Tech Tent: Do we want our cities to be smart?

Person in a smart city Image copyright Getty Images

These days it seems every city wants to be smart. That seems to mean putting sensors in everything and collecting vast amounts of data with the aim of making urban life more efficient and environmentally friendly.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we examine the smart city phenomenon. We hear from people who believe it promises it a greener future, and from one city where privacy campaigners believe it is giving more power to private companies for surveillance.

In Milton Keynes, we visit the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre. It is part of the town's campaign to get more of its motorists to go electric.

Visitors are shown a variety of cars, get information about range and charging options and - for a small fee - they can even borrow a car for a few days.

If they decide to buy a car, the local council may offer a charger on a lamp-post - also for a small fee, of course - or point the motorist to charging stations nearby.

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Tech Tent: Should we relax about screen time?

Woman using a phone Image copyright Getty Images

The UK government's plans for regulation of the internet and social media contained a long list of online harms. Among them was excessive screen use by teenagers.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we ask whether there is convincing evidence that spending hours staring at smartphones and other screens is damaging the mental health of young people.

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Tech Tent: Let the 5G battle commence

A woman on her smartphone Image copyright Getty Images

The 5G era has finally begun. Both the United States and South Korea claim they have won the race to launch the first commercial next-generation mobile network.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we assess those claims and ask how important it is to be first with this technology.

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Crypto for care homes - really?

Woman holding senior man's hands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Residents of the Carlauren care homes can pay for their rooms with crypto-cash

Thought the crypto-currency and blockchain craze had faded away?

Think again.

Read full article Crypto for care homes - really?

UK to Zuckerberg: Show us you're sincere about regulation

Mark Zuckerberg and Elizabeth Denham Image copyright Getty Images/BBC
Image caption Elizabeth Denham, the UK's information commissioner, has called on Mark Zuckerberg to rethink the appeal

At the weekend Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg surprised the world by calling for more regulation, suggesting that the US should adopt Europe's data protection rules.

But now the UK's information commissioner has asked him to take action to show he means what he says.

Read full article UK to Zuckerberg: Show us you're sincere about regulation

Tech Tent: Google comes out to play

Stadia logo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Google's new game-streaming service will be called Stadia

It is the search giant which is pouring billions into everything from mobile phones to artificial intelligence and driverless cars,

Now Google wants to transform the video games industry and on this week's Tech Tent we explore whether its new service Stadia really does mean the death of the console.

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E-scooters on UK roads? Not any time soon

E-scooters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption E-scooters from firms such as Lime, Bird and Uber are popping up in lots of US cities

Last year Bird, an American company valued at a couple of billion dollars, brought its electric scooter service to the UK, with a pilot scheme on London's Olympic Park.

It seemed a strange move because e-scooters are illegal on UK roads, which is why the private paths of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were chosen for the pilot scheme.

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Tech Tent: The WWW turns 30

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sir Tim talked at a celebration of the web held at the Cern physics lab in Geneva

In March 1989, a computer scientist at the Cern particle physics lab near Geneva submitted a proposal to his boss who scrawled "vague but exciting" on the document.

From that idea, the world wide web was born, and on this week's Tech Tent we celebrate its 30th birthday - and examine whether it can emerge from what its creator calls a downward spiral which has seen it become a vehicle for hatred and misinformation.

Read full article Tech Tent: The WWW turns 30

Tech Tent: Facebook’s Planned Privacy Pivot

Mark Zuckerberg Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be "privacy-focused"

Suddenly the whole idea that we want to share our lives with the world has gone out of fashion. Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to create a privacy-focused platform.

Meanwhile campaigners are warning that facial recognition technology poses a threat to our privacy when we are out and about.

Read full article Tech Tent: Facebook’s Planned Privacy Pivot

Vodafone: Huawei ban will set back 5G

Vodafone logo Image copyright Reuters

For some time, mobile operators have been briefing reporters in private that a complete ban on using Huawei equipment would be seriously damaging to the UK's 5G future.

But on Thursday morning, Vodafone came out with a stark warning in public: stop us from using Huawei gear and 5G will be delayed, at huge cost to us and the UK.

Read full article Vodafone: Huawei ban will set back 5G