STLR Link Roundup – March 17, 2017

Intel’s Acquisition of Automotive Tech Company

On Monday, Intel announced a $15.3 billion agreement to buy Mobileye, an Israel-based technology company that specializes in digital vision technology for advanced driver assistance systems. The deal is one of the most expensive acquisitions in the technology industry in recent decades, and the second-largest acquisition for Intel. Although Intel chips are already in several vehicle models and autonomous test vehicles, this strategic alliance between Intel and Mobileye will allow Intel to push even further into the self-driving vehicle technology market.

Potential Fines for Tech Companies in Germany

Under proposed German legislation, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter may be fined up to $53 million if they do not do more to curb hate speech. The first draft of the law, presented this week, suggests a plan to impose heavy penalties on technology companies that do not respond swiftly to user complaints of hate speech or other illegal content under existing legislation. In presenting the proposed legislation, Germany’s justice minister cited a study commissioned by the German ministry, showing that Twitter and Facebook failed to remove certain types of illegal hate speech within 24 hours of notification. This plan, if imposed, would be among the most stringent of regulations of this type imposed on tech companies operating in the European Union.

Google DeepMind’s Health Record Tracking Technology

DeepMind Health, the health technology division of Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind, introduced a plan to implement technology similar to blockchain, the idea behind Bitcoin, to help hospitals track patient health records. An initial version of the proposed technology would allow hospitals, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, and possibly patients themselves to access and track patients’ health record data, to ensure that patient records are not tampered with. According to the announcement, the plan would include the creation of a secure digital log for hospitals that would note every interaction with digitized patient data, so that any changes to, access to, or usage of the data would be visible in the ledger. DeepMind Health plans to implement the first part of the project in the United Kingdom by the end of this year.

SpaceX Wins Second Contract to Launch Military Satellite

On Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force announced that SpaceX, the American aerospace technology company, won a $96.5 million contract to launch the Air Force’s third GPS III satellite in early 2019. This is SpaceX’s second such commitment from the Air Force: in April 2016, SpaceX won an $82.7 million contract to launch the second GPS III satellite in early 2018. The only other bidder for this year’s contract was United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the GPS III satellites, and the aerospace manufacturer Boeing. Until last year and for the last decade, ULA had enjoyed a monopoly on military space launches. SpaceX’s contract was the second of nine such launch proposals that the Air Force will release for bids this year.

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