The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Finance sector workforce continues to shrink, as internet banking takes off

DutchNews, December 17, 2018

Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district. Photo: DutchNews.nl 

While the construction and healthcare sectors are crying out for staff, the number of jobs in the financial sector continues to shrink, national statistics office CBS said on Monday. 

The size of the working population grew by 334,000 between 2006 and 2016, but the  number of people employed by banks and insurance companies fell 43,000, the CBS said.

 The shift to online banking has reduced the need for staff, and the banking crisis also led to thousands of people losing their jobs. 

Of the 12,000 people who stopped working in the financial sector in 2016, 40% ended up claiming unemployment benefits. In general, just under a quarter of people who lose their jobs end up claiming WW, the CBS said.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Almost 10,000 people complain about privacy being breached

DutchNews, December 13, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch privacy regulator Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens said on Thursday it had received almost 10,000 complaints since the introduction of new European privacy legislation (GDPR) in May this year.

In addition, 11 companies and organisations are being investigated for non-compliance after dozens of complaints were made about their operations, the AP said. 

Many complaints centred on companies which did not want to give people insight into the information they kept about them – which they are now required to do by law. Others focused on companies collecting too much information or companies selling or passing on private information to third parties. 

Service companies such as online retailers and public utilities were by far the most often complained about, followed by the IT sector and government departments, financial companies and healthcare.

‘I’m encouraged by just how many people are standing up for their right to privacy by making a complaint,’ chairman Aleid Wolfsen said in a statement. ‘They are giving a serious signal to a company, so that others do not end up in the same position.’

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Social media tops print as news source for Americans: study

Yahoo – AFP, December 10, 2018

Newspapers are losing further ground in the US, with more people relying on social
media than print in 2018, according to a Pew Research Center report (AFP Photo/
Drew Angerer)

Washington (AFP) - Social media has overtaken print newspapers as a news source for Americans, researchers said Monday, highlighting the growing importance of services such as Facebook and Twitter as well as the troubled state of legacy news organizations.

The Pew Research Center report found 20 percent of US adults say they often get news via social media, compared with 16 percent from newspapers.

In 2016, newspapers were more important that social networks and in 2017 the percentages were roughly even for both sources, according to Pew surveys.

Despite the rise of social media, television remains the most important source for news, cited by 49 percent of American adults, Pew said.

The researchers found sharp differences among age segments in accessing the news, with younger adults far more likely to rely on social media and older consumers favoring television and print.

In the 18-29 age group, social media was the most important news source, cited by nearly three in 10 respondents, with only two percent favoring print newspapers.

A large majority of those 65 and older (81 percent) get news from television, with 39 percent using print newspapers and just eight percent social networks.

"Younger Americans are also unique in that they don't rely on one platform in the way that the majority of their elders rely on TV," said Pew research analyst Elisa Shearer.

"No more than half of those (aged) 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 get news often from any one news platform."

The report, based on a survey of 4,581 US adults in July and August, highlights the ongoing woes of print newspapers, which have been seeing steady readership declines for more than a decade.

A Pew study last year showed total US daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2017 was 31 million for weekday and 34 million for Sunday, down 11 and 10 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Dutch privacy watchdog fines Uber for keeping quiet about hack

DutchNewsNovember 27, 2018

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Dutch data protection agency (DPA) has fined taxi company Uber €600,000 for failing to report a data leak which took place in 2016. 

Uber was hacked in 2016 and the email addresses, names and phone numbers of 57 million users came into the hands of hackers. In the Netherlands, 174,000 clients and drivers were affected. 

Uber paid the hackers €100,000 to keep quiet about the hack and did not go public with the news, which only emerged a year later. By law the company should have informed the DPA within 72 hours. 

