Featured Article – Antitrust and Big-Tech

With U.S. Congress members grilling the bosses of the big tech companies this week with a view to deciding if their companies have become too big and powerful, in this article we take a look at the Antitrust laws and issues.

Antitrust Laws

In the U.S., home of big tech companies Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon, the bosses of which are about to face an antitrust grilling, there are three core federal antitrust laws. The objectives of the laws are to help consumers by protecting the process of competition, making sure there are strong enough incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, to keep prices down, and keep maintain quality of goods and services. 

When Microsoft faced Congress back in 1998 over an antitrust row about Microsoft allegedly forcing PC manufacturers to make Internet Explorer the default browser on their computers, the Sherman Act of 1890 was the main Act used in the against Microsoft.  This act concerns monopolies and prohibits “unreasonable” restraints of trade.

The other two core federal antitrust laws are The Federal Trade Commission Act which bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices”, and the Clayton Act which relates to some practices that the Sherman Act does not clearly prohibit e.g. mergers.

Before Congress

This week, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google, Tim Cook of Apple and Jeff Bezos of Amazon are all appearing before members of the U.S. Congress to face questions related to the antitrust laws and to help the U.S. government decide whether these companies have become too big and powerful. 

Complicated Argument

The arguments in relation to Google and Facebook particularly (both of which offer services for free, funded by advertising), are likely to be complicated by their ‘free’ business-model.

Facebook, for example, offers Instagram, WhatsApp, and its classic Facebook platform free to consumers and Google offers its search engine, email, YouTube, and other services for free. Apple also offers free apps for download.  The offering of these free services could, therefore, make it difficult for Congress to use an antitrust law against them that is based on consumer pricing.

Issues

Some of the issues the Congress legislators may mention have also been echoed in the UK. These issues include:

– Big tech companies thrived during the pandemic which may indicate that they could be “too big to fail” and that this could indicate that they have become too powerful and this could represent an unfair situation for competitors.

– The tech giants, like Amazon and Google, own the Internet utilities and, therefore, could be acting unfairly e.g. Amazon promoting its own products over others on Amazon marketplace.

– That even though some key services are offered for free, the tech giants may be hurting consumers in a less direct way by making it difficult for other competitors to compete with ‘free’ and thereby damaging the wider economy.

– The issue of the role that powerful platforms such as Facebook have played (and could play) in the influencing of votes in elections due to content posted and shared on those platforms.  Significantly, there is a U.S. presidential election later this year.

– Google and Facebook’s market positions may mean that they have had a detrimental impact on newspapers and their circulation.

– Apple and Google own iOS and Android and, therefore, could be said to control the app market, making it difficult for app makers to go anywhere else for sales and distribution.

– Companies like Google and Facebook may be too powerful in the advertising market.  This is a point that has been made in the UK too by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which has noted that Google has more than 90 per cent of the £7.3bn search advertising market and Facebook has more than half of the £5.5bn UK online display advertising market.

Counter Arguments

Obviously, the heads of tech giants Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon have their own counter-arguments and points.  These may include:

– In providing free services, they also face competition from other popular free services such as TikTok, and their free services e.g. Facebook provides a great way for people to connect and share and for all kinds of businesses to promote themselves.

– Advertising e.g. via Google and Facebook provides a fast and effective way to help businesses compete and consumers to see and buy the products and services they want and need.

– Facebook may be likely to say that it has grown from nothing, in a fair way, and that U.S. laws also promote the kind of competition and innovation that has helped it and other U.S. companies to grow.

– Amazon, for example, has said that it welcomes scrutiny of all large institutions, including itself, government agencies and non-profits.

– Breaking up or over-regulating the big U.S. tech companies could hand more power to Chinese tech companies (e.g. Huawei).

Microsoft

Microsoft’s Bill Gates is reported to have said that he wishes the four tech giant leaders well before their grilling by Congress.  Microsoft provides an example of what could happen when the leaders face Congress members as back in 1998,  Bill Gates faced his own four-hour hearing in the hot seat as he and some peers (Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy, Michael Dell, Netscape’s president Jim Barksdale and more) faced some serious questions from Congress over antitrust laws.  In Microsoft’s case, the judge ruled that Microsoft should be broken up, but this decision was reversed on appeal and following a settlement reached by Microsoft and the court.  The hearing took its toll in other ways though, as it led to the demise of Netscape and to Bill Gates deciding to retire in 2000. 

