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ACLU pushes Amazon shareholders to vote for facialrecognition ban

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first_img Security Comments 6 Share your voice James Martin/CNET The American Civil Liberties Union is keeping up its pressure against Amazon’s practice of selling facial-recognition tech to law enforcement.Two days ahead of Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting, the civil rights group sent a letter imploring the company’s shareholders to vote in favor of two proposals that could curb the use of the tech company’s Rekognition software.”Without shareholder action, Amazon may soon become known more for its role in facilitating pervasive government surveillance than for its consumer retail operations,” the letter states.The proposals call for the company to ban its sale of Rekognition to law enforcement and for Amazon to study its use by police.Amazon’s board recommends that shareholders vote against both proposals, which makes the passage of either proposal unlikely. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, a board member, controls about 16% of Amazon’s shares and isn’t expected to vote for these proposals.The letter, one of several ACLU actions that calls attention to facial recognition tech, comes as efforts to curb law enforcement’s use of facial recognition gains momentum around the country. Last week, San Francisco became the first city to bar police from using the technology. Oakland, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts, are both considering similar bans, and the Massachusetts legislature is considering a statewide moratorium.Amazon inserted itself into the debate in Washington state, where the legislature this year considered a moratorium on police use of facial-recognition tech. Amazon, along with Microsoft, threw its support behind a competing data privacy measure that didn’t ban law enforcement from using facial recognition. The state Senate passed the less restrictive bill in March, and it’s currently making its way through the state House of Representatives.The California legislature is considering a ban on facial recognition in police body cameras. The state Assembly passed the bill in early May, and it’s currently being considered by the state Senate. Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced the bill. Last year, Ting worked on legislation to increase the use of body cameras. The idea was to increase police accountability and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Banning surveillance tools on the body cameras seemed like the next logical step, he told CNET.”The last thing we wanted to do was erode that trust by installing facial recognition software on body cameras,” Ting said. Tags Amazonlast_img read more

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Nations position in product space determines economic growth

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first_img The value of vegetation Researchers have constructed a network of the relatedness between products, providing insight into the economic question of why some countries can quickly climb the manufacturing ladder, while others fail to develop more sophisticated products. While the model may sound intuitive, this research is the first time that countries’ different economic growth patterns have been explained by a product network. Past economic theories have relied on a country’s productive factors (labor, land, infrastructure, etc.) or technological capabilities, but have disregarded product similarities when explaining a country’s growth. In a sense, the product network incorporates these other factors under one model.As part of a test of their model, the researchers asked if, given enough time, all countries could reach most of product space, particularly the richest parts. They found that the answer depends on the overall proximity of product space, as well as a country’s original positioning. For example, Chile and Korea have similar levels of production and export sophistication, but because Korea produces some core products, it can extend its sophisticated product line faster than Chile. The researchers even found that with countries that were developmentally similar, some were on a path to structural transformation while others seemed headed toward a dead end.“What surprised me along the year and a half that this work took was the broad set of implications and questions that were opened,” Hidalgo said. “There are many hard science studies on complex systems where the application of the findings is not well defined. Here we have a well defined area of application (industrial policy), yet the study lends itself for research in similar data sets. We are working on other areas of applications, such as research and health policy.”The researchers suggest that, for economic policy, estimating a country’s position in product space could have important consequences. For instance, countries in close proximity to other products could benefit the most from a relevant structural transformation, whereas countries at the periphery would need to make much longer jumps and would likely present a greater challenge to reform projects.“The proximity between products in the space increases as more countries export them in tandem,” Hidalgo explained. “Thus the movement of countries deforms the space. The technique does not provide a general solution for policymaking, but a new method to analyze and tailor policies for individual countries.” Product space networks of many nations can be seen at www.nd.edu/~networks/productspace/country.htm . Citation: Hidalgo, César, Klinger, Bailey, Barabási, Laszlo, and Hausmann, Ricardo. “The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations.” Science, 27 July 2007, Vol. 317, 482-487.Copyright 2007 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore further Citation: Nation’s position in ‘product space’ determines economic growth (2007, August 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-08-nation-position-product-space-economic.htmlcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In a recent issue of Science, physicists César Hidalgo and Laszlo Barabási from Notre Dame, along with economists Bailey Klinger and Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard University, have presented a network of what they coined as the “product space.” In the network, connections show the probabilities that a country exports a pair of products. Their results show how the types of products a nation produces and exports determines the probability of that nation developing more competitive products, thus influencing its overall economic wealth and growth.“As a joke, I can say that this is what happens when a Venezuelan (Ricardo Hausmann) a Canadian (Bailey Klinger) a Hungarian/Rumanian (Laszlo Barabasi) and a Chilean (me) meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Hidalgo told PhysOrg.com of the work’s motivating factors. “They redefine the way in which economic growth is understood.” “In fact, this work was a multi-step process,” he continued. “Ricardo and Bailey had come up with the idea of a distance between products but were not clear of how to make sense of it at the global scale. That’s were I came in and built the network, making the interpretation of a sophisticated concept more intuitive and visual.”The researchers used trade data where all exports are coded within 775 product classes obtained from a National Bureau of Economic Research project. The structure of the product space is such that more sophisticated products (such as metal, machinery, and chemicals) formed the core, and had connections to many other products. A variety of other products (such as fishing, agriculture, textiles, electronics, and mining) comprised different clusters in the periphery of the product space. The product space can be used to visualize the patterns defined by the exports of a particular country. As a rule of thumb, poor countries tend to occupy the periphery of the space while rich countries are preferentially located at the core of it. Since countries can move through the product space by developing goods similar to those they already produce, poorer countries have a more difficult time extending their product variety. But, in simplified terms, it’s easy for the rich to get richer. Product space: Different product groups with links color-coded with their proximity value, and node size proportional to world trade. Credit: Hidalgo, et al. (Click here for a larger version)last_img read more

