Dhaka, July 26 (UNB) - Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, introduced UberIntercity on Thursday to facilitate intercity rides from Dhaka for round trips to Gazipur and Savar at a fare of Tk 22/km and Tk 3/min distance and time structure.
Aimed at enhancing the mobility experience of riders, the service will also enable seamless travel from Dhaka to Gazipur and Savar, said a press release.
It said the intercity service provides a more comfortable and convenient travel option for those looking for going to serviceable areas.
“Riders can use UberIntecity when they need to make a business trip or factory visit outside the city or head out with friends, or simply craving a visit to their hometowns,” the release added.
Uber launched its service in Dhaka on November, 22, 2016 promising to bring a change in the commuting experience in one of the world’s largest metropolises.
New York, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) — Facebook is blocked in China but it's still setting up a subsidiary in the world's most populous country.
The company says it wants to set up an "innovation hub" in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and startups. It has done the same elsewhere, including France, Brazil, South Korea and India. But it is not blocked in those countries.
Facebook said on Tuesday that the subsidiary will focus on training and workshops for developers and entrepreneurs.
According to The Washington Post, a filing published on China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System listed the company as Facebook Technology (Hangzhou) Co. The filing, which is no longer accessible, noted that the company is owned by Facebook Hong Kong Ltd. It has registered capital of $30 million.
Dhaka, July 25 (UNB) - Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adviser to the Prime Minister Sajeeb Wazed Joy on Wednesday said Bangladesh has one of the cheapest internets in the world.
Joy, also the son of the Prime Minister, said this while inaugurating 5G technologies demonstrated by Huawei and Robi at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
“Technologically, Bangladesh was among the most backward countries in the world. Now, see where we are! I have put pressure on the regulators to reduce the cost of internet by 99 percent within 5 years. Now, Bangladesh has one of the cheapest internets in the world”, he said.
“Whenever there is a new technology, I want it. That is my habit as a techie. Even though we have recently launched 4G, we are talking about 5G. 5G is not a dream, it's a reality now. We are the country to deploy 1G to 4G in the fastest time”, he said.
“No other country has been able to deploy next generation internet so fast”, he added.
“With 5G, my goal is that we are going to be one of the first countries to deploy 5G in the world. I want Bangladesh to relentlessly move forward. This is my promise to you that if you vote for Awami League once again, we will bring 5G in Bangladesh. Thanks to Huawei for demonstrating 5G with their technologies”, Joy said.
Posts and Telecommunications Division of the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology in cooperation with Huawei and Robi, demonstrated the 5G technology for the first time in Bangladesh.
The purposes of this event are to show how a 5G ecosystem can be cultivated in Digital Bangladesh and how to use 5G to respond to the economic transformation of Bangladesh as well as the operators.
Mustafa Jabbar, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Shyam Sunder Sikder, Secretary of Posts & Telecommunications Division, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Robi Axiata Limited, James Wu, President of Huawei's Southeast Asia Region and Zhang Zhengjun, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited were also present at the programme.
Lockport, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) - The surveillance system that has kept watch on students entering Lockport schools for over a decade is getting a novel upgrade. Facial recognition technology soon will check each face against a database of expelled students, sex offenders and other possible troublemakers.
It could be the start of a trend as more schools fearful of shootings consider adopting the technology, which has been gaining ground on city streets and in some businesses and government agencies. Just last week, Seattle-based digital software company RealNetworks began offering a free version of its facial recognition system to schools nationwide.
Already, the Lockport City School District’s plan has opened a debate in this western New York community and far beyond about the system’s potential effectiveness, student privacy and civil rights.
“We shake our heads that we’re having to deal with and talk about these kinds of security issues,” said Robert LiPuma, technology director for the Lockport district, east of Niagara Falls, “but here we are.”
The idea behind the Lockport system is to enable security officers to quickly respond to the appearance of expelled students, disgruntled employees, sex offenders or certain weapons the system is programmed to detect. Only students seen as threats will be loaded into the database. Officials say it is the first school district in the country to adopt the Canadian-made system it is installing.
