Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong arrested in South Korea

Lee Jae-yongImage copyright
EPA

Samsung’s heir apparent Lee Jae-yong has been placed under arrest in South Korea, accused of bribery and other charges.

The case is linked to a scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Samsung is accused of giving donations to non-profit foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of Ms Park, in exchange for government favours.

Mr Lee and the Samsung Group deny any wrongdoing.

The acting Samsung chief was first questioned by prosecutors in January, but they decided then not to arrest him.

But he was questioned for a second time earlier this week.

On Friday, the court said it “acknowledged that it is necessary to arrest [Lee Jae-Yong] in light of a newly added criminal charge and new evidence.”

The prosecution will now investigate further, and has 20 days to file formal charges. The arrest does not reflect a court opinion on guilt or innocence but only means it considers the potential crime very serious or that it assumes a flight risk.

  • South Korea’s presidential scandal explained
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  • The tragedy of South Korea’s Park Geun-hye

What’s the accusation?

Prosecutors accused Mr Lee of giving donations worth 41bn won ($36m;£29m) to organisations linked to Ms Park’s close friend Ms Choi. They alleged this was done to win government support for a big restructuring of Samsung that would help a smooth leadership transition in favour of Mr Lee, who is standing in as chairman for his ill father, Lee Kun-hee.

The controversial merger required support from the national pension fund – the allegation is that this support was granted in return for the donations.

In a December parliamentary hearing, Samsung admitted giving a total of 20.4bn won to two foundations, but denied seeking favours in return.

Mr Lee also confirmed the firm gave a horse and money to help the equestrian career of Ms Choi’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, something he said he now regrets.

What’s the political scandal?

This centres around President Park’s ties to Ms Choi and has brought allegations of cult activities, influence-peddling and leaks of classified information.

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EPA

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There have been protests against President Park Geung-hye, who has been impeached

Ms Choi is a long term family friend whose father had already had close ties with President Park’s father who was president in the 1970s.

As well as soliciting donations, Ms Choi is accused of using their friendship to interfere in politics.

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AP

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Ms Choi has denied that she did wrong but has apologised for ‘causing trouble’

She is now on trial charged with various offences, including abuse of authority, coercion and attempted fraud, and denies wrongdoing.

Parliament voted in December to impeach President Park. Her case is now being heard by the constitutional court. Meanwhile she has been stripped of her presidential powers.

A friendship too far in Seoul?

What does it mean for Samsung?

Mr Lee is currently vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics. But since his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014, he is considered de facto boss of the entire Samsung Group conglomerate.

Regardless of the outcome, a trial is a big blow to the company. His arrest may not affect short term production or the running of the firm but there could be long term implications.

Shares in the conglomerate’s firms lost between 0.5% and 2% on Friday.

  • – Grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, son of current chairman Lee Kun-hee.

  • – Aged 48, he’s spent his entire career in the company and is vice chairman of Samsung Electronics.

  • – Last year was nominated to join the board of Samsung Electronics – an appointment confirmed on 27 October.

  • – Widely expected to take overall control of Samsung once his 74-year-old father steps down.

  • – Critics say his position on the board is due to his birth, not his business experience.

Samsung is one of the biggest electronics companies in the world and for the head of a company that thrives on a premium brand image to be involved in a corruption scandal is a huge embarrassment.

It says it will do its best “to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings”, though denies wrongdoing.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38997370

Zuckerberg: My Facebook manifesto to re-boot globalisation

Media captionBBC Economics Editor Kamal Ahmed: Mark Zuckerberg says there are threats to “common understanding”

Mark Zuckerberg has revealed deep-seated concerns that the tide is turning against globalisation.

In an interview with the BBC, the Facebook founder said that fake news, polarised views and “filter bubbles” were damaging “common understanding”.

He said people had been left behind by global growth, sparking demands to “withdraw” from the “connected world”.

In a call to action, he said people must not “sit around and be upset”, but act to build “social infrastructures”.

“When I started Facebook, the mission of connecting the world was not controversial,” he told me.