What Could Happen?

The ultimate fear among the tech giants is that the same sort of ruling as the initial one reached against Microsoft could happen again or that it could lead to over-regulation.

There are also fears among supporters of scrutinising tech companies that questioning the tech company bosses all together and not individually could mean that really difficult questions could be deflected and skilfully side-stepped and that some Congress members may simply use the occasion to ‘grandstand’.

In The UK

In the UK, the CMA is calling for the introduction of a new ‘Digital markets Unit’ that could be given the powers to enforce a code of conduct for big tech firms and even the powers to break them up.

Looking Ahead

It is difficult to deny that big tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google are huge and powerful in markets across the world. The arguments relating to antitrust laws, however, are more complicated than they may first appear and there is also a political dimension in this debate as well as one relating to fair competition and how well consumers are served.  This argument may go on for quite some time yet, but the tech company bosses are likely to find the hearing in the U.S. an uncomfortable step in the way forward.

Face Masks Beat Facial Recognition

New research has shown that even the most advanced facial recognition algorithms can only identify as little as 50 per cent of faces when masks are worn.

Test

Although necessary in the pandemic, mask-wearing appears to be posing a serious challenge to even the most advanced facial recognition systems, meaning that security and policing may be adversely affected.  The recently published preliminary research results from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology showed that the failure rate of facial recognition algorithms when faced with a mask, could be anything from 2 to 50 per cent.

The test was carried out by drawing digital masks onto faces from border-crossing photos and by comparing these photos with a database of unmasked faces. The research used 6.2 million images of 1 million people and involved 89 algorithms.

The Result

Whereas ideal conditions should yield only a 0.3 per cent failure rate, the addition of digital masks to images led to failure rates of 5 per cent and upwards, with many algorithms (that were developed pre-pandemic) failing between 20 per cent to 50 per cent of the time.

What About Clear Masks?

Aspects of human communication can also be affected by the use of masks and face coverings.  For example, for the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or suffer from degrees of hearing loss, an opaque face mask can create a serious barrier to communication e.g. stopping lip-reading and obscuring other the visual cues and facial expressions.

The National Deaf Children’s Society, among others, has been campaigning for clear face masks or face masks with a kind of clear window that allows the mouth to be seen. Companies are now producing these masks such as the FDA-approved ‘Leaf’ transparent mask by Redcliffe Medical Devices in Michigan.  The Leaf Mask has a filter and an anti-fog coating. Top of the range versions of Leaf even includes features like a UVC light (to kill pathogens), tiny fans, and even sensors for air quality, humidity, and dust.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The wearing of masks may be an important way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic people and to improve confidence as lockdown restrictions are eased but can create a real challenge to those with hearing problems who need to see the mouth of the person they are communicating with.  They can also create a more general challenge to communications where facial expressions are concerned. 

Mask-wearing in shops and at other sites is, however, likely to be helpful for retail businesses by boosting the confidence of shoppers, and there appear to be many business opportunities and niches for businesses that make masks and other equipment to help create retain social distancing and provide protection while using business premises e.g. screens/visors.  These opportunities are likely to be met with more creative and imaginative solutions as time goes on while the world waits for vaccines and other treatments to be developed.

Remote Working Means Public Cloud and DaaS Spend Increase

Gartner has forecast continued spending on the public cloud and particularly desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) through 2020, fuelled by remote working during the pandemic.

Growth

The Gartner market watcher’s global public cloud services market forecast indicates that the move to home working necessitated by the COVID-19 shutdown has boosted spending on the public cloud and that it is forecast to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2020 to $257.9bn, up from $242.7bn last year.

DaaS

Although software as a service (SaaS) is expected remain the largest market segment, the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) segment, although relatively small, is forecast to experience a boost in spending (from $616m worldwide in 2019) due to the fact that it offers an inexpensive way for organisations with large numbers of remote workers to enable staff to securely access enterprise applications from multiple devices and locations.  This has proven to be particularly valuable during the lockdown and beyond. 

