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Google Antitrust Investigation, Brain-Computer Mind Reading & More News

This week in tech news: Google under antitrust investigation for google ads among others, brain-computer could allow government and companies to read minds and Singapore's cyber hygiene still has room for improvements according to new CSA cybersecurity study.

 Tech news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

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Google’s ad business will be scrutinized like never before in antitrust investigation

State attorneys general investigating Google are ordering it to turn over a wide range of information about its advertising business, according to an investigative demand that takes direct aim at the biggest source of the company’s revenue.

The Sept. 9 investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, was issued as 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced an antitrust investigation of Google from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. According to the document, the coalition of attorney generals wants information about Google’s past acquisitions of advertising technology companies, including DoubleClick and AdMob; a list of its top ad customers; pricing structures; data collection practices; and a detailed explanation and breakdown of the ad auction mechanism that helps deliver ads across the web.

Google’s ad business is simply massive and is expected to eclipse 20% of all ad spending both online and offline in the U.S. When it comes to U.S. online search ad spending, Google eats up nearly three-quarters of that pie at 74.6%. When it comes to all digital ads Google has gobbled up 37.2% for about $48 billion in revenue this year. Facebook is a distant second at 22.1% in digital ad revenue.

Photo courtesy of venturebeat

Brain implants could give governments and companies power to read your mind, scientists warn

People could "become telepathic to some degree,"thanks to neural interface technologies that are being developed, according to the Royal Society, the UK's Academy of Sciences. But it has warned that neural interfaces -- devices implanted internally or worn externally which can record or stimulate brain activity -- could be open to abuse as they become more sophisticated. Christofer Toumazou, chair in biomedical circuit design at Imperial College London, said: “The applications for neural interfaces are as unimaginable today as the smartphone was a few decades ago. They could bring huge economic benefits to the UK and transform sectors such as the NHS, public health and social care.”

But tech companies are getting in on the act -- and the Royal Society says governments need to act fast to set some ethical boundaries. They could also be misused by corporations and governments, with neural data being accessed and shared. Neural interfaces "pose new risks: the risks of moods or thoughts being accessed by companies, governments or others; risks to privacy and human rights; and the risks of widening social inequalities," the report states. They could even change the very nature of what it means to be human, it says.

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48% of Singaporeans hit by cyber incidents last year

Singaporeans' cyber hygiene still has some room for improvement if the latest findings from the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) are anything to go by.

In the Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey 2018 released on Wednesday, almost half, or 48 per cent, of respondents had experienced at least one cyber incident in the past 12 months. The latest survey was the first time CSA measured the types and frequency of cyber security incidents that its respondents encountered.

The agency added that more than a third of the respondents reported encountering advertisement pop-ups online, which can be a sign of malicious software infection. This was the most commonly cited security incident, followed by having their data leaked by a company, which about 15 per cent of respondents experienced. Other types of cyber incidents included receiving a phishing e-mail, being infected by ransomware and having their computer or device controlled by hackers. The majority of the respondents, at least seven out of ten, showed high levels of concerns about a variety of cyber security incidents, like having their computer controlled by hackers illegally, having their information stolen or falling victim to an online scam or fraud.

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