Posted on September 7, 2018 by staff

Daily Briefing: BA hack, tech-driven NHS and Alex Jones ban


The NHS represents the “world’s biggest opportunity” for saving lives through modern technology, the health secretary has said.

Matt Hancock yesterday outlined his vision to create a technology-driven NHS and vowed to transform its “clunky” IT systems, describing it as “the world’s most frustrating place to work”.

Hancock, who was appointed to the role in July, announced a further £200 million for NHS trusts to create digital testbeds ahead of delivering a major speech at NHS Expo in Manchester yesterday.

He said the NHS can become the most advanced health system in the world by embracing the best innovations in new technology and artificial intelligence.

“We are increasing the NHS budget by £20 billion by 2023 to 2024, to guarantee the NHS for the long term,” he said. “But money alone is not enough. We need to make the most of that money.

“And the NHS is at the same moment the world’s biggest opportunity for saving lives through modern technology, and the world’s most frustrating place to work for its IT.

“The power of genomics plus AI to use the NHS’s data to save lives is literally greater than anywhere else on the planet. Yet our hospitals operate dozens of systems each, that don’t talk to each other. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems.”

Data thieves take off with BA’s customer data

British Airways has announced it is investigating the theft of customer data from its website and mobile app.

The airline admitted that personal and financial details of customers making bookings had been compromising and the situation is being investigated “as a matter of urgency”.

Approximately 380,000 transactions were affected, but the stolen data did not include travel or passport details.

“The breach has been resolved and our website is working normally,” BA said in a statement.

“We have notified the police and relevant authorities. We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously.”

Facebook unveils $1bn data centre

Facebook has chosen Singapore as the location for its first data centre in Asia.

The social media giant plans to invest more than $1 billion in the new server hub, which is expected to open within four years.

The 170,000 sq m data centre will support hundreds of local jobs and will be located in the west of the country. The building is expected to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy.

Argos launches voice shopping service

Catalogue retailer Argos has launched a new voice shopping service with Google Home.

The service will allow people to reserve products in local Argos stores through the smart speaker.

Argos is the first UK retailer to offer a shopping service through the Google Home platform.

Chief executive John Rogers told the BBC that the launch is just “step one” and that he doesn’t expect the app will “double our sales”.

“But I expect people will use it and experiment with it – and if we can make it a seamless process, you can see why people would want to use it,” he said.

Alex Jones gets Twitter ban

Twitter has permanently banned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from the platform.

The social media giant has suspended the accounts of Jones and his “Infowars” show for abusive behaviour.

A number of tech giants, including YouTube and Facebook, deleted the right-wing conspiracy theorist’s content last month, citing hate speech.

Twitter did not specify what the violations were but said the ban was a result of “new reports of tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behaviour policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations”.