Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

20 Feb 2015

Ten nuggets of knowledge to take away for the weekend, including UK and US spy agencies hacked into world’s biggest SIM card maker, first Apple car to arrive in 2020, and John Herlihy to leave Google in Ireland.

1. Darkest hour for phone security as Snowden reveals US and UK hacked world’s SIM cards

US and UK security services hacked into the computer network of Gemalto, the world’s largest producer of SIM cards, stealing encryption keys to read any SIM card on the planet, Edward Snowden has revealed.

According to the latest revelation by rogue CIA contractor Snowden, with the stolen encryption keys the spy agencies can monitor mobile communications without permission from telecoms companies or overseas governments.

2. First Apple car expected 2020 – but tech giant gives itself very little room to vroom

Apple is revving up to have its first car in production by 2020. The first Apple Car is expected to cost less than US$40,000 and will go more than 200 miles (321km) on a single charge.

3. John Herlihy steps down as Google chief in Ireland after 10 years and 2,500 direct jobs

John Herlihy, the Limerick native who took Google’s operations in Dublin from 50 to 5,000 employees (2,500 direct and 2,500 indirect) in just 10 years, is to step down from the role, Siliconrepublic.com has learned.

4. We’re spending far longer watching YouTube videos, as creators receive revenue boost

Robert Kyncl, head of content at YouTube, says customers now spend 50pc longer watching his company’s videos, and Google Preferred has driven revenues up 70pc for those taking part.

5. New photos of Mars show evidence of former glaciers

New photos from US space agency NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter hint at the existence of enormous glaciers 700m years ago that may still linger under the planet’s surface.

6. WHO approves new 15-minute test for Ebola

A major breakthrough in the prevention of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus is gaining pace, now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved a 15-minute test designed to be easy to administer.

7. The Interview: Eli David, co-founder, StartupBlink

Eli David, a digital nomad who changes country every two months, is on a mission to map the world’s start-ups on StartupBlink and right now has his finger on the pulse of 68,000 start-ups and founders worldwide.

8. 40 new jobs as Amazon Prime greenlights animated series from Brown Bag Films

Dublin animation studio Brown Bag Films is to create 40 new jobs after securing a deal with Amazon Prime which will stream The Stinky & Dirty Show to audiences in the US, UK and Germany next year.

9. E-net to proceed with fibre expansion after raising €12m from EIB

E-net is to expand its fibre-optic network across Ireland after the European Investment Bank agreed to provide an initial investment of €12m for the project.

10. Vodafone lands major ICT deal to connect 189 Ryanair locations across Europe

Ryanair has selected Vodafone Ireland to deploy 95pc of the airline’s telecoms, machine to machine (M2M) and communications at 189 European locations. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Takeout image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years