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Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK and co-founder of Azimo, will speak at the event along with Rob Spiro, co-founder of Aardvark and director of French accelerator Imagination Machine.

This year’s event is set to host over 1,000 people at the Assembly Rooms and will focus on three key themes: People, Process and Performance. Speakers will cover topics spanning hiring and retaining the best talent and enhancing practices to guarantee future success.

Commenting on the summit, confirmed speaker Marta Krupinska pointed out that “UK startup talent” is not solely found in London. She said: “I’m excited to meet promising entrepreneurs in Edinburgh, one of the UK’s most innovative cities, and making sure Google for Startups maintains its commitment to supporting startups country-wide.”

Bruce Walker, Co-founder of FutureX said that the startup summit has expanded alongside the “vibrant entrepreneurial environment in Edinburgh.”

He also said that as the event is in its eighth year “we’re ready to supercharge high growth startup companies by developing their People, Process and Performance so that we create impactful companies that are sustainable and scalable.”

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Startup Summit will once again be supported by Johnston Carmichael, Scotland’s largest independent firm of business advisors and chartered accountants.

“We have a diverse and internationally renowned speaker lineup this year and we are delighted to welcome Marta and Rob to the SUS19 stage, with support from our longtime partners Johnston Carmichael,” Walker added.

Shaun Millican, Head of Technology and Business Advisory at Johnston Carmichael also emphasised the “boom” Edinburgh has seen “in the presence of tech startups and entrepreneurs who have an insatiable appetite for growth and success”.

“Nowhere is this more evident than at Startup Summit, which every year showcases the strong entrepreneurial spirit of Scotland,” he continued.

“Partnering with the organisers, FutureX, was an easy decision for Johnston Carmichael as, like us, they are forward-thinking, socially conscious and have an international mindset.”

The post Head of Google for Startups to Speak at Edinburgh Startup Summit appeared first on Digit.

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Ireland’s data protection commissioner suggests that data transfers between the US and European Union fail to sufficiently protect citizens’ right to privacy.

Concerns have been raised over whether such transfers could be subject to mass surveillance by US intelligence agencies. However, the social media giant has emphasised that data protection safeguards were, and still remain, in place.

The ruling against Facebook could potentially undermine the basis on which many businesses send data across the Atlantic – and could deal a hammer blow to other technology heavyweights.

Currently, Facebook transfers vast amounts of personal data about EU users to servers in the US, which spans everything from people’s names to information about their online activity.

In 2013, documents published by ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden suggested Facebook was a target of “Prism”, a US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme. Consequently, privacy activist Max Schrems successfully challenged the previous mechanism for EU-US data transfers, Safe Harbour, in court.

The alternative legal framework Facebook has used since is called “standard contractual clauses” (SCCs). However, the Irish data protection commissioner has emphasised that SCCs are not fit for purpose given the possibility of intelligence agency surveillance.

Legal Expert Orla Lynskey, at the London School of Economics, explained that if the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decide that SCCs are inadequate, the ruling would have huge implications for Facebook and other businesses.

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“That would have a very significant impact for companies,” she said. “The big question is, when assessing whether or not data can go to third countries [outside the EU], should we be taking into consideration potential access by intelligence or law enforcement agencies?”

Associate general counsel for Facebook, Jack Gilbert, said the social network was “grateful” for the consideration of the CJEU.

He stated: “Standard contractual clauses provide important safeguards to ensure that Europeans’ data are protected once transferred overseas. SCCs have been designed and endorsed by the European Commission and enable thousands of Europeans to do business worldwide.”

The post Facebook in the Spotlight over EU-US Data Transfers appeared first on Digit.

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Hydrogen technology company, Logan Energy, has been selected as a partner in the EU-funded SEAFUEL project, which aims to revolutionise sustainable energy generation.

The £3.2 million green energy project, based in Tenerife, is co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund and aims to develop fuel solutions for isolated island communities.

With offices in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, the company specialises in providing clean energy solutions and hydrogen technologies, it also maintains energy centres across the UK and Europe.

As part of the project, Logan Energy will be responsible for designing and constructing a hydrogen generation and refuelling station. This station will turn seawater into hydrogen which can be used by vehicles on the island.

