The BBC's flagship technology programme. How digital technology affects our lives around the world. Gareth Mitchell explores the latest digital news and trends.

The BBC's flagship technology programme. How digital technology affects our lives around the world. Gareth Mitchell explores the latest digital news and trends.
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London, United Kingdom




The BBC's flagship technology programme. How digital technology affects our lives around the world. Gareth Mitchell explores the latest digital news and trends.






BBC World Service Bush House Strand London WC2B 4PH


Millions of Instagram users’ activity tracked

Instagram has removed US marketing company Hyp3r from its service after it was accused of grabbing users' data. Hyp3r was scraping profiles, copying photos and siphoning off data supposed to be deleted after 24 hours, according to Business Insider investigation. As Stephanie Hare explains, millions of users have been targeted. Breaking Silences – Rwanda’s first podcast On DP’s recent trip to Rwanda Gareth met two young women who have created the first ever podcast in the country. “Breaking...


Jakarta power cut - millions without electricity

Jakarta power cut The lights are finally back on for most of Jakarta’s ten million people, who suffered a nine-hour outage over the weekend. Taking into account surrounding regions, the power cut could have affected more than a hundred million people. Just a few weeks ago, there was a power outage on a similar scale across much of Argentina and Uruguay. The lights went out recently across the west of Manhattan too. Professor Keith Bell from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland joins us...


Not-so anonymised data

Could so-called anonymised data not be quite so opaque? A recent paper in Nature Communications suggests that information regulators around the world might need to reassess what constitutes anonymised data by showing that for any American, just 15 data points could identify an individual person. Insurers, health providers, even media providers should take note of just what can be harvested from these growing numbers of publicly available sets. Smells and Taste A look at sensing. Recently IBM...


Chandrayaan-2: India’s moon landing

The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, succeeded this week in getting its latest lunar lander into earth orbit. A new mobile money platform mGurush launches in South Sudan. In London young developers compete for a prestigious award, and in New Zealand a simple app offers security for lonely situations. (Photo: Indian Space Research Organisation orbiter vehicle Chandrayaan-2 launch. Credit: ISRO HANDOUT © European Photopress Agency) Producer: Alex Mansfield


Kenya Special: A decade on

Digital Planet re-visits the technology scene in Kenya, 10 years after the submarine broadband cable was connected. Presenter Gareth Mitchell and regular studio commentator Bill Thompson are in Nairobi to find out what has changed in the last decade and what can be expected in the future. High-speed broadband 10 years on; Tonny Tugee from SEACOM discusses the impact of the submarine communications cable, which was switched on in July 2009. Investment in African tech talent; Amrote Abdella...


Chinese surveillance app analysed by researchers

Travellers to China through Kyrgyzstan are being forced to install a surveillance app on their phones. Professor Thorsten Holt is on the programme to explain, with the help of investigative journalists, how he has hacked into and analysed this surveillance app. He says the app compiles a report on your phone contacts, text messages and even your social media accounts, as well as searching for over 73,000 specific files. Atmospheric Memory A breath-taking new art environment where you can...


Declaration of digital independence

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger is on the programme to explain why he wants us to go on strike and boycott big social media platforms for two days. He’s drafted a Declaration of Digital Independence because he says these internet companies have been abusing their political power, optimising our feeds for controversy rather than civilised debate and gathering masses of our personal information along the way. Irina Bolychevsky, founder and director of gives her opinion on...


Tax on connectivity in Africa

Tax on Connectivity Taxes on internet and mobile access are on the rise across Africa, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet. After a daily levy was introduced on social media services in Uganda for example, internet subscriptions fell by 2.5 million. Eleanor Sarpong, Deputy Director at the Alliance for Affordable Internet explains how it’s the poorest and women who are being hardest hit. Kibera Stories Brian Otieno has been using photography to redefine his hometown’s visual...


Fleeing Saudi women tracked by mobiles

Cell phones used to track runaway Saudi women Saudi Arabia is hunting down women who flee the country by tracking the IMEI number on their cellphones, according to an article on the website Business Insider. Reporter Bill Bostock is in the studio to explain how he was told by runaway women that the authorities IMEI numbers on mobile phones to try and find the. Sir Dermot Turing - who really did invent the first computer? Alan Turing is often credited as being the father of modern computing...


Sagrada Família: Can tech complete the build of the basilica?

