China surveillance app targets legal everyday behaviour

first_imgGraphic on `educational facilities` in China`s Xinjiang region that rights activists describe as political re-education camps. Photo: AFPChinese authorities are using a mobile app designed for mass surveillance to profile, investigate and detain Muslims in Xinjiang by labelling “completely lawful” behaviour as suspicious, a Human Rights Watch report said Thursday.Beijing has come under international criticism over its policies in the northwest region of Xinjiang, where as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps, according to a group of experts cited by the UN.Human Rights Watch has previously reported that Xinjiang authorities use a mass surveillance system called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP) to gather information from multiple sources, such as facial-recognition cameras, wifi sniffers, police checkpoints, banking records and home visits.But the new study, entitled “China’s Algorithms of Repression”, worked with a Berlin-based security company to analyse an app connected to the IJOP, showing specific acts targeted by the system.Xinjiang authorities closely watch 36 categories of behaviour, including those who do not socialise with neighbours, often avoid using the front door, don’t use a smartphone, donate to mosques “enthusiastically”, and use an “abnormal” amount of electricity, the group found.The app also instructs officers to investigate those related to someone who got a new phone number, or related to others who left the country and have not returned after 30 days.”Our research shows, for the first time, that Xinjiang police are using illegally gathered information about people’s completely lawful behavior — and using it against them,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.”The Chinese government is monitoring every aspect of people’s lives in Xinjiang, picking out those it mistrusts, and subjecting them to extra scrutiny.””Moving red-line”The rights group obtained a copy of the app and enlisted cybersecurity firm Cure53 to “reverse-engineer” it — to disassemble it and look at its design and data — and examined its source code.Along with collecting personal information the app prompts officials to file reports about people, vehicles and events they find suspect — and sends out “investigative missions” for police to follow up.Officers are also asked to check whether suspects use any of the 51 internet tools that are deemed suspicious, including foreign messaging platforms popular outside China like WhatsApp, LINE and Telegram.A number of people said they or their family members have been detained for having software such as WhatsApp or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) installed on their phones during checks by authorities, according to the report.The rights group said its findings suggest the IJOP system tracks data of everyone in Xinjiang by monitoring location data from their phones, ID cards and vehicles, plus electricity and gas station usage.”Psychologically, the more people are sure that their actions are monitored and that they, at anytime, can be judged for moving outside of a safe grey-space, the more likely they are to do everything to avoid coming close to crossing a moving red- line,” Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, told AFP.”There is no rule of law in China, the Party ultimately decides what is legal and illegal behaviour, and it doesn’t have to be written down.”The IJOP app was developed by Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering Company (HBFEC), which at the time of the app’s development was fully-owned by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, a state-owned technology giant (CETC), said Human Rights Watch.CETC could not be reached and HBFEC did not respond to requests for comment.Washington last year imposed export controls on key Chinese companies including HBFEC and other institutions under CETC, citing risks to US national security and foreign policy interests.Greg Walton, an independent cybersecurity expert who advised on the report, said while the system is a “blunt instrument that may be directly contributing to the massive numbers of people in internment camps”, the data if stored could be used in the future for more advanced policing algorithms.”This means that data collected through the app today may well be analysed in a few years’ time by far more sophisticated logic,” he said.last_img

Janmashtami celebrated across country

first_imgMembers of the Hindu community brought out processions in Palashi area of the capital. Photo: Dipu MalakarThe Hindu community of the country observed Janmashtami, marking the birth of Lord Krishna, on Friday with due religious fervor, reports UNB. According to Hindu religion, Lord Vishnu incarnated in the universe as Lord Krishna in the prison of Raja Kangsa on this day, the eighth of “Shukla Pakkha” (bright fortnight) in the month of Bengali calendar Bhadra in Dwapara Yuga in order to protect “Dharma” from the hands of devils. Sri Krishna was born to Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in Mathura to which Krishna’s parents belonged. Members of the Hindu community brought out processions in the capital, divisional cities and district towns displaying the eventful life of Krishna and held other programmes on the occasion. The largest procession of Janmashtami was brought out in the city’s Palashi intersection. Even torrential rain could not dampen the festivity. The participants had colorful banners and festoons depicting the birth of Krishna and his early years. Animesh Paul, a student who took part in the procession with his friends, said this festival helps him believe in a future for everyone. “The message is that no-one should be without love for others,” he said. Various social, cultural and religious organisations chalked out elaborate programmes to celebrate the occasion. The day is a public holiday. President Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages greeted the members of Hindu community. In his message, the president said Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony where people of all religions perform their own religious rituals freely. In her message, the prime minister hoped that the ideals and teachings of Krishna will inspire his disciples to further consolidate the ties of communal harmony, friendship and fraternity. National dailies will publish special articles while Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and other private TV channels and radio stations aired special programmes highlighting different aspects of the eventful life of Lord Krishna.last_img read more