“It was as if it was a default assumption that people had; every year the world got more connected and that seems like the direction things were heading in.

“Now that vision is becoming more controversial.”

Losing hope

He told the BBC: “There are people around the world that feel left behind by globalisation and the rapid changes that have happened, and there are movements as a result to withdraw from some of that global connection.”

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AFP/Getty

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Anti-globalisation protests, such as this one in the Philippines, have broken out across the world.

Mr Zuckerberg’s interview comes alongside the publication of a 5,500-word letter he has written about the future of Facebook and the global economy.

In it Mr Zuckerberg quotes Abraham Lincoln who spoke of acting “in concert”, and talks about “spiritual needs”, civic engagement and says that many people have “lost hope for the future”.

“For a couple of decades, may be longer, people have really sold this idea that as the world comes together everything is going to get better,” he said.

Ahmed: Zuckerberg lays out his vision

Zuckerberg’s manifesto on Facebook and the future

Read highlights from the interview with Facebook’s founder

Facebook AI ‘will identify terrorists’

“I think the reality is that over the long term that will be true, and there are pieces of infrastructure that we can build to make sure that a global community works for everyone.

“But I do think there are some ways in which this idea of globalisation didn’t take into account some of the challenges it was going to create for people, and now I think some of what you see is a reaction to that.

“If people are asking the question, is the direction for humanity to come together more or not? I think that answer is clearly yes.

“But we have to make sure the global community works for everyone. It is not just automatically going to happen.

“All these different kinds of institutions, whether they are governments, or non-profits, or companies, need to do their part in building this infrastructure to empower people so that it creates opportunities for everyone, not just some people.

“If you are upset about the direction things are going in, I hope you don’t just sit around and be upset, but you feel urgent about building the long term infrastructure that needs to get built,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

Global challenges

I asked him whether he felt President Trump agreed with his view that “bringing people together” and “connecting the world” would lead to greater progress.

Mr Zuckerberg did not, famously, attend the round-table of technology leaders hosted by the new president.

“I don’t think I am going to speak to that directly,” he answered carefully. “You can talk to him, you can look at what he has said to get a sense of that.

“The thing that I will say is that a lot of folks will look at this through the lens of one or two events, and I really do think this is a broader trend.

“I have been talking about this for a long time, since before recent elections both across Europe and Asia and the US.

“A lot of today’s biggest opportunities will come from bringing people together – whether that is spreading prosperity or freedom, or accelerating science, or promoting peace and understanding.”

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Getty Images

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The charitable foundation set up by Mr Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan is giving billions of dollars to charity.

Mr Zuckerberg said: “A lot of challenges we face today are also entirely global – fighting climate change or ending terrorism, or ending pandemics, or when a civil war in one country leads to a refugee crisis across different continents.

“These are inherently global things and require a different level of infrastructure than we’ve had historically.”

Political ambitions?

Would you like to meet President Trump? I asked.

“I would like that not be the focus of this. I don’t really have much comment on that. It somewhat detracts from the focus of what we are trying to do here.”

There has been speculation that Mr Zuckerberg could be contemplating a political career, and even suggestions that he will run for US president in 2020 – rumours he has flatly denied.

I said the political tone of the manifesto would do little to dampen speculation about where he sees himself longer term.

Could he imagine himself going into politics? “I am not doing that now, it’s not the plan,” he said. “The thing I really care about is connecting the world.”

Facebook has been attacked for not doing enough to tackle “fake news” – untrue stories which claimed, for example, that the Pope backed Mr Trump – which have appeared prominently on its news feeds.

In Germany, there has been controversy after a Green MP was quoted in a Facebook post defending an asylum seeker from Afghanistan who had raped and murdered a German student.

The MP, Renate Kuenast, had never said what was attributed to her by a right-wing extremist organisation.

Ms Kuenast said she found it hard to accept that “Zuckerberg earns billions, shows off with all his charitable donations, and at the same time allows Facebook to become a tool of extremists”.

Mr Zuckerberg said he understood the importance of tackling fake news.

