Tech Digest daily roundup: WhatsApp says it will not ‘lower security’

The boss of WhatsApp says it will not “lower the security” of its messenger service. If asked by the government to weaken encryption, it would be “very foolish” to accept, Will Cathcart told the BBC. Government plans to detect child sex-abuse images include the possible scanning of private messages. The NSPCC has criticised WhatsApp’s position, saying that direct messaging is “the front line” of child sexual abuse. The government says tech firms need to tackle child-abuse material online. Its proposals are part of the Online Safety Bill, which has been delayed until the autumn. BBC 

The artificial intelligence company DeepMind has announced a major medical scientific breakthrough in determining the structures of almost 200 million proteins. Proteins are not two dimensional molecules, but have chemical properties that are determined by their three-dimensional shape — but figuring out these shapes is an intensive process. The breakthrough has significant repercussions for medicine, and the new research by Google-backed DeepMind is hailed as having “the potential to dramatically increase our understanding of biology”. Sky News

Google has announced significant updates to its cycling route information, allowing users to better prepare for a journey on two wheels. Additional details include warnings for heavy traffic and steep hills as well as enabling ‘easier’ comparisons between bike routes. According to its blog(opens in new tab), Google highlights a more than 40% increase in cycling worldwide “over the past few months”, which it attributes in part to rising fuel prices and warmer weather. While its source for this statistic goes unnamed it appears that the growing number of journeys taken by bike have warranted a mapping upgrade some 12 years since Maps first began providing directions for cyclists. Cycling Weekly

Amazon has revealed it is closing its cloud storage platform in another consolidation push from the tech giant. The company has emailed Amazon Drive customers to confirm that the service will be closing at the end of next year. The move comes as part of Amazon’s push towards its Amazon Photos service, which will now become a central location for photo and video storage. “Over the last 11 years, Amazon Drive has served as a secure cloud storage service for Amazon customers to back up their files,” the company’s email to customers read. On December 31, 2023, we will no longer support Amazon Drive to more fully focus our efforts on photos and video storage with Amazon Photos.” Tech Radar

A taxpayer-backed start-up has fallen behind paying wages to its 500 staff as it pursues a last ditch firesale, The Telegraph can reveal. Ticketing company Pollen, which has to date raised $250m (£205m) from investors and put on gigs for the likes of Justin Bieber, told staff on Friday that it was delaying payroll as deal talks with an unnamed third party drag on. In an email sent to staff on Friday, Callum Negus-Fancey, Pollen’s chief executive, told staff that negotiations with a “new partner” had been delayed and would not conclude until next week. Telegraph 

Chris Price