• Government R&D funding fails to maximise ‘catapult’ potential

    The UK government is unlikely to reach its current research and development (R&D) spending target without increasing the funding available to the country’s technology and innovation centres, found the House of Lords Science and Technology subcommittee.

    Known as “catapults”, these not-for-profit, independent technology and innovation centres are designed to connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities with the aim of turning innovative ideas into commercial products.

    According to a report published 5 February 2021 by the subcommittee, the government’s current approach “lacks a detailed plan for delivering its R&D ambitions”. which – in tandem with a lack of

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  • Mayor of London launches digital inclusion initiative

    The mayor of London has launched a digital exclusion taskforce aimed at reducing the capital’s digital divide.

    The taskforce, which includes mayor Sadiq Khan, London councils and charity London Grid for Learning (LGfL), is aimed at tackling digital exclusion in London, increasing people’s digital skills and providing disadvantaged people with refurbished devices.

    The launch coincides with England’s third coronavirus lockdown, which forced schools to close and young people to learn from home, despite many not having the devices to do so.

    Khan said: “Every schoolchild in London should have the equipment they need to continue learning online during lockdown.

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  • Appeal court finds ‘digital phone tapping’ admissible in criminal trials

    Judges have decided that communications collected by French and Dutch police from the encrypted phone network EncroChat using software ‘implants’ are admissible evidence in British courts.

    Police have made more than 1,000 arrests in the UK after the EncroChat phone network was compromised by French and Dutch investigators.

    UK law prohibits law enforcement agencies from using evidence obtained from interception in criminal trials.

    But three judges found on Friday [5 February] that material gathered by French and Dutch investigators and passed to the UK’s National Crime Agency were lawfully obtained through “equipment interference”.

    “Today’s verdict implies that intercepting, or “tapping”

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