No gas price hike in present situation BERC

first_imgNo hike of gas price now: BERC. File PhotoBangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Tuesday said it scrapped the decision of enhancing gas price ‘considering the overall situation’ in the country.The watchdog body announced its decision at a press conference at the commission office in the capital city, reports UNB.“In the present situation we find no reason to raise the gas price”, said BERC chairman Monwar Islam while briefing newsmen.He, however, did not directly respond to the question that there is a perception the commission this time did not hike gas price because of the advice of the prime minister Sheikh Hasina ahead of the general elections.Monwar said the distribution companies appealed for price hike calculating import of 1000 mmcfd LNG gas. But currently, LNG could only supply 300 mmcfd.Secondly, he said, NBR has given supplementary duty waiver on import of LNG.”That’s why we don’t allow raising gas price”, he said.Other commissioners were also present at the briefing.Commission member Mohammad Abdul Aziz, however, said that the government would have to provide Tk 3000 as subsidy to the distribution companies to cover the loss that they will incur due to the import of LNG.He said the commission would ask to provide Tk 1400 from short support fund.He said the commission will consider price hike when the 1000 mmcfd LNG will be supplied to the national network.Earlier, all the eight state-owned downstream entities in gas sector — six distribution companies, one transmission and an LNG marketing company — had appealed to the BERC seeking an average 75 per cent hike on the existing gas prices for different consumer groups except the household and commercial ones.The upward price revision was sought for industrial consumers, power plants, fertiliser factories, captive power plants, and CNG refuelling stations.The distribution companies are Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Company Limited (Tatas Gas T&D), Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited (BGDCL), Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited, Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited and Sundarbans Gas Company Limited (SGCL).While participating in the hearing, the gas entities argued that as per the government decision they had to submit their respective price hike proposals because of the high import cost of LNG as it will push up their cost substantially.The Petrobangla started supplying the imported LNG to national gas network from 18 August through re-gasification by private sector-operated floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU).Officials said currently 300 mmcfd gas is being supplied from LNG and it will go up to 500 mmcfd in a month or two and then 1000 mmcfd gas will be flowed from next year as per a government plan.last_img read more

How Much Does Voting Matter In A Gerrymandered District

first_img Listen Elkanah Tisdale (1771-1835) – Originally published in the Boston Centinel, 1812.Original cartoon of “The Gerry-Mander”, this is the political cartoon that led to the coining of the term Gerrymander. The district depicted in the cartoon was created by Massachusetts legislature to favor the incumbent Democratic-Republican party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists in 1812.This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide three cases on partisan gerrymandering, including one from Texas. At issue, is drawing congressional districts to favor one political party over another unconstitutional?Grady lives in Cedar Falls, Texas. He recently returned home after several years teaching abroad. To fill his time, Grady decided to get more involved in politics. That’s when he started learning about gerrymandering in Texas. And what he saw bothered him.“You would think, at first blush, people would say, ‘Well, that’s just not the way a system ought to work, a fair system, you know, that you can just go and pick the people that you want to be in your district so that you can get reelected,’” he says.So Grady asked us, “What can we as citizens do to address the problem of gerrymandering?”Gerrymandering itself is almost as old as the republic. But for the first 200 years, it was more art than science. Drawing districts involved a lot of guesswork about where a party’s supporters live. Guess wrong, and you spread your support too thin. A small swing of the vote could sweep you out of power. But technology has made it more accurate.“The computer modeling has gotten so much better with respect to the ability to be able to draw these districts so precisely that they become safe seats,” says Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. Rhodes says that’s a major reason the Supreme Court is finally taking up the question.“Even in a gerrymandered district,” says Rhodes, “in order for the courts to be able to review whether perhaps the gerrymander is somehow unconstitutional, it helps to see what has been the impact of the gerrymander on individual voting rights.”As an example, Rhodes points to North Carolina. In 2016, just over half of the voters there chose Republicans. But North Carolina ended up electing 10 Republican congressmen and just three Democrats.Still, even if the justices impose limits on gerrymandering, that may not make new districts much more competitive.“Even without gerrymandering, there’s just a natural geographic sorting,” says Elizabeth Simas, a political scientist at the University of Houston who studies electoral behavior. “There was a great map recently that showed Texas divided by counties and partisan competition within counties. And it’s really not competitive. Counties tend to be either red or blue. They’re not subject to the same kind of manipulation that our House districts are.”If your party happens to be in the minority, there’s a natural tendency to look at political maps and get discouraged. Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, says that’s a mistake. He says the first thing citizens can do to address the problem of gerrymandering is to show up to vote.“Elections are contests of strength between the two major political parties,” says Jillson. “So if you’re a Democrat in a Republican district, you’ve got to get out there and work to keep your Democratic ticket competitive. If you’re a Republican in a Democratic urban district, for example, you’ve got to show the flag as well and get out there.”The second thing citizens can do is run for office. Gerrymandering may make it tougher for one party to win a given seat in Congress. But the odds drop to zero if the party doesn’t put someone on the ballot.Simas says that happens all too often. “In Texas we see a lot of just noncompetitive races, noncompetitive in the sense that they don’t have a viable challenger to the opposition,” she notes. “Candidates are the ones ultimately who can inspire people to go out and give them that glimmer of hope.”That theory will get a test this fall. Of the state’s 36 congressional districts, 32 will have candidates from both major political parties. X 00:00 /03:53 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