Administrators say it could thwart shootings like February’s attack in which expelled student Nikolas Cruz is charged with killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“This would have identified (Cruz) as not being able to be in that building,” said Tony Olivo, a security consultant who recommended the system for Lockport. Cameras mounted throughout the building would have followed the banned student’s every move until he left.
Critics say the technology has been absent from schools for good reason.
In light of Lockport’s plans, the New York Civil Liberties Union asked the state Education Department to block the technology from any New York school, saying it would “have a chilling effect on school climate.” Education officials say they are reviewing the request.
“Lockport is sending the message that it views students as potential criminals who must have their faces scanned wherever they go,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said.
Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said any school considering facial recognition must consider who will have access to data, how such a system would be managed and whether students can opt out.
Others question the technology’s cost and effectiveness, given reports like one released in February by MIT and Stanford University that found some facial recognition programs don’t work as well on racial minorities and women.
Lockport parent Belinda Cooper would have preferred metal detectors in her 15-year-old daughter’s school.
“It would have been cheaper for the school district, and you can guarantee no guns or knives will be brought in,” she said.
District officials say the Aegis system they are installing, made by SN Technologies of Ontario, will not build or store a database of student and faculty face prints that could be shared with the government or marketers. Nor will the $1.4 million cost, funded through a state technology bond, siphon funding from staffing or supplies.
District officials acknowledge it won’t stop a determined attacker from coming through the door, nor will it warn against someone who is not a known threat.
But “there’s no system that’s going to solve every problem,” LiPuma said. “It’s another tool that we feel will give us an advantage to help make our buildings and our communities a little safer.”
Individual schools and districts, as well as the governors of Wyoming and one other state, have already expressed interest in RealNetworks’ customizable SAFR System, senior product director Michael Vance said.
At the University Child Development School in Seattle where it was piloted, rather than rely on office staff buzzing in late arrivals or visitors, the system gives parents who have registered their faces automatic access through a locked gate and tells the office who is coming. Schools can opt to register students’ faces and customize how to respond to people who have been flagged for alert.
“All of that resides with the school,” Vance said. “We don’t see it. We don’t have access to the pictures, the images, the video, anything like that. It’s stored in the same way that school attendance databases, grades, records, everything is kept.”
Nevertheless, citing a patchwork of regulations, Vance said the company would welcome the kind of government guidelines for facial recognition technology that Microsoft President Brad Smith called for in a blog post July 13.
In Lockport, as crews worked on wiring the system inside, 16-year-old student Teliyah Sumler expressed some reservations.
“I feel like it’s too personal,” she said. “Cameras all in my face. It’s too much.”
Khari Demos, 22, who has two siblings in Lockport High School, said he worries for their safety and views facial recognition as another piece of a security puzzle that includes locked doors and active shooter drills.
“It’ll actually identify who should and shouldn’t be in the school,” said Demos, who graduated from the school in 2013. “The system will never be 100 percent perfect but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Iowa City, Iowa, Jul 25 (AP/UNB)- One app promotes itself as a way to discuss sensitive negotiations and human resources problems without leaving a digital record.
Another boasts that disappearing messages “keep your message history tidy.” And a popular email service recently launched a “confidential mode” allowing the content of messages to disappear after a set time.
The proliferation of digital tools that make text and email messages vanish may be welcome to Americans seeking to guard their privacy. But open government advocates fear they are being misused by public officials to conduct business in secret and evade transparency laws.
Whether communications on those platforms should be part of the public record is a growing but unsettled debate in states across the country. Updates to transparency laws lag behind rapid technological advances, and the public and private personas of state officials overlap on private smartphones and social media accounts.
“Those kind of technologies literally undermine, through the technology itself, state open government laws and policies,” said Daniel Bevarly, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. “And they come on top of the misuse of other technologies, like people using their own private email and cellphones to conduct business.”
Some government officials have argued that public employees should be free to communicate on private, non-governmental cellphones and social media platforms without triggering open records requirements.
