Orica upskills IT subject matter experts in revamped SAP stack – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Orica is working to upskill SAP subject matter experts from across the business in the new SAP stack it has been deploying for several years under its 4S digital transformation program.
IT applications lead Amit Pandey told a recent SAP event that the ASX-listed explosives maker is using SAP’s Learning Hub to prepare its subject matter experts (SMEs) training.
4S is Orica’s second go at consolidating its global operations on a single SAP system. 
It will eventually run S/4 HANA as its single core, aided by a number of SAP cloud-based systems that it has already implemented, including SuccessFactors, Concur and Cloud 4 Customer.
“The next step in the program is to implement some of the other important modules or products which will complete the landscape, and obviously the most critical is going to be SAP S/4 HANA which is going to be the digital core,” Pandey said.
“In addition, we will also be implementing IBP – integrated business planning – to cater to the supply chain planning solution, and also business planning and consolidation (BPC) to handle our financial planning, forecasting and consolidations.”
When completed, 4S will leave Orica with an SAP landscape that is “totally different to what we are currently used to supporting, managing and governing internally,” Pandey said.
That highlighted the importance of upskilling the IT SMEs that perform SAP work at Orica.
These staff are spread across Australia (Melbourne and Brisbane), as well as Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Sweden, Canada and Chile.
“These are our inhouse IT SAP subject matter experts who will continue to support and govern the solution once we go live with the SAP transformation program,” Pandey said.
“These subject matter experts have been with the business for a long time, so they understand the business process on the end-to-end basis. They have a very rich Orica process and business experience. 
“They also have the understanding of the current application landscape – and that’s not just limited to SAP but they also understand all the connectors to the upstream and downstream solutions, which may be systems of record or other solutions that are in use by business.”
The in-house SMEs also played a critical role in localising SAP systems to meet regulatory requirements in the 60 countries where Orica has operating entities.
“Orica operates in a highly regulated industry,” Pandey said.
“For example, in Europe, every explosive that is moved across the supply chain needs to be tracked and traced to meet the regulatory requirements, whereas in Latin America, the invoicing process is very unique. 
“It’s very, very important to have the subject matter experts who understand these regional requirements … where Orica operates.”
Additionally, given Orica’s longstanding investment in SAP – its usage pre-dates the company even being known as Orica – Pandey said it was important to “keep the integrity of the solution where Orica has invested a lot of dollars and time”, as that solution undergoes substantial change.
“It is very important for the subject matter experts to ramp up on the skill set to understand the new solution, and be ready for performing their duties.”
Pandey said the level of upskilling required varied between staff and also depended on the amount of change that the updated SAP core would bring.
He said Orica decided to use SAP Learning Hub professional edition because it offered the best access to content on S/4 HANA and SAP cloud technologies.
Pandey noted that S/4 HANA was relatively new in SAP terms – it landed in February 2015 – and therefore there was not as much of a public knowledge base available as there is for its predecessor, ERP Central Component (ECC).
“With SAP ECC [Orica’s current core], we were able to Google and find most of the answers [to any questions we had] from the other online forums,” Pandey said.
“With most of these new technologies like SAP S/4 HANA, there is not much content available out there and I think the entire community is still learning about these new products so [Learning Hub] will also help our team.”
Pandey said the training had meant some timezone challenges for local staff trying to catch live sessions run out of locations like North America.
COVID-19 had also forced the cancellation of all classroom-based training, though staff could still learn online.
Pandey said that business pressures at Orica sometimes also made it difficult for staff to train, but he said the company was “working internally to improve” this.
“We have so much going on at the moment with the transformation program and other parallel initiatives that it can become very challenging to plan dedicated time for all our subject matter experts when they can lock themselves in the room, and just do this learning, or learning related activities,” Pandey said.
“We are trying to prioritise this obviously but sometimes some of the other business priorities take over.
“This is something we are working internally to improve.”

