Amazon Unveils a flying security drone

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A security drone is on the way from Amazon and it has more than few people asking questions about privacy. At the same time, tech enthusiasts seem to be pretty excited about this newest addition to the home surveillance marketplace.

Amazon’s smart home security division Ring has unveiled a new home security drone that will launch into the air and begin recording if it detects a suspected break-in. Dubbed the Always Home Cam, users will be able to access instantaneous streaming video once the drone launches.

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Top 10 digital transformation trends for 2021

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No one could have predicted where 2020 would take us: The last six months alone have produced more digital transformation than the last decade, with every transformation effort already underway finding itself accelerated, and at scale. While many of my digital transformation predictions from a year ago benefited from this shift, others were displaced by more urgent needs, like 24/7 secure and reliable connectivity. What does this mean for 2021? Will core technologies like AI and data analytics still dominate headlines, or will we see newer, previously emerging technologies take the lead? Only time will tell, but here are my top ten digital transformation predictions for 2021.

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Face masks give facial recognition software an identity crisis

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As tech firms scramble to keep up with reality of coronavirus, some experts say users must change

It is an increasingly common modern annoyance: arriving at the front of the queue to pay in a shop, pulling out a smartphone for a hygienic contact-free payment, and staring down at an error message because your phone fails to recognise your masked face.

As more and more nations mandate masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, technology companies are scrambling to keep up with the changing world. But some experts are warning that the change may have to start with users themselves.

Apple’s Face ID is the most well-known example of a consumer facial verification system. The technology, which uses a grid of infrared dots to measure the physical shape of a user’s face, secures access to the company’s iPhones and iPads, as well as other features such as Apple Pay.

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NSA says Russian hackers are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research

A researcher holds a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine during a news

Russian hackers are trying to steal research on COVID-19 vaccines, according to intelligence services in the US, UK and Canada, The National Security Agency (NSA) said a group that has been linked to Russian intelligence has targeted health care organizations in the three countries.

 The group — which is known as APT29, Cozy Bear or The Dukes — is using malware and spear-phishing attacks, according to a joint advisory from the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) and Canada’s Communications Security Establishment. The latter two also published guidance to help health care organizations beef up their systems’ defenses.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, said in a statement. “While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”

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The best applications for Quantum Computing

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One of the areas that I have been researching is what applications can best make use of the power of quantum computing. Although this is a work in progress, I am providing a preliminary assessment for my readers based upon discussions with various experts and other research I have done so far. The list below is shown in a priority order based upon the combination of three factors that I have reviewed: Progress-to-Date, Difficulty, and Payoff. One thing to note is that the successful implementations for most, if not all, of these application areas will probably be based upon a hybrid platform that combines classical and quantum computing in a cloud environment to achieve the best of both worlds. So here’s the list.

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EU introduces AI strategy to build ‘ecosystem of trust’

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Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission

The European Commission today unveiled a sweeping set of proposals that it hopes will establish the region as a leader in artificial intelligence by focusing on trust and transparency.

The proposals would lead to changes in the way data is collected and shared in an effort to level the playing field between European companies and competitors from the U.S. and China. The EC wants to prevent potential abuses while also building confidence among citizens in order to reap the benefits promised by the technology.

In a series of announcements, EC leaders expressed optimism that AI could help tackle challenges such as climate change, mobility, and health care, along with a determination to keep private tech companies from influencing regulation and dominating the data needed to develop these algorithms.

“We want citizens to trust the new technology,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. “Technology is always neutral. It depends on what we make with it. And therefore we want the application of these new technologies to deserve the trust of our citizens. This is why we are promoting a responsible human-centric approach to artificial intelligence.”

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Step-by-step guide to tokenizing real-world assets

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 Recent estimates place the current value of all real-world assets at around $256 trillion globally. While that jaw-dropping number is fairly stable, all of these assets keep changing owners on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the processes used to trade these assets are completely outdated.

Ownership over a vast majority of real-world assets is still signified by pieces of paper. That’s why most transactions can take weeks or even months to complete. Asset trades are also plagued by extensive amounts of red tape, countless fees and various geographical restrictions. Furthermore, most assets are very difficult to subdivide, which makes their respective markets highly illiquid. Real estate, gold reserves and fine art are all great examples here.