A work permit for the unfinished church designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi, 137 years after construction started has been issued. Tristam Carfrae, deputy chair of engineering and design company ARUP tells us how technology will help complete the original design of the Sagrada Família basilica. Africa Tech – Increasing African IT Skills A new report shows that the demand for digital skills in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster rate than in other markets. Entitled Digital...


Marine accident investigation technology

Marine accident investigation technology On Sunday on the Giudecca Canal in Venice a giant cruise ship crashed into a docked tourist boat. Mike Travis, of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in the UK, explains how technology will help accident investigators determine what happened Cancer data and AI Scientists have been gathering petabytes of data from cancer patients in a bid to find new treatments. To be able to analyse some of this massive volume of data, they are harnessing machine...


Genderless voice assistants

The world’s first genderless voice assistant has been unveiled to the public, and it goes by the name Q. Reporter Tom Stephens met with Emil Asmussen, associate creative director of VICE Media’s creative agency VIRTUE, who was involved in Q’s creation to discuss the voice of the future. Detecting bladder problems Dr Elfed Lewis from the University of Limerick and his team has created an optical sensor that can be inserted into the bladder, during other procedures, that monitors pressure in...


Is facial recognition violating people's privacy?

Facial recognition software concerns San Francisco has banned it, while other cities are trailing it...facial recognition software is becoming more commonplace. Perhaps there is little you can do to avoid it but would you be keen to help create it? Stephanie Hare is on the programme to discuss if users of the Ever app knew about the use of their photos to create technology that is being sold elsewhere. AI - friend or foe? In western culture machine learning and AI is viewed with some...


Personal alarms hackable using phone numbers

Personal alarms with GPS can be hacked An investigation by Fidus Information Security has found that over 10,000 people are using personal alarms with GPS and phone data which can be hacked using the owner’s phone number. Andrew Mabbitt describes how these devices are at risk of being hacked and the danger this could pose to the wearer. Smart buildings can increase efficiency Dr Wendy Belluomini is the Director of IBM Research. She explains how IBM are developing AI and IoT to make our built...


Ham radio aids cyclone relief effort

Ham Radio in Disaster Relief Efforts Ham Radio operators have been drafted in to keep communications open after Cyclone Fani devastated parts of India. HF and VHF will be used to communicate with the main disaster control room in Delhi. Operators have been deployed to areas where all other forms of communication have failed. Soft Robotics Recent advances in 3D printing have led to significant progress in the field of soft robotics. Katia Bertoldi, professor of applied mechanics at Harvard,...


Can tech help rebuild Notre-Dame?

Can tech help rebuild Notre-Dame? Professor Paul Chapman discusses how Glasgow School of Art has used laser scanned 3D models to try to rebuild their historic Mackintosh building after two damaging fires. Will this technology prove to be vital in the redesign and rebuild of Notre-Dame? Gesture Computing Technology Presenter Gareth Mitchell and studio expert Ghislaine Boddington talk to Per Nohlert from Noenode at the IEEE fifth World Forum on IoT in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. They find...


Internet of Things - what can we expect?

Internet of Things encompasses all devices connected to the internet, which can be further connected. This means that all of our “things” can talk to each other to provide an autonomous action. Imagine a system where your fridge decides when to order your groceries, or your dishwasher decides when to wash your dishes. Outside of your smart home, Internet of Things promises even more, such as smart cities, where traffic lights are connected to millions of sensors that can direct your...


Shut down of Google’s Ethics Panel

Shut down of Google’s Ethics Panel Google announces an advisory artificial intelligence ethics board and then closes it down within a fortnight, following a row over the choice of its members. BBC Technology reporter Jane Wakefield explains why the now ex-Advanced Technology External Advisory Council has been disbanded. Do robots have morals? Who is responsible for incidents involving autonomous machines? A paper considering the moral responsibilities of robots has been published, prompting...



#ShareNoEvil A new Chrome browser extension aimed at blocking terrorist content following the mosque shooting in Christchurch in New Zealand has been launched. It blocks the alleged Christchurch shooter’s name from appearing in any search on Chrome and replaces any mention of the blocked name with the words Share No Evil. Simon Morton explains how internet service providers and mobile telecom companies in New Zealand have been blocking videos of the Christchurch attack. Digital diplomacy...


Tech help after Cyclone Idai

As the death toll across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi rises following Cyclone Idai, families are desperately trying to find missing loved ones. To help reunite families, the International Committee of the Red Cross has launched a dedicated digital website in English and Portuguese. We hear about the difficulties of gathering this data when there is no electricity in some places, let alone connectivity. Decentralising the Web Following 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web we look at...