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More bad news on China foreign trade slides 97

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first_imgChina on Tuesday said that its foreign trade in August decreased 9.7 per cent year on year to about $320.8 billion amid rising concerns over the record drop of $93.9 billion in the Communist giant’s foreign exchange reserves last month. The latest data released by General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that while exports fell 6.1 per cent year on year to 1.2 trillion yuan, compared with an 8.9 per cent drop in July, the imports slumped 14.3 per cent to 836.1 billion yuan, compared with July’s decrease of 8.6 per cent. Also Read – Punjab & Sind Bank cuts MCLR by up to 20 basis pointsThe trade surplus expanded by 20.1 per cent to 368 billion yuan in August. In the first eight months of 2015, foreign trade slipped 7.7 per cent year on year to 15.67 trillion yuan, the GAC figures showed. Exports dipped 1.6 per cent to 8.95 trillion yuan in the January-August period, while imports fell 14.6 per cent to 6.72 trillion yuan. Analysts said that the recent nearly four per cent devaluation of Yuan also helped to push up the value of exports from China, world’s largest trading nation. Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC, attributed the slump in export growth mainly to sluggish external demand, especially exports to the European Union (EU) and Japan.  Also Read – ‘The great gold bull market has begun’Meanwhile, China’s foreign exchange reserves fell for the fourth straight month to $3.56 trillion in August, down by a record $93.9 billion from the previous month. China, the holder of world’s largest forex reserves $3,771,347 millions, has accrued its massive foreign exchange reserves by its successful exports in the past few decades. About $1.20 trillion of forex reserves were saved in American bonds. The current foreign exchange reserves mirrored a sluggish foreign trade, said Tan Yaling, dean of the Beijing-based China Forex Investment Research Institute. “The yuan began to fluctuate in August, and is not the reason for the depletion in reserves since May,” she said. On August 11, the central bank devalued the yuan by about 2 per cent against the dollar, the biggest one-day currency devaluation in two decades. Dividend tax rules eased to boost marketsChinese investors holding a stock for more than one year would be exempted from a 5-per cent dividend tax from Tuesday, a move aimed at boosting long-term investment following recent stock market collapse in the world’s second biggest economy. Those who have held a stock for one month or less will have to pay 20 per cent of the dividend they receive as income tax when they sell the stock, the government said today.People who have held a stock for over one month to one year will have to pay a 10 per cent dividend tax when they sell the stock, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.last_img read more