SaaS Growth

Gartner reports that the software as a service (SaaS) segment is still the largest, and this is likely to continue with a projected spike in spending of around 15.5 per cent between 2020 and 2021. The growth in SaaS tools and technologies spending has been driven in recent months by the increased need for new software collaboration tools during COVID-19.

IaaS

Gartner is also forecasting that the second biggest market segment, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), will grow by 13.4 per cent in 2020.

Public Cloud

The fact that public cloud services offer businesses cost scale with use and deferred spending advantages make a continued growth in public cloud spending more likely as economies try to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic.

Other Research

The Gartner findings and forecasts echo those of other researchers and tech commentators.  For example, back in June, IT asset management firm, Snow Software released the results of a poll of 250 IT leaders from around the world that focused on how the pandemic has affected their plans for use of the cloud.  The results showed that 82 per cent had increased their use of the cloud and the pandemic had driven 60 per cent to grow their use of off-premise technologies due to the necessary remote working.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown forced businesses to quickly adapt to having their employees work from home, using (cloud-based) software collaboration tools to communicate.  This lockdown, therefore, was the driver for many businesses to quickly ramp-up their use of the public cloud, and their increased spending on cloud infrastructure and technologies is likely to continue. Many businesses have also now realised the benefits of using the cloud e.g. cost, scale and deferred spending advantages.  Many businesses look set to move more into the cloud now that they have already seen how it can work, the cost and flexibility benefits, and how it could help them going forward as they and the economy try to recover at a time when spending on IT needs to bring maximum value and take account of the new world situation.

Free Delivery of Amazon Groceries

Amazon is now taking on the supermarkets and Ocado in the UK with free grocery deliveries from its Amazon Fresh service.

Amazon Fresh

The Amazon Fresh grocery service enables Amazon Prime customers, firstly in London and parts of the Home Counties, then across the UK by the end of the year, to buy groceries online and have them delivered same or next-day for free (for orders over £40).

In Competition With Supermarkets and Ocado

This will put Amazon in direct competition with the major supermarkets, who offer their own delivery service, and with companies like Ocado which has no physical stores but has warehouses (like Amazon) and operates a grocery delivery service.  Ocado, which now has a 50/50 partnership with Marks and Spencer is the fastest-growing grocer in the UK.

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh may be a new relatively new idea across the UK, but not in London. Amazon launched Fresh in the UK (London) back in 2016 and it is something that Amazon was also developing in its U.S. home market back in 2017.  In May 2017, for example, Amazon operated a trial of its new the ‘Amazon Fresh Pickup’ service from two ‘bricks-and-mortar’ locations in its home city of Seattle.  At that time, the Amazon Fresh service, which already operated in 16 cities (14 US metropolitan centres, Tokyo, and London) was inviting customers to come and pick their shopping up themselves, rather than having it delivered to their door.

Although Amazon had a large amount of warehouse space and had started working with Whole Foods Market Inc to help grow a network of specialised grocery distribution warehouses, it was not quite ready to go fully into deliveries.

Deliveroo

Early in the pandemic here in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that Amazon could invest in food distribution company Deliveroo, which gave Amazon a way in to fresh food delivery across the UK.

Huge Market

With an estimated 15 million Amazon Prime members (Mintel, 2019) plus a booming online shopping and grocery home delivery market that has been given a massive boost by the pandemic lockdown, well-known brand Amazon is expanding it’s Amazon Fresh service across the UK at a key time.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Food market commentators suggest that many shoppers are will likely continue buying their groceries online following the increased relaxing of lockdown, and this can only be good news for Amazon as it enters the grocery delivery market in a big way. The fact that Amazon is offering the free delivery service to its Prime users and that Ocado, whose territory Amazon is stepping into, is linked with Marks and Spencer indicates that Amazon will be targeting more affluent shoppers at the premium end of the grocery market e.g. those who regularly shop at Marks and Spencer and Waitrose. Amazon’s brand power, warehouses, established delivery infrastructure and experience mean that it is likely to become a serious competitor very quickly in the £119bn UK grocery market.

