Data concern over period trackers, scanning WhatsApp messages not practical

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is reviewing period and fertility trackers
over data security concerns. The apps work by plotting menstrual cycles, based on user information. They purport to help with a range of period-related health issues, including calculating the best time to attempt to conceive. But the ICO says survey evidence indicates many users worry about how secure the data they share is, and how transparent app developers are being. Some 59% of respondents flagged concerns over data transparency, while 57% were worried about the security of the information they had submitted. BBC 

Ministers have admitted that they will not be immediately able to force encrypted apps like WhatsApp to scan people’s messages, in a victory to messaging services that had warned they might shut down in Britain. Lord Parkinson, a minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, told the House of Lords that the Government would only issue notices forcing messaging apps to scan communications “where technically feasible”. The Government insisted that it had not changed its position. However, the statement was celebrated by encrypted messaging apps. Telegraph 

Smart home devices, including appliances like washing machines, demand unnecessarily large amounts of user data that could end up in the hands of social media and marketing firms, a consumer group has warned. Which? said many products’ apps request information during setup that should not be needed to run. Among the offenders are Google thermostats that ask some users for their location and contacts, LG washing machines that need to know your date of birth, and Sony TVs that want to track your viewing habits. Sky News 

Volkswagen is looking to cut its development times of new cars from 54 months to 36 months in order to keep up with the quicker pace of development of Chinese rivals. Speaking at the Munich motor show, Volkswagen technical boss Kai Grunitz said the upcoming Volkswagen ID 2 was one of three pilot models working to the shorter 36-month development cycle. The first design sketches of that car were done in December last year and VW wants to have it on the road by the end of 2025. “You see with Chinese competitors that it’s doable,” said Grunitz about the shorter development times. Autocar

Ofcom’s latest Connected Nations report shines a light on mobile coverage and broadband availability across the UK – revealing full-fibre broadband is now on offer to the majority of UK homes. Based on findings from April and May 2023, it shows the extent to which people in the UK are able to access the broadband and mobile phone services that they rely on. Availability of gigabit-capable broadband continues to improve at a rapid pace, with nearly 22.4 million UK homes (75%) now able to access them. This is up from 21.9 million (73%) and has been driven by the continued rollout of full-fibre broadband. Tech Digest 

Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is the secret sauce behind the super-precise location system built into Apple’s AirTags, which provide a great way for you to track down lost items like keys. But Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has found a new use for UWB: Its Beoloab 8 wireless speaker uses it track you, or more accurately, your position in a room, so that it can keep you in its acoustic sweet spot. The B&O Beolab 8, a stunning, all-aluminum wireless speaker that looks like it’s floating in space, starts at $2,749 and can be ordered starting September 7 from or at authorized retailers. Digital Trends 

Chris Price