The Briefing on Technology

The latest news, trends and data on technology

In Data:

Technology News in Numbers


The amount of venture capital investment in UK technology companies in 2019, according to research conducted for the Digital Economy Council by and Tech Nation. This represents a 44% improvement on 2018, and compares favourably to the US and China, which saw drops of 25% and 65% respectively.


The percentage of senior business decision makers in Europe who are using gut feel to drive critical decisions, despite the growing amounts of data available as a result of digital transformation. This is according to research by Splunk in collaboration with Censuswide, which also found that 53% are making at least one critical business decision every day.

Five Years

How long it will take for todays encryption technologies to be crackable by quantum computing, according to the majority of cybersecurity professionals. In a survey by Neustar International Security Council, 73% felt half a decade would be all it would take for quantum computers to become suitably sophisticated to render the asymmetric algorithms that are widely used for encryption to be cracked.


The average losses of businesses in Western Europe and the US from cyberattacks in 2019, according to research from Hiscox, which has risen from $229,000 in 2018. The research also found that 55% of UK businesses had been hit by a cyberattack in 2019, up from 40% in 2018.


The percentage of UK businesses that expect to see a global recession in 2020, according to research by Stenn that also found that 35% of US businesses thought the same. The survey also highlighted fears of country-specific recessions, with 46% of UK businesses and 45% of US businesses expecting to see their country enter a recession in 2020.


The most common password of 2019 according to research by NordPass, based on the analysis of password data exposed in breaches. It was closely followed by 123456, while the rest of the top five were 1234567889, test1 and password. Users are urged to change their password immediately if it is one of these.

Top Stories

The Key Moments in Technology in Recent Months

Facebook Bans Deepfake Videos

Facebook has announced that is banning deepfakes – videos that have been digitally manipulated to make people appear to say or do things they did not do – after resistance to the issue. The platform will ban all such videos, except for those created for parody or satire. However, there are concerns that the company is ignoring the wider issue of online misinformation.

Source: verdict

Travelex Hit by Ransomware Attack

Foreign currency exchange Travelex was hit by a severe ransomware attack on New Year's Eve, which forced the company to take its global websites offline. The attack, which was conducted by infamous ransomware group Sodinokibi, has seen Travelex asked to pay a $6m ransom, which. Travelex has refused to comment on whether or not it paid up. Retail banks have also been affected by the incident.

Source: verdict

China Makes Facial Recognition Mandatory for Phones

China has made it mandatory for users to have their faces scanned when registering for new mobile phone services. The move, which came into force on 1 December, is intended to cut fraud and protect online rights of citizens, but many have raised concerns about it being merely a bid to increase the reach of surveillance by the Chinese government.

Source: verdict

Google Stadia Sees Rocky Launch

Google launched its much-anticipated cloud gaming platform Stadia in November, but the technology giant has been hit by a string of issues that spell serious trouble for the company. Early users reported technical issues, including frame drops and poor resolution, while shipping of controllers was delayed and many complained of a poor selection of launch games.

Source: verdict

Company Partnerships:
Key Industry Announcements

Hyundai and Uber Team Up on Air Taxis

Uber and technology company Hyundai have announced a partnership to bring the ride-hailing company’s services to the skies. The collaboration will see Uber Air Taxis – aerial autonomous vehicles that can be hailed via an app – become a reality, with flight demonstrations planned for 2020 and a commercial launch scheduled for 2023.

Source: verdict

LG Electronics Partners with Element AI

LG Electronics has announced a partnership with Element AI to develop more accessible artificial intelligence tools for enterprises. The strategic partnership, which was cemented in January, will include the development of an AI roadmap to shape the ongoing development of AI tools and ensure that future products are created with ethics in mind.

Source: verdict

Ryanair Partners with Vodafone to Advance Telecoms

Low-cost airline Ryanair in November announced a partnership with Vodafone to overhaul its communications technologies. The partnership will see 95% of the company’s telecoms handled by Vodafone Business, including communications, cloud services, security and the internet of things. It will also enable advances to on-board communications.

Source: verdict

Amazon-NHS Data Sharing Raises Concerns

Information has come to light about an agreement between the UK Department of Health and Social Care and Amazon to provide the NHS with tools for technology-based medical advice. The information, which was made available following a freedom of information request, follows an announcement that NHS advice would be made available via Alexa, a move that has raised data privacy concerns.

Source: verdict

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