High speed camera uses 1,000 frames per second

Click visits the University of Tokyo where a high speed camera has been developed. It can process an image faster than the eye can see and make a moving object appear stationary.

The developers believe it has the potential to revolutionise how sporting events are broadcast. Spencer Kelly went to find out more.

See more at Click’s website and @BBCClick.

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UK TV drama about North Korea hit by cyber-attack

Kim Jong-un UK TV drama about North Korea hit by cyber-attack UK TV drama about North Korea hit by cyber-attack f416dc7d32Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Kim Jong-un’s officials described Opposite Number as being “slanderous”

North Korean hackers targeted a British television company making a drama about the country, it has emerged.

The series – due to be written by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter – has been shelved.

In August 2014, Channel 4 announced what it said would be a new “bold and provocative” drama series.

Titled Opposite Number, the programme’s plot involved a British nuclear scientist taken prisoner in North Korea.

The production firm involved – Mammoth Screen – subsequently had its computers attacked.

The project has not moved forward because of a failure to secure funding, the company says.

‘Hair on fire’

North Korean officials had responded in anger when details of the TV series were first revealed. Pyongyang described the plot as a “slanderous farce” as it called on the British government to pull the series in order to avoid damaging relations.

The North Koreans did more than protest though – they hacked into the computer networks of the company behind the show.

The incident was first reported by the New York Times, which cited Channel 4 as the main target. However, the BBC understands that it was actually Mammoth Screen that was hit by hackers.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Opposite Number’s screenwriter Matt Charman was nominated for an Oscar for the 2015 Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies

The attack did not inflict any damage but the presence of North Korean hackers on the system caused widespread alarm over what they might do.

“They were running around with their hair on fire,” a TV executive from another company told the BBC, describing the level of concern.

British intelligence was also aware of the attack.

The concern was compounded because Sony Pictures experienced a significant cyber-attack in November 2014. A group called the Guardians of Peace claimed it was behind it but US officials said they believed North Korea was responsible.

That attack was also in retaliation for a drama – in this case the planned release of the film The Interview, a comedy in which the North Korean leader was assassinated.

The studio had its emails stolen and publicly released but also had a significant portion of its computer network destroyed by the attackers. The film was eventually released online amid concerns that cinemas would not show it because of threats.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Sony pulled The Interview from US cinemas after it was hacked

It also led to a strong reaction from the Obama White House, including the imposition of sanctions. There was no commensurate complaint from the British government, despite officials knowing that a UK company had also been targeted – although not affected in the same way as Sony Pictures.

Increased aggression

In the UK, Opposite Number has been shelved. The drama was due to be the second commission to come out of Channel 4’s newly formed international drama division.

At the time, Mammoth Screen and its distribution partner, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said they were seeking an international partner. But a spokeswoman for ITV Studios – which purchased Mammoth Screen in 2015 – told the BBC in February that “the co-production hasn’t progressed because third-party funding has not been secured”.

Those involved will not comment on whether the failure to attract funding and move forward with the production was in any way linked to the cyber-attack.

Image copyrightMammoth Screen
Image caption Mammoth Screen went on to make the ITV/PBS series Victoria

The cyber-threats from North Korea have not stopped. Its hackers have proved increasingly aggressive and adept, targeting banks to steal money and media in South Korea.

British officials also believe North Korea was behind the Wannacry ransomware that struck around the world in May, with significant parts of the NHS affected, although there has been no official response from the UK government to this incident.

But the revelations about an attack on a TV production company may raise further concerns about what North Korea is capable of and how companies in the UK – and the British government – react when it happens.

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Daimler recalls 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK

A row of Mercedes Benz cars Daimler recalls 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK Daimler recalls 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK e0ade48428Image copyrightGetty Images

Daimler is recalling about 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK over a potential airbag safety issue.

The problem affects certain A, B, C, and E-Class models, together with CLA, GLA and GLC vehicles, built between November 2011 and July 2017.

The recall is not related to the exploding Takata airbag scandal, and there have been no fatalities.

The fix for the airbag issue takes only an hour to perform.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told the BBC that the airbag issue only affected certain vehicles in “rare circumstances”.

“If the steering column module clock spring is broken and the wiring components are not sufficiently earthed, this could lead to an electrostatic discharge which could inadvertently deploy the driver’s airbag,” the spokesperson said.

The cars are safe to drive under normal operating conditions, but if the driver airbag warning light comes on, customers should call roadside assistance or contact their nearest retailer.

Mercedes-Benz will contact all customers whose cars may be affected by the airbag problem, and ask them to bring their vehicle in.

The work is performed free of charge and only takes an hour, after which the car is safe to drive as per normal.

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Huawei Mate 10 uses AI to distinguish cats from dogs

Huawei Mate 10 Huawei Mate 10 uses AI to distinguish cats from dogs Huawei Mate 10 uses AI to distinguish cats from dogs e3994f727b
Image caption The phone takes account of the fact cats’ eyes are more reflective than dogs’

Huawei says it has given its latest smartphones advanced object-recognition capabilities to help them take better photos than the competition.