Houston Colleges Offer Food Scholarships to Help Students Ease Food Insecurity

first_img Share X Laura Isensee/Houston Public MediaSince it opened in January 2018, the student market at Texas Woman’s University provides about 80 students – mostly in graduate programs – with 60 pounds of food a month.On a recent Monday afternoon at Texas Woman’s University in the Medical Center, it was delivery day. It’s always a little bit of a surprise what arrives from the Houston Food Bank.Graduate student Torrey Alexis unpacked boxes and found lettuce for garden salads, a whole mixture of fruits and frozen sausages.“And bags of rice — awesome!” he said.After class, Alexis, 24, will hand out maroon tote bags loaded with 30 pounds of groceries to dozens of fellow grad students. It’s part of his masters project in nutrition. He’s collecting food diaries and surveys on students’ food needs.The market is also personal. Alexis takes home two bags of food for himself. “I’m going to say it has helped me a lot, because it’s a lot of money — like I’m an out-of-state student, so a lot of my fees goes to out-of-state tuition. And so it’s kind of like money is very tight,” Alexis said.Last semester, between moving from Louisiana, starting graduate school and then being out of work during Hurricane Harvey, Alexis had to skip meals sometimes to pay bills. Or he made sure he had healthy snacks to keep him going.In fact, 20 percent of students at TWU have experienced food insecurity. That’s almost as much as the national average. A recent study found that over a third of U.S. college students went hungry over the last year.It all means the stereotype of the poor college student surviving on Ramen noodles isn’t a joke for a growing number of young people. And community colleges and universities like Texas Woman’s have started to offer a new kind of scholarship — for food — together with the Houston Food Bank.Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/17161405/College-Food-Scholarship-In-Depth.mp400:0000:0000:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Deb  Unruh, assistant director of student life at TWU, surveyed students in 2016.Their response: “They were cutting back on the size of meals, they were skipping meals altogether, they weren’t eating as much food as they thought they should and that money was running out at the end of the month, so they just couldn’t buy food,” she recounted.Unruh wasn’t totally surprised. For a while, she’d noticed students scarfing down snacks at the student life center, where they ate very quickly and ate a lot.Laura IsenseeDeb Unruh surveyed students at TWU in 2016 after she noticed students regularly scarfed down snacks at the student life center – as if it was their main meal. Unruh discovered 20 percent of students at TWU’s Houston campus in the Texas Medical Center experienced food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal would come from.It’s all led to this partnership with the Houston Food Bank. Carolyn Moore, a professor in nutrition and food sciences at TWU, helped make the connection with the Houston Food Bank. She also funded — with some of her own money — a renovation to house the new student market, adding new refrigerators and a freezer to keep produce fresh. Since the market opened in January, about 80 students receive groceries twice a month, just as long as they stay in school.“The reason that we call it a food scholarship is because we’re looking to tie this to outcomes,” said Harry Hadland with the Houston Food Bank. “It’s not just, ‘Hey, here’s some food, go be well with your life.’ It’s, ‘Here’s some food, let this help you maintain your way through with whatever program you’re pursuing,” Hadland said.  Some say rising tuition and housing costs mean more students resort to these programs. But it’s a complicated issue and there could be other factors.Laura IsenseeCarolyn Moore, professor of nutrition and food science at TWU, donated over $10,000 of her own money to build the student market at TWU. She’s advising graduate student Torrey Alexis on his masters project that’s monitoring how the food scholarships impact students’ nutrition. They both volunteer to help organize food for students on distribution day.Still, it’s prompted the Houston Food Bank to expand its food scholarships. Hadland said that they have student markets at six colleges so far, including San Jacinto Community College and the University of Houston-Downtown. And the nonprofit will open a ninth student market in Baytown at Lee College in the fall. Together, there are about 1,000 students in Houston higher education institutions on these food scholarships.At Texas Woman’s University, both administrators and students said that the food scholarships have made a difference. Unruh said that students seem more confident and that fills her with gratitude.“I mean, goodness! What a gift of humanity one to another, honest to goodness,” she said.Alexis hopes his masters project proves that his peers get more calories and better nutrition, because of this program. He’ll share the research with the Houston Food Bank. They won’t be able to tell if it improves students’ academics, but Alexis said that already his own stress is already way down. “I don’t really have to worry about food as much now. I have so much cereal at my house right now, it’s ridiculous,” he said.That means he can focus on work at a local hospital and class, so he can graduate with his masters in May 2019.  To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /04:00last_img read more

Renew Football Season Tickets Enter for Giveways

first_img Print Friendly Version Season Ticket Renewal Story Linkscenter_img LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A new era of University of Louisville football was launched last December with the hiring of head coach Scott Satterfield, and fans can be a part of all the action by renewing their season tickets.The UofL ticket office has announced a number of exciting renewal incentives to ensure fans get an opportunity to be a part of the 2019 home schedule which features the season opener versus Notre Dame on Labor Day night and a visit from Clemson, the 2018 defending national champions.Fans who get a jump on purchasing season tickets will have the opportunity to win numerous prizes from an away game travel experience, gift cards from local sponsors, an opportunity to watch a preseason practice and a chance to win up to four seasons tickets to the six-game home schedule.To take advantage of this exciting opportunity, fans should renew their 2019 Louisville football season tickets. Once renewed, fans will automatically be entered into the drawings.If fans have already renewed their tickets, they will be auto-enrolled into the rewards drawings. Accounts must be paid in full or have begun the payment program to qualify for entry. Tickets must be renewed prior to noon on the day of the prize selection to be eligible.The first winner will be selected live on February 6. Winners will be announced every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the grand prize drawing on March 1. All renewed accounts will be eligible for the grand prize drawing, which is up to four free season tickets. Winning smaller prizes throughout the renewal program will not exclude fans from winning the grand prize.To renew your season tickets click hereFans are encouraged to follow @GoCards on Twitter visit or gocards.com/fbrenew each week to check out the weekly winner.For additional information, please contact the UofL Athletic Ticket Office at 502- 852-5151 or by email at tickets@gocards.com.Season Ticket Renewal PrizesFeb. 6 – Away Game Travel Experience for 2 (1 winner)Feb. 8 – $25 Fourth Street Live gift cards (25 winners)Feb. 11 – Participate in Card March (12 winners)Feb. 13 – $50 Liquor Barn gift card (1 winner)Feb. 15 – $50 Cardinal Stadium Concessions Vouchers (20 winners)Feb. 18 – $250 Kroger Gift Card (2 winners)Feb. 20 – Season Long Parking Upgrades (5 winners)Feb. 22 – Subs for a Year from Penn Station (10 winners)Feb. 25 – Exclusive PreSeason Practice Experience (10 winners)Feb. 27 – ULGC Foursome (5 winners)Mar. 1 – Four 2019 Season Ticketslast_img read more

