Loot Boxes Should be Considered Gambling According to Lords

Anonymous Targets TikTok 

  • The loosely organised hacking collective known as ‘Anonymous’ has posted several tweets in the past week targeting the popular social media app TikTok, claiming it is a piece spyware. 
  • An Anonymous account tweeted on July 1 “Delete TikTok now, if you know someone that is using it, explain to them that it is essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.”
  • The account linked to a story that appeared on Reddit from a user who claimed to ‘reverse engineer’ TikTok to find countless security and privacy abuses. There has been no confirmation yet as to the veracity of these allegations, and TikTok did not provide any comment on the claims when approached.
  • This news comes after the USA government warned millions of military personnel to delete the app due to security concerns, as well as India banning it for similar reasons.

UK Watchdog Says Facebook and Google Are Too Powerful 

  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has said the UK needs tougher rules to curb the dominance of Google and Facebook, including powers to break them up. 
  • It is concerned that the firms’ dominance in digital advertising raises barriers for new competitors, which may be pushing up prices for consumers. 
  • The CMA said on Wednesday that it was “concerned that they have developed such unassailable market positions that rivals can no longer compete on equal terms”. 
  • According to the CMA, Google has more than 90% of the £7.3bn search advertising market in the UK and Facebook dominates more than half of the £5.5bn online display advertising market.
  • The tech giants said they faced strong competition and that they would work with regulators on their concerns.

UK Mental Health Charity Warns That Mental Health is a Significant factor in Referrals to Prevent

  • A UK-based medical charity says mental health is a significant factor behind referrals from the NHS to Prevent, the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation programme.
  • In an 18-month study, researchers at Medact found that a significant proportion of NHS referrals to Prevent came from mental health trusts or mental health departments.
  • Freedom of information responses from a sample of four mental health trusts showed 89 referrals to Prevent in the two years to March 2019, compared with a combined 90 referrals from 18 non-specialist trusts in the same period.
  • The report concluded, “while further research is urgently needed, it appears that mental health may be a significant factor related to Prevent referral”.

Education Secretary Sets Out Plans to Reopen All Schools in England  

  • School leaders in England will be told there is no need for pupils of any age to sit apart when they return to class in September, under guidelines set out by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. 
  • Boris Johnson has promised a full return to the classroom five days a week from the autumn term – with the government facing intense pressure to ensure children do not lose any more school time.
  • In primary schools, the maximum size of bubbles is expected to be raised from the current level of 15 to 30 children. The pupils and their teacher must still maintain distance from other classes.
  • For secondary schools, where older pupils choose multiple subject options, it is expected that whole year groups – of up to 200 pupils – will be permitted to form bubbles, with social distancing optional.

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