Tech Tip – Getting Organised Using Microsoft Edge

If you are using Microsoft Edge in Windows 10, here’s a way that you can organise multiple browser tabs that you need to have open for a job or project into a ‘Collection’ that you can easily access later.

To make a ‘Collection’ of relevant web pages that you have open in multiple browser tabs:

– Click on the ‘+’ (Collections) symbol top right and choose to add the tab you are on to an existing Collection or create a new Collection.

– To create a new Collection, click on the Collections symbol, click on ‘Start New Collection’ and give it a name.

– To save the web page in the browser tab that you are on to that new Collection, click on the ‘Add Current Page’ link (right-hand side).  You will see the page appear in the Collection.

– Do the same for the other Edge tabs that you have open until you have saved all relevant pages to your project in your named Collection.

– When you next open Edge and click on the Collections link (top right), your collection of web pages for your named project will be there.

Featured Article – 1,000% More Gold In E-Waste Than Gold-Ore

With 50 million tonnes of electronic waste produced each year and enterprises having policies in place for its disposal, there is still the problem in many countries of too much of it ending up in landfill or being informally disposed of.

What Kind of Electronic Waste

A 2019 UN report showed that the world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (also known as e-waste) but that only 20% of this is formally recycled.

A 2019 report by Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and the UN E-Waste Coalition has highlighted how, at the current rate, global e-waste production could reach a staggering 120 million tonnes per year by 2050.

To put the quantity of waste in context, the current worldwide pile of electronic waste weighs more than all the commercial airliners ever made. The UK, for example, currently produces 24.9kg of e-waste per person, which is nearly 10kg more than the European Union (EU) average.

What Kind of Waste?

The definition of e-waste covers electrical equipment at or near the end of its life and could include anything from computers and other devices, keyboards, mice, cables, circuit boards, televisions, audio equipment, old DVD or VCR units, MP3 players and phone handsets, digital/video cameras, copiers/scanners and all manner of electrical office equipment.

The Issues

There are several key issues surrounding the disposal in landfill, or simply the unauthorised disposal and dumping of e-waste.  These include:

– Pollution

Electronic waste contains many toxic components that can cause lasting damage to the environment, to animal and plant life, and to humans if they are left in the ground and/or are washed down into the water table.  Toxic elements include Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Lithium, Barium and more. Additionally, complex compounds such as Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and others are among the e-waste as well.

Polyvinyl Chloride from the plastic casings of electrical products can pose serious environmental and health risks. Plastic is also one of the many components which could represent a missed opportunity to recycle valuable elements.

The Loss of Valuable/Scarce Materials

If e-waste is not disposed of in a way that allows proper recycling, valuable and scarce (and re-usable) materials such as gold, platinum, cobalt (all of which have already taken an environmental toll through their mining) are lost.  For example, it is estimated that 7 per cent of the world’s gold may currently locked-away in e-waste and that there is 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore! Also, for every 1 million mobile phone handsets that are recycled, an estimated 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium can be recovered.

The Small Amount That Is Recycled

Although the proportion of recycling varies between countries, in global terms only 20 per cent of e-waste goes down the formal recycling route, with the rest going to landfill or being ‘informally’ recycled.  In fact, reports from India indicate that over 90% of electronic waste management is carried out by informal sector workers there, most of whom are unaware of their rights and are faced with serious health risks, especially since they process the waste by hand and are exposed to dangerous and carcinogenic chemicals as a result.

The Loss of Assets

Some tech commentators argue that disposing of assets before their end-of-life (e.g. simply because that has been something the company has always done) amounts to bad practice and wasting company assets that could still be creating value.

A Focus On Security

For many companies, the need for security, data protection and the protection of the business data assets are reasons why they may be tempted down the route of physical destruction of their electronic assets rather than their recycling or reuse.

Developing Countries

While many developing countries consume large amounts of electrical equipment, there is often a lack of any formal recycling route, thereby adding to the environmental crisis and health risks that e-waste is creating globally.