Very heavy rain incoming in city today

first_imgKolkata: The Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore on Wednesday issued a warning of heavy to very heavy rainfall in several South Bengal districts, including the city, in the next 24 hours. The northern parts of the state will also witness rainfall till Friday.A cyclonic circulation over the northern part of Bay of Bengal has formed into a low pressure area over the bay and its adjoining areas, bringing heavy downpour in the state. Under its influence, heavy to very heavy rain is likely to occur in North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Nadia and Murshidabad, Hooghly, West Midnapore and South 24-Parganas. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to the weather office prediction, the other districts will also receive moderate to heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours. It has been learnt that the low pressure trough has become stationary at one point and is moving very slowly. So, it may cause heavy rain in various places in both North and South Bengal districts. There is a possibility of strong wind blowing in some parts along with rain, the Met office has predicted.According to experts, the low pressure area over Bay of Bengal may turn into a depression during the next 24 hours, resulting in more rain in the state. In view of the prediction of heavy rainfall, the fishermen in the coastal districts have been advised not to venture into the sea as it might turn turbulent. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to a senior weather official, a few days ago a low pressure trough had formed over North Odisha and adjoining parts of Bengal and gained strength, contributing to rainfall in the state. Rain is also predicted in the North East states as well.It may be mentioned that the city and other districts have been witnessing moderate to heavy rainfall for the past few days. Continuous rain for the last few days have, however, given some relief to the city dwellers as both the temperature and the humidity levels have been brought down by the downpour.The people were experiencing sweltering heat before it started raining. The situation is likely to continue in the next couple of days, when city residents will experience comparatively comfortable weather.last_img read more

Minister raps students for blocking roads over attendance rule

first_imgKolkata: Taking strong exception to road blockades staged by college students over attendance mandate, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee has asserted the government will be forced to take action if the agitators cause inconvenience to public for “personal benefit”. A large number of students from two institutes – Shibnath Shastri College and Heramba Chandra College – took to streets on Thursday and Friday to protest against the Calcutta University (CU) mandate of 60 per cent minimum attendance for appearing in examinations. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life The agitators of Heramba Chandra College blocked thoroughfares in Golpark area for two consecutive days, demanding immediate relaxation of norms. The protest was also backed by students of Gurudas College and Jaipuria College, who demonstrated outside their campuses. The education minister said the government will not succumb to the pressure tactics of the students. “Under no circumstances will the administration tolerate such pressure tactics. Many people were inconvenienced as they (students) blocked the roads to get their demands fulfilled. This is unacceptable,” Chatterjee told reporters on Saturday. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed Earlier this year, the CU authorities had asked all affiliated colleges to ensure that only those with a minimum 60 per cent attendance would be allowed to sit for semester exams. A list of non-eligible students was recently published at Heramba Chandra College, triggering the agitation. Chatterjee pointed out that the state education department has fixed 60 per cent attendance as a criterion to sit for semester exams, even as the UGC suggested 75 per cent attendance for higher educational institutions. “Maybe the agitating students wanted to sit for exams without attending classes or studying,” he said. Heramba Chandra College Principal Nabanita Chakraborty, who met Chatterjee Saturday morning, said the authorities are planning to reduce the cut-off figure for attendance from 60 per cent to 55 per cent. Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), the students’ wing of the ruling party, also appealed to the education minister to find a “way out of the deadlock” to restore normalcy in the institutes. TMCP president Trinankur Bhattacharya, who met the minister at his residence, told reporters that the unit has sought a solution that would be acceptable to all sides. A TMCP source said the union urged Chatterjee to consider relaxation in attendance norm for this year.last_img read more

Ideal platform for carpet weavers

first_imgTo promote the cultural heritage and weaving skills of Indian hand-made carpets and other floor coverings amongst the visiting overseas carpet buyers, the Carpet Export Promotion Council is organising its 34th India Carpet Expo (13th in Varanasi) at the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Ground, Varanasi, under the aegis of Government of India. The event which will commence from October 10 and will last till October 13, is an ideal platform for International carpet buyers, buying houses, buying agents, architects and Indian carpet manufacturers and exporters, to meet and establish long term business relationship. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBeing one of the largest handmade carpet fairs in Asia, the expo offers a unique platform for the buyers to source the best handmade carpets, rugs and other floor coverings under one roof. It has become a popular destination worldwide for handmade carpets. India’s unique capability in adapting to any type of design, colour, quality and size as per the specifications of the carpet buyers has made it a household name in International market. The carpet industry uses diverse raw-materials from various ports of India i.e. wool, silk, manmade fibre, jute, cotton and various blends of different yarns. Economists believe that this industry have immense potential for growth, both in production and exports. Also, it is environment friendly and does not use scarce and perishable energy resources. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOver the years, the India Carpet Expo has established itself as a great sourcing platform for the carpet buyers from all over the globe. The prime objective of the Council in holding the Expo in Varanasi, the major Carpet producing belt, is to provide ‘unique pick and choose’ business opportunity to all overseas carpet buyers. It is the endeavor of the Council to provide exclusive business environment to the carpet importers as well as manufacturers and exporters. The Council has allotted stands to 274 participants in the biggest possible stand area of 6631 sq meter in ICE, during October 2017. The event will be inaugurated on October 10, by Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, Government of India, in the august presence of Shantmanu, IAS, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) and other Senior Government officials from the Central and State Governments.It is expected that around 500 reputed overseas carpet buyers, from almost 58 countries mainly from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, U.K., USA etc. have registered themselves for attending the Expo. It would be worthwhile to mention that buyers from new countries like Bulgaria, Israel, Mauritius, Taiwan, Vietnam are also attending the mega Expo to do serious business with Indian exporters/manufacturers. This will ultimately benefit over two million weavers/artisans employed in this highly labour intensive rural based cottage industry.Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is not only inviting and incentivizing the wholesale buyers but is also providing a two-nights complimentary stay in a hotel at Varanasi for attending the India Carpet Expo. Mahavir Pratap Sharma, Chairman, said that this exhibition and buyer-seller meet will be taking Indian exports of handmade carpets to greater and newer heights. Siddh Nath Singh, first Vice-Chairman, Umer Hameed, second Vice-Chairman and all Members of COA, CEPC are confident that the Expo will generate good business for the artisans and weavers from around the globe.last_img read more

