The Canadian government holds its first virtual House of Commons session on Zoom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom and Oracle pen a new deal, and the British National Health Service is ditching an app proposed by Apple and Google in favour of its own to perform contact-tracing.
The Canadian government held its first virtual House of Commons session on Zoom this week. The virtual session comes on the heels of a motion passed April 20 to meet on over video conference twice a week. Social media quickly pointed out the fact that the government is using Zoom, the popular video conferencing platform that’s been met by fierce criticism over its privacy and security flaws. It is worth noting however that the federal government is not using the consumer version of the platform, and that they’ve “imposed additional security controls.”
Speaking of Zoom – the videoconferencing platform has selected technology company Oracle to expand its cloud services. The bigger news might actually be the major cloud leaders Zoom bypassed, which includes Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft’s Azure, and Amazon Web Services. While the decision may come as a surprise to some, keep in mind that Amazon already has its own communications service called Chime, while Microsoft has Skype. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
And finally, despite early concerns around privacy and performance, the British National Health Service says it’s sticking to its guns and ditching a contact tracing app proposed by Apple and Google. The biggest difference between the two apps is that the Apple-Google app uses a “decentralized” approach, meaning the matching process that ends up with you getting an alert about someone with COVID-19 nearby, happens on the devices you carry. The NHS’s app has opted for a “centralized” approach, meaning that same activity is happening on a separate computer server. The NHS told BBC that the centralized approach allows the NHS to gain more insights into the spread of the virus.
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