Houston Houses Of Worship Struggle To Stay Welcoming With An Eye On

first_img X Listen 00:00 /04:05 Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/17100915/Bricks-2017-11-17-at-10.04am.mp400:0000:0000:48Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Allison LeeMuslim congregants gather for Friday prayer, at the River Oaks Islamic Center.center_img Congregants gathered for Friday prayer, at the River Oaks Islamic Center. Over a hundred pairs of shoes, from cowboy boots to Birkenstock’s, were neatly lined up along the wall. After prayers, many congregants wrote out cards of solidarity and condolence, for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs. “You feel like you’re one community who worships God, at the end of the day,” Imam Mubeen Khumawala said.  “If one place of worship is under attack, you feel all places of worship are under attack. You definitely feel a fraternal spirit among all faith groups…. We all are going through the same struggle.”– / 8Khumawala said the past couple of years, the mosque has added security guards at times when the most people gather. They also installed security cameras.“We’re able to lock our doors using iPhones and whatnot, as well,” said Khumawala. “I don’t think at this mosque, in particular, there has been need for more security…. [The Sutherland Springs shooting] is another reminder for us to be cognizant of our surroundings.”Allison Lee“We have to look after one another… as a community, period,” said Michael Demaris, head of security for the River Oaks Islamic Center.Outside the mosque, Michael Demaris was monitoring the perimeter and guiding traffic. He said he has been head of security for the mosque, for the past four years.“Sister, how far did you park? I’m going to walk with you,” Demaris said to an elderly congregant.Demaris said a community-approach to safety is paramount.“I’ve given safety talks. I’m an instructor for an NRA program called “Refuse to Be a Victim”. It’s an NRA program that’s a non-gun program, that’s a safety awareness program,” Demaris said. “We had one here back in July. It was an hour and a half, two-hour seminar. We had a self-defense demonstration by another gentleman, who is a martial arts instructor.”ISGH River Oaks Islamic CenterKarate and Dojo Instructor Ehab Ahmed Samurai explains self-defense moves to Muslim congregants.Hasan Gapolani, a board member at the River Oaks Islamic Center, helped organize that self-defense class. He said it’s sad they have to take those measures, but they have to adjust to protect themselves.“There’s just a general sense of fear that pervaded the Muslim community. And it has since 9/11; there’s been a backlash against the Muslim community. So, slowly but surely, that fear has led to action. Action in the sense of beefing up security at the mosque,” said Gapolani. “We’ve had a self-defense class here, which was attended by about 40 people, just a few months back. So, we’ve tried to really take care of ourselves and our community.”– / 4 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/17095025/praying.mp400:0000:0000:24Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Dena Marks, Associate Director for The Southwest Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said the civil rights group offers security training and seminars to Jewish institutions, along with various other places of worship.“Religious institutions have historically been a target of hate. And particularly Jewish institutions. That’s one of the reasons why ADL has created security resources for religious institutions,” Marks said. Allison Lee“Preparation is always the most important thing,” Dena Marks said. She also said it’s important to remain observant of suspicious behavior.Marks said they hold training sessions for Jewish institutions two to three times a year, generally around Holy Days, where more Jewish congregants gather.The ADL has recorded a 67 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents this year, nationwide. And Marks said because of what happened in Sutherland Springs, the ADL wanted to remind religious institutions that security is very important, and they should always be aware of those policies and procedures. “Religious institutions want to be welcoming to everybody. But that’s a double-edged sword,” Marks said. “Because, if you’re warm and welcoming, someone might want to come in who wants to do harm. So, we have to be mindful of security.”Reverend Bob Goolsby, senior pastor at an Episcopal church in the Spring Branch area, said while they have discussed doing things like locking doors during services, he was concerned about keeping the church open and welcoming.“We’re not going to set up a Fort Knox. We’re not going to create a community here that’s cut off from people who need to be here,” said Reverend Goolsby. “Because even as broken as the world is that we live in, we need to be available to all people and be an open place for them.”M.J. Khan, President of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, agrees. He said it’s unfortunate there has to be security at places of worship, but people need to also feel secure and be at peace.“We cannot make our place of worship fortresses. Having said that, we live in an era where security needs to be addressed,” Khan said. “A mosque is considered a house of Lord, opened to all, all the time. For people to come and pray as they please. So, that’s what we’ve been practicing; even with the current situation. And we hope that we’ll continue to have it that way.”– / 3last_img read more