Why Microsoft Created 3D Scans of Random People

first_imgFebruary 29, 2016 Waiting patiently for the day when you won’t have to keep track of all your passwords? Microsoft took a field trip this weekend to help further the development of an alternative.On Saturday, the tech giant set up shop at popular Seattle tourist site the Ballard Locks to get help from a handful of volunteers who lent their visages to the company’s research for Windows Hello, a year-old biometric authentication system for Windows 10.Related: 3 Biometrics Startups Heating Up the Password Security Race The tech giant created 3-D infrared scan of participants’ faces in an effort to “gather a wide variety of real-world scans to improve the accuracy of the facial recognition technology,” according to GeekWire.The people who donated five minutes and their likenesses signed a release ahead of time explaining that the 3-D scans would only be used for the company’s research. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 1 min readcenter_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

Airline defendants to pay US95 million in 911 case

first_img Thursday, November 23, 2017 NEW YORK — Insurers for American Airlines, United Airlines and other aviation defendants have agreed to pay $95 million to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the Sept. 11 attacks.The settlement was described in papers filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Developers of the new World Trade Center buildings had once demanded $3.5 billion from aviation-related companies after hijacked planes destroyed three skyscrapers among five demolished buildings on Sept. 11, 2001.Lawyers said the agreement signed last week resulted from “extensive, arms-length negotiations” by lawyers “who worked diligently for months.” The agreement also said the parties make no admissions or concessions with respect to liability for the attacks.“The court’s approval of the settlement agreement will bring to a close this hard-fought 13-year litigation on terms agreeable to the parties,” the lawyers said.Attorney Desmond T. Barry Jr., who submitted the papers to U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, declined to comment Wednesday.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backDeveloper Larry Silverstein and World Trade Center Properties have collected more than $5 billion from other defendants through lawsuits. The money has aided the reconstruction of buildings on the 16-acre lower Manhattan site.Earlier settlements included $135 million paid to a financial services firm that lost two-thirds of its employees.American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the company is pleased to have reached a settlement.“We will never forget that terrible day and its lasting impact including the tragic loss of 23 members of the American Airlines family,” said Miller.United Airlines declined to comment.Bud Perrone, a spokesman for Silverstein, said the company is “pleased to have finally reached a resolution to this piece of post-9-11 litigation.” << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Presscenter_img Airline defendants to pay US$95 million in 9/11 case Sharelast_img read more

Asian OTT service Viu has launched in Indonesia a

first_imgAsian OTT service Viu has launched in Indonesia, as its streaming rival Netflix experiences problems in the country.Viu is run by Hong Kong-based telco PCCW and is largely programmed with regional content. The catalogue is about 15,000 hours.It has already rolled out in Malaysia, India, Hong Kong and Singapore and has now inked distribution deals in Indonesia with partners including Telkom Indonesia and Telkomsel.It has also teamed with Samsung so make the streaming service available on the consumer electronics giant’s handset’s in Indonesia.The ad-supported version of Viu is free, with a IDR 30,000 a month premium ad-free version also available.The Telkom deal is significant because the state telco had blocked US SVOD service Netflix. Viu will be carried on Telkom’s IndiHome fibre service.“What Viu brings to Indonesia is unique with its approach to delivering the best of Asian content to entertain us all. We’re pleased to embark on this strategic partnership with Vuclip  to bring to our IndiHome by Telkom subscribers an affordable way to enjoy this content,” said Dian Rachmawan, consumer service director Telkom.“Today marks a very important milestone in our journey and would like to extend sincere appreciation and thanks to all ouremployees and partners who helped make this happen,” said Nickhil Jakatdar, founder and CEO, PCCW’s Vuclip division.“However, this is just the start and we look forward to entertaining millions of Indonesians through our fresh and exciting best of Asian content and high quality service.”last_img read more

The number of users of international pay TV operat

first_imgThe number of users of international pay TV operator M7 Group’s OTT TV service has now reached 300,000, representing a growth rate of 30% since December last year.Bill WijdeveldM7 Group VP of business development Bill Wijdeveld said that take-up of the M7 TV app, which is available on Apple and Android devices, had been “impressive”.In addition to its app for Android and iOS devices, M7 has also introduced a dedicated app for smart TVs in partnership with Samsung, allowing viewers to access both linear and interactive services without the need for a set-top box. It said that agreements with other TV manufacturers would follow soon.M7 said that as a result of he rapid uptake of hybrid TV viewing among M7 subscribers, special interest channels targeting smaller viewing audiences, including NPO Zapp, NPO1 Extra, RTL Crime, RTL Lounge and AT5, are now primarily distributed via OTT.The pay TV outfit said that the availability of OTT and hybrid distribution in addition to M7’s existing DTH and IPTV platforms meant that the group was able to make new channels available. It said that it would shortly add NPO2 Extra, NPO3 Extra and NPO Nieuws  to the line-up of the Canal Digitaal TV app. Content from the channels will also be available via the operator’s restart and replay TV services.last_img read more

