Friday Five: UK urges G7 to tackle cookie pop-ups

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. UK urges G7 to tackle online cookie pop-ups

The UK’s information commissioner is to ask the G7 to join forces against cookie pop-ups online. Elizabeth Denham will meet with her counterparts in the G7 nations on Tuesday, when each country will raise a technology problem they believe can be solved with closer co-operation, with Denham taking aim at cookie banners.

Cookie pop-ups are an annoyance for internet users and businesses and disliked by privacy advocates, who believe so-called “dark patterns” trick people into accepting privacy invasions, rather than read through pages of settings on every website. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it would pitch a “vision for the future”.

2. BMW e-bikes use geofencing to limit speeds

BMW has showed off two e-bike concepts that would use geofencing to limit speeds inside congested cities — a move that could revolutionise their use in urban areas. E-bikes are capable of going 28mph, meaning they are currently banned from protected cycle paths in cities such as Amsterdam, forcing riders on to the road.

But BMW’s new concept bikes, the BMW i Vision (pedal-assisted cycle) and BMW Motorrad Vision (more of a enduro-type bike) would have their speeds moderated for different types of roads — 15mph on bike paths, 28mph on urban roads and 37mph on bigger roads. They would also be fitted with proximity radar to improve safety.

3. Twitter testing new Communities feature

Twitter is testing a new tool called Communities, which lets users publicly tweet in a group about specific topics. The experiment builds on Twitter’s efforts to make it easier for its users to find tweets about topics they’re interested in and it hopes the Communities feature sparks more “intimate” conversations on its site.

However, the tool could make content moderation more challenging — Facebook’s Groups feature also lets people chat about specific topics, but the tool has also been used to spread misinformation, including about the Covid-19 vaccines. Unlike Groups, though, Communities conversations will be moderated and remain public.

4. El Salvador Bitcoin system crashes at launch

El Salvador’s move to become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender was marred on launch day when the government’s digital wallet system crashed due to installation problems. President Nayib Bukele confirmed that the Chivo Wallet had been taken offline, with no time given for when it’ll be online again.

Citizens have protested against the adoption of Bitcoin, complaining there has been too little explanation from officials about the benefits and how transactions using the cryptocurrency will work. El Salvador has begun to install Bitcoin ATMs in cities around the country where citizens will be able to convert digital tokens into cash.

5. Fortnite gamer’s mum gets own pro contract

The mum of one of the world’s best professional Fortnite players has signed a contract with a gaming organisation to develop her own career. Anne Fish, 58, has managed her son Benjy since he went professional three years ago. The British gamer says she began playing the game in February to improve her understanding.

She quickly amassed a large following and has now signed a contract with esports firm, Galaxy Racer. Anne streams her games on Twitch to her 430,000 followers and puts out videos to her growing YouTube fanbase of 165,000. She’ll be paid for videos of her playing and talking to fans on social networks. Nice work if you can get it!

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