Freedom of opinion

“Accuracy of information is very important,” he said in the 5,500-word letter, published on Thursday. “We know there is misinformation and even outright hoax content on Facebook.

“We’ve made progress fighting hoaxes the way we fight spam, but we have more work to do.

“We are proceeding carefully because there is not always a clear line between hoaxes, satire and opinion.”

But Mr Zuckerberg added: “In a free society, it’s important that people have the power to share their opinion, even if others think they’re wrong.

“Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item’s accuracy.”

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Getty Images

He told me that “polarisation and sensationalism” also undermined “common understanding”.

And he admitted that social media – which deals in short, often aggressive, messages – had been part of the problem.

“In some places [it] could over simplify important and complex topics and may push us to have over simplified opinions of them,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“And I think it is our responsibility to amplify the good effects and mitigate the negative ones so we can create a community that has a common understanding

“There is a lot of research that shows we have the best discourse when we connect as whole people rather than just opinions.

“If I get to know you on the values that we have in common or even the interests that we share it is a lot easier to have a debate about something that we disagree about productively than if we just meet and go head to head on something without understanding our common humanity.”

‘Setting an example’

Some may argue there is a question of legitimacy here, that no one voted for Mark Zuckerberg and question his right to outline – and attempt to execute – a vision of the world.

And what about those controversies over taxes paid, or privacy, or vast profits in an age when inequality is as much a factor behind the present dim view of many in the political and business establishment as any perceived failures of globalisation.

“There are a lot of areas that I know we need to improve and I appreciate the criticism and feedback and hope we can continue to do better on them,” Mr Zuckerberg said, pointing out that he is donating 99% of his Facebook shares – worth £36bn ($45bn) – to the charitable foundation he runs with his wife, Priscilla Chan.

“Being a good corporate citizen is really important,” he said. “We operate in a lot of different countries all around the world.

“We need to be help build those communities and that is what I am trying to do in my personal philanthropy – setting an example hopefully for other entrepreneurs who will build things in the future for how you should give back to the community and to the world.

“I care deeply about all of this, and it is a work in progress.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38998884

Facebook algorithms ‘will identify terrorists’

Mark ZuckerbergImage copyright
AP

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a plan to let artificial intelligence (AI) software review content posted on the social network.

In a letter describing the plan, he said algorithms would eventually be able to spot terrorism, violence, bullying and even prevent suicide.

He admitted Facebook had previously made mistakes in the content it had removed from the website.

But he said it would take years for the necessary algorithms to be developed.

The announcement has been welcomed by an internet safety charity, which had previously been critical of the way the social network had handled posts depicting extreme violence.

Errors

In his 5,500-word letter discussing the future of Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg said it was impossible to review the billions of posts and messages that appeared on the platform every day.

“The complexity of the issues we’ve seen has outstripped our existing processes for governing the community,” he said.

He highlighted the removal of videos related to the Black Lives Matter movement and the historical napalm girl photograph from Vietnam as “errors” in the existing process.

Facebook was also criticised in 2014, following reports that one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby spoke online about murdering a soldier, months before the attack.

“We are researching systems that can read text and look at photos and videos to understand if anything dangerous may be happening.

“This is still very early in development, but we have started to have it look at some content, and it already generates about one third of all reports to the team that reviews content.”

“Right now, we’re starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda.”

Personal filtering

Mr Zuckerberg said his ultimate aim was to allow people to post largely whatever they liked, within the law, with algorithms detecting what had been uploaded.

Users would then be able to filter their news feed to remove the types of post they did not want to see.

“Where is your line on nudity? On violence? On graphic content? On profanity? What you decide will be your personal settings,” he explained.

“For those who don’t make a decision, the default will be whatever the majority of people in your region selected, like a referendum.

“It’s worth noting that major advances in AI are required to understand text, photos and videos to judge whether they contain hate speech, graphic violence, sexually explicit content, and more.

“At our current pace of research, we hope to begin handling some of these cases in 2017, but others will not be possible for many years.”

