Christmas week: Tech roundup #5

Christmas technology 5.jpg

A man has flown to Russia to tell it to stop attacking the UK with cyber weaponry – or, by Jove, there’ll be trouble, so there will.

Boris Johnson, for it is he, will warn the Russians that Blighty is a nice place that has no malicious digital intentions, but does have the technical prowess to launch avenging strikes against beastly types that would use the internet in an improper manner.

The amusing-to-some MP will be the first foreign secretary to visit Russia in five years. I wonder what they’ll make of him.

Johnson, who is famous for a carefully curated ineptness that masks a deeper genuine ineptness, will meet with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, and chat about things like North Korea, Syria, 2018’s World Cup, and probably where Moscow’s best places to meet women are.

According to the chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, Russia is ‘seeking to undermine the international system’ – by which I think he means that the country is ‘trying to muscle in on the US and UK’s divine right to rule all’.

Apparently, UK-Russia relations are at an all-time low, worse than at any time since the Cold War. And we’ve sent them Boris Johnson. Hmm.

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If you’re looking forward to unwrapping your Sega Xbox or Sony Cube this Christmas, beware: videogame addiction is to be recognised as an OFFICIAL DISEASE in 2018.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 11th Edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) will formally class playing too much Sonic the Kangaroo or Super Mario Fighter as a genuine mental health disorder.

According to the WHO’s draft text, doctors might like to make themselves aware of symptoms such as the patient giving priority to videogames ‘to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests’; an inability to control how often or how long they play games for; and if they ignore gaming’s ‘negative consequences’ whatever they may be.

I’m no doctor, but surely the above red flags could be applied to someone obsessed with football, or fashion, or badger watching, or anything that consumes a great deal of someone’s time to the detriment of other activities? Actually, ignore that: I speak from a position of gross ignorance.

Having said all that, if you are planning on playing some videogames over Christmas, do try to enjoy yourself. We can worry about the months of therapy in the new year.

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is scouting for a system to help support its plans to stop drones delivering things to prisoners.

Apparently, the MoJ has about £7 million to play with – so anyone with the right digital kit that can support a specialist team of prison officers as they tackle the menace of airborne mobile phones and heroin could have a nice 2018.

Back in April, a team was created to inspect drones downed during forays into prisons, in an attempt to trace the villains responsible for them. Prisons minister Sam Gyimah said: ‘The threat posed by drones is clear, but our dedicated staff are committed to winning the fight against those who are attempting to thwart progress by wreaking havoc in establishments all over the country.’

I’m no prisoner governor, but if you’ve got complete dominion of some of the most secure buildings in the country, how difficult can it be to stop drugs and phones being shipped in apparently at will? Obviously, it’s extremely difficult.

Anyway, that’s all the tech news for 2017. I hope you’ve found some of it interesting, or at the very least mildly diverting. What digital craziness will 2018 deliver?

Merry Christmas from everyone at Socitm!

Christmas week: Tech roundup #5

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