Children’s Apps must have Privacy 

  • Apps, social media platforms and online games that are specifically targeted at children will now have to put privacy at the heart of their design.
  • A Code of Practice outlining how children’s data should be protected has come into force and firms have 12 months to comply with the new rules or face huge fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said it was an important step towards protecting children online, adding “this code makes clear that kids are not like adults online, and their data needs greater protections.”

Facebook and Twitter Dismantle Russian Network 

  • Facebook says it has dismantled a small network of accounts and pages that were part of a Russian influence operation.
  • Twitter has also suspended five accounts from the same operation.
  • Facebook said that the campaign was linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), an organisation close to the Russian government which was accused of interference in the 2016 US election.
  • The operation centered around PeaceData, which claimed to be a non-profit news website in English and Arabic, whom the FBI claimed were targeting public debate regarding the US election.

Microsoft Unveils New Deepfake Detection Technology 

  • Microsoft has developed a tool to spot deepfakes; computer-manipulated images in which one person’s likeness has been used to replace that of another.
  • The new software analyses photos and videos to give a confidence score about whether the material is likely to have been artificially created, which Microsoft hopes will help “combat disinformation”.
  • One expert has said it risks becoming quickly outdated because of the pace at which deepfake tech is advancing, but Microsoft has also announced a separate system to help content producers add hidden code to their footage so any subsequent changes can be easily flagged.
  • Early this year, Facebook banned deepfakes that might mislead users into thinking a subject had said something they had not. Twitter and TikTok later introduced  similar rules of their own.

Tens of Thousands of Pupils Fail to Attend School in Scotland 

  • More than 100,000 pupils in Scotland are absent from school with attendance down to 84.5%, according to Scottish government figures.
  • Data collected from local authorities show that more than 15.5% of pupils were off school last Friday with only 22,821 of the absences recorded as “Covid-19 related”.
  • The Scottish government said it was common for other viral infections to circulate after a “prolonged break” away from school.
  • Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, told BBC Scotland it believed many parents were “erring on the side of caution” and keeping children who had cold symptoms off school.
  • Pupils in Scotland began returning to school on 11 August after being away since March.