OTT TV providers need to tackle churn just as urge

first_imgOTT TV providers need to tackle churn just as urgently as pay TV companies, says Gilles Domartini, CEO and founder, Cleeng.We hear a lot about churn in traditional pay TV but how big a challenge is churn for OTT TV operators?Both pay TV and OTT providers have churn as a main challenge. The main differences between the two is closely related to payments and customer experience.Regarding payments, most traditional pay TV providers have classic, invoice-based payments that are highly predictable and standardised. In the OTT case, most consumers use credit cards to do transactions. On average, these cards expire in three years, meaning you lose 3% monthly due to payment failure alone.Regarding the customer experience, pay TV providers have a predictable infrastructure as they own the network, provide the set-top boxes etc. In OTT, this infrastructure or consumption platform is unknown to the operator, as viewers may watch their content on desktop, mobile, via apps or the web, with varying quality.Ultimately, churn can be fatal. It isn’t unusual among the prospects that reach out to us to see churn rates ranging from 20% to 40%. Improving these metrics is essential to reach a positive ROI and continue to grow your subscriber base year-on-year.What do SVOD and OTT TV companies need to put in place to predict churn with a degree of accuracy?The answer sounds simple but it turns complex in practice.Looking at this from an OTT service perspective, the quality standards need to be raised significantly. Churn can become hard to control, as it can happen at any point during the customer journey, due to various reasons like payment failure, a thin content catalogue, low engagement levels, bad viewing experience, lack of customer support, etc.Having a clear and comprehensive view on the full customer journey is a must. This journey starts from the initial login or registration, choosing a payment method, and ends with interaction with customer support.Once you have mapped this flow, you need to consolidate the relevant data from all the available data points, and build a 360° view of your users’ behaviour, considering all the possible scenarios.For example, when you can see a case when a user hasn’t logged on in the past couple of months and his payment card is expiring soon, you can design a campaign to retain that user.How far can analysis of customer data help OTT operators address the problem?We believe, very far. The analysis of customer data is critical and can help on many fronts. At the start, it gives you a better insight of your users’ behaviour. That gives you ammunition to tackle churn. Knowing exactly why subscribers left can help you improve your service by fine-tuning your content strategy, improving streaming quality, adjusting your marketing targeting etc.Once you master that practice, you can start to predict behaviour. Just a few companies are currently doing this well, and this will be key for the battle against the big guns, like Netflix and Amazon.What are examples of the types of measures can OTT TV providers put in place to reduce churn?Churn deserves a serious focus and a break-down of all the factors causing it. Once you understand all the different causes and their impact levels, it’s easier to define an improvement plan. Currently, most of the tech vendors focus on the payment-generated factors for churn, like transaction failures, expired cards and low balances and set up mechanisms for streamlining that flow. This is important, yet insufficient.We have identified two other critical groups of factors:Engagement-generated or what defines the usage of your service: frequency and time of viewing, quality of experience (buffering, start/pause).Satisfaction-generated or what defines how happy viewers are with your service: the number of support inquires, languages support, NPS score.Once you master these three dimensions, you can truly tackle churn effectively.What can Cleeng specifically offer to help operators tackle churn?Cleeng opted for a video focused, data-driven, 360° take on churn. We have the benefit of focusing strictly on e-commerce video solutions (PPV, SVOD), and that allows us to integrate the tech ecosystem into one solution and build a comprehensive dashboard.We are super-confident about our new, unique product, named Cleeng ChurnIQ. It empowers OTT broadcasters to tackle churn at all the phases of the customer journey, from login, to payment, consumption, ending with customer care.We have integration with authentication, payment, front-end, QoE, and marketing solutions to achieve this. It’s all about prediction and action.We consolidate all these data points and present the insights via an easy-to-digest dashboard designed for the OTT decision maker. Together with the prediction tools, decision makers are fully equipped to take actions that reduce churn, minimise workload and optimise ROI.We encourage you to see ChurnIQ in action. Book a demo at the upcoming NAB Show.This Q&A is sponsored content.last_img read more

Disabled campaigners have welcomed the longawaite

first_imgDisabled campaigners have welcomed the long-awaited publication of draft legislation to create Europe-wide access laws.The European Commission – the European Union’s executive body – finally published a European Accessibility Act this week, 15 years after promising to outlaw the discrimination faced by disabled people in accessing goods and services.It said the act would set “common accessibility requirements for certain key products and services”, including cashpoint machines and other banking services, personal computers, telephones and television equipment, telephony and audio-visual services, transport, e-books and e-commerce.The publication came the day before the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), which this year had a theme of “access and empowerment for people of all abilities”.The proposed European Accessibility Act would complement Britain’s own Equality Act by making existing voluntary European access standards mandatory across the European Union (EU).The act’s publication comes only two months after the United Nations said it was “concerned” that a European Accessibility Act had not yet been adopted by the EU, and gave it just 12 months to explain how it would be introduced.Yannis Vardakastanis (pictured), president of the European Disability Forum (EDF), said the act could “contribute to the empowerment of persons with disabilities to better enjoy the freedom of movement of persons, goods and services in the European single market”.He said the act had been a “top priority” for EDF and its members for many years, through its Freedom of Movement campaign.But he said it was too early to comment on the content of the act itself.He said: “In the coming weeks and months EDF and its members will work together with the EU institutions, partner organisations and other stakeholders to make this piece of legislation meaningful for 80 million people with disabilities in Europe.”The European Blind Union (EBU) also welcomed the act’s publication.Wolfgang Angermann, EBU’s president, said: “We have faced discrimination for long enough.“Along with our partners in the European Disability Forum, we will respond thoughtfully to the consultation which has just opened on this proposed legislation.“After that, we will be urging all those involved in the legislative process to ensure this new law is fully effective and thorough.”Marianne Thyssen, the EU’s commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility, said: “Disability should not be a barrier to full participation in society, nor should the lack of EU common rules be a barrier to cross-border trade in accessible products and services.“With this act, we want to deepen the internal market and use its potential for the benefit of both companies and citizens with disabilities. In fact, we all may benefit from it.”The commission believes the act will make it easier for companies that want to export goods and services within the EU, and will help small business “take full advantage of the EU market”, with disabled people benefiting from “a greater supply of accessible products and services at more competitive prices”.Without the act, each EU country would continue to develop different laws as they implemented their accessibility obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Richard Howitt, the Labour MEP and co-president of the European Parliament’s all-party disability rights group, said European officials had “shamefully dragged their feet” on a promise made 15 years ago to outlaw disability discrimination in access to goods and services.  Howitt, who played a key role in negotiating that promise in 2000, said it would have been long-forgotten if it had not been for “16 years of relentless campaigning by disabled people’s organisations”.Howitt said: “It is shameful how long disabled people have been forced to wait and the foot-dragging by anyone and everyone in Brussels has to stop right now.“Echoing the slogans of disability activists, this is much more a victory by rather than for disabled people themselves.“When I helped negotiate the EU law against disability discrimination in access to employment in 2000, the European Parliament was promised that action to outlaw the same discrimination in access to goods and services would soon follow.“Today, we are close to achieving what for many years has simply only been a dream and equality itself is finally being given equal treatment.”He added: “Although I am proud that Europe has made progress in the past on disability access rules in relation to the installation of lifts, for some public transport and on the internet, the bitter truth is that a large swathe of the built environment remains a ‘no go’ area for people with disabilities in Britain and in Europe.”There will now be a period of eight weeks’ consultation, followed by legislative procedures in the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.last_img read more

