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CHINA ROLLS OUT CLOSE CONTACT DETECTOR APP 

February 16, 2020 — China has launched a "Close Contact Detector" mobile app to help people check if they are at risk of catching coronavirus. Users need to register on the app with a phone number and can use their name and a government-issued ID number to request information about whether they have been in close contact with anyone infected by the virus. Read more here.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP SMARTPHONE APP STREAMER TO SAVE SPACE

February 13, 2020 — Researchers at Purdue University have developed AppStreamer, a software that streams application components to reduce storage requirements. The software streams heavy video, graphics or code paths and, as a result, cuts down on storage requirements by at least 85% for popular gaming apps on an Android. AppStreamer seamlessly shuffles between local data and streaming from a cloud server without affecting the user experience. Read more here.

GOOGLE SPENT $6.5 MILLION IN 2019 ON ITS BUG BOUNTY PROGRAM

February 7, 2020 — In 2019, Google paid out $6.5 million to researchers that reported vulnerabilities under its Vulnerability Reward Programs(VRP), almost double the $3.4 million paid out a year ago. Google has steadily expanded its VRP to cover more and more products since its inception in 2011. Many other tech companies like Apple and Tesla have also started such programs offering payouts of up to $1 million. Read more here.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP ALL-OPTICAL ENCRYPTION

February 5, 2020 — Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have unveiled the first all-optical encryption technology. The technology provides significantly more secure transmission of data. The new encryption methodology uses standard optical equipment to spread transmitted data across the optical spectrum bandwidth, rendering the transmission "invisible" to potential attackers. Read more here.

NEW RUSSIAN DRAFT RULES REQUIRE SMARTPHONES HAVE PRO-RUSSIAN APPS PRE-INSTALLED

February 2, 2020 — The Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has drafted guidelines that require smartphones to be pre-installed with software that help with "the formation of Russian spiritual and moral values." Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a law to that effect last year. The Russian government hopes to adopt the finalized software and apps by March. Read more here.

GOOGLE ROLLBACKS SEARCH RESULTS REDESIGN

February 1, 2020 — Google announced it would be redesigning the redesign of how it serves search results. The move comes in response to criticism from users over how a recent redesign made search results  look like ads. According to reports, over the last few years, Google has been trying to make paid advertisements more indistinguishable from organic search results to improve its advertising revenues. Read more here.

SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY TESTS CREW DRAGON SAFETY SYSTEM

January 26, 2020 — SpaceX recently launched its Crew Dragon capsule to test its in-flight abort safety system. Based on initial reports, it seems to have worked as intended. The thrusters attached to the capsule were able to propel the craft away from its launch vehicle at high speed. Once Crew Dragon was at a safe distance and descending, the parachutes deployed and the capsule returned to Earth safely. Read more here.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP AI THAT CAN TELL IF STUDENTS ARE BORED

January 24, 2020 — Researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed an AI that analyzes students' emotions based on video recordings. The AI tries to understand facial expressions to infer emotion. The system was successful at detecting easier emotions like happiness, but often incorrectly reported anger or sadness when students were just focused on class lectures. Read more here.

CHINA LAUNCHES WORLDS LARGEST RADIO TELESCOPE

January 19, 2020 — China officially initiated operation of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope or FAST. FAST is the largest radio telescope in the world. Its sensitivity is more than 2.5 times that of the world's second-largest telescope. China plans to use the telescope for space research and help in the hunt for extraterrestrial life. Read more here.

STARTUP UNVEILS ROBOT CAT AT CES 2020

January 19, 2020 — At CES 2020, Chinese startup Elephant Robotics unveiled its fully autonomous robot pet called MarsCat. It can respond to touch and voice and play with toys without the need for human intervention. The robot is powered by a Raspberry Pi and is fully programmable through the MarsCat SDK. Read more here.

GOOGLE'S AI COULD IMPROVE BREAST CANCER DETECTION

January 12, 2020 — A study by an international team of researchers from the U.S. and Britain reported Google's AI system could identify cancers with a similar degree of accuracy as expert radiologists. The AI developed in collaboration with Google Health reduced the number of false-positive as well as false-negative results. The system's performance was compared with the actual results from a set of 28,953 mammograms to evaluate its accuracy. Read more here.

FOREIGN STATE SUSPECTED IN CYBER ATTACK ON AUSTRIAN MINISTRY

January 7, 2020 — Austria's Foreign Ministry faced a serious cyberattack recently that affected services on its website. According to the Austrian government, the attack is assumed to be state-sponsored given its type and seriousness. The Ministry has said countermeasures were in place against the attack and an inter-agency task force is reviewing the situation. Read more here.

FINLAND PLANS TO BOOST DIGITAL LITERACY BY TEACHING BASICS OF AI TO 50 MILLION EUROPEANS

January 5, 2020 — In an attempt to boost Europeans' digital literacy and their understanding of AI and machine learning, Finland is planning to teach 1% of the European Union population basic AI skills via a free online course. The online course covers topics like machine learning, neural networks, and AI-driven problem-solving. More than 220,000 students from 110 countries have already enrolled. Read more here.

FBI'S IDLE PROGRAM HELPING COMPANIES FOOL HACKERS

January 5, 2020 — FBI's Illicit Data Loss Exploitation (IDLE) program has companies plant wrong data to confuse intruders attempting to steal valuable information. It could limit the damage from potential data breaches. According to reports, IDLE works by mixing "decoy data" within existing data structures. A hacker would not be able to grab data in bulk and expect it all to be useful. However, there's no guarantee that this will be effective. Hackers might be able to detect and go around such a defense. Read more here.

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