This Week In Tech And Telco: Is 2019 Ending On A High?

Mid to late December is always a weird time; some people frantically try to cram as much as they can into the remainder of not just the month or year, but the decade, while others wind down to enjoy some respite. For us, it’s quite the mixture – as any other agency will know! With just five more sleeps until Christmas, this is our last tech and telco of 2019.

And what a year it’s been! The launch of this weekly newsletter and our podcast series, The PathCast, are just two of Radial Path’s achievements this year. What did 2019 look like for you and your business?

Here’s what you need to know before the week is out. See you on the flip side!

Will the US legislate against encryption?

America may legislate to force the hand of big tech, which refuses to implement back doors into encrypted devices for law enforcement.

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave representatives of Facebook and Apple a grilling this week, this time for the long-running battle over encryption.

Law enforcement believes encryption harms their ability to apprehend criminals, terrorists and child abusers but big tech argue backdoors will open up devices and personal data to criminals and those with malicious intent.

As a result, tech giants have continuously refused to create them for law enforcement, protecting devices and user data from increased vulnerabilities.

Facebook also sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr saying it won't give in to government pressure.

Erik Neuenschwander, Apple's manager for user privacy, told the senators: "We've been unable to identify any way to create back doors that would only work for the good guys. They will be exploited by nefarious entities as well."

$50M African IP address’ sold illegally

A top exec from AFRINIC, a not for profit that assigns IP addresses to companies, has resigned from his post following allegations companies he operated sold tens of millions of dollars worth of the increasingly scarce IP addresses to online marketers.

There are fewer than four billion so-called “Internet Protocol version 4” or IPv4 addresses available for use, reports Krebs on Security, which also clams they can be sold for $15-$25 on the open market.

An investigation has revealed that many of these IP addresses were acquired from African businesses no longer running and sold off by a handful of companies founded by the policy coordinator for The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC).

Facebook to launch own OS (again)

Facebook is building its own operating system for the likes its Oculus VR so its hardware is not restricted by Google’s Android.

Facebook has tried to build operating systems in the past but has yet to have success. As its hardware portfolio grows, an operating system makes more sense and will, hopefully, result in powerful features for consumers.

"We really want to make sure the next generation has space for us,” said Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of hardware. “We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re gonna do it ourselves.”

  • Facebook has acquired cloud gaming startup PlayGiga, which has been working on the tech behind 5G streaming. This could help Facebook with its mobile gaming service.

Apple launches new caching program

Apple has launched its off-net caching program, Apple Edge Cache (AEC), which is currently only available to those that tick a lot of specific boxes. With strict requirements, ISPs may request an invitation by completing a form on Apple's website.

The details that Apple has published at this time are minimal. We’ll find out more as the program was just launched publicly.

What other tech news we’re reading:

  • Not quite a tech story but definitely interesting on the business front. A UK startup has created a downward-tilting toilet meant to make staff so uncomfortable sitting on the loo that they spend less time there. (Market Watch)
  • The UK government plans to launch a tech regulator to police big tech companies after Brexit. (FT)
  • Spotify is testing a new music discovery feature using the taste of your friends. It’s called Tastebuds, and it will be the first real social element of the streaming service since the removal of inbox. (The Verge)
  • Google went offline in parts of eastern Europe, Iran and Turkey on Thursday after fiber cables were cut. The search engine was down for about two hours. (BBC)

And why not end with some 2020 predictions?

The Guardian thinks:

  • Tesla’s cybertruck will not ship
  • Google’s Duplex won’t come to Europe
  • Advertising will come to smart speakers
  • 5G will be meaningful
  • Your homescreen will still look the same

Jump over to the full article for more speculation and justification. And here are some from Cisco earlier in the year:

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