Tech Related Coronavirus News
OneWeb runs out of money, starts bankruptcy proceedings
Aussie telcos want us to take it easy on the ol’internet, she’s at max capacity right now
EARN IT is a fresh attempt by the US government to get access to encrypted chats
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The Australian government has its own coronavirus app for Android and iOS to provide info and resources for the public. There's also a Whatsapp bot (+61 400 253 787) that you can ask COVID-19 related questions to.
The coronavirus is sending Airbnb broke as travel comes to a grinding halt. It’s stopped all marketing and hiring and mass layoffs are “not off the table” according to the CEO.
Google/Alphabet has donated US$800m in "cash and advertising" to assist in coronavirus fighting efforts. Most of it is free advertising for various government bodies to disseminate info and small businesses to use when this virus thing blows over.
Google upped the number of people who can be on a Duo group call from 8 to 12.
Google banned the InfoWars app from the Play Store for spouting false coronavirus info.
Google isn’t gonna do their usual April Fools’ Day shenanigans this year. Nobody should. April Fools day sucks at the best of times, let alone right now.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has donated US$25m to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which will help coordinate research efforts to identify new drugs and treatments for the illness. This is in addition to US$125 million already donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, health foundation Wellcome, and Mastercard.
Microsoft reckons demand for its cloud services like Microsoft Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Power BI has shot up 775% in areas enforcing physical distancing. They’re also prioritising cloud access to various groups based on need.
A company specialising in “anonymous” smartphone tracking has sucked in location info from various US telcos to track where people in Florida spread to after their spring break, spreading COVID-19. Eye opening in more ways than one.
OneWeb, StarLink's main competitor for covering the globe with internet access beamed from hundreds or thousands of little satellites, has declared bankruptcy. According to their press release, OneWeb managed to get 74 satellites in orbit, set up 44 ground stations and demonstrated connections with 400mbit of bandwidth and only 32ms of latency. They blame COVID-19 for their current situation, but don't go into much detail as to how the disease impacted their business. I'm guessing additional finance they expected to come soon dried up. Wonder what will happen with their existing infrastructure?
Telco lobby group, the Communications Alliance, has a list of suggestions for easing the strain on Australia's communications networks. Schedule your video calls for 10, 20, 30, or 50 minutes past the hour to ease dial-in congestion, try and go audio-only, move downloading or uploading large files to between 9PM and 9AM and watch streaming video in HD or SD instead of 4K. Feels weird to have to ration internet use like it's toilet paper. I'm doing my bit by configuring sabnzbd to only download between 1am and 8am!
The EFF is giving us a heads up about a US law currently in the sausage factory called EARN IT, that tries to achieve the aim of an encryption backdoor without specifically asking for encryption to be busted. They want to create a "National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention" that's stacked full of anti-encryption law enforcement types that can punish online businesses for not following their "best practices". Those best practices might be "make all messages available to law enforcement within 4 hours", which can't be done with full end-to-end encryption. Expect similar sneaky tactics to pop up around the UK and Australia too.
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