The taxi company reached an out of court settlement in the US equivalent to some €130m and was also fined €434,000 in Britain.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Samsung Electronics apologises for factory cancer cases

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Hawon, 23 November 2018

Samsung Electronics co-president Kim Ki-nam bows as he makes a formal
apology to victims of work-related diseases in Seoul on November 23, 2018

Samsung Electronics apologised Friday to workers who developed cancer after working at some of its factories, finally ending a decade-long dispute at the world's top chipmaker.

The father of a dead 22-year-old worker and the company's co-president Kim Ki-nam signed a formal settlement agreement in Seoul as other disabled ex-employees looked on.

"We sincerely apologise to the workers who suffered from illness and their families," said the firm's co-president Kim Ki-nam. "We have failed to properly manage health risks at our semiconductor and LCD factories."

Samsung Electronics is the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer and chipmaker and the flagship subsidiary of the Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate the South's economy.

Samsung currently operates vast semiconductor production compounds in Suwon as well as the cities of Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, as well as Xian in China.

Campaign groups say that about 240 people have suffered from work-related illnesses after being employed at Samsung semiconductor and display factories, with around 80 of them -- many of them young women -- dying.

Under a deal announced earlier this month, Samsung Electronics will pay the group's employees compensation of up to 150 million won ($133,000) per case.

It covers 16 types of cancer, some other rare illnesses, miscarriages and congenital diseases suffered by the workers' children. Claimants can have worked at plants as far back as 1984.

The scandal emerged in 2007 when former workers at its semiconductor and display factories in Suwon, south of Seoul, and their families said that staff had been diagnosed or died of various forms of cancer.

A series of rulings and decisions by courts, Seoul's state labour welfare agency and a mediation committee followed over more than 10 years, culminating in Friday's announcement.

Factfile on Samsung Electronics, including profit and smartphone market share

Hwang Sang-ki, who signed the agreement on behalf of the workers and their families, told reporters he was glad to have fulfilled his promise to his daughter, who died of leukaemia in 2007, to prove Samsung was to blame for her death.

But he went on: "The apology honestly was not enough for the families of the victims but we will accept it.

"No amount of apology will be enough to heal all the insults, the pain of industrial injuries and the suffering of losing one's family.

"I cannot forget the pain she and our family went through. Too many people have suffered the same fate."

Trade secret

Little is known about possible connections between the production process in the factories and the workers' illnesses, as Samsung has refused to disclose what specific chemical substances it uses, describing the information as a trade secret.

Hwang and other relatives have sought a court order to compel it to release the details.

"Compensation for industrial injury is important, but what's more important is prevention," said Hwang, whose story was made into a movie in 2013.

Samsung has played a key part in the South's rise to become the world's 11th-largest economy, but it is also the focus of resentment over the power and influence of the chaebols and has faced accusations of murky political connections.

Its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was found guilty of bribing former president Park Geun-hye as part of the corruption scandal that brought her down, and he spent almost a year in prison before most of his convictions were overturned on appeal and he was released.

The cancer scandal is one of the worst instances of industrial injuries in the South, where safety standards sometimes belie its advanced technological status.

Two months ago, two subcontractors were killed in a carbon dioxide leak at Samsung Electronics' Suwon chip plant.

In January, four workers suffocated due to a gas leak at a steel factory owned by Posco -- the country's top steelmaker -- in the southern city of Pohang.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Internet con men ripped off Pathe NL for €19m in sophisticated fraud

DutchNews, November 12, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch operation of the Pathé cinema group was ripped off by internet con men to the tune of over €19m, court documents published on Friday show. 

The con cost both the chief executive and financial director of the Dutch operation their jobs, and it is unclear if any of the money has been recovered. 

The court documents, which cover the unfair dismissal case brought by sacked finance chief Edwin Slutter, show in detail how the thieves went about scamming Pathé Nederland earlier this year. 

The first email arrived on March 8, and was apparently sent by the chief executive of the French cinema group to the Dutch chief Dertje Meijer. 

The message asked if KPMG had contacted Meijer that morning. After discussing the issue with financial director Edwin Slutter, Meijer replied to the email: ‘We did not receive anything or a call from him. If you want me to contact him, do you have contact details?’ 