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Summer fabrics made local at Kairi 2018

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first_imgFind a range of tie and dye, khadi, ajrakh, bagru and dabu prints, laheriya, ikats and weaves in sarees, dupattas and fabrics at the three-day exhibition of textiles for summer. KAIRI 2018 is an initiative of Delhi Crafts Council to provide marketing assistance to skilled weavers and printers from across the country.The exhibition will go on until March 17 at the Aga Khan Hall, New Delhi.Sarees, dupattas, stoles and fabrics will be available at the exhibition including a range of Khadi, Ajrakh, Bandhani, Banaras weaves, Laheriya, Ikat, Kota, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Bagh prints, Tribal weaves from Bastar, Andhra weaves and Prints from Jaipur amongst a huge variety of traditional techniques. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe exhibition showcases a wide variety of traditional techniques ranging from Abdul Rahim’s vegetable dyed Ajrakh sarees, master craftsman Shyamji Vankar’s intricate Gujarat weaves, Brocade and woven fabrics from Benares and Hari Shankar Meher’s Odisha ikats.Biren Basak’s presents delicate Jamdani’s from Bengal and Rashid has ethereal printed fabrics from Jaipur. Sajid Khatri, Sridevi Handlooms and Badshah Miyan present a collection of Bandhani, Ikat and Lehariya respectively that are perfect for the summer. Bagru bring vibrant prints, Salma Khan with Chikankari and Malkha’sunique range of Khadi fabrics are also part of the exhibition.Other exhibitors showcasing their collections at Kairi include Batik by Shunya Batik, Chitrika’s Andhra weaves and Sajid Khatri’s Bandhej and Shibori from Kutch.Self-help groups are well represented by Tana Bana with beautiful weaves from Maheshwar and Kantha by Street Survivors.last_img read more

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A Look at the GlobalApps Scene and Why You Should Care