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Construction of the station is already underway at the company’s centre in Wallyford. The firm said it plans to have the station ready for use in Tenerife by the end of 2019.

After the project has been delivered, the company will then work with SEAFUEL’s other partners to review the project’s workability on other similar island regions.

It will also be responsible for securing all the relevant certificates and ensuring that local staff have the necessary working knowledge of the specialist hydrogen installations to support the deployment and expand the local economy.

Bill Ireland, CEO of Logan Energy, said: “We are delighted that SEAFUEL has been given the go-ahead and that Logan Energy is to be the hydrogen partner for this innovative project. This project is unique in that it examines the conversion of seawater into hydrogen with the specific purpose of being used as transport fuel.

“Our extensive experience in Scotland of connecting renewable electricity generation to hydrogen production and refuelling makes us the right people for the job.”

“It’s important to remember that this project is hugely significant not just for remote communities in Europe but around the world. The islands and their inhabitants rely on imported fossil fuels but can, in fact, become partially or wholly self-sufficient in terms of energy. The SEAFUEL project will go a long way to facilitating the transition to a low carbon economy.”

The post Scottish Tech Firm to Partner in €3.6m Green Energy Project appeared first on Digit.

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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced it will seek to develop futuristic weapons systems known as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW).

In a Prior Information Notice (PIN) published this week, the MoD said it intends to develop three new DEW demonstrators to explore the potential of the technologies and accelerate the roll-out of the futuristic weapons systems onto the battlefield.

The demonstrators form part of the MOD’s Novel Weapons Programme, which is responsible for the trial and implementation of innovative weapons systems.

Powered solely by electricity, the weapons can operate without ammunition and could provide “unprecedented flexibility” for frontline troops. Laser weapons systems developed and used by British troops would see high-energy light beams used to target and destroy enemy drones or missiles.

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Radio Frequency weapons, alternatively, could be used to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics. The new systems are expected to be trialled in 2023 on Royal Navy vessels and British Army vehicles. However, once developed, both technologies could be used by all three branches of the military.

Exercises conducted by personnel will aim to develop a better understanding of directed energy weapons and to assess how they might be integrated with existing weapons platforms.

Up to £130 million will be invested in the development of the weapons systems, including the construction of the demonstrators, the creation of a new Joint Programme Office and the recruitment of personnel to manage the programme.

Commenting on the announcement, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Laser and Radio Frequency technologies have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield by offering powerful and cost-effective weapons systems to our Armed Forces.

“This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our Armed Forces operate at the forefront of military technology.”

Initial trials for laser weapons systems are already planned, with the Dragonfire demonstrator commissioned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory expected to be tested later this year.

This weapons system represents a “world-first in laser weapons technology”, according to the MOD, and combines multiple laser beams to produce a weapons system which is far more powerful than its predecessors.

The post The Ministry of Defence is Developing ‘Cutting-edge’ Laser Weapons appeared first on Digit.

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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced its intention to fine Marriott International £99 million for breaching data protection regulations.

The fine relates to a cyber incident last year in which more than 330 million guest records were exposed – of which, around 30m were related to residents of 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). Around 7m UK residents are believed to have had their details exposed in the breach.

This marks the second significant fine imposed on a company by the ICO in the space of a week. On Monday, the regulator fined British Airways a record-breaking £183 million for its failure to protect consumer data.

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Marriott’s data vulnerabilities, the regulator said, appear to have begun when the systems of the Starwood hotels group were compromised in 2014. The group was subsequently acquired by Marriott in 2016, however, the exposure of customer information was not brought to light until 2018.

The ICO’s investigation into the breach ruled found that the hotel chain “failed to undertake sufficient due diligence” when it purchased Starwood and should also have “done more to secure its systems”.

Commenting on the announcement, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated: “The GDPR makes it clear that organisations must be accountable for the personal data they hold.

“This can include carrying out proper due diligence when making a corporate acquisition, and putting in place proper accountability measures to assess not only what personal data has been acquired, but also how it is protected.

