With files from Jori Negin-Schecter
Google takes a significant loss in European Court, The REvil ransomware takedown is having an impact, and scientists demonstrate something remarkable with a brain implant.
It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, November 11, and I’m your host, Tom Li.
A senior European court has upheld a 2017 ruling by the European Commission that found Google had broken antitrust laws. According to an article from The Verge, the appeal was dismissed on Wednesday, as Google and its parent company Alphabet remained on the hook for a fine of roughly USD$2.8 billion. While Google and Alphabet will have another opportunity to appeal with the EU’s highest court, the outcome is nevertheless a landmark ruling. According to the article, this “strengthens antitrust arguments made by the EU’s competition commissioner against U.S. tech firms.” The antitrust case is one of two additional cases that are ongoing for Google and Alphabet, with those cases currently also going through a similar appeals process.
An article from Wired has detailed how the detention of some of REvil’s top members has had a significant impact on the fight against Ransomware gangs. The ransomware group REvil, best known for an attack earlier this year against Kaseya, saw an alleged perpetrator arrested last month by U.S. authorities. While Ransomware gangs have often operated with “relative impunity” due to their presence in Russia, a new hybrid law enforcement approach with foreign justice departments has yielded positive results. A changing approach from the U.S. government has also helped encourage ransomware victims to come forward. Specifically, the U.S. Government has shifted from a hardline discouragement on paying the ransom, leading to fewer people coming forward, to a different focus that encourages victims to collaborate with law enforcement as soon as possible.
Finally, a paralyzed man has been gifted the ability to write once again with the power of artificial intelligence and Brain–computer interface. According to an article from Science Alert, a 65-year-old man, paralyzed from the neck down, was able to use electrodes implanted in his brain to record motor cortex activity. The signals were then interpreted by algorithms from an external computer to write out all 26 letters of the alphabet, in addition to a few basic punctuation symbols. In tests, the man was able to write at roughly 18 words per minute, with approximately 94% accuracy (and up to 99% with autocorrect enabled). While researchers relayed plenty of optimism, they also noted that “the current system is only a proof of concept so far, having only been shown to work with one participant.” More trials would ultimately be needed to see further viability, and additional editing features are likely the next steps for this remarkable effort.
And now for something a little bit different. A few weeks ago, here on Hashtag Trending, we covered a story of Apple offering $19 polishing cloths to their customers. Well, it appears that Samsung has “taken aim” at Apple for their expensive cloth sale with a recently offered promotion. A promotion, made available to German Samsung Members app users, has offered the first 1000 people to sign up a free cleaning cloth. Also worth noting is that the cleaning cloth is, according to a screenshot from the website Galaxy Club, larger than the cloth offered by Apple. This wouldn’t be the first time Samsung has taken a jab at Apple. A number of years ago, the South Korean phone manufacturer took pokes at Apple for removing their 3.5mm headphone jack and the use of a notch, though Samsung has ironically since added both of those “features” to its phones.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.