The Chinese company says the artificial intelligence-based technology can even distinguish between cats and dogs in a split-second, allowing it to automatically tweak how their fur and eyes appear.

It says this is possible because of a new type of chip in the Mate 10 phones.

But experts question the tech’s appeal.

Huawei is currently the world’s third best-selling smartphone maker, according to research company IDC, with a market share of 11.3% in the April-to-June quarter.

That put it slightly behind Apple, which had a 12% share.

The Shenzhen-based company has previously said it aims to overtake its US rival before the end of 2019, and then eventually leapfrog the market leader, Samsung.

Artificial brain

Huawei says it trained the Mate 10’s camera-controlling algorithms with more than 100 million pictures to teach them to recognise different scenarios and items.

To ensure the decisions are taken quickly enough, the company said, it had developed its own processor – the Kirin 970 – which has a neural processing unit (NPU) in addition to the standard central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) used to power most computers.

Image copyrightHuawei
Image caption Huawei says the Kirin chip benefits from machine-learning work that involved more than 100 million images

The architecture of the NPU is a specialised part of the chip designed to handle matrix multiplications at speed – a type of calculation used by artificial intelligence neural networks, which attempt to mimic the way the brain works.

Huawei says the inclusion of an NPU in its chip allows it to recognise about 2,000 images per minute.

That is about double the rate that the new A11 processor in the iPhone 8 would be able to handle, Huawei says.

The company is not alone in designing a part of its processor to handle AI-enhanced tasks.

Apple has introduced what it calls a “bionic neural engine” in the A11, which will be used for facial recognition tasks by the forthcoming iPhone X.

And Google has developed what it terms a “tensor processing unit”, which it uses in its data centres to support its Search, Street View, Photos and Translate services.

One expert suggested Huawei’s move was significant but difficult to market to consumers.

Image copyrightHuawei
Image caption The Mate 10 Pro has a 6in (15cm) OLED screen – there is also a slightly smaller 5.9in LED version

“All of this could have been done on a GPU,” said Ian Cutress, from the Anandtech engineering news site.

“But having the NPU makes the processes faster while potentially using less power.

“The thing is that it’s very difficult to explain all this to potential customers as it gets very technical very quickly.

“For now, the use cases are limited and probably not going to be the sole reason to buy the device.”

Fur analysis

Many smartphone cameras make automatic tweaks to the images they take, but Huawei suggests its technology takes this to the next level.

Image caption The camera takes account of the fact cats tend to have longer hair than dogs

In the example of cats and dogs, it says:

  • because cats’ eyes are more reflective than dogs’, in bright interior light and sunlight the camera adjusts down the ISO level when a close-up of the animal is being taken
  • to take account of differences in the type of hair or fur the pets have, the software alters the image sharpness via the amount of noise reduction it applies
  • since the camera has been trained to expect cats to be smaller than dogs, it also makes an adjustment to the depth of field

“Without doing lots of tests, it’s difficult to tell how much value this really adds to the camera capabilities,” said Ben Wood, from the technology consultancy CCS Insight.

“The problem with any of these techniques is that whether they are of benefit or not is in the eye of the beholder – it’s very subjective.”

Image copyrightHuawei
Image caption If food is detected, the camera system adds saturation and contrast to the image

Huawei also says the NPU is used to optimise tasks carried out by Microsoft’s pre-loaded Translator software, which converts words and images of text between dozens of languages.

According to the Chinese company, the software runs about three times faster than it would do otherwise.

The company is now inviting third-party developers to build other apps to take advantage of the NPU.

But Mr Wood said that he had concerns that Huawei was putting too much emphasis on the technology.

Image caption This unedited photo of a cat was taken with the Mate 10 Pro

“I don’t believe most consumers understand what AI is,” said Mr Wood.

“So, if Huawei intends to market the new phones around the technology, it will have to clearly articulate what the benefits are beyond it just being the buzzword of the moment.”

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Krack wi-fi security flaw explained

The wi-fi connections of businesses and homes around the world are at risk, according to researchers who have revealed a major flaw dubbed Krack.

Video journalist: Chris Foxx

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Microsoft Windows 10 breaches Dutch privacy law

Microsoft logo Microsoft Windows 10 breaches Dutch privacy law Microsoft Windows 10 breaches Dutch privacy law 05e954d527Image copyrightGetty Images

Microsoft breaches data protection law in the Netherlands because of the way its Windows 10 operating system processes personal information, according to a report.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) also said users were not clearly informed about what data the technology giant was using.

There were four million active devices in Holland using Windows 10, it said.

Microsoft said it was “a priority” for the company to comply with Dutch law.

The DPA said that sanctions could be imposed if Microsoft failed to resolve the issues but did not detail what they might be.