Denham added: “Personal data has a real value so organisations have a legal duty to ensure its security, just like they would do with any other asset. If that doesn’t happen, we will not hesitate to take strong action when necessary to protect the rights of the public.”

The ICO noted that Marriot cooperated fully with its investigation and has since made improvements to its security arrangements. The company will now be given an opportunity to make representations to the regulator as to the proposed findings and sanction.

The post ICO Set to Fine Marriott International £99m for 2018 Data Breach appeared first on Digit.

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A balloon system capable of launching small satellites into orbit will be launched from Shetland this week, marking the UK’s first commercial spaceflight-related activity.

The stratospheric balloon system, known as rockoon, has been developed by B2Space. The Bristol-based company is one of the first to partner with the Shetland Space Centre (SSC).

Weather-permitting, the test launch is scheduled to take place at Baltasound Airport in Unst on Sunday 14th July. B2Space and the Shetland Space Centre are working closely with the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the project.

Valentin Canales, co-founder of B2Space, commented: “This is very exciting, both for ourselves and for Shetland Space Centre. We will be sending a smaller version of the balloon that we will eventually use up to a height of around 37km, carrying a complete set of instruments, trackers and control boards, as well as beaming back live images from an on-board camera.”

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Canales said the purpose of the test flight will be to confirm the company’s ability to operate from Shetland, stating: “We believe it will support our case for a permanent base in Shetland, not only for launches to orbit, but for performing ‘near space operations’, such as testing satellite components in conditions similar to the ones faced in orbit.”

The project, which involves launching a rocket from a high-altitude balloon, draws upon concepts proposed by the US Navy during the 1950s. By skipping the highest density part of the Earth’s atmosphere, this method could provide a cost-effective solution for launching small and micro-satellites into low-earth orbit.

Scott Hammond, project director at the Shetland Space Centre, said the launch will mark a “truly groundbreaking day” for the centre, as well as for the islands and the UK as a whole.

He said: “It will foreshadow the arrival of a whole new sector in the local economy, with rocket launches to follow from the Lamba Ness site within two years when we can secure all the necessary permissions and the creation later this year of a ground station.”

A local marine engineering company, Ocean Kinetics, will supply a boat to retrieve the balloon when it finally lands off the Shetland coast.

The post Balloon Test Launch Could Kickstart the Shetland Commercial Space Era appeared first on Digit.

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Symantec says it has seen three cases of seemingly deepfake audio of chief executives being used to dupe financial controllers into handing over company funds. Deepfakes are highly realistic and convincing doctored images, video or audio.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) that combines and superimposes material onto original content, deepfakes are made with a machine learning (ML) method known as a general adversarial network.

While the technology used to create deepfakes has been adopted by Hollywood for movies, it has also become a tool of cybercriminals and those looking to spread misinformation.

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According to Symantec, deepfake audios can be created by training an AI system with audio of chief executives that is freely available. Audio tracks from media appearances and corporate video calls are just some of the sources cybercriminals can use to gain the necessary input needed to build a model of a target’s voice.

Using background noise they can make the voice flow realistically by concealing unnatural sounding syllables and words. According to Dr Alexander Adam, a member of the data science consultancy team at Faculty, a substantial amount of money and time would be required to make a high-quality deepfake audio.

“Training models cost thousands of pounds. This is because you need a lot of computing power and the human ear is very sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, so getting the model to sound truly realistic takes a lot of time,” he said.

It would take a vast amount of good quality audio to get the data needed to create a realistic-sounding version of the target’s speech patterns, he added.

The use of Deepfake technology by unscrupulous individuals has sparked great concern by anti-revenge porn groups over its ability to create realistic fake nudes of women. Legal experts and political commentators have voiced worries that the tech could potentially be used as a tool for propagandists, and could be used to incite violence, influence elections or even initiate a public safety crisis.

The post Criminals Using Deepfake Audio to Swindle Firms appeared first on Digit.

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Instagram has announced a series of new measures to clamp down on negative comments and cyberbullying on the platform.

In a blog post this week, Adam Mosseri, head of the social media platform, said new features will aim to both prevent bully and “empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves.”

“These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path,” Mosseri explained.