The plan was welcomed by the Family Online Safety Institute, a member of Facebook’s own safety advisory board. The charity had previously criticised the social network for allowing beheading videos to be seen without any warning on its site.

“This letter further demonstrates that Facebook has been responsive to concerns and is working hard to prevent and respond to abuse and inappropriate material on the platform,” said Jennifer Hanley, Fosi’s vice president of legal and policy.

“I also really like the ability for users to customise their own experiences with these developments. It’s important to give users power over their online experiences, and additional tools and controls will be helpful.”

Read Kamal Ahmed’s interview with Mark Zuckerberg

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38992657

Parents told to destroy ‘spy’ dolls

Cayla dollImage copyright
Getty Images

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The My Friend Cayla doll has been shown in the past to be hackable

An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data.

The warning was issued by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications.

Researchers say hackers can use an unsecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it.

But the UK Toy Retailers Association said Cayla “offers no special risk”.

In a statement sent to the BBC, the TRA also said “there is no reason for alarm”.

The Vivid Toy group, which distributes My Friend Cayla, has previously said that examples of hacking were isolated and carried out by specialists. However, it said the company would take the information on board as it was able to upgrade the app used with the doll.

But experts have warned that the problem has not been fixed.

The Cayla doll can respond to a user’s question by accessing the internet. For example, if a child asks the doll “what is a little horse called?” the doll can reply “it’s called a foal”.

Media captionRory Cellan-Jones sees how Cayla, a talking child’s doll, can be hacked to say any number of offensive things.

A vulnerability in Cayla’s software was first revealed in January 2015.

Complaints have been filed by US and EU consumer groups.

The EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourova, told the BBC: “I’m worried about the impact of connected dolls on children’s privacy and safety.”

The Commission is investigating whether such smart dolls breach EU data protection safeguards.

In addition to those concerns, a hack allowing strangers to speak directly to children via the My Friend Cayla doll has been shown to be possible.

The TRA said “we would always expect parents to supervise their children at least intermittently”.

It said the distributor Vivid had “restated that the toy is perfectly safe to own and use when following the user instructions”.

Privacy laws

Under German law, it is illegal to sell or possess a banned surveillance device. A breach of that law can result in a jail term of up to two years, according to German media reports.

Germany has strict privacy laws to protect against surveillance. In the 20th Century Germans experienced abusive surveillance by the state – in Nazi Germany and communist East Germany.

The warning by Germany’s Federal Network Agency came after student Stefan Hessel, from the University of Saarland, raised legal concerns about My Friend Cayla.

Mr Hessel, quoted by the German website Netzpolitik.org, said a bluetooth-enabled device could connect to Cayla’s speaker and microphone system within a radius of 10m (33ft). He said an eavesdropper could even spy on someone playing with the doll “through several walls”.

A spokesman for the federal agency told Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily that Cayla amounted to a “concealed transmitting device”, illegal under an article in German telecoms law (in German).

“It doesn’t matter what that object is – it could be an ashtray or fire alarm,” he explained.

Manufacturer Genesis Toys has not yet commented on the German warning.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39002142

Ford developing pothole alert system for drivers

PotholeImage copyright
Thinkstock

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Systems for automatically detecting potholes already exist – but could the data be useful to drivers en route?

Carmaker Ford has said it is experimenting with technology to detect potholes and warn drivers of their locations.

Cars equipped with cameras could constantly scan roads during journeys, with resulting data on potholes displayed on other drivers’ dashboards.

The idea is being tested at the firm’s research centre in Aachen, Germany.

One expert said altering routes to avoid potholes might not always be possible.

“A virtual pothole map could highlight a new pothole the minute it appears and almost immediately warn other drivers that there is a hazard ahead,” said Uwe Hoffmann, a research engineer at Ford.

“Our cars already feature sensors that detect potholes and now we are looking at taking this to the next level.”

Data driven

Pothole-sensing technology has been in development for some years now, says Toby Breckon, a computer vision expert at Durham University.