Incessant rain affects normal life in Kolkata

first_imgKolkata: Incessant rain affected normal life in the metropolis and adjoining districts today, as the Met department forecast continuous downpour till tomorrow morning. Continuous rain and waterlogging at different places in the city caused traffic snarls during morning rush hours. The Met department has forecast “continuous rainfall over the districts of Gangetic West Bengal with one or two spells of heavy shower in coastal districts, including Kolkata for next 24 hours.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life With the intensity of rain being higher in the northern outskirts of the city compared to the south, many low lying areas in Dum Dum, IT hub at Salt Lake’s Sector V and Rajarhat New Town were affected by waterlogging. Dum Dum recorded the highest rainfall of 118 mm till 11.30 am today from 8.30 am yesterday, the weatherman said. Alipore in the southern part of the city recorded 60 mm rainfall during the same period. Some of the important thoroughfares in the city, including Central Avenue, College Street and Park Street were waterlogged owing to the overnight rain. The continuous rain that caused waterlogging inconvenienced office-goers and students with traffic snarls delaying their movement. The weatherman has forecast that the intensity of rain in Gangetic West Bengal may reduce from tomorrow morning, but is likely to increase again from Saturday.last_img read more

Accentuating art of photography

first_imgIn an attempt to promote sustainable development with the theme of ‘Panchatattava’, India Habitat Centre conducted Habitat Photosphere awards 2016. The event is a part of the year-long photography festival Habitat Photosphere, curated and conceptualised by the art historian Dr Alka Pande. Four applicants were selected among hundreds of applicants namely Harikrishna Katragadda, Monica Tiwari, Shraddha Borawake and K R Sunil. The winners were announced on Saturday at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) in the national Capital.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The jury comprised of eminent photographers – Bandeep Singh, Parthiv Shah, Aditya Arya and Prabir Purkayastha – judged the participants on the basis of innovation of idea, craft, technical skill compounded with relevance to the theme. They went through a rigorous procedure of debating and discussing each application to select the final four winners. Each winner will be awarded a monetary grant of Rs 2 lakh to create a body of work on the theme of sustainable development.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe works of these four awardees will be exhibited in a month-long exhibition at the India Habitat Centre in December 2016. Each of the four photographers will be mentored through the next eight months by Aditya Arya, Bandeep Singh, Prabir Purkayastha and Parthiv Shah. For the exhibition, Harikrishna Katragadda plans to travel to the cities and towns along the Ganges, which have high concentration of leather and metal industries, and the burning ghaats of Benaras. He said, “I am interested in portraits of people, animals and various life forms affected by pollution. The aim is to present the photographic image of the landscape it represents.” Monica Tiwari aims to document the lifestyle changes caused due to migration. “My project aims to focus on the challenging, uncertain, and heartbreaking journeys undertaken by the parents who migrate, and especially focusing on the children and the elderly who are left behind in their native lands”, said Monica. Shraddha Borawake will be working towards an installation-based project while K R Sunil aims to document the fast-disappearing ponds in various parts of Kerala.last_img read more