The respondent said the company was involved in a takeover in Dubai and needed her to make a confidential payment of €826,521. The money would be repaid on the 26th of the same month. 

Confidential 

‘The transaction must remain strictly confidential. No one else must be made aware of it for now in order to give us an advantage over our competitors,’ the email said. ‘I and I alone will notify the affected parties in due time.’ 

After more to-ing and fro-ing, Meijer sent the correspondence on to Slutter with the comment ‘strange don’t you think?’ 

On March 9 she received a new mail, confirming the takeover and sending an invoice for the money, which was the first 10% of the acquisition price. The money was to be paid into the bank account operated by Towering Stars General Trading LLC in Dubai. 

On March 13, a second payment of €2,479,563 was made to the same account, followed by a third and fourth payments. By March 27, Pathé Nederland had paid over a total of €19,244,304. 

Questions 

On March 28, Meijer received a final email from the fake company boss, pledging to repay the cash. But that same day questions then began coming in from Pathé headquarters in Paris. 

It was immediately clear that Meijer and Slutter had been victims of fraud. Both Meijer and Slutter were suspended. Their sacking was made public at the end of the month with Pathé ‘s owners stating they no longer had any confidence in them. 

Meijer, who used to run the Amsterdam port authority, had been in the job for less than a year. Slutter, who had years of experience as a KPMG accountant, decided to fight his sacking in court, hence the detailed examination of the fraud in legal documents. 

Outside investigators brought in by Pathé said they had no evidence that both Meijer and Slutter were involved in the fraud or that they had any knowledge of it.

‘Pathe had been the target of a professional group of con men, who had used refined communication techniques to win the trust of several Pathé employees,’ the report is quoted as saying in the court documents. 

Sophisticated 

The court decided that Slutter had been lured in by the con men in a sophisticated trap and that he should not have been sacked in the spot, even though he ignored several red flags.

Nevertheless, there is no question he can return to the company, the court ruled. 

The court went on to state that the employment contract between Slutter and Pathé should be formally dissolved on December 1, but that the former finance chief should be paid his monthly salary of over €13,500 from March until then. 

DutchNews.nl has asked Pathé ‘s head office in Paris to comment on the case. Neither Meijer or Slutter were named in the court documents but both Dutch and French media have identified them as such.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower calls for online regulation

Yahoo – AFP, November 6, 2018

Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie speaks during the annual Web Summit
 technology conference in Lisbon on November 6, 2018 (AFP Photo/PATRICIA DE
MELO MOREIRA)

Lisbon (AFP) - A whistleblower who claimed data consultancy Cambridge Analytica played a role in obtaining data from Facebook users called Tuesday for greater government regulation of social media and online advertising.

"Why is it we can regulate nuclear power, but we can't regulate code" Christopher Wylie, a former director of research at the now-defunct data consultancy, said at the Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech gathering, in Lisbon.

Wylie earlier this year said data from millions of Facebook users was used by Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge to help elect US President Donald Trump -- a claim denied by the company.

In his address at the Web Summit, Wylie also called on data scientists to be subject to an ethical code just as doctors, nurses and teachers are.

"Why is it that as a data scientists, we don't have to think of the ethical and moral implications of what we are doing. I think that is absurd," he said to applause from the audience.

The need for regulation is more urgent given the rise in the number of people using social media, he added.

"People now sleep with their phones more than they sleep with people," Wylie said.

Some 70,000 people are expected to take part in the four-day Web Summit which got underway Monday, including speakers from leading global tech companies, politicians and start-ups hoping to attract investors.

Dubbed "the Davos for geeks", the annual event was launched in Dublin in 2010 and moved to Lisbon six years later.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Big Dutch banks join forces to develop yellow ATM network

DutchNewsNovember 5, 2018 

Photo: Geldmaat 

The three big Dutch banks are introducing a new, uniform ATM system which will replace current ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank cash machines nationwide. 