“I’m pretty convinced that the pothole sensing is good – though I would imagine with any pothole detection there may be issues with snow and ice,” he told the BBC.

The real question is what is done with the data, he says. “At the moment, your sat-nav picks up traffic and road hazards like blockages – that’s very common – could this be an extra layer to that?”

In 2015, Jaguar Land Rover said it was working on a system to automatically gather information about potholes from cars fitted with sensors.

Nottingham Trent University has also been developing a smart system to do this.

Plus, earlier this year, City of York Council announced it would fit pothole detecting cameras to refuse vehicles in order to gather road surface data and better target repairs.

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Getty Images

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Some Ford cars adjust their suspension automatically following pothole detection

Some Ford models already use sensors to detect potholes and adjust the car’s suspension in an effort to reduce vehicle damage.

Dr Breckon pointed out that encouraging drivers to avoid all routes with potholes might cause congestion in other areas – and there could be cheaper ways of solving the problem, such as improving road surfaces.

This point was also raised by Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

“Anything that helps to avoid pothole damage, great, let’s support that – but let’s also think about road maintenance being properly funded,” he told the BBC.

“Is it over-engineered? Maybe. I’d be interested to know how much money has been diverted into researching this technology while local authorities are cash-strapped.”

The RSTA said there was a 16% drop in funds for council highway maintenance in 2016. It estimates it would cost £11.8bn to clear the backlog of pothole repairs in the UK alone.

Pothole damage affects 39% of drivers, according to an AA survey published in March last year.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39004805

ZTE scraps ‘design our smartphone’ crowdfunding campaign

ZTE hands-free phoneImage copyright
ZTE

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In order to go into production, ZTE was asking for $500,000 in crowd-funding

The Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE has cancelled a crowd-funding campaign for a smartphone design based on ideas submitted by the public.

With just over a day to go, 190 backers had pledged $36,000 (£29,000) – much less than the target of $500,000.

The “Project CSX” phone would let users interact with it via voice control and eye-tracking, in which pages are scrolled by eye movement alone.

One analyst said customers may have been sceptical about the features.

In an update to the project page on Kickstarter, ZTE said it had decided to cancel the current fundraising campaign “based on feedback we’ve received”, but was vague on what exact form any new phone might now take.

“However, this doesn’t mean the project is over,” the firm added.

“We are re-evaluating the device for the winning Project CSX idea – an eye-tracking feature with self adhesive backing – and it will be implemented based on your feedback.”

Backers had been able to pledge $199 to receive the phone, had the project been successfully funded, and those who pledged money will now get it back.

‘Thousands of customers’

This latest smartphone concept was previously unveiled following the submission of ideas by members of the public.

Besides offering hands-free interaction via voice control and eye-tracking, the phone would also have been usable with a special “self-adhesive” case allowing it to be stuck to walls and other vertical surfaces.

ZTE claims “thousands of customers” voted for the phone’s features.

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Getty Images

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ZTE is China’s second-largest telecommunications company, behind Huawei

However, Jeff Yee, vice president of technology planning and partnerships at the firm, posted a message entitled “We acknowledge our mistake” on ZTE’s community forums in January.

“When the eye-tracking, sticky phone went on to win Project CSX, we lost sight of what many of you submitted and voted upon as competing submissions,” he wrote.

“We realize that our decision to introduce the CSX hands-free features on a mid-range device may not have met the expectations of those that backed this project.”

A poll on what features to change has so far received 181 responses.

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ZTE

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The phone is intended to be usable with a sticky case that allows it to be fixed to vertical surfaces

“It is extraordinary because to fund the project they only need 2,500 phones sold – that is a rounding error in most phone production,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

“It shows that something’s gone badly wrong with the campaign – it is just not appealing.”

Decent specs

Mr Wood suggested that customers may have been sceptical that the eye-tracking features would work as advertised since the concept is so new.

He pointed out, however, that the specifications of the proposed device were promising in their own right.

The proposed design boasts a full HD display, dual lens camera on the rear and eight megapixel camera on the front of the device, three gigabytes of RAM and a dual SIM card slot – one of which can be used for a MicroSD storage card.