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Online privacy experts sound alarm as US Senate bill sparks surveillance fears | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

A US Senate bill that critics say would enable widespread censorship and surveillance has taken a significant step towards becoming law, raising alarm among internet freedom advocates.
The Senate judiciary committee voted on Thursday to advance the Earn It Act, legislation that on paper is intended to address sexual exploitation. However, privacy experts say the act would give the Department of Justice unprecedented power over the internet and potentially threaten the privacy of messages sent online.
The “Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technology” (Earn It) Act was introduced in March by the South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Republican Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California to address what lawmakers characterized as “the rapid increase of child sexual abuse material on prominent online platforms”.
“Technological advances have allowed the online exploitation of children to become much, much worse over recent years,” said Feinstein. “Companies must do more to combat this growing problem on their online platforms.”
The bill would weaken protections under Section 230, a measure that has historically shielded internet publishers from legal responsibility for the content shared on their sites. It would also allow individuals to sue tech companies that don’t take “proper steps” to prevent online child exploitation. Those steps would be determined by a 19-member panel of unelected officials, mostly law enforcement, who would impose a set of “best practices” that websites and online forums would have to follow, or risk getting shut down.
The Earn It Act is supported by anti-exploitation groups including the Tempemail Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Rights4Girls, and the Tempemail Center on Sexual Exploitation.
But privacy advocates are concerned its powers could overreach and pose a threat to encryption, a tool that obscures the content of messages so others – including tech companies and law enforcement – cannot read them.
If technology companies are to be held liable for content on their sites, the privacy advocates say, they could be required to scan all user messages, requiring a weakening of encryption practices.
“The Earn It Act could end user privacy as we know it,” said the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Tech companies that provide private, encrypted messaging could have to rewrite their software to allow police special access to their users’ messages.”
Graham’s office did not return request for comment, but it previously said his “goal here is not to outlaw encryption … that will be a debate for another day”. However, Barr – who would be given a large amount of power under the new act – has been outspoken about his desire to force technology companies to allow law enforcement to bypass encryption.
The Earn It act is being compared to the Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta) and the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (Sesta), passed in 2017 to combat online sex trafficking by making websites criminally liable for users’ content. Sesta/Fosta had a chilling effect on internet platforms and put sex workers and members of the LGBTQ+ community in danger, critics said, by forcing them offline. As a result of the acts, Craigslist had to remove its Personals ads section; the website Backpage.com, a classifieds website with a large sex worker presence, was shut down; and social media platforms had to crack down on adult content. Critics argue the legislation broadly censored online speech and negatively affected people who engage in consensual sex work, ultimately helping sex traffickers by pushing the industry underground.
Similarly, the Earn It Act would “undermine the privacy of every single American and stifle our ability to communicate freely online”, the ACLU said in a letter urging senators to vote no on the bill.
Advocates fear the commission created by the Earn It act would recommend “best practices” required by tech companies that disproportionately censor content relating to LGBTQ+ matters, sex work, and the sex industry.
“Our online freedoms are now in serious jeopardy,” said Kate Ruane, ACLU senior legislative counsel, in response to the Senate judiciary committee’s vote.
In recent days, the judiciary committee has tried to sidestep growing opposition to the bill by introducing amendments that are intended to address the concerns but “utterly fail to do so”, said Evan Greer of internet freedoms group Fight for the Future.
“A sneaky bill just got even sneakier,” she said. “If they move ahead with this deeply flawed bill, they’ll be ignoring the voices of experts and the public.”
The bill will now head for a vote on the Senate floor, where it could potentially see a vote in the next few weeks before the chamber’s session ends, on 17 July.

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Australian cyber attack not ‘sophisticated’ – just a wake-up call for businesses, experts say | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

The “sophisticated state-based” cyber-attack Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has warned about is not particularly sophisticated, according to experts, but serves as a wake-up call for businesses to keep their systems patched and secure, and to remain alert.
On Friday morning, Morrison announced Australian government agencies and businesses had been targeted by a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor”.
“This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” he said. “We know it is a sophisticated state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting and the tradecraft used.”

According to the threat advisory released by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the so-called copy-paste compromises are nothing new – exploiting vulnerabilities in Telerik UI and several other services like Sharepoint, Microsoft Internet Information Services and Citrix where those businesses and departments had failed to patch to prevent the vulnerability being exploited.
When those have not been successful, the state actor has shifted to traditional spearphishing methods to attempt to extract login information from a person inside an organisation or government department.
“[The state actor campaign] doesn’t look very sophisticated,” UNSW professor of cybersecurity Richard Buckland said. “It’s well-resourced in a large scale but I haven’t seen anything yet that’s super secret or super sinister. They’re using known techniques against known vulnerabilities and following known processes.”
The advice from government in how to respond is basic cyber hygiene: patch software, use two-factor authentication, and implement the ACSC’s essential eight to mitigate attacks.
Morrison said the announcement wasn’t being made due to any significant attack or event, and that no large personal data breach had happened yet, leading to questions about why the prime minister had decided to make a formal announcement on a Friday morning from the Blue Room in Parliament House, particularly given the ACSC has been warning about some of the vulnerabilities for more than a year.
“I think what happened was it reached a point when the government decided enough was enough,” RMIT cyber security professor Matthew Warren said.
“It’s very simple advice but when you have government departments and organisations not patching their systems … when you look at it on an all of Australia perspective, you just need one weak link in the Australian ecosystem and then it has a potential flow-on effect.”
Buckland said he was pleased the prime minister made the announcement. He compared it to the government’s messaging around Covid-19 and needing to change behaviour around hand-washing and physical distancing.
Alerting people to the ongoing cyber-attacks might help them take it more seriously, he said.
“I am pleased that he made this announcement because I hope it leads to a shift [and] will contribute to a shift in how seriously people take cybersecurity and the importance to gain cybersecurity knowledge training, and capability in their organisations.”
Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian Tempemail University’s national security college, said the government was firing a warning shot to China – even though China was specifically not named. He said the government was not being overly provocative, even if China might interpret it that way.

