Internet outages, tracking the virus and a $1m lawtech relief fund

Latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19. 

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Track Internet outages

Internet outages can now be tracked across the world, helping business identify issues that may affect their service provision or customers. The Global Internet Outages Map is updated every few minutes and analyses outages that occur in ISPs, public clouds and edge service provider networks.

Internet and cloud intelligence firm ThousandEyes, creator of the map, noted that while cloud network providers look highly resilient thus far, it has tracked a rise in Internet Service Providers (ISP) outages, particularly in the US.

New UK alliance to analyse spread and changes to Covid-19

The University of Cambridge is to lead a £20m alliance, called the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which aims to map spread of the coronavirus infection across the UK. The consortium will include the NHS, Public Health Agencies, genomes and data centre Wellcome Sanger Institute, and other academic institutions.

The alliance aims to understand and control the new coronavirus infection (Covid-19) by providing large-scale, rapid sequencing of the cause of the infection. It will share intelligence with regional NHS centres, hospitals, and also the UK government.

Samples collected from coronavirus infected patients will be sent to a network of sequencing centres across the country. By looking at the complete virus genome in affected people, scientists will track changes in the virus at a national scale to determine how the coronavirus is spreading and if different strains are emerging.

Pandemic prompts contactless limit to jump to £45

The UK contactless card spending limit is to rise from £30 to £45 from 1 April. The planned UK contactless limit rise had been under consideration for some time but the increase is being brought forward as a result of the Covid-19 crisis to help reduce physical contact. The move mirrors increases in the contactless spending limit in across Europe with Ireland moving to a €50.

Deployment of the new limits will be prioritised for retailers in key sectors including food stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol service stations.

Sharing learning to protect global telecoms

A global platform designed to help governments maintain the resilience and availability of telecom networks during the coronavirus crisis has been launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialised agency of the United Nations.

The REG4COVID Platform will help governments and the private sector access, share and pool initiatives and policy measures to help maintain telecom networks during the outbreak. It will also, ITU says, help “harness the full power and potential of information and communication technology to save lives”.

The platform is intended to help national policymakers, regulators and industry stakeholders to keep telecom networks running effectively, by enabling successful projects and initiatives to be shared and replicated.

Lawtech creates $1m fund to support law firms and non-profits

Clio has created a $1m fund to allow struggling law firms and non-profits to access its practice management and CRM solutions as well as financial aid. CEO and co-founder Jack Newton stated that help would be available for both current and new licensees. Non-profits and charities providing mental health support to legal professionals may qualify for direct financial support. Clio is also collaborating with law societies to help provide educational support. More details and an application form here.

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