“It’s a bit of a tragedy – even though it seems to be a failed experiment, ZTE should be applauded for their efforts,” said Mr Wood.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39003962

Swipe right for new ‘mum friends’

Media captionMichelle Kennedy: ‘I didn’t have any girl friends’

A new app aimed at mothers has launched in London and New York, aimed at helping mums build friendships.

Peanut adopts the format of dating apps such as Tinder where mothers upload profiles and pictures and “swipe” to register their interest in each other.

Co-founder Michelle Kennedy was deputy CEO of European dating app Badoo and was also on the board at Bumble.

It is one of a growing number of apps aimed at helping parents to build connections.

Ms Kennedy said she was disappointed by the digital services available to new mums wanting to chat with others when she became a parent herself.

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Thinkstock

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Parenting can be lonely, say the app’s creators

“I had been working in tech for a long time, I felt I had this level of expectation about the type of product I could use,” she said.

She said many of the mobile apps had poor user interfaces, and the traditional chat forums felt old-fashioned and alienating.

“I felt really frustrated by the tone of language, it wasn’t something I recognised,” she said.

“Lots of abbreviations I was Googling – DS [darling son], OH [other half] – it felt really weird. I felt immediately like I had aged.”

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Peanut

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Peanut connects parents like dates.

Peanut is free to use and for the moment the focus is on building a community rather than accepting advertising – but that is not being ruled out in the future.

Mothers upload a profile and choose three badges which best describes them – including ‘single mum’, ‘sleep deprived’ and ‘spiritual gangsta’. But the platform uses machine learning to work out what else mothers have in common with each other and what is a priority for them in order to match them.

Ms Kennedy says many women are already familiar with the dating format.

“There’s this entire generation of women who met their partner on a dating app,” she says.

“The tech is there – why hasn’t it been accessible to us to use?”

There is a growing market place for this type of introductory platform for parents, such as the Bubble app which hooks up parents with recommended babysitters, and Koru Kids which connects those seeking to share a nanny with those who have a nanny to share.

Image copyright
Mat Smith

Image caption

Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor founded the parent connection app Mush in April 2016

Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor founded the mums’ platform Mush in April 2016, and the app has so far had around 60,000 downloads and been used one million times, they say.

But it does not have a swipe format.

“It’s more about browsing local mums based on your interests,” said Ms Hesz.

“It’s not about rejecting people.”

Mush is also free to use but they have worked with “brand partners” including Johnson Johnson and Unilever.

“We don’t have a tech background – we’ve learned not to be afraid of that, we can manage a team of developers,” said Ms Hesz, who said she met Ms Massie-Taylor in a playground and exchanged numbers with her because she was “desperate for adult conversation”.

Parenthood, especially in the early days, can be a very lonely experience, she said,

“Mums are not very good at being open about the fact that we need friends,” she added.

“Some of our users are making friends for life, others are just trying to make the day better.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38956480

Google CEO Sundar Pichai writes back to girl, 7, who wants a job

Chloe's letterImage copyright
Chloe Bridgewater

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The inspiration for Chloe’s letter had been internet research showing Google’s offices including bean bags, go karts and slides

An “entrepreneurial” seven year old wrote to Google for a job and its CEO replied.

After discussing her father’s work, Chloe Bridgewater decided she would like to work for Google and penned a letter beginning “dear Google boss”.

It was only the schoolgirl’s second letter, after her first missive to Father Christmas, but the search engine’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote back.

Her father Andy said the girl “took it all in her stride”.

Read more Herefordshire and Worcestershire stories

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AP

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Chloe to work hard and follow her dreams

“We were gobsmacked, but I don’t think Chloe could understand the magnitude of the reaction she’d got afterwards,” said father Andy, a sales manager from Hereford.

“She’s got a great entrepreneurial spirit. Ever since nursery, she’s always been told in school reports she’s bright, hard-working and polite – we’re very proud of her and her younger sister [Hollie, five] is similar,” he said.

