Spanish capital this summer. Spending a weekend in the city center last month the craze was impossible to miss. Scooters parked in clusters vying for pay-to-play time. Sometimes lined up tidily. All too often not. The bright Lime rides really stood out, though it’s not the only brand in town. Scooter startups have been quick to hop on the international expansion bandwagon as they gun for growth. Grandly proportioned El Retiro clearly makes a great spot for taking a...

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Children are being “datafied” before we’ve understood the risks, report warns

TECHCRUNCH A report by England’s children’s commissioner has raised concerns about how kids’ data is being collected and shared across the board, in both the private and public sectors. In the report, entitled Who knows what about me?, Anne Longfield urges society to “stop and think” about what big data means for children’s lives. Big data practices could result in a data-disadvantaged generation whose life chances are shaped by their childhood data footprint, her report warns. The long term impacts of profiling minors when these children become adults is simply not known, she writes. “Children are being “datafied” – not just via social media, but in many aspects of their lives,” says Longfield. “For children growing up today, and the generations that follow them, the impact of profiling will be even greater – simply because there is more data available about them.” By the time a child is 13 their parents will have posted an average of 1,300 photos and videos of them on social media, according to the report. After which this data mountain “explodes” as children themselves start engaging on the platforms — posting to social media 26 times per day, on average, and amassing a total of nearly 70,000 posts by age 18. “We need to stop and think about what this means for children’s lives now and how it may impact on their future lives as...

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David Attenborough to voice Netflix’s nature conservation series, Our Planet

TECHCRUNCH Netflix has persuaded everyone’s favorite naturalist, David Attenborough, to voice its forthcoming original nature documentary series, Our Planet, which is slated to put conservation squarely in the frame, not just offer glorious animal eye-candy. It’s a timely moment to focus on conservation with climate change posing existential threats to global biodiversity — unless humans act to limit temperature rises. Since the 1970s Attenborough has voiced and fronted myriad major BBC nature documentaries, including the recent critically acclaimed Blue Planet series. Some of his output has been available to stream on Netflix. But now the on-demand video platform has signed the...

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White House shares manipulated Infowars video to justify CNN press ban

TECHCRUNCH Read this slowly: The White House’s press secretary has tweeted a manipulated video shared by the editor-at-large of conspiracy theorist outlet Infowars to attempt to justify its decision to suspend the press credentials of CNN’s chief white house correspondent. CNN’s Jim Acosta had his press pass pulled by the White House earlier today after press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed he had “plac[ed] his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job”. Acosta disputes this. The journalist had being trying to continue asking president Trump questions during a contentious exchange at a White House press briefing. During this exchange Trump cut over him verbally — saying “that’s enough” — at which point a female White House intern moved towards Acosta and attempted to take the microphone out of his hands. The journalist dodged and then blocked several attempts to take the microphone by using his arm and the side of his hand against the intern’s arm, addressing her with “pardon me ma’am” as he did so, and indicating that he was trying to ask Trump another question. You can see what happened in a video shared by NBC News which captured footage of the incident (below). In the footage the intern can be seen stopping trying to remove the mic after Acosta speaks to her. He goes on to ask Trump if he is “worried about indictments coming...

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Facebook is facing an EU data probe over fake ads

TECHCRUNCH The UK’s privacy watchdog has asked Facebook’s lead EU regulator to look into ongoing data protection concerns about its ad platform — including how its platform is being used to target and spread fake adverts to try to manipulate voters. Facebook’s international HQ is in Ireland so the regulator in play here is the Irish Data Protection Commission. The ICO noted the action in a 113-page report to parliament yesterday giving an update on its long-running investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns — writing: We have referred our ongoing concerns about Facebook’s targeting functions and techniques that are used to monitor individuals’ browsing habits, interactions and behaviour across the internet and different devices to the to the IDPC. Under the GDPR, the IDPC is the lead authority for Facebook in the EU. We will work with both the Irish regulator and other national data protection authorities to develop a longterm strategy on how we address these issues. A spokesperson for the watchdog told us these concerns fall outside the remit of that still partially ongoing investigation, which was triggered by the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal. So the issues of concern are not the same issues that the ICO fined Facebook for last month, when it handed the company the maximum possible penalty under the UK’s previous data protection regime. Hence the referral to the...

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Instacart expands a pickup option for grocery orders across the US

TECHCRUNCH Online grocery delivery service Instacart has expanded the availability of a ‘click and collect’ pickup service it’s been trialing for a few months in the U.S. — now offering it in stores across the nation. It says the collect in person Instacart Pickup option is now available in nearly 200 stores — across 25 “key markets” near Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Nashville, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. The Pickup service is intended to offer customers more flexibility by letting them choose a time to drive by and grab their groceries, rather than wait in for a delivery. Customers...

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Where’s the accountability Facebook?

TECHCRUNCH Facebook has yet again declined an invitation for its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer international politicians’ questions about how disinformation spreads on his platform and undermines democratic processes. But policymakers aren’t giving up — and have upped the ante by issuing a fresh invitation signed by representatives from another three national parliaments. So the call for global accountability is getting louder. Now representatives from a full five parliaments have signed up to an international grand committee calling for answers from Zuckerberg, with Argentina, Australia and Ireland joining the UK and Canada to try to pile political...

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