The report claims that Windows 10 users “lack control of their data” because of the approach of Microsoft.

“It turns out that Microsoft’s operating system follows about every step you take on your computer. That results in an intrusive profile of yourself,” said Wilbert Tomesen, vice-chairman of the DPA.

“What does that mean? Do people know about this? Do they want this? Microsoft needs to give users a fair opportunity to decide about this themselves.”

Microsoft responded in a blog post.

It said that its latest update did give users of Windows 10 the opportunity to learn about privacy controls, and that users were informed in various documents and statements about why it processed data, including the performance of the device and apps installed.

“Windows collects data so that we can be responsive to your needs and interests,” wrote Marisa Rogers, Microsoft’s Windows and devices group privacy officer.

Ms Rogers later added that the company was “listening and responding” to feedback both from customers and regulators.

The technology giant also published a list of DPA claims that it said were inaccurate.

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Stamp out sickening distribution of images, says Durham police chief

Internet companies need to do more to “stamp out sickening distribution of images and live streaming of abuse online” says the chief constable of Durham.

Mike Barton said internet firms were clever enough to invent platforms so they should therefore be clever enough to clamp-down on child sex images, admitting police forces “do not have the resources to tackle this alone”.

In a personal film in the Daily Politics soapbox series, he challenged the web giants “to do more.”

Mike Barton’s studio interview following his film

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Durham chief constable on child abuse images online

Internet companies need to do more to “stamp out sickening distribution of images and live streaming of abuse online” says the chief constable of Durham.

Mike Barton said internet firms were clever enough to invent platforms so they should therefore be clever enough to clamp-down on child sex images, admitting police forces “do not have the resources to tackle this alone”.

In a personal film in the Daily Politics soapbox series, he challenged the web giants “to do more.”

Mike Barton’s studio interview following his film

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Drone collides with commercial aeroplane in Canada

Drone in sunset Drone collides with commercial aeroplane in Canada Drone collides with commercial aeroplane in Canada e2fb72a833Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption As drones become more popular, countries will need to consider regulations to restrict usage

A drone has collided with a commercial aircraft in Canada, the first such incident in the country, according to the Transport Ministry.

The drone struck one of the plane’s wings, while six passengers and two crew members were aboard.

The aircraft sustained only minor damage and was able to land safely, the Canadian transport minister said.

Earlier this year, Canada announced that it was making it illegal to fly recreational drones near airports.

The law prohibited airborne drones within 5.5km (3.5 miles) of an airport and restricted the height of a drone’s flight to 90 metres (300ft).

Those breaking the restrictions could face fines of up to 25,000 Canadian dollars ($20,000, £15,000).

The Skyjet flight was heading to Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport when the drone hit it on 12 October.

In a statement, transport minister Marc Garneau said: “Although the vast majority of drone operators fly responsibly, it was our concern for incidents like this that prompted me to take action and issue interim safety measures restricting where recreational drones could be flown.

“I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offence.”

According to a UK Airprox Board report, a drone passed directly over the wing of an aircraft approaching Gatwick Airport this summer.

The drone was “flown into conflict” with the Airbus 319, with a high risk of collision, read the report.

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Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools

school classroom Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools 97139a432fImage copyrightGetty Images

Facebook has said it will fund existing training for one young person in every UK secondary school so they can support children who experience cyber-bullying.

There are 4,500 secondary schools in the UK, of which around half have a digital ambassador trained by anti-bullying campaigns The Diana Award and Childnet International.

The “digital safety ambassador” scheme is part of Facebook’s commitment to online safety, the firm said.

Facebook will provide £1m ($1.3m).

The funding provides an extension of existing projects offered by the two organisations to schools who choose to opt in.

New research suggests that young people are more likely to discuss online bullying with each other than with parents or teachers.

“This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities,” said Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety policy.

“Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated Safety Centre, to our online reporting tools.

“By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school we are now taking this commitment offline too.”

‘Positive changes’

Poppy Muffett, a 15-year-old digital leader from Wath Comprehensive School in Rotherham, said the role had given her confidence.

“The most enjoyable part of the programme is planning events or creating posters, as you know that you’re making a difference within the school and wider community,” she said.

“Over the two years that I have had this role, I have noticed positive changes around the school. It feels like we have made the school a better place, and I know we will continue to do so in the future.”


Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent

This looks like an ambitious initiative by Facebook, but £1m is quite a limited sum if thousands of children in 4,500 schools are to be trained as digital ambassadors.

It comes as all the social media firms are under pressure from the government to sign up to a voluntary code of practice.

The culture secretary Karen Bradley has described this move as “fantastic” but she says she wants more from the companies.

This is an existing programme run by Childnet and the Diana Award. On the face of it, it’s an impressive idea – kids are more likely to listen to other kids than to parents or teachers.

What parents may be asking is, “why isn’t Facebook doing more to remove abusive content quickly from its platform?”.

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