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BBC World Service - Digital Planet

Digital Planet

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Digital Planet

  • Facebook Live on crime tech
    Digital Planet looks at crime tech in a special Facebook live edition. Gareth Mitchell and Ghislaine Boddington are joined by facial recognition expert Dr Stephanie Hare and Dr Sarah Morris, the director of the Digital Forensics Unit at Cranfield University in the UK. The unit helped convict a criminal using the data on the motherboard of his washing machine! (Photo: Binary numbers on a finger tip. Credit: Getty Images)

  • BBC News on the ‘dark web’
    In an attempt to thwart censorship, BBC News is now available through the privacy-focused browser Tor also known as the gateway to the ‘dark web’. Facebook’s ambitions to launch cryptocurrency Last week, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, addressed critical questions about the company’s ambition to launch their own cryptocurrency ‘Libra’. Dr Catherine Mulligan of Imperial College London’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research explains why some companies are leaving the Libra association. UNICEF start crypto-currency fund UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, will now be able to receive donations in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Christopher Fabian, co-founder of UNICEF’s innovation unit, explains how this will allow the organisation to buy data directly from suppliers for schools that are currently offline. New spy technology uses wi-fi signals Wi-fi signals are distorted as they bounce off objects. Dr Yasamin Mostofi from the University of California has created a way to use these distortions to ‘see’ and possibly identify a person moving behind a wall. (Image credit: BBC) Producer: Louisa Field

  • Health of the Internet report
    Health of the Internet Solana Larsen, leader of the team at Mozilla that compiled the recent Health of the Internet report talks about the highlights, including openness, privacy and security, digital inclusion, web literacy and centralisation. Multi-purpose drones A drone in Malawi in one flight dropped off medical supplies by parachute, was used by game rangers to monitor animal poaching and created a high resolution 3D mapping of an area. Daniel Ronen, co-founder of UAVAid explains how they have developed their multi-purpose drones. Nam June Paik Nam June Paik embraced technology and digital developments in his art. Born in South Korea in 1932 his work has always been collaborative with musicians, poets and other artists using TV and sound in his often playful art. The Tate Modern gallery in London has brought together 50 years of his most innovative and influential art. Reporter Hannah Fisher, and regular studio commentator, Ghislaine Boddington, went along to explore. Image credit: Mozilla, Internet Health Report 2019 Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

  • First all African smartphone factory
    The first African smartphone factory, where phones are made from scratch, opened this week in Rwanda. The smartphones are designed for the African market, so they are being made as affordable as possible, while being accessible and secure. Tunabot Professor Hilary Bart-Smith at the University of Virginia, USA went back to basics to develop a fast swimming robotic tuna - the tunabot. They took detailed anatomical data from the Yellow-finned tuna and Atlantic mackerel and 3D printed the fast tunabot. The tunabot swims faster than existing tunabots by increasing the frequency with which its tail beats. Tech to help deal with dementia An estimated 130 million of us could have dementia by 2050, but technology could help people live with the condition. Videos that pop up on your phone to help you perform everyday tasks like boiling the kettle or QR codes on your clothes that help others identify you and contact your family if you get lost are just some of the advances that Jason Hosken reports on. Ushahidi Ushahidi is Swahili for witness and it’s also the name of an open source software. It was originally created ten years ago to report reprisals and violence around elections. Since then it’s widened out into all kinds of crisis mapping – everything from monitoring natural disasters to illegal deforestation. Angela Odour Lungati is the recently appointed Executive Director at Ushahidi. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: MaraPhone factory. Credit: MaraPhone)

  • Iraq shuts down internet
    In response to anti-government protests the Iraq government shut down the internet six days ago. Coverage returned briefly before the president was due to give a televised address on Sunday allowing social media reports of violence at the demonstrations to be posted. Currently 75% of Iraq is covered by the ban. Kurdistan is unaffected. Mismatch There’s no such thing as normal—so why are we all made to use devices, live in cities or travel in vehicles that are so uniform? Whether it’s a computer accessory that only works for right-handed people or airline seats that are unusable for taller people, we need more inclusive design. We discuss Kat Holmes’ new book Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design. Beatie at the Barbican Singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe is showing a “teaser” of her new work at London’s Barbican gallery alongside the launch of a film about her. This environmental protest piece distils 800,000 years of historic data of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will become an interactive visualisation and soundtrack using gaming software. The Lightyear One: a self-charging electric car The Lightyear One is a prototype solar-powered electric car. There are plans to take it into production by 2021. The manufacturer claims a range of 720km in sunny climates and even 400 km in cloudy, wet UK winter. Tom Stephens reports. (Photo: Iraq protests. Credit:Reuters) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz