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Technology 28 October 2019

The Week in Internet News: U.S. Big Tech Firms Skip Chinese Internet Conference

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Not our model: Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple skipped a Chinese conference focused on a global governance model for the Internet, Asia One reports. During the conference, China promoted its highly restrictive model of the Internet. Google, Twitter, and Facebook are blocked in China, while Apple must use a local partner to offer cloud services, the story notes.

No news for you: Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s Great Firewall blocks 23 percent of the news organizations that have journalists stationed in the country, reports the South China Morning Post, citing statistics from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China. Nearly a third of English-language sites are blocked. Blocked sites include the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Flying cars and smart mirrors: Among the Internet of Things trends to look for in 2020 are flying cars and mirrors that deliver news and weather while you’re brushing your hair, What Mobile says. Widespread use of flying cars may be a way off, but one startup is working on them. Multilingual voice assistants and flexible displays are other things to watch for.

Opposed to encryption: A large U.S. Internet service provider is lobbying lawmakers in opposition to a Google plan to encrypt web traffic, Vice reports. The Chrome-based encryption would make it harder for ISPs to leverage data for things like targeted advertising. A Comcast presentation raises concerns that the encryption plan would give Google too much power.

The bill’s too high: Many Internet service customers in Africa are paying too much because of low investments in infrastructure and little competition among ISPs, Quartz Africa says. Getting all Africans online by 2030 will require about $100 billion, with much of that money needed for infrastructure, according to the Broadband for all Working Group.

IoT targets bad air: Researchers are looking at ways to use the IoT-connected sensors to predict air pollution incidents, according to Tech Xplore. Predicting pollution events in advance may help governments find ways to mitigate problems related to air pollution.

Community networks offer a solution to the global digital divide. Learn what it takes to build and sustain your own community network at a local Community Network Summit.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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