‘People are using less cash but there is still demand for it,’ said Geert Eikelboom, of Geldservice Nederland, which manages ATMs for the banks, and also part of the new system. ‘The banks are joining forces to make sure cash remains available in the future.’ 

Some ATMs will disappear in places where several from competing banks are close together, but the banks also plan to place the new machines in other localities where there are no cash withdrawal options. 

The new ATMs will start appearing early in 2019.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Digital investigation collective Bellingcat to expand into NL

DutchNews, November 2, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com 

The British research collective Bellingcat is planning to expand into the Netherlands and to open a permanent office in The Hague, the organisation confirmed to DutchNews.nl on Friday. 

‘The current plan is to open an office in The Hague, which will have teams working on Yemen, Syria, and Libya,’ founder Eliot Higgins said. The office will also host ‘a team focused on working with local groups on local issues’ and more MH17 revelations are on the way, he said. 

Higgins, in the Netherlands for the Den Bosch Data Week, told the NRC in an interview on Friday that the organisation has applied for funding from the Postcode Lottery foundation to help establish the first Bellingcat operation outside the UK.

 The aim is to set up an operation in the Netherlands to support the work of the International Criminal Court in The Hague with open source material, the NRC said. 

Bellingcat was founded in 2014 after a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and has since hit the headlines with revelations about shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine and the Skripal poisoning case in Britain, among others 

The organisation funds its operations by giving workshops to journalists, students and civil servants as well as donations from both charitable institutions and private individuals.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Apple Watch supplier under fire over China student labour

Yahoo – AFP, Ryan MCMORROW, October 30, 2018

Apple has sold tens of millions of the smartwatch since it launched three years
ago (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)

Beijing (AFP) - Apple is investigating a factory in southwest China after a labour rights group said the tech giant's supplier forced student workers to work "like robots" to assemble its popular Apple Watch.

The report raises fresh questions about the practices of suppliers Apple uses to build its gadgets in the country following the deaths of a number of workers in 2010 apparently linked to tough working conditions.

Many of the students were compelled to work in order to get their vocational degrees and had to do night shifts, according to an investigation by Hong Kong-based NGO Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM).

SACOM interviewed 28 students at the plant in Chongqing municipality over the summer, and all of them said they had not voluntarily applied to work there, according to the report published last week.

They worked under the guise of "internships", SACOM said, a practice rights groups say is widespread in China as manufacturers pair up with vocational schools to supply workers and fill labour shortages when they ramp up production for new models or the Christmas rush.

"Our graduation certificate will be withheld by the school if we refuse to come," said one student majoring in e-commerce, according to SACOM.

The US titan has sold tens of millions of Apple Watches -- which can cost up to $1,499 -- since it was launched three years ago and chief executive Tim Cook said it was the most popular watch in the world.

Earlier labour abuse allegations focused on workers building iPhones and other gadgets for Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn.

As the world's largest contract electronics maker Foxconn assembles products in huge plants in China where it employs more than one million workers.

In 2010, at least 13 Foxconn employees in China died in apparent suicides, which activists blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of staff.

Although Foxconn denied the accusations, it raised wages by nearly 70 percent at its China plants in 2010.

Urgent probe

Foxconn also admitted to intern violations in 2013, with overtime and night shift problems similar to those levelled at the Apple Watch supplier this year.

Manufacturing internships are permitted under Chinese labour law in some cases, but SACOM found the work has "literally nothing to do with learning" and violated some of the country's labour law provisions permitting intern work in factories.

"We are like robots on the production lines," one 18-year-old student told SACOM. "We repeat the same procedure for hundreds and thousands of times every day, like a robot."

Others said they were put on the night shift working from 8 pm to 8 am with minimal breaks, according to SACOM.

The Chongqing factory is operated by Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, and also produces for other brands. Quanta did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

But Apple spokeswoman Wei Gu said: "We are urgently investigating the report that student interns added in September are working overtime and night shifts."