Since the beginning of July, the social media platform has begun the roll-out of an AI-powered feature which notifies users when their comments may be considered offensive. This feature will encourage the poster in question to reconsider their comments.

When a user attempts to post a comment flagged for people potentially offensive or derogatory, Mosseri explained, they will be met with a pop-up which asks them to “rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported.”

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Instagram has been using artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content, encompassing comments, images and video content featured on the platform, Mosseri said. However, the company is ramping up its efforts to clamp down on cyberbullying and negativity on the site.

“As our community grows, so does our investment in technology,” he said. “This is especially crucial for teens since they are less likely to report online bullying even when they are the ones who experience it the most.”

In 2018, Instagram launched its bullying comment filter which detects and hides bullying comments from the Feed, Explore and Profile sections of the platform. Following the initial success of the scheme, Mosseri announced in October 2018 that the firm had expanded the filter to comments on live videos to “ensure that Live remains a sage and fun place to authentically connect with your friends and interests.”

Another new feature rolled out by the social media platform, Restrict, will also help users protect themselves from ‘unwanted interactions’ online. This will allow people experiencing harassment or cyberbullying to restrict comments from individual users – making harmful comments invisible to everyone but them.

Restricted people won’t be able to see when you’re active on Instagram or when you’ve read their direct messages, Mosseri explained.

“While identifying and removing bullying on Instagram is important, we also need to empower our community to stand up to this kind of behaviour. We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life,” he added.

The post New Instagram Features Aim to Tackle Cyberbullying appeared first on Digit.

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Expansions Commsworld

Following the firm’s most successful year ever, the Edinburgh-headquartered telecommunications provider, Commsworld, has announced it will open a new base in London.

The company, which already has offices in Glasgow and Aberdeen, plans to hire a new account manager to direct activity from the London base as the organisation continues to grow.

Ricky Nicol, chief executive of Commsworld, said: “Having a base in London is fantastic for us and a major step forward in our bid to cement ourselves as a truly UK-wide organisation.

“It means we can meet with our valued customers and partners more easily and efficiently, without the early morning flights or having to schedule many meetings into one day. It’s an incredibly exciting time for our business and this move represents the next step on our journey.”

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

Monzo 

British fintech Monzo has officially launched in the US after an initial delay at the beginning of last year. However, the challenger bank put its US expansion plans on hold in order to make its UK business profitable first.

The mobile-only bank will face stiff competition from the incumbent banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other digital offerings from investment banks such as Goldman Sachs.

Monzo will also need to get approval from various regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Company and the Federal Reserve for a license.

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

Partnerships Opportunity North East

A new £1.5 million tech business accelerator has been officially opened in the city centre of Aberdeen, with the purpose of supporting digital tech business growth in the North East of Scotland.

The private-sector economic development body, Opportunity North East (ONE), has led the development of ONE Tech Hub alongside Robert Gordon University (RGU) and ONE CodeBase as key partners.

The Hub will offer tenants of ONE CodeBase “unrivalled” access to co-working spaces, offices, meeting rooms, social areas and up to 30 hotdesks.

Stephen Coleman OBE, CEO and co-founder of CodeBase, commented: 2ONE CodeBase sits at the heart of the digital community created by the Hub.

“Together, we will provide a range of expert support for businesses in the region, from startups looking to scale, to incumbents looking to transform.”

ONE Tech Hub will also house RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation activity, including the RGU Startup Accelerator, which supports teams of students, staff and recent alumni.

Professor Gordon McConnell, VP for Commercial and Regional Innovation at RGU, said: “The opening on the ONE Tech Hub is a significant milestone in the university’s vision to stimulate entrepreneurial activity across the region and create a unique and inclusive environment where new generations of entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators can thrive.”

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

pureLiFi

Edinburgh-based company pureLiFi is partnering with communications and lighting leaders to form a global association called the Light Communications Alliance (LCA).

The members of the group will work on developing and refining the key use cases and deployment applications of next-generation light communication technologies; which includes Light Fidelity (LiFI) and Optical Camera Communications (OCC).

LCA members, which includes Nokia, Emirates Integrated and Liberty Global, will also advocate the use of standards for this emerging industry.

