UK MPs propose changes to Online Safety Bill
Lawmakers have proposed a set of major changes to be made to the UK's landmark Online Safety Bill, which seeks to regulate social media and tech giants. The additions would target issues such as the promotion of self-harm and racial abuse. Some also believe that tech giants should also be made liable in court for failures. "We need to call time on the Wild West online," the lawmaker's report said.
Toyota to accelerate investment in electric vehicles
Japanese automaker Toyota has revealed its plans to invest $35 billion to build a full lineup of 30 battery-powered electric vehicles by 2030. The company also plans to increase global sales of battery electric vehicles by 3.5m units a year by the end of the decade. At the moment, battery-only EVs make up only a fraction of Toyota's current sales, with the majority being hybrid models.
South Korea to use facial recognition for COVID-19 contact-tracing
South Korea has announced it will roll out a pilot project to use AI, facial recognition and over 10,820 CCTV cameras to track the movement of people infected with COVID-19. The pilot will begin in January in Bucheon. "It sometimes takes hours to analyse a single CCTV footage. Using visual recognition technology will enable that analysis in an instant," Bucheon mayor Jang Deog-cheon said.
UK and Singapore sign Digital Economy Agreement
The UK has signed the world's most comprehensive digital trade deal with Singapore. The Digital Economy Agreement will focus on digital trade, data flows, and cybersecurity. Under the pact, both nations will look to establish interoperable systems for digital payments, secured data flows, as well as collaborate on cybersecurity to create a "trusted and secure digital environment".
Europe proposes new rules to classify gig workers as employees
The European Union has proposed the introduction of new legislation that would turn as many as four million European gig economy workers into employees. If passed, the proposed rules could force ride-hailing firms such as Uber and Deliveroo to reclassify their contracted drivers as employees and give them the corresponding benefits, facing fines if they refuse to do so.
New NASA telescope to take pictures of the first galaxies
NASA is launching the world's largest and most powerful telescope later this month. The James Webb Space Telescope's technology, developed in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, makes it 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, and could give it the ability to see back to the first galaxies in the universe.
Nigerian edtech startup uLesson raises $15m
Nigerian edtech startup uLesson has raised $15 million in Series B funding. The company says it will use the new funds to add to its team and improve services for its growing community of learners across Africa.uLesson offers live online classes with expert tutors, video lessons and personalised live homework help for primary and secondary school learners online and via its app.
Industry body needed to protect children online - Instagram chief
Meta's head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has called for an industry body to help protect children online. He made the statement ahead of appearing in front of Congress on Wednesday. Any body should address "how to verify age, how to design age-appropriate experiences, and how to build parental control" Mosseri said. On Tuesday, Mosseri revealed that Instagram will introduce parental controls in 2022.
US publishes flight restrictions to avoid hazards related to the 5G network
The US's Federal Aviation Administration has published a set of flight restrictions that will take effect in January when a new 5G wireless service makes its debut. The guidelines will restrict pilots from operating automatic landing and other cockpit systems to avoid possible interference from C-band spectrum 5G. The FAA said it believes the "expansion of 5G and aviation will safely co-exist.
Issue 18
EY is using data to help governments and public sector bodies help improve the lives of vulnerable people across the world. We find out how. Elsewhere, we sit down with TIME magazine’s Kid of the Year Gitanjali Rao
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Indian edtech giant Byju acquires GeoGebra
India's Byju has made its tenth acquisition of the year with the purchase of Austria-headquartered GeoGebra. A source familiar with the matter revealed the deal size is about $100m and includes both cash and stock. GeoGebra operates an interactive and collaborative mathematics learning tool and reaches over 100 million students across more than 195 countries and territories.
Volkswagen secures partnerships for $34bn EV strategy
Volkswagen has announced key strategic partnerships to obtain raw materials for creating battery cells. Volkswagen’s ambitious $34bn project to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) market includes building European battery cells factories by 2030, and having enough capacity to power over 2m EVs. It has partnered with Umicore to supply cathode materials and Vulcan for lithium.
Rohingya sue Facebook for £150bn for fueling Myanmar genocide
Rohingya refugees have sued Facebook over the promotion of hate speech that they claim fuelled the Myanmar genocide. The refugees demand $150bn in compensation. The class action complaint lodged with the northern district court in San Francisco says Facebook was “willing to trade the lives of the Rohingya people for better market penetration in a small country in south-east Asia.”

Arrival to build major EV battery assembly plant in North Carolina
Electric vehicle maker Arrival is investing $11.5m in a new battery module assembly plant. The high-voltage plant will be in North Carolina and will deliver 350,000 battery modules per year for Arrival's fleet of electric buses and vans. It builds on Arrival's commitment to the North Carolina region and will create an additional 150 jobs. Production should start in the third quarter of 2022.
Toyota to build $1.29bn battery plant in North Carolina
Toyota Motor will build a new $1.29bn battery plant for electric vehicles in North Carolina. The facility will produce enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Eventually, Toyota plans to expand battery production to up to 1.2m vehicles per year. The plant will be powered completely by renewable energy and production will begin in 2025.
Europe's Proba-3 mission will create fake eclipses with lasers
The world’s first “precision formation flying” mission Proba-3 will see two satellites fly to form an external coronagraph in space, with one satellite eclipsing the Sun to allow the second to study the otherwise invisible solar corona. “We can keep the spacecraft aligned with each other and the Sun—formation flying—which will can do for six hours at a time,” said ESA's Andrei Zhukov.