Wei noted Quanta Chongqing was a new Apple supplier and had been audited three times between March and June without finding student interns.

Student workers told SACOM student labour was widespread at the factory.

Assembly lines that repieced together Apple Watches that had failed a quality check were almost entirely made up of student workers, one intern told SACOM.

"The factory would not be able to operate without student workers," a student told SACOM.

The NGO demanded Apple investigate and bring the labour practises in line with the firm's own policies and those of the local and central Chinese government.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

End of the line: government plans to ban unsolicited sales calls

DutchNews, October 8, 2018


The service allows people to report malpractice anonymously. 

The government has set out plans to ban cold calling by companies in favour of an ‘opt-in’ system for telephone marketing. 

Junior economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer said the move would provide better protection than the current ‘bel-me-niet-register’, which allows people to choose to be excluded from sales calls. 

Call centre managers said the ban would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs, many of them part-time posts for students and parents who are looking after children at home. 

Keijzer said half of all consumers were irritated by unsolicited sales calls, making a ban desirable. In future companies will only be allowed to make marketing calls to people who explicitly agree to receive them. 

Consent could be sought by opting in through companies’ websites, in the same way that consumers have to be asked to be added to mailing lists. 

Companies that repeatedly fail to observe the ban will face fines, Keijzer said. ‘At first there’ll be a polite request, but if people still don’t listen, they’ll have to feel it.’ 

Nikos van der Laan, owner of telemarketing firm Convins, said the largest call centre companies with more than 100 booths would be hardest hit. ‘I have to wonder how far this plan has taken into account the consequences for jobs,’ he told NOS

Keijzer also said she wanted to introduce more stringent safety standards for domestic appliances that are connected to the internet, such as thermostats and smart TVs. Companies will be obliged to offer free security upgrades unless customers opt out.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Russian attempt to hack chemical weapons watchdog in The Hague thwarted

DutchNews, October 4, 2018, Gordon Darroch and Senay Boztas

The OPCW headquarters in The Hague. Photo: Wikimedia Commons 

Dutch intelligence agencies have thwarted an attempt by Russian agents to hack into the wi-fi network of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague. 

Four agents from the GRU military intelligence service were ejected from the Netherlands immediately after the attempted breach was intercepted on April 13 this year, major-general Onno Eichelsheim, director of the military intelligence service MIVD, told apress conference in The Hague. He added that the OPCW’s security was not breached. 

The OPCW is carrying out forensic tests in the investigation into the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4. The Skripals were targeted with a nerve agent known as Novichok, developed in the former Soviet Union, but Moscow has denied any involvement. 

Eichelsheim said the four agents were operating out of a Citroen car parked outside the Marriott Hotel, which is next to the organisations headquarters on Johann de Wittlaan. They arrived in the country on April 10 on diplomatic passports with almost identical serial numbers. 

Close access

They were disrupted while an attempt was made at a ‘close access hack operation’ at around 4.30pm on Friday. Equipment found in the boot of the car included an antenna pointed at the OPCW building and digital devices used to intercept login details.

The car the Russians hired. Photo: Ministerie van defensie

Eichelsheim said the four Russians were ‘clearly not here on holiday’. They were carrying €20,000 and US $20,000 in cash, took their rubbish from their hotel room when they left and tried to destroy their mobile phones when they were intercepted. One of the phones had been activated close to the special services centre in Moscow. 

A further clue was the discovery of a taxi receipt from GRU headquarters to Moscow airport. 

The equipment the men surrendered also included a laptop computer which had apparently been used to infiltrate the Malaysian police and judicial authorities. Malaysia is involved in the investigation into the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, which the Netherlands holds Russia accountable for. 

Data found on the laptop also suggested it had been used in the Swiss city of Lausanne to hack into computers belonging to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating institutional drug use in Russian sport. 