Alistair Banham, pureLiFi CEO, commented: “The founding members of the LCA represent the highest standard in lighting and communications.

“pureLiFi is honoured to be a founding member alongside these industry leaders and believes the Alliance will have the influence to drive education and greatly accelerate the global adoption of LiFi.

“We look forward to supporting the growth of this organisation over the coming years”

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

The UK Space Agency

The agency has partnered up with telecoms giant O2 to develop next-generation driverless car technology through its Darwin programme, which aims to test seamless highspeed data connections using 5G satellites.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are expected to revolutionise travel through high levels of automation facilitated by ultra-fast communication between driverless vehicles and road infrastructure around them.

This type of communication requires high-speed data connections to operate their complex systems effectively. Research by O2 estimates CAVs will generate unprecedented levels of data – 4TB per hour.

Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth, UK Space Agency, said: “Building the technology to link autonomous vehicles to telecoms satellites means that you will be able to take your car wherever you want to go, not just where there’s decent mobile signal.

“The future of mobility is one of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, so I’m delighted to support Project Darwin to ensure that this critical technology is developed in Harwell, bringing expertise, jobs and growth to Britain”.

Derek McManus, COO at O2 said: “Project Darwin is an important piece of the connected and autonomous vehicle puzzle. The research taking place at Harwell during the next four years will be vital in the creation of new transport ecosystems for the UK public and the companies that will offer these services.

“Our approach to this project is part of our wider strategy to collaborate with British businesses, partners and start-ups to unlock the possibilities of 5G for customers and wider UK economy.”

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

Funding ECS Security

Following a private management buyout ECS Security, now known as Adarma, has launched an independent security service firm serving FTSE 250 organisations.

The move was funded by capital from private equity firm Livingbridge and debt from the Bank of Scotland.

The firm has more than 250 staff and experience spanning two decades with an extensive client list. Adarma’s 20 largest clients have a combined annual turnover in excess of £150 billion and its partners include Splunk, ServiceNow and Tenable.

MD and co-founder of Adarma, David Calder said: “Our decision to create Adarma is part of our desire to focus exclusively on the security space with the aim of becoming the UK market leader for FTSE 250 organisations across a broad range of industries. We are thrilled to receive backing from Livingbridge as we start this new chapter in our journey.

“Our tailored solutions and in-depth engagements with our customers ensure a deeper understanding of their business and requirements, enabling us to deliver improved results for each client.”

Want to find out more? Read the original article here.

The post DIGIT Deal Roundup June 2019 appeared first on Digit.

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Developed by British computing start-up Blueshift Memory, the new computer chip makes data operations to be 1,000-times faster and could significantly advance scientific discoveries.

According to its creators, the new chip could have major implications for DNA research, artificial intelligence design and could lead to new drug discoveries.

In addition, it could also potentially solve issues like traffic congestion and pollution in cities through optimising their infrastructure and layout, while even improving research into climate change.

A prototype of the memory chip is currently addressing the growing gap between the quicker progress of computer processing units (CPU) compared to memory chips – an issue known as “data tailback”.

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The disparity means that high-performance computers are unable to recognise their CPU potential when performing data-intensive operations, such as analysing large-scale databases. Operations that currently take hours or days, could be carried out by the new chip in a matter of minutes.

Peter Marosan, chief technology officer at Blueshift Memory said: “Imagine if you are a taxi driver but the town where you work is always changing, people are constantly swapping houses, and the shops and services are forever disappearing and reappearing in different places. That’s similar to the way in which data is organised in existing chips”.

He added that the chip will make everything “faster, easier and more effective”.

“Our design is the equivalent of replacing that with a stable, structured town where you already know where everything is and can find it much more quickly. It makes everything faster, easier and more effective,” he added.

The design allows for drastically more efficient modelling of data, meaning it would be useful for weather forecasting and predicting climate change.

Solving the data tailback challenge could also help improve the speed of search engines by as much as 1,000 times. However, developing the chip beyond the prototype model will be expensive and Blueshift Memory said it is currently seeking funding to continue development of the chip.

The post New Computer Chip Could Significantly Speed up Data Operations appeared first on Digit.

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