Developed Countries Sending Waste To Developing Countries

Even though the EU and 186 states have signed up to the Basel Convention, the international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, wealthy, developed countries send around 23 per cent of their e-waste to developing countries each year. This could mean that large amounts of that waste ends up going down the informal recycling/disposal route rather than being effectively recycled.  The U.S., for example, has not ratified the Basel Convention and can, therefore, ship its hazardous waste to developing countries.

The Effect of the Pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a variety of effects on e-waste.  For example, here in the UK, schoolchildren and companies who suddenly had their workforce working from home needed laptops and other mobile devices.  Due to global supply chain problems for new units caused by the pandemic lockdowns, huge demand developed for used devices, many of which came from IT Asset Disposal firms (ITADs).

Looking Ahead

Tackling a growing e-waste crisis will take a number of different measures over time globally.  Getting to a situation where there is the creation of a circular economy for electronic goods where waste is minimised, the most is made of resources, the environment and health are protected, and businesses and developing economies can still meet their demand, will take a wide variety of actions.  These include legislation (such as legislation by 67 countries plus the UK to deal with the e-waste they generate), and having a more digital and connected world to help accelerate progress towards sustainable development goals, thereby helping emerging economies, and ensuring that less precious minerals, metals and resources are dumped into landfill. Also, an approach that could dematerialise the electronics industry e.g. through ‘device-as-a-service’ business models, better product tracking and take-back schemes, and entrepreneurs, investors, academics, business leaders and lawmakers working together could help make the circular economy work.

Test and Trace Breaks GDPR Say Campaigners

The Open Rights Group (ORG) has said that England’s COVID-19 Test and Trace programme is in breach of GDPR.

Test and Trace

The COVID-19 test and trace system requires people to share personal data such as their name and date of birth, their address, places they’ve recently visited and the personal details of those they have recently been in close contact with.

The ORG has alleged that England’s test and trace programme was deployed without the necessary Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

Seeking An Immediate DPIA

The ORG, therefore,  threatened to take the government to court unless it agreed to immediately conduct a DPIA, alleging that England’s (under the UK Government) entire Test & Trace programme had been operating unlawfully and in breach of GDPR since its launch on 28 May 2020.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group has said, for example, that “The reckless behaviour of this Government in ignoring a vital and legally required safety step known as the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) has endangered public health”, and that “we have already seen individual contractors sharing patient data on social media platforms, emergency remedial steps will need to be taken”.

No Breach

The DPO says that The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has admitted that Test and Trace was deployed without a DPIA and Ravi Naik, Legal Director of the new data rights agency AWO, acting on behalf of ORG said that “The Government has made two significant concessions to our clients. Firstly, when asked to justify retaining COVID-19 data for 20 years they couldn’t do so and agreed to reduce the period to 8 years” and that “Secondly, they have now admitted Test and Trace was deployed unlawfully. This is significant. It is a legal requirement to conduct an impact assessment before data processing takes place.”

The Government Says

Although Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said recently on BBC TV that there had not been any breach of the data stored and that a track and trace system needed to be set up quickly in order to help fight the virus,  the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is understood to be already investigating Track and Trace and is providing guidance to the government.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The effects of the virus and the lockdown on UK businesses has been profound and having an effective Test and Trace system working quickly and widely may be one of the tools that could help UK businesses and the economy recover more quickly. That said, just as businesses must operate within data protection laws, and face fines for not doing so, the government also has a responsibility to do so.  As pointed out by ORG “A crucial element in the fight against the pandemic is mutual trust between the public and the Government, which is undermined by their operating the programme without basic privacy safeguards”.

Celebrity Twitter Accounts Hacked For Bitcoin

Twitter accounts of celebrities including Barack Obama and Bill Gates were hacked and used to operate a scam, asking people to donate bitcoin.

What Happened?

Hackers used the tools that were normally only available to Twitter staff to attempt to hack into the accounts of 130 high profile people including the former U.S. president.  It has been reported that hackers were able to change the passwords of 45 accounts, thereby allowing them to take over those accounts and make use of the Twitter Data download tool. This meant that the hackers could potentially have had access to the private messages, photos, videos, contacts and more for those whose accounts they hacked.

Following the hack, Twitter temporarily tried to stop verified accounts from tweeting, and approximately three hours after twitter was made aware of the attack, the social media giant reported that most accounts had been restored to full functionality.