International co-operation 

Defence minister Ank Bijleveld said the Dutch government was sending out a clear message to Moscow to stop undermining cybersecurity in other countries. The Russian ambassador to The Hague has been summoned to appear before foreign minister Stef Blok. 

‘The Dutch cabinet is very concerned that the OPCW was the target of an interception by the Russian military intelligence service,’ Bijleveld said. 

‘I am proud of the MIVD, they have done excellent work. I want to emphasise that co-operation has played a big part in this success. Co-operation in the Netherlands, but also with our international intelligence partners. Good international co-operation is crucial in tackling threats such as the GRU.’ 

The men with a Russian embassy official at Schiphol. 

In response, Moscow issued its customary blunt denial of all accusations of wrongdoing. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the allegations as ‘big fantasies’. 

Prime minister Mark Rutte issued a joint statement with his British counterpart Theresa May earlier in the day condemning Russia’s ‘disregard for global values.’ 

They said: ‘The GRU’s reckless operations stretch from destructive cyber activity to the use of illegal nerve agents, as we saw in Salisbury. That attack left four people fighting for their lives and one woman dead. 

‘Our action today reinforces the clear message from the international community. We will uphold the rules-based international system, and defend international institutions from those that seek to do them harm.’ 

US charges 

Major-general Eichelsheim said the government had taken the unusual step of releasing details of the operation after US officials published charges against a number of Russian intelligence agents on Thursday. The Dutch government hopes that making the information public will make it harder for Russia to carry out such covert operations in future. 

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said the incident was ‘part of a pattern of cyber-attacks’ in other countries in which the Russian government was implicated. 

He said: ‘If anyone had any questions in their mind about Russian military involvement in the Salisbury attacks, this will put to rest those doubts because we have evidence of the Russian military launching a cyber-attack on the very international organisation in the Netherlands set up to investigate those novichok attacks. And why would you do that if you weren’t the guilty party?’

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Facebook adds new tools to stem online bullying

Yahoo – AFP, October 2, 2018

Facebook says it will add new tools to help users avoid unwanted or hurtful comments,
amid growing concerns about cyberbullying on social networks (AFP Photo/JOEL SAGET)

San Francisco (AFP) - Facebook on Tuesday stepped up ways to battle bullying and harassment at the leading social network.

The initiative calls for new tools and programs to help users control "unwanted, offensive or hurtful experiences on Facebook," global head of safety Antigone Davis said in a blog post.

"Everyone deserves to feel safe on Facebook," Davis said.

Facebook users will be able to hide or delete groups of comments, including responses, instead of having to remove them one at a time, according to Davis.

The feature was rolling out on desktop computers and Android-powered mobile devices, and promised to reach versions of the application on Apple gadgets in coming months.

Facebook also began letting people report bullying or harassment on behalf of friends reluctant to complain to the social network themselves.

"Being the target of unwanted attention can be stressful and some people may not feel comfortable reporting a bully or harasser," Davis said.

"If you see a friend or family member being bullied or harassed, now you can report someone on their behalf."

A team at Facebook reviews complaints to determine whether reported posts violate policies at the social network.

An appeals process implemented earlier this year regarding photos, videos, or posts taken down due to hateful, violent, or sexually explicit content will extend to decisions regarding bullying, according to Facebook.

"You will soon be able to ask for a further review if you report a piece of content for bullying or harassment and you think we made a mistake in determining whether it violates our policies," Davis said.

Facebook is also testing ways to let users search for or block words considered offensive in comment sections of their posts.

A majority of US teenagers say they have been victims of online harassment or bullying, and that social media companies aren't doing enough to fight the problem, a recent survey showed.

The Pew Research Center survey found that 59 percent of US teens reported being bullied or harassed online, and 63 percent said it was a major problem for people their age.

"Name-calling and rumor-spreading have long been an unpleasant and challenging aspect of adolescent life," said Monica Anderson, the lead researcher for the Pew report.

