Adam Smith profile background image
Adam Smith profile image

Adam Smith

Tech correspondent

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Adam Smith is the technology correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in London covering the intersection of technology and power. Before joining the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2022, Adam was a technology reporter for The Independent.

September 21, 2023

Richard Strauss's concerto 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' blared over a portable radio on the Liberty, a two-story houseboat off the self-proclaimed crypto micronation of 'Liberland', a muddy Danube island on the border of Serbia and Croatia.

The music - an ode to Friedrich Nietzsche's novel about the doctrine of the 'superman' - played on would-be state radio to celebrate what Liberlanders see as a de facto border deal for their country, founded with a mix of right-wing libertarianism and technology like crypto on the marshy island of Gornja Siga.

September 07, 2023

Britain's government appeared to back down in the latest tech encryption row, saying social media companies would only be forced to scan encrypted messages to stop child abuse on their platforms "if technically feasible".

The Online Safety Bill had threatened to break end-to-end encryption, one of the key technologies behind private communications, in favour of scanning devices for child sex abuse content.

August 30, 2023

When 46-year-old data collector Mfanzile Msibi and his team started mapping slums more than a decade ago near Johannesburg, they realised that tens of thousands of slum dwellers were unaccounted for in government records.

The local Ekurhuleni government, a city east of Johannesburg, had recognised 102 slum settlements in 2009, but the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), a South African social movement, found that over a dozen communities were missing from records.

August 29, 2023

Jovana Andjela, a single mother from Belgrade, has done odd jobs as a cook, cleaner, even a tour guide, but she relied on state benefits to make ends meet - until last year, when Serbia's new digital welfare system locked her out.

Anti-poverty campaigners say Andjela is among thousands of low-income Serbians whose benefits have stopped since the government rolled out its Social Card system in 2022 - hailing it as a way to make welfare fairer and tackle fraud.

August 21, 2023

As artificial intelligence advances at breakneck pace, the world's biggest tech companies face growing pressure to address the environmental and climate impacts of AI - which requires large amounts of electricity and water to run.

Tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft have pledged to tackle the climate crisis, yet green experts say the sector is not doing enough to mitigate the rising consumption of resources.

July 03, 2023

The feud between Reddit and its subreddit moderators could change the future of searchable information on the internet, researchers and moderators say.

Thousands of popular Reddit communities dedicated to topics ranging from Apple to gaming and music locked out their users earlier last month in protest against the company's plan to charge for access to its data.

July 03, 2023

Vying for the presidential nomination, Ron DeSantis attacked his Republican rival Donald Trump last month with a weapon the former president put on the political battlefield - fake news.

Images posted on Twitter by the Florida governor raised eyebrows - not least because they showed Trump hugging immunologist Anthony Fauci, a controversial figure among conservatives due to his push for COVID-19 curbs.

June 20, 2023

Mental health counsellor Nicole Doyle was stunned when the head of the U.S. National Eating Disorders Association showed up at a staff meeting to announce the group would be replacing its helpline with a chatbot.

A few days after the helpline was taken down, the bot - named Tessa - would also be discontinued for providing harmful advice to people in the throes of mental illness.

June 08, 2023

The internet has long been fertile ground for myths and falsehoods about climate change, threatening the fight against global warming and fuelling calls for tougher action by Big Tech to enforce disinformation policies and tackle greenwashing.

Myths such as "the planet's rising temperature is normal", "cold weather means global warming is not happening", or "China is the only country affecting climate change" can quickly snowball on social media platforms - despite tech companies' policies to counter disinformation.

May 22, 2023

From state bans to hefty fines for data misuse, video sharing app TikTok is at the center of a privacy storm over alleged intelligence gathering by China.

Montana last week became the first U.S. state to ban the Chinese-owned app, while an investigation this month found it had been tracking LGBTQ+ users based on the content they watched.