As Heat Wave Intensifies How to Prepare for a Power Outage

first_imgJuly 16, 2013 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 3 min read Register Now »center_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Scorching heat. Oppressive humidity. This is the forecast for most parts of the Northeast and Midwest U.S. this week. For the next few days, temperatures are expected to be in the 90s, and the heat index could reach 100 degrees or higher, according to the National Weather Service.In these sauna-like conditions, the power grid in these regions will likely be put to the test, as fans and air conditioners in homes and offices will undoubtedly be turned up full blast. If power sources fail, it could spell bad news for busy entrepreneurs. Nothing’s worse than being stranded in the dark with no electricity to keep your smartphones, tablets and other devices powered up and productive.Related: Beyond Smartphones: Mobile Innovation That Could Change the Way You Do BusinessWhile far from an exhaustive list of options, here are a few tools that can help keep your devices going and keep you productive for a few extra hours during any type of power-zapping situation:1. A back-up power source: When the lights go out, rely on a back-up power source to keep your devices on. One way to go is to carry (and keep charged) a portable battery, such as a myCharge universal power pack from RFA Brands. Starting at about $50, these extended batteries can recharge Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.If you’re looking to charge multiple devices, one option is the Powerbag, a backpack that includes a built-in battery that can charge up to four mobile gadgets and laptops. Backpack designs start at $140. Briefcases start at $150. Battery size and charge capability vary.2. A mobile hotspot: If your power goes out and your internet connectivity goes along with it, try using a mobile hotspot to get your devices back online. Turn it on and connect to it like any other Wi-Fi network.While many smartphones have hotspot capabilities built in, you can purchase a hotspot device from cellular carriers such as Verizon and AT&T. For instance, Verizon’s “Jetpack” line of hotspots can allow you to connect up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices on its 4G LTE network. The 890L model starts at $19.99 with a two-year service contract.3. Self-generated power: There’s not much you can do when you’ve been without power so long that all your back-up battery power is gone. When that happens, consider using gadgets that run on energy you can generate yourself.One example is a hand-crank powered flashlight with radio and USB charging port from ER Emergency Ready. For about $35, this handy tool comes with a LED bulb for emergency light, a radio that picks up AM, FM and all 7 NOAA Weather Band Radio Alertchannels, and a universal USB for charging a mobile phone so you can make short calls or send text messages. You turn the crank and it generates energy for an internal battery.Related: 15 Useful Tech Tools for Your BusinessThis is an update of a piece that ran previously.last_img read more

Accident on sliproad between M62 and M6 in North Cheshire

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA stretch of a the motorway sliproad is closed in North Cheshire near the junction with the M6 following an accident and vehicle fire tonight. The accident has taken place on a slip road between junction 21A of the M6 and junction 10 of the M62. Both lanes are closed at the M62 westbound exit slip road at junction J10 A North West Motorway Police spokesman said: “The slip road from M62 westbound to the m6 northbound has been closed due to a collision. “The slip from M62 westbound. to the M6 southbound is also affected. “Highways England and Cheshire Police are at scene.” It is unclear when the road will reopen but Traffic England currently reports traffic conditions on the road are set to return to normal by shortly after 3am this morning. Reports suggest one vehicle has left the carriageway – while others suggest a vehicle is on fire. It is unclear how many vehicles are involved or if anyone has been injured. Highways England said a diversion was in place in the area. A spokesman said: “M62 J10 westbound exit to the M6 J21A north and southbound is currently closed due to a collision. Read MoreSevern Trent say thaw is causing water supply problems in Rugby and Birmingham “Our traffic officers are making to scene to assist emergency services. “Road users are advised to continue to J9, turn around and head back to J10 to exit on the eastbound.” The accident is understood to have taken place at around 11.30pm on Sunday March 4. Elsewhere two lanes are closed on the M60 near Stockport as Greater Manchester Police deal with an incident. A Highways England spokesman said: “2 lanes closed M60 anti-clockwise between J1 and J27 while we assist Greater Manchester Police with an incident. “No delays at the moment but please pass with care.” Information correct as of publication at 00.21 on Monday March 5 2018.last_img read more