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Andy Bridgewater

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Chloe took the reply ‘all in her stride’, father Andy said

Mr Pichai, who rose from humble beginnings in India, was appointed Google’s CEO in 2015.

The inspiration for Chloe’s letter had been internet research showing Google’s offices including bean bags, go karts and slides but she also highlighted a keen interest in computers in her application.

Chloe also admitted to an interest in a job in a chocolate factory or as a swimmer at the Olympics in the letter, and Mr Pichai’s reply said “if she kept working hard and following her dreams, she could accomplish everything she set her mind to.”


Mr Pichai’s full reply

“Thank you so much for your letter. I’m glad that you like computers and robots, and hope that you will continue to learn about technology.

“I think if you keep working hard and following your dreams, you can accomplish everything you set your mind to – from working at Google to swimming at the Olympics.

“I look forward to receiving your job application when you are finished with school! :)

“All the best to you and your family.”


Mr Bridgewater said he and his wife Julie, a HR advisor, had seen Chloe’s business acumen in action already.

Besides her love of swimming – 20 lengths on Tuesdays with her mum – Chloe has also volunteered to clean the kitchen for 20p, he said.

“She is only young so she needs to play with her friends, jump on a trampoline but whenever she shows an interest in something else – like this letter – we want to encourage her,” Andy said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-38990254

London Dungeon apologises for ‘upsetting’ tweets

London DungeonImage copyright
London Dungeon

The London Dungeon tourist attraction has apologised for a promotional Twitter campaign that backfired.

A graphic joking about a murdered sex worker, and another about infecting a partner with a sexually transmitted disease were posted on the attraction’s Twitter feed.

Critics said the collection of images was sexist and offensive.

Merlin Entertainment said it was “very sorry” for the campaign and has deleted the tweets.

The group said it had wanted to run a “dark Valentine campaign” to promote the London Dungeon, in which visitors are taken on a tour through London’s dark history.

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Merlin Entertainment

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Other messages in the series joked about sex acts, sex workers and body-shamed women

But many Twitter users complained that many of the images tweeted were in poor taste and inappropriate for a family tourist attraction.

Rebecca Reid, a columnist for the Telegraph, said: “The biggest issue here is taking violence against women and turning it into a joke or a cheap marketing ploy.”

She told the BBC: “Just because these rapes and murders happened in the past doesn’t mean they are fair game.

“Violence, rape and murder are all still a very brutal reality of life for modern day sex workers and these flippant tweets show no awareness or respect for that.”

Merlin Entertainment said: “Our brand tone of voice tends to divide audiences. However, we recognise that we’ve upset some people and for that we’re very sorry.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38982373

UK targeted by ‘dozens’ of serious cyber attacks each month

Ciaran Martin

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Ciaran Martin said hackers were attempting to obtain details of government policy

Britain’s security has been threatened by 188 high-level cyber attacks in the last three months, according to a government security chief.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), told the Sunday Times many of the attacks “threatened national security”.

Attempts by Russian and Chinese state-sponsored hackers were among those being investigated, he added.

Mr Martin spoke ahead of the official opening of the NCSC in London.

He told the newspaper that attempts on government departments were designed to “extract information on UK government policy on anything from energy to diplomacy to information on a particular sector”.

These include alleged hacks similar to those on the US Democratic National Committee, which led to the publication of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the US election.

US intelligence services have stated the attack was an attempt by the Kremlin to interfere in the presidential election.

Mr Martin said there had been “a step-change in Russian aggression in cyber space” over the last two years.

“Part of that step change has been a series of attacks on political institutions, political parties, parliamentary organisations and that’s all very well evidenced by our international partners and widely accepted.”

Meanwhile, Chancellor Phillip Hammond – a former defence and foreign secretary – said the NCSC had blocked 34,550 “potential attacks” on government departments and members of the public in the last six months – a rate of about 200 a day.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he warned that the “internet revolution” raised the threat of being held to ransom by hackers, the theft of intellectual property and the “shutting down of critical national infrastructure”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38951172