"But, the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media has transformed where, when and how bullying takes place,"

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What’sApp? Dutch to ban cyclists from holding their mobile phones

DutchNews, September 25, 2018 

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands is to ban all but the hands-free use of mobile phones on bikes from next year, the AD said on Tuesday. 

Transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen published draft legislation on Tuesday which will make it an offence ‘to hold a mobile electronic devices while driving all vehicles [so including bikes],’ the paper quoted the minister as saying. 

The paper says the words ‘mobile electronic device’ rather than mobile phone have been deliberately chosen to take developments in the future into account. 

Drivers are already banned from using their mobile phones without a hands-free connection in cars and lorries, with a maximum fine of €230. 

‘This decision sets a clear and consistent standard,’ the minister said. ‘If you are in charge of a vehicle in traffic, no matter what sort of mode of transport, you should not be holding mobile electronic equipment,’ Van Nieuwenhuizen said. 

The aim is to introduce the new legislation, which was first mooted in December, on July 1, 2019. 

One in three 12 to 21-year-olds cycle and use their phones at the same time and phones are said to have played a role in 20% of bike accidents involving the under-25s, the transport ministry said last year.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Microsoft, Amazon, Google join fight to prevent famine

Yahoo – AFP, 23 September 2018

Rather than waiting to respond to a famine after many have already died, the tech
firms, including Amazon, "will use the predictive power of data to trigger funding"
to take action before it becomes a crisis, the World Bank and UN announced

Tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and Google are joining forces with international organizations to help identify and head off famines in developing nations using data analysis and artificial intelligence, a new initiative unveiled Sunday.

Rather than waiting to respond to a famine after many lives already have been lost, the tech firms "will use the predictive power of data to trigger funding" to take action before it becomes a crisis, the World Bank and United Nations announced in a joint statement.

"The fact that millions of people -- many of them children -- still suffer from severe malnutrition and famine in the 21st century is a global tragedy," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. "We are forming an unprecedented global coalition to say, 'no more.'"

Last year more than 20 million people faced famine conditions in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, while 124 million people currently live in crisis levels of food insecurity, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance for their survival, the agencies said. Over half of them live in areas affected by conflict.

The Famine Action Mechanism (FAM) will provide early warning signs to identify food crises that could become famines, and trigger pre-arranged funding plans to allow early intervention.

"If we can better predict when and where future famines will occur, we can save lives by responding earlier and more effectively," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement.

Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services and other technology firms are providing expertise to develop a suite of analytical models called "Artemis" that uses AI and machine learning to estimate and forecast worsening food security crises in real-time. These forecasts will help guide and promote decision makers to respond earlier.

"Artificial intelligence and machine learning hold huge promise for forecasting and detecting early signs of food shortages, like crop failures, droughts, natural disasters, and conflicts," Smith said.

The FAM will initially be rolled out in a small group of vulnerable countries building up to ultimately provide global coverage. On October 13, leaders dedicated to this initiative will gather as part of the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia to discuss further implementation.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

Yahoo – AFP, 22 September 2018

Facebook is test-driving a dating service in Colombia

Facebook said Friday a dating service it teased early this year is being rolled out in Colombia.

The social media giant chose the Latin American country as its test lab because Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners.

The new feature, rolled out in Colombia this week, allows users to create a separate "dating" profile not visible to their network of friends, with potential matches recommended based on preferences and common interests.

The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends, and users of Facebook Dating will also be able to block people if they wish.

A basic chat service will be available, and the site will bar strangers from sending photos, videos or links.

Some 21 million people log in to Facebook every day in Colombia, a country of 50 million people, according to the company.

"We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook," said Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp.

Facebook's chief Mark Zuckerberg in May announced plans for the new dating feature at the world's leading online social network -- while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg was emphatic that the focus would be on helping people find partners, not flings.

"This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups," Zuckerberg said in presenting the new feature.

He said the dating offer was built with privacy and safety in mind.

Facebook faced intense global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

The company has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal.

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