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This Week In Technology: Satellites, WW2, and More


Amazon To Launch Satellites

Amazon announced its plan to build a network of over 3,000 satellites on Thursday. They plan to launch them through “Project Kuiper”, as a way to provide high-speed internet. The project will contain a number of low-orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connections globally.

However, the project faces competition from similar ventures from Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX and Airbus-backed OneWeb among others. These companies work to create data networks with large numbers of tiny satellites that orbit closer to Earth than traditional satellites.

WW2 Codebreaking Machine Rebuilt

Following a seven-year project, the National Museum of Computing unveiled the reconstructed Heath Robinson codebreaker. The machine was an early attempt to automate codebreaking. Due to its complexity, its creators named it after the famous artist. The museum used a hand drawn circuit diagram as well as replica 1940’s circuitry in the reconstruction.

“It was quite an achievement because all we had was a few photographs and a hand-drawn diagram,” said Phil Hayes, the chief engineer on the project. “It was a challenge to get the machine to work.” He worked on the project along with 5 other volunteers.

Facebook Removes Exposed Users Info

Facebook announced that it plans to remove public databases containing its user data on Amazon’s cloud servers on Wednesday. This comes after cybersecurity firm UpGuard discovered millions of exposed records. In addition, UpGuard reported nearly 540 million user accounts had been stored on Mexican news website Cultura Colectiva. In response, Facebook said they will work with Amazon to remove all exposed information.

Microsoft And BMW Partner On New Cloud Service

On Tuesday, Microsoft and BMW started an initiative to create an Open Manufacturing Platform. They plan to stimulate innovation and accelerate the development of ‘smart’ factories. This comes days after Volkswagen and Amazon announced a similar program. “Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group, said.

Currently, they will build the project on Microsoft Azure IIoT cloud platform, and BMW already uses it. However, they will base the platform on open source standards. This is to allow as many partners to join as possible. Overall, the goal is to have an initial set of four to six partners by the end of 2019.

Britain Plans Social Watchdog To Battle Harmful Content

Britain proposed new online safety laws that will put new penalties on companies that fail to meet internet safety standards on Monday.  “We are putting a legal duty of care on these companies to keep users safe; and if they fail to do so, tough punishments will be imposed,” Prime Minister Theresa May said. “The era of social media firms regulating themselves is over.”



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