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first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 5 min read Register Now » October 1, 2012 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The apps-creation craze may be thoroughly embedded in the U.S. tech scene, but, on the other side of the world, young would-be entrepreneurs are not only paying attention, they’re becoming rivals.Tasnim Al Khaldi, a recent graduate from Al Ain University in Abu Dhabi, is leaving college with both a degree and an app under her arm. After taking a crash course in app creation, she and a classmate Ruba Awadallah finalized iMonitor — an app that can send text message warnings to parents when their teens drive faster than posted speed limits — and submitted it to the Nokia App University Challenge in the United Arab Emirates.“I had no past experience in mobile application development or in the tools that I used to develop the app,” says Al Khaldi, 21, who studied software engineering in a school.So why the sudden burst of inspiration?The promise of prize money, along with mentorship opportunities or research assistance for starters.Related: Local App Competitions Fuel Tech Startups Mobile phone makers such as Research in Motion and Samsung as well as telecom operators like Etisalat in the UAE and Saudi Telecom Company are trying to grow the app ecosystem across the Middle East and Africa. Nokia has been organizing innovation summits in Africa, while also launching incubators like mLabs in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa to spur new app-development projects.“It’s really about focusing on stimulating innovation at the base,” says Jussi Hinkkanen, vice president of corporate relations and business environment at Nokia in the Middle East and Africa.Nabeel Ayub Kassim (center) won top prize in Nokia’s app challenge by creating BonAppetit, a program that finds restaurants in the United Arab Emirates. His rewards included $5,000 plus a summer internship at Nokia’s Middle East office, which is overseen by Tom FarrellThe incentives can prove alluring for any burgeoning app creator, particularly at a time when youth employment across the Middle East and Africa has stoked frustration and fuelled riots. Al Khaldi and her partner Awadallah, who came in second place together, won $3,000 cash and new smartphones. Nabeel Kassim, who helped develop the winning restaurant-finding app called BonAppetit, walked away with $5,000 in cash and is slated to attend a study tour to the Nokia Research Center in Finland next month.Although the prizes certainly seem generous, the business opportunities for revenue-hungry handset manufacturers and telecom operators are that much greater. “Mobile makers promote apps [because] they want people to continue upgrading their devices to higher specs,” says David Ashford, an e-business consultant who used to run an app development fund in the UAE.Related: At College Pitch Contests, Giant Companies Are Listening “Telcos promote apps [because] they want people to consume more paid-for data traffic,” he says. “The Middle East market is particularly attractive because demand outstrips supply: There are very few Arabic apps and yet the Middle East has a massive Arabic-speaking population which is very young and one of the fastest growing populations in the world.”The smart phone penetration rate in the Middle East and Africa is also only half that of mature markets like Europe and the U.S., but it’s growing much more rapidly, says Thomas Kuruvilla, managing director of Arthur D. Little Middle East, a Dubai-based consultancy that covers the telecommunications industry.For college students, the money is surely helpful, but so is the credibility that comes from participating in the competitions. After winning top prize in Nokia’s app challenge, Kassim, a 21-year-old electrical engineering student from the American University of Sharjah in the UAE, started a summer internship with the Finnish handset maker’s developer experience team. “I believe that this will give me a leading edge in the current job market,” he says.Plus, Kassim hopes he’ll expand his reach and better inform future efforts. “We need to familiarize ourselves with the current platforms and think of ways to attract developers to our preferred platform, Windows Phone.”Related: How to Start Up from Your Dorm Room Still, there are plenty of hurdles for young coders eager to create apps for the Middle East and Africa. Little funding exists, and neither domestic telecom regulators nor venture-capital firms have provided much in financial support, Kuruvilla argues. There is also a general lack of technical expertise to help app developers meet global benchmarks.Yet Kuruvilla has some quick tips for young developers looking to go global. For starters, participate in world-wide, online app development forums to help in exchanging knowledge and expertise. Also, he adds, develop partnerships with device manufacturers like Apple, Research in Motion and operating-system providers such as Google. “This will help in both marketing and technical support,” Kuruvilla says.If you could make and app for another country, which would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments section.last_img read more

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Microsoft to Acquire GitHub for 75 Billion

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first_img This story originally appeared on PCMag Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals The name GitHub may not mean much to you, but for developers it’s a big deal. GitHub is the largest host of source code in the world; it hosts over 57 million project repositories and over 28 million users rely on it to keep that code safe and accessible. Now Microsoft owns it.Bloomberg initially reported a rumor that Microsoft was about to acquire GitHub, and now Microsoft has confirmed the acqusition for an eye-watering $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Back in 2015, the company was valued at roughly $2 billion.Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed the acqusition, stating “Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation. … We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”Talk of an acquisition concerned developers yesterday, who were understandably worried about what Microsoft would do to the service. Microsoft is focused on selling proprietary software, whereas GitHub has always been a friend of open source, offering free accounts to such projects. Activity overnight reflected this concern is real, with GitHub alternative GitLab enjoying a huge surge is project migrations from GitHub.Developers can relax a little, though. Microsoft explained that, “GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries.” In other words, GitHub will continue to operate as normal, without any big changes happening, at least for now.In terms of management changes, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Nat Friedman, founder of Xamarin, will become GitHub CEO. Chris Wanstrath, current CEO, will become a Microsoft technical fellow working on strategic software initiatives.Speaking of the acquisition, Wanstrath said, “I’m extremely proud of what GitHub and our community have accomplished over the past decade, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. The future of software development is bright, and I’m thrilled to be joining forces with Microsoft to help make it a reality. … Their focus on developers lines up perfectly with our own, and their scale, tools and global cloud will play a huge role in making GitHub even more valuable for developers everywhere.”The acquisition won’t be finalized until customary closing conditions and a regulatory review is completed. After that, I expect the first thing to happen behind the scenes is GitHub becoming a service hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing infrastructure. Beyond that, expect a softly-softly approach to introducing anything new that may scare off developers and projects.Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. ET with confirmation from Microsoft. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now » June 4, 2018 3 min readlast_img read more

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