Twitter to Disclose Who Paid for Ads on its Platform

first_img Next Article 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Reporter This story originally appeared on PCMag Michael Kan Twitter to Disclose Who Paid for Ads on its Platform October 25, 2017 Amid criticism that Russia exploited Twitter to influence voter sentiment in last year’s election, the service will now clearly label political ads as such.On a Tuesday blog post, Twitter said it’ll create an “advertising transparency center,” where the public can view all the ads that are running on the platform, and who paid for them. In the future, Twitter will also clearly identify tweets from a political account.Twitter’s transparency center will have a special section devoted to these political ads. It’ll show who bought them, how much they’ve spent on total campaign ads and which demographics these ads have been targeting, including the age, gender and geography.Twitter unveiled the plan days after U.S. senators introduced legislation that would require major online services to adopt similar measures. That includes forcing services like Twitter to create a public file on political ad purchases, and placing disclaimers on each ad, identifying who sponsored them.The legislation is in response to Russia’s suspected role in using social media to interfere with last year’s presidential election. Some of those efforts included buying political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter, but outdated campaign laws prevent the public from knowing who bought them, according to the U.S. senators behind the bill.On Tuesday, Twitter said it’s also going beyond electoral advertisements, and will develop stricter policies around “issue-based ads.” However, this will take time, and it’ll involve collaborating with other tech companies, industry leaders and ad partners to clearly define what these policies should encompass.Whether any of these measures will placate U.S. lawmakers remains unclear. But on Tuesday, Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who was critical of Twitter’s initial transparency efforts on this issue, praised the company’s announcement.A good first step, particularly public disclosure of ads info. Online political ads need more transparency & disclosure. We need #HonestAds https://t.co/ewDbd1hTxZ— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) October 24, 2017Twitter’s blog post didn’t say whether the company supports the upcoming legislation.In the meantime, the company has vowed to crack down on another problem facing the platform: the influence of fake Twitter accounts spreading misinformation, another way lawmakers say Russia interfered with last year’s presidential election.Last month, Twitter itself disclosed that it had found 200 accounts connected to Russian-linked efforts to influence the public over social media. Reportedly, Russian trolls also created a fake Tennessee Republican Party Twitter account that managed to get retweets from President Donald Trump’s staff last year.In response, Twitter has said it’s investing in new techiniques to fight bots and spam on the platform. Twitter unveiled the new effort after U.S. senators introduced legislation that would require tech companies to add disclaimers to political ads. –shares Guest Writer 3 min read Add to Queue Twitter Image credit: Via PC Mag The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now »last_img read more

Jeff Bezos Did What The Week In Entrepreneur News Quiz

first_img Register Now » Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Quizzes Add to Queue –shares Entrepreneur Staff How plugged in are you? Find out! September 14, 2018 Entrepreneur Staff Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 1 min read This week, Tesla got a jump start (of sorts) and a little girl’s crunchy dream came true. Were you paying attention to the goings on in the entrepreneurial universe? See how plugged in you were to this week’s news hits.Related: Are You a Genius? Take This Quiz and Find Out!Close Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images Next Article Jeff Bezos Did What?! The Week In Entrepreneur News Quizlast_img read more

5 Surprising Truths About Canadian Legalization

first_img Cannabis legalization is poised to have a huge, positive impact on Canadian society — now that the simple and commonplace act of lighting a joint or consuming a soft gel capsule is no longer considered a crime. Not only will Canadian citizens benefit, but investors and entrepreneurs will also be faced with a massive and rare opportunity.The excitement and interest surrounding what’s happening in Canada inspired our company to recently open offices in both Toronto and Vancouver. As we’ve navigated our way through that process and the country’s unique legal landscape, we’ve learned a few things. Here are five of my most important takeaways for my fellow U.S.-based cannabis entrepreneurs who are setting their sights on the Canadian market.Related: How Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Changes the Game1. Canada is legalizing cannabis with a prohibitionist mentality.Canada has come a long way, but it has much further to go. Unfortunately, there is still evidence of a prohibitionist mindset at play.The long road to legalization began with patient advocates and lawyers fighting for patient access. They achieved this by dragging the previous, resistant government through many legal battles. Ultimately, they won and secured a thriving medical program in Canada.Fast forward to today. Adult recreational users can now also enjoy the benefits of cannabis (albeit with a government mandate to keep cannabis out of the hands of the youth and criminals). But not everyone is on board. I’d like to see the Canadian government doing much more to recognize and promote the tremendous therapeutic, environmental and economic potential benefit of cannabis. There is an opportunity for businesses to take the lead here by seeking ways to educate lawmakers, medical workers, retail distributors and consumers. They can begin by connecting these audiences with the doctors and other experts who helped push the country past prohibition. Businesses can create compelling content and physical experiences that educate and entertain. My own experiences with my company in the U.S. have demonstrated the power of authentic content — which is not at all like advertising — combined with, say, physical education centers that offer learning experiences about cannabis companies, products and benefits.2. Only two types of cannabis products are being legalized this year.As of October 17, Canadians are able to enjoy two types of products that are legally available: 1. Whole flower cannabis, and 2. Edible oils, including Softgel capsules. Looking forward, the Canadian government is developing a regulatory framework for finished edible products, vape pens, hash and inhaled concentrates. But anyone seeking to enter the Canadian market and wanting to capture the buzz and excitement in the fall must understand that it will be at least a year before the full range of cannabis products are included in the regulated market.3. Each province has a different retail model.Now the Cannabis Act has come into effect, Canada’s 13 provinces and territories each have the authority to determine what distribution and retail will look like in their jurisdictions. This means each province can set their own rules about how cannabis can be sold, where stores may be located, and how the stores must be operated.Given the regional autonomy, we will see a mix of slightly different models comprised of government-run online and private retail. What’s more, the provinces and territories have the option to create other restrictions, which include the lowering of possession limits, increasing the minimum age, restrictions on where cannabis may be used in public, and added requirements on personal cultivation. Any entrepreneurs creating a Canadian business plan need to understand that it will be impossible to create a one-size-fits-all approach; their plans must consider the patchwork system of rules that make up the Canadian model.Related: 7 Interesting Things to Know About Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana4. The medical marijuana system will continue to exist.  There are 300,000 Canadian patients accessing medical cannabis through their medical system. The Canadian Medical Association lobbied to end the medical system arguing that patients should access cannabis through recreational retail outlets, but the Government consulted with and listened to patients and concluded that the medical system will continue, encouraging patients to use cannabis with the knowledge and support of their healthcare professionals.  For digital entrepreneurs, marketing to cannabis consumers with educational programs will be financially rewarding if they focus on building credible lead-generation offerings around new patient acquisition.5. Canada has highly restrictive branding, advertising and marketing regulations.Canada has put in place highly-restrictive regulations around packaging, branding and marketing. This has resulted in plain packaging with large health warnings and no promotion of cannabis accessories or services related to cannabis. A regulatory environment such as this requires innovation and creativity. Tried and tired marketing strategies will simply not fly. Cannabis companies will have to lean on education initiatives, corporate social responsibility and meaningful community engagement to build brand recognition.5.5  Bonus TipFor my fellow cannabis entrepreneurs living on the other side of the border, you should know that the sale and consumption of weed is still a federal crime in the U.S. and Canadians who admit to smoking it or working in the marijuana industry can be turned away from the border or even banned for life. Although there has been some recent progress with this, the fact remains that the U.S. is not making it easy for anyone to conduct cross-border business even if you don’t touch the plant.I’ll leave the final word to my friend and fellow advocate leading the charge in Canada, Hilary Black, Director, Patient Education and Advocacy at the Canopy Growth Corporation: “While this feels like legalization 1.0 and there is more work to be done in Canada, this is a momentous occasion to celebrate. This is a victory for human rights, social justice and patients rights. I am so proud of Canada for showing meaningful courageous leadership on the global stage.”Related: This Week in Weed: Canada ‘Okays’ Public Smoking!     Add to Queue CEO of PRØHBTD Next Article Drake Sutton-Shearer Guest Writer Free Green Entrepreneur App 5 Surprising Truths About Canadian Legalization –shares O Cannabis Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. The country’s legalization of cannabis was a big step forward, but they still have a long way to go. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Image credit: pixabay Download Our Free Android Applast_img read more