Fortunately, with the recent development of tokenization, the way of owning and trading real-world assets might be on the brink of a true revolution.

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Vast majority of UK adults ‘uncomfortable’ with delivery drivers entering their empty homes

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Waitrose’s While You’re Away service allows delivery drivers to enter customer’s homes to unpack their shopping

The vast majority of UK adults are uncomfortable with the idea of delivery drivers entering their homes to drop off shopping while they’re out, new research has revealed.

Waitrose first trialled its While You’re Away delivery service in October 2018, which saw its shopping delivery drivers enter customers’ houses and put away their shopping in fridges and cupboards, thanks to a temporary access code linked to a home’s Yale smart lock.

The supermarket has insisted there is something “very beautiful” about its customers forgetting they even made an order and then coming home to see their goods already in cupboards.

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Chinese scientists develop portable quantum satellite communication device

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Weighing in at just 80kg, the machine can connect to China’s quantum satellite and receive encryption keys in the form of entangled light particles

Breakthrough was made by team at University of Science and Technology of China

Chinese scientists have developed a quantum satellite ground station that is not only capable of sending ultra-secure messages anywhere in the world but also fits inside a family car.

The mobile device, developed by the University of Science and Technology of China, weighs about 80kg (176lbs). With the addition of a 28cm (11 inch) telescope, it can connect to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum satellite known as Mozi, and receive ­encryption keys in the form of ­entangled light particles.

Unlike traditional encryption methods based on mathematics, quantum encryption is protected by the fundamental law of physics. In theory, all information scrambled by encryption algorithms can be cracked by a computer if it is fast enough, but quantum key communication will remain intact because any attempt to eavesdrop will cause a physical change in the message and trigger a security alert to the sender or receiver.

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A sobering 62% of U.S. financial-services entities have been breached, Thales says

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Despite 96% of U.S. financial-services organizations considering their technology security as adequate, 62% of those responding to a Thales survey said they experienced a breach. That’s according to the recently released 2019 Thales Data Threat Report.

Commissioned by Thales, the survey of 1,200 information technology and data security professionals and the ensuing report was conducted by research firm International Data Corp. Many U.S. financial services organization have strict data-security and similar requirements to contend with, but their breach rate outpaces other industries. Retail, at 42%, was the next highest among those ever experiencing a breach.

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Google Maps may soon highlight well-lit streets for walkers

Google to provide Android operating system for media displays in cars

New Lighting layer could make walking at night safer.

Google Maps is great for getting directions while driving and using public transport, but in the last year it has been rolling out more features focused on traveling by foot as well. Recently, the company introduced AR walking directions and detailed spoken walking directions for people with vision impairments. In the future, Google may be adding a new feature to help people find safer streets to walk at night.

According to XDA Developers, an Android development community whose members have analyzed the Android APK to look for unreleased features, there are indications of a new Lighting layer in Google Maps. This layer would indicate which streets are brightly lit by street lights by showing a yellow highlight.

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Amazon’s Ring wanted to use 911 calls to activate its video doorbells

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Ring wanted 911 calls to activate its doorbells.

 The company worked with police and cities to build in this real-time feature, emails showed.

Ring considered building a tool that would use calls to the 911 emergency number to automatically activate the video cameras on its smart doorbells, according to emails obtained by CNET. The Amazon-owned company isn’t currently working on the project, but it told a California police department in August 2018 that the function could be introduced in the “not-so-distant future.”

In the emails, Ring described a system in which a 911 call would trigger the cameras on Ring doorbells near the site of the call. The cameras would start recording and streaming video that police could then use to investigate an incident. Owners of the Ring devices would have to opt in to the system, the emails said.

“Currently, our cameras record based on motion alerts,” Steve Sebestyen, vice president of business development for Ring, said in an email that CNET obtained through a public records request. “However, we are working with interested agencies and cities to expand the device owners controls to allow for situations where a CFS [call-for-service] event triggers recording within the proximity of an event.”

It’s unclear how long Ring had contemplated this idea and how many cities it proposed this plan to, but the project is no longer being pursued.

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