The Download: quantum-resistant algorithms, and Google’s antitrust challenge

The Download: quantum-resistant algorithms, and Google’s antitrust challenge thumbnail

Cryptographic algorithms keep us safe online, protecting privacy and securing information transfer.

Experts fear that quantum computers will one day break these algorithms, making us vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters. These quantum computers could be available sooner than most people think. It is why there is serious work being done to develop new algorithms that are resistant even to the most powerful quantum computers we can imagine. Our emerging journalist colleague Tammy Xu’s full story explains how quantum-resistant algorithms have been developed and what lies ahead.

This is part of Tech Review Explains: where our writers untangle the complex, messy world of technology to help you better understand what comes next. Check out our other smart explainers here.

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The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Google has lost its EU antitrust challenge
It’s been fined more than 4 billion euros after it was found to have abused its dominance of the Android system. (Reuters)
The company failed to appeal the charge, which was first announced in 2018. (The Verge)
South Korea has fined Google and Facebook for privacy violations. (FT $)

2 The US economy isn’t out of the woods yet
Inflation hasn’t fallen in the way investors had hoped it would. (Economist $)

3 Someone is digging for dirt on the Twitter whistleblower
Whoever’s behind it is willing to pay–but his former colleagues are keeping schtum. (New Yorker $)
Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko’s Senate testimony did not paint Twitter in a good light. (WP $)
In fact, it’s renewed senators’ appetite for tighter regulation. (Bloomberg $)

4 What robot surgeons and autonomous cars have in common
We’re still reluctant to trust them with life or death decisions. (Knowable Magazine)
Robot-assisted high-precision surgery has passed its first test in humans. (MIT Technology Review)

5 The hard lessons learned from California’s wildfires
And the role power companies played in exacerbating them. (Vox)
Gene-edited crops could benefit from Europe’s severe drought. (Wired $)

6 Brain scans can’t diagnose mental conditions
However, some scientists are hopeful that they could help to aid recovery. (Slate $)
The quest to learn if our brain’s mutations affect mental health. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Inside the memeification of culture wars
Online tropes have mobilized huge groups to the point of insurrection. (The Atlantic $)

8 Elon Musk’s biggest fans are moving to Texas
To get as close to the SpaceX action as possible. (The Verge)
No one else at SpaceX can access Musk’s emails. (The Verge)

9 How to turn personal tragedy into content
Eva Benefield’s t-shirt business is thriving off the back of her dark past. (Input)

10 America is making the moon a priority again
Despite the difficulties in sending humans back there. (New Scientist $)
Ukraine’s astronomers keep spotting loads of UFOs. (Motherboard)

Quote of the day

“You can’t buy as many toys or shiny things.”

–Bryce Rattner Keithley, founder of talent advisory firm Great Team Partners, tells the New York Times how looming economic uncertainty is affecting tech companies’ hiring decisions.

The big story

Inside the rise of police department real-time crime centers

April 2021

At a conference in New Orleans in 2007, Jon Greiner, then the chief of police in Ogden, Utah, heard a presentation by the New York City Police Department about a sophisticated new data hub called a “real time crime center.”

In the early 1990s, the NYPD had pioneered a system called CompStat that aimed to discern patterns in crime data, since widely adopted by large police departments around the country. The real-time crime center was an idea that went further. What if dispatchers could use this vast data bank to assist in responding to incidents as they occur?

Across the country, the growth of police technology has been driven more from conversations between police agencies with their vendors than between the police and the citizens they serve. As federal and state laws take time to catch up, who decides how close a tool can get to your constitutional rights. Read the full story.

–Rowan Moore Gerety

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