Tech Tent: Tech and the US election

Trump and Biden Image copyright AFP/Getty

Will a Trump administration or one led by Joe Biden be more likely to break up Google? Will disinformation, spread on Facebook, change the course of the election? And could TikTok be the surprise weapon in the armoury of political campaigners?

In a special edition of Tech Tent, we explore this and other questions about the US election and what's at stake for the technology industry.


On Tuesday, just two weeks before election day, the Trump administration stunned Silicon Valley with its anti-trust lawsuit against Google, the most significant such move since the Department of Justice took on Microsoft in the 1990s.

Last month, it was Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who issued a report calling for this kind of action against big tech firms - but it was Attorney General William Barr, along with Republican law officers from 11 states, who launched a broadside against Google's alleged anti-competitive practices.

One of the leading experts on competition economics, Prof Fiona Scott Morton of Yale University, tells Tech Tent the mood has shifted against the tech firms on both sides of the political divide.

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Tech Tent: Who needs 5G?

Apple’s new 5G-capable iPhone 12 Image copyright Apple/ EPA
Image caption Apple’s new 5G-capable iPhone 12

The annual September iPhone launch is always a major event - after all, this is the most profitable product in history.

But in recent years, excitement levels have dropped, as each new version looked much like the last.

Read full article Tech Tent: Who needs 5G?

Bletchley Park: Facebook donation gives museum a boost

Code breaking equipment at Bletchley Park Wartime Intelligence Centre Image copyright PA

A donation from Facebook has helped save some jobs at the Bletchley Park wartime coding centre in Milton Keynes.

During World War Two, Bletchley Park saw key advances in the development of computing, with Alan Turing and other leading scientists and mathematicians seeking faster ways of decoding German messages.

Read full article Bletchley Park: Facebook donation gives museum a boost

Tech Tent: Giants under the cosh from Congress

The US Congress building is seen here set against a backdrop of the Tech Tent brand colours of orange and deep red Image copyright Getty Images

Was this the week that the tide finally turned against the tech giants in the United States?

A congressional committee lashed out at the anti-competitive practices of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and in this week's Tech Tent we look at whether strong words may be followed by tough action.


Read full article Tech Tent: Giants under the cosh from Congress

NHS Covid-19 app: Why are some teachers being told not to use it?

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contact tracing smartphone app of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is displayed on an iPhone Image copyright Reuters

Two weeks in, the NHS Covid-19 app for England and Wales seems to have got off to a good start, with more than 16 million downloads so far - but a range of employers are actively discouraging their staff from using it.

Earlier this week, both the pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline and a Hull-based fuel supplier told staff the app should be switched off at work - both said it was unnecessary in their "Covid-secure" workplaces.

Read full article NHS Covid-19 app: Why are some teachers being told not to use it?

Tech Tent: Why are we so misinformed?

Masks Image copyright Getty Images

No, there is no link between the coronavirus and 5G - nor is there any truth in the claim that Bill Gates is involved in a devilish plot to put a chip in everyone.

A tidal wave of conspiracy theories and misinformation is swamping social media and on Tech Tent this week we look at the impact of what has been called an infodemic, and what can be done about it.


Read full article Tech Tent: Why are we so misinformed?

Women in computing - there is good news and bad

A dozen young women dressed in matching purple hoodies pose, arms in the air, for the camera Image copyright Duraham University
Image caption Durham attendees at an annual conference for women in computing

I've been told two stories in recent days about the gender gap in computing education.

The good news: a major university has doubled the number of women arriving to study computer science in the space of a year.

Read full article Women in computing - there is good news and bad

Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years

Two men power-wash the exterior of the Microsoft data centre capsule Image copyright Microsoft
Image caption After two years at the bottom of the sea, Microsoft's outlandish experiment reappears

Two years ago, Microsoft sank a data centre off the coast of Orkney in a wild experiment.

That data centre has now been retrieved from the ocean floor, and Microsoft researchers are assessing how it has performed, and what they can learn from it about energy efficiency.

No humans, few failures

Read full article Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years

Tech Tent - Berlin’s tech revival

office space

If one major country in Europe has done particularly well in the battle against Covid-19 it is Germany.

Now its tech industry appears to be emerging from lockdown more rapidly than others and on this week's Tech Tent we assess what it can tell us about the new normal.


Read full article Tech Tent - Berlin’s tech revival

Tech Tent: Big Tech and the future of work

An Amazon worker in a warehouse Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Amazon has hired more people during the pandemic

In countries where the economy has been ravaged by the effects of the coronavirus, job losses are soaring - except in the technology sector, where companies such as Amazon are creating thousands of new jobs.

In this week's Tech Tent podcast, we look at the ever-greater influence the tech giants have over the world of work.


Read full article Tech Tent: Big Tech and the future of work