Could US Tech Companies Face Overseas Warrants

first_img –shares Image credit: Peopleimages | Getty Images The Obama administration is said to be in negotiations with international governments that could eventually allow them to serve U.S. technology companies with warrants on things like email and wiretaps, the Wall Street Journal reports.The first agreement will likely be signed with the U.K., according to the report. The negotiations were discussed by a senior Justice Department official on Friday. Any deals would not provide access to data from U.S. citizens or residents. They would also have to be approved by Congress and international lawmakers.Complicating matters is a recent federal appeals court ruling that said U.S.-based federal warrants cannot be used on search data stored in overseas data centers. The case, brought by Microsoft, was viewed as a major blow to law enforcement and a win for privacy advocates.Law enforcement argues it should have access to data in the event it can stop or solve a crime. Particularly in the wake of the Snowden leaks, however, technology companies do not want customers to think they are participating in government surveillance.The move to allow foreign governments to access U.S. Internet company data could make that divide even greater. Privacy advocates aware of the negotiations are already decrying the proposals, saying that it would put individual liberty at risk.Looking ahead, any U.K. deal would serve as a template, the Journal says. But Congress has dragged its feet on updates to legislation like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which dates back to 1986. July 19, 2016 Add to Queue Next Article 2 min read International Business Don Reisinger 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Apply Now » This story originally appeared on PCMag Could U.S. Tech Companies Face Overseas Warrants? Contributing Writer The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue.last_img read more

A year in Uber CEO works to rebuild companys reputation

first_imgQ: What’s the timeline for taking the company public, and do you think you can do it without being profitable?A: We’re looking at the second half of next year toward the end of the year. There are very few companies of our size that have the kind of growth rate or exciting new businesses like Uber Eats within the portfolio, and we’re showing progress toward profitability. We have to show a path to profitability.Q: What about the driverless car program? Is Toyota going to run it, and what are the plans for Toyota’s $500 million investment?A: We have an incredibly talented in-house team of engineers who are building hardware, software and operations to make self-driving cars a reality in a safe manner. An advantage we have now is we’re building self-driving technology while we have a live network in place, and ultimately we think there’s going to be a hybrid of self-driving technology and human-driven technology. We wanted to bring Toyota in as a valuable partner. Toyota is bringing in special cars that are going to be electric and that are built for ride sharing in urban destinations. Their expertise in self-driving and car manufacturing and our expertise with advanced technologies and our network will be an unbeatable combination.Q: Do you think that Toyota will help in terms of rebuilding the trust in Uber’s self-driving program after what happened in Phoenix?A: I think Toyota’s investment in us and their partnership with us speaks volumes about our efforts and their efforts. We have a lot to learn from Toyota in terms of manufacturing, technology, brand and safety. We’re here to learn, and the partnership is off to a great start. Ever since he stepped into his role as CEO a year ago, Dara Khosrowshahi has had to deal with wave after wave of major scandals and bad press, much of which he inherited from his predecessor, Travis Kalanick. Citation: A year in, Uber CEO works to rebuild company’s reputation (2018, September 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-year-uber-ceo-rebuild-company.html Uber rolls out safety features for drivers, passengers Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features, in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.(AP Photo/Richard Drew) About two weeks after Khosrowshahi started his job, London’s transport regulator decided to revoke Uber’s license to operate, jeopardizing the regional business with 3.5 million passengers. A court eventually gave Uber a license, although much shorter than normal.Later that year Uber was forced to come clean about covering up a major computer attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million customers and drivers. In February, Uber agreed to pay $245 million to Google’s self-driving car spinoff to end a legal brawl that aired out allegations that Uber stole technology.Perhaps the biggest problem came in March when an Uber self-driving test vehicle ran down and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, Arizona. Later it was disclosed that the human backup driver in the Uber SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward just before the crash.Under Khosrowshahi, Uber has been trying to shore up its reputation. It has made safety a top priority and on Wednesday, it revealed a suite of safety features for both drivers and passengers. Uber is also teaming up with Toyota to build self-driving cars for its ride-hailing service and will receive a $500 million investment from the Japanese automaker. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Khosrowshahi sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his first year as CEO and how he plans to steer the company. Answers have been edited for space and clarity.Q: Aside from improving safety features, where do you see the company headed?A: Uber was a ride-hailing service, but really we want to think about Uber as a broad transportation platform which includes ride-hailing, Uber Eats, e-bikes, scooters—and eventually we’re going to integrate with mass transit. So if you work in a city and if you want to get from point A to point B, we want you to think about Uber. We ultimately want to be your one-stop shop for transportation.Q: You’ve been at Uber a year, and from the moment you walked through the door there have been problems. When do you feel like you’ve reached the point where you’ve stopped repairing the damage of your predecessor and are really making your mark on the company? Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.(AP Photo/Richard Drew) A: My predecessor made mistakes. I’m going to make mistakes as well. The fact is that I’ve inherited an incredible company with incredible talent. My predecessor and his team built a company that’s a verb. So no one’s perfect and there’s a lot that we’ve undertaken to fix. We have rebuilt the culture of the company, we have reprioritized safety as a number one priority for the company…I can tell you that a year in, I’m thrilled to be here and I’ve got a ton of work to do. 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.last_img read more