Bitcoin Scam

To date, however, the hackers appear to have used the hacked accounts to send out vague appeals, via the hacked celebrity accounts, asking for bitcoin (cryptocurrency) donations.

It has been reported that the bitcoin account advertised by the hackers received $100,000 worth of Bitcoins through 500+ transactions and that some of this total was then transferred to other bitcoin wallets.

Social Engineering or Inside Help?

It was also said that the hack is thought to have been able to occur due to the hackers using ‘social engineering’ to manipulate and dupe a small number of Twitter staff members, and to use their credentials to get into the system.

Naturally enough, questions have been asked by some people about whether the hackers could possibly have had some inside help. For example, U.S. republican Senator Josh Hawley, recently asked the Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey whether a Twitter employee may have been paid to help hack the high-profile accounts.

Twitter Sorry

Twitter has since apologised for the hack and has is expressed its embarrassment and disappointment about the incident.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

In the U.S., this hack has meant the ringing of some serious alarm bells due to the fact that that there is a presidential election in a matter of months, the President is himself Twitter’s most prominent user, and social media companies are under great pressure to ensure that their platforms can’t be used by (for example) actors for other states, to influence the outcome of the election, bearing in mind how Facebook was used the last time.

Also, this incident is an example to businesses of how hackers can use social engineering and target particular employees to obtain credentials that can enable them to get into a company system.  This should, therefore, be a reminder to companies to alert their employees to the threat of social engineering attacks and put in place measures, procedures and policies to stop employees from being able to give out any sensitive information without proper checks and verification.

Lockdown Has Promoted Digital Learning Among Adults

Research by techUK with Ipsos MORI and Cisco has revealed that almost 60 per cent of UK adults are interested in developing their digital skills following lockdown.

A Thirst For More

The research has revealed that, following the experience of having to work from home and learn to use collaborative online work and communications platforms, many adults now have a thirst for more digital learning.  For example, 58 per cent of online adults in the UK have expressed an interested in developing their digital skills over the next year, with 82 per cent saying that digital skills are likely to grow in importance over the next 12 months.

Although the research shows that the desire to improve digital skills is higher among three-quarters of younger people, the results are still promising across all age ranges.

Necessity

It is likely that the need to rely on technology to work from home, and thereby retain a job during and beyond the pandemic lockdown has been the key driver in forcing people to learn new digital skills and operate new software in a short space of time.

Confidence

The fact that adults have been able to acquire new digital skills, albeit under pressure, appears to have boosted their confidence, belief, and enthusiasm about being able to carry on acquiring more digital skills going forward.

For example, 30 per cent of adults (one-quarter of them in the 55 to 75 age range) said they are more confident using technology after lockdown restrictions in the UK. Nearly one-third of those who said they are now more confident are not currently working. This could indicate that older people, who face challenges in the job market anyway, and particularly at a time when there has been a huge number of job losses, could find a way to learn digital skills that could improve their prospects and the prospects of the economy for the future.

Young People Most Affected

It should be remembered, however, that the younger age groups have been most affected by job losses from the pandemic, and fuelling their desire and confidence to learn more digital skills could help their prospects of re-employment and could help boost the recovery.

Digital Skills ‘Toolkit’ Course

The Department for Education, helped by Cisco, has developed a digital skills toolkit for those wanting to access free digital skills courses at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.  Details can be found here: https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/ .

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

For those who have been fortunate enough to retain their businesses and jobs during the pandemic lockdown, the pressure and necessity to learn and get on top new digital skills and platforms does appear to have been a confidence-booster and has inspired many people to carry on improving their digital skills.  Ultimately, this thirst for more digital knowledge is likely to benefit employers and aid the recovery of the UK economy, while going some way to narrowing the IT skills gap that existed prior to lockdown.

Tech Tip – Lock Your Work Device

If you’re using Windows 10 and you’d like to prevent others from seeing what you’re working on if you need to walk away from your device, here’s how to quickly and easily lock your screen:

– Press the Windows logo key + L.

– Or, if you’re using a Mac, press Control + Command + Q.

– This will lock your screen.

– Sign-in again when you return to carry on where you left off.