Lawmakers in Kentucky and Arizona this year unsuccessfully proposed exempting all communications on personal phones from state open records laws, alarming open government advocates. A Virginia lawmaker introduced a bill to exempt all personal social media records of state lawmakers from disclosure.
New Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer went the opposite direction in February with an executive order that requires his staff to use official email accounts for all government business. He also banned private accounts for any communications related to “the functions, activities, programs, or operations” of the office.
In neighboring Missouri, Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that would make clear that personal social media pages and messages sent through digital platforms such as Confide and Signal are public records as long as they relate to official business. The legislation arose because of a controversy involving use of the Confide app by former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in June amid a series of scandals.
“We need to clarify the expectations, because we should not be allowed to conduct state business using invisible ink,” said state Rep. Ingrid Burnett, who said she’s disappointed the bill didn’t advance.
The proposals were captured by a new Associated Press application called SunshineHub, a digital tool that tracks bills related to government transparency in all 50 states. They point to the mushrooming challenge of defining and maintaining government records in the smartphone era.
The issue exploded into public view last year amid reports that several employees in the office of Greitens, then Missouri’s governor, had accounts on Confide. The app makes messages disappear immediately after they are read and doesn’t allow them to be saved, forwarded, printed or captured by screenshot.
The news prompted an inquiry from the state attorney general, an ongoing lawsuit alleging the practice violated the state’s sunshine law and the bill that would declare all such communications relating to government business to be public records.
Greitens and aides have said they used Confide only to discuss logistics such as scheduling matters that were insignificant, “transitory” and therefore not required to be maintained as public records. An inquiry by Attorney General Josh Hawley found no evidence the practice as described was illegal, but investigators didn’t recover the disappeared messages.
Greitens’ explanation for using the app has drawn skepticism from critics, who question why mundane messages would be sent on a platform that promotes “honest, unfiltered confidential conversations” on sensitive topics.
“That’s absurd. Nobody switches out to a secret burner app to do that,” said Missouri attorney Mark Pedroli, who is suing Greitens on behalf of an open government group and using the case to investigate whether the former governor used the app to communicate with donors and political aides.
“One of the motivating factors of this lawsuit is to find out — what could be the worst-case scenario of a governor or elected official using a secretive app like this?”
He said government agencies should move to ban or severely restrict the use of such applications before they become commonplace. He already has obtained during the litigation a training slide that repeatedly instructed members of Greitens’ staff to never send text messages on government cellphones, an apparent suggestion to do such business only on personal phones.
In Kentucky, language added to an unrelated bill in March would have exempted all electronic communications related to public business — including calls, text messages and emails — from the state open records law. Those messages would be exempt from disclosure as long as the phone or computer was paid for with private money and used non-governmental accounts.
Open government advocates protested the legislation, which would have been the first of its kind in the nation. Lawmakers modified it so it would exempt only “communications of a purely personal nature unrelated to any governmental function.” Media and open government advocates called the language unnecessary, saying personal communications already aren’t subject to disclosure.
A similar bill introduced in Arizona to shield all communications created, stored or received on electronic devices paid for with private money died without a hearing.
The measures in Kentucky and Arizona were introduced after the states’ attorneys general issued legal opinions concluding that government agencies were not responsible for managing their employees’ personal phones, and because of that such communications are not subject to open records laws.
Similar concerns arose after Gmail introduced its confidential mode, which allows senders to control who can access, forward, print or copy sensitive data and to set a time for messages to “expire.”
National Freedom of Information Coalition board president Mal Leary recently wrote a letter to Google arguing that those features, which were recently launched as part of a redesign, could promote the illegal destruction of public records. Leary noted that Google’s suite of services is commonly used by state and local governments and urged the company to disable that feature from accounts and emails linked to public agencies.
“Technology that allows the self-destruction of official, electronic public communications is not promoting transparency, and under most state open government laws, is illegal,” Leary wrote.
Google responded that those features are similar to other tools in the marketplace, and that government administrators will be able to choose to disable them on their networks.
The company noted that even after a message in “confidential mode” expires and its content is no longer available, a history of the message remains available in the sent folder and the headers and subject line remain visible in the recipient’s inbox.