Midterm voting exposes growing problem of aging machines

first_imgIn Georgia, where numerous problems led to long lines and discouraged voters at polling places Tuesday, the cost to replace its all-electronic machines is estimated at $120 million. The machines have been in use since 2002 and do not produce a paper record that voters can use to verify their selections and election workers can use to audit results.The election technology in Georgia and the other states using all-electronic machines is so unreliable and vulnerable to hacking that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has joined calls for the machines to be replaced. In August, she said she wants “all state and local election officials to make certain that by the 2020 presidential election, every American votes on a verifiable and auditable ballot.”Voters on Election Day and during early voting in the weeks before reported sporadic problems with election equipment in numerous states, including Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which runs the nonpartisan Election Protection voter assistance hotline.During early voting in Texas, some voters who were casting “straight ticket” ballots for candidates solely of one party found their vote in the nationally watched U.S. Senate race changed to the other party’s candidate. State officials said that can occur when voters complete and submit ballots too quickly, but voting experts said it was wrong to blame voters. The real problem was poorly designed technology that is 16 years old, they said.”You design it to work regardless of how fast people push buttons,” said University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones, author of “Broken Ballots.”Jones said Tuesday’s problems were not unusually bad given the state of the technology used. On Election Day, 18 voting locations in Texas opened late because of machine or poll book failures, and some locations still did not have all machines working by mid-afternoon Tuesday.Officials in 33 states have said they must replace their machines by 2020, according to a Brennan Center for Justice report earlier this year. But so far there has not been a wholesale commitment to paying for the upgrades.”A big part of this is people who are responsible for making decisions on how the money is being spent think people don’t care,” said Lawrence Norden, a voting systems expert at the Brennan Center. “When you have to make decisions about how to spend money and you are a state legislator, you feel more pressure to spend money on basic services.”New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said she was determined to get something done after voters in her state were forced to drop their ballots into emergency boxes or resort to voting by affidavit because so many electronic scanners failed within hours after the polls opened.New York’s “archaic elections systems aren’t just inconvenient—they also undermine our democratic process,” Underwood tweeted Tuesday.The malfunctioning equipment turned a polling place in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood into a “mosh pit,” said Brad Lander, a New York City councilman. By the time he got a chance to vote, all four of the scanners in the precinct were broken.The clock is ticking to make upgrades, with the presidential election just two years away. Selecting and buying new voting machines can easily take a year and a half or longer, and that’s assuming a state has money to spend.”It’s not like going into Best Buy, and saying ‘I want 250 of those machines,'” said Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. Citation: Midterm voting exposes growing problem of aging machines (2018, November 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-midterm-voting-exposes-problem-aging.html Explore further Elections forensics can enhance, challenge legitimacy of election outcome People stand on numerous lines as they wait to vote at Kingsboro Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. The malfunctioning equipment turned a polling place in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood into a “mosh pit,” said Brad Lander, a New York City councilman. By the time he got a chance to vote, all four of the scanners in the precinct were broken. (Courtesy of Brad Lander via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Election experts have long warned about the nation’s aging fleet of voting equipment. This week’s elections underscored just how badly upgrades are needed. Across the country, reports poured in Tuesday amid heavy voter turnout of equipment failing or malfunctioning, triggering frustration among voters and long lines at polling places.Scanners used to record ballots broke down in New York City. Voting machines stalled or stopped working in Detroit. Electronic poll books used to check in voters failed in Georgia. Machines failed to read ballots in Wake County, North Carolina, as officials blamed humidity and lengthy ballots.Those problems followed a busy early voting period that revealed other concerns, including machines that altered voters’ choices in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.Voting experts had hoped the threat of foreign governments meddling in U.S. elections, raised in 2016 when Russia targeted state election systems, would prompt action to upgrade the machinery that underpins U.S. elections.But two years before the 2020 presidential election, 41 states are still using machines that were manufactured more than a decade ago and a dozen states are using at least some electronic machines that produce no paper trail, which can be used to settle a disputed outcome. Just three states require the type of rigorous audit backed by cybersecurity experts.Some of the voting machines in use Tuesday were built before Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, while other equipment has become so obsolete that election workers have been forced to search on eBay for replacement parts.In some cases, local election offices have no technicians who are trained to repair their machines when something goes wrong. Some even run on Windows operating systems that Microsoft no longer supports.”You can’t run democracy on the cheap,” said Jenny Flanagan, vice president for state operations with Common Cause. “We have to invest in our democracy to make our elections work.”Congress sent $380 million to states earlier this year, but that was nowhere near enough to pay for the bulk of the nation’s nearly 10,000 election jurisdictions to upgrade their equipment. Experts with the Brennan Center for Justice have estimated it would take $1 billion or more to make the necessary upgrades. 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.last_img read more

Change your phone settings so Apple Google cant track your movements

first_imgAnd many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships.Why people don’t opt outWebsites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults.When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose. Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it.Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance. They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it.Overcoming the power of defaultsPrivacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations.The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation.Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions: Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device. Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map.Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead. Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want. Explore further Location data as an ‘identifier’ of personal data Citation: Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements (2019, January 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-apple-google-track-movements.html Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Credit: Marta Design/Shutterstock.com Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry.Data sold to third partiesThere are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection. For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties. App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.” But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.center_img Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance. The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent.How consumers are made to agreeMost companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program. But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree.Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them.Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it.U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way. Provided by The Conversation Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy. Your phone tracks your movements all the time. Credit: grapestock/Shutterstock.com 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.last_img read more