PM Morrison won’t say if China is the ‘state-based actor’ behind cyber-attack on Australia – video
“I think it is carefully measured; it is not as provocative as some people will claim it to be,” he said. “It’s a kind of a warning shot to say ‘we know this is happening, we know it’s a state actor, we’re not naming who it is at this stage’. But, if this continues, we will become increasingly frank in calling it out.”
Medcalf said there could be a future scenario where Australia and a number of other countries put out a joint statement about the activity, which would name China as the source.
The other factor behind the announcement, Medcalf said, was the government being pressured by Labor to release its four-year cybersecurity strategy.
The previous strategy expired two months ago and, in parliament earlier this week, Labor’s spokesman on cybersecurity issues, Tim Watt, accused the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, of leaving cybersecurity “at the bottom of his in-tray”.
“It’s been 10 months since the Morrison government began consultations on the new cybersecurity strategy,” Watts said. “Given how quickly things change in cybersecurity, a virtual millennia in hacker years has passed without action … We can’t afford to respond to a crisis only after it’s happened.”
Medcalf said Morrison’s announcement was “also a signal to say that that strategy is coming and here is a kind of a foretaste of what that’s going to be”.

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Sharing A Defamatory WhatsApp or Facebook Post Could Get You Sued or Fired in SA – Legal Experts | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The social media sphere has quickly become a new stage to be navigated carefully in these modern times. Often filled with deepening negativity and debacles that are dreadfully embarrassing for those involved – like the fallout over a Miss South Africa candidate and her history of crude tweets.
Now, lawyers at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) have warned South Africans that sharing defamatory posts can mean serious trouble.
“It is important to understand that South African law considers repeating or sharing defamatory content as sufficient to constitute ‘publication’ and, thus, defamation in its own right, even if the repeater or sharer was not the author of the original defamatory post,”  Timothy Smit, director, and Elizabeth Sonnekus, an associate in the firm’s dispute resolution practice, wrote in a recent note.
“So just by clicking share,” they warn, “you could be perpetuating the defamation, exposing yourself to a damages claim for defamation or to potential dismissal by your employer.”

Business Insider confirms that recent lawsuits have shown that employers can institute disciplinary proceedings against employees over their social media activity and online conduct.
Lawyers Smit and Sonnekus say that posting potentially harmful or controversial content could risk defamation claims. Claims that are costly to fight in court, and even costlier to lose.
A key case, the Constitutional Court in Le Roux versus Dey in 2011,  confirmed that the law of defamation is designed to compensate a victim for any publication that injures the victim in their good name and reputation.
In this particular case, a group of schoolchildren created a suggestive image on their computers using the face of the deputy principal of their school. The teacher was awarded thousands in damages. The court defined defamation as the wrongful and intentional publication of a defamatory statement concerning the wronged party.
“With 1.62 billion users visiting Facebook each day (as of May 2020) – and approximately 145 million daily active users on Twitter (as of November 2019), the chances of a defamatory post going undetected are slim – in fact, you have more chance of the opposite result – going viral,” says CDH.
“We should have no sympathy for bigots and online ‘trolls’ – they should get what’s coming to them. But children, young adults and the uninitiated need to be made aware that, no matter how innocently they publish or share something online, that publication could jeopardise their future.”
Social Media considerations
Prudent users should consider creating new accounts for professional communications, or consider revising their posting history to rid themselves of any controversial posts that could see them in deep trouble in the future. Especially if users are going into any sort of public affair.
Facebook recently released a new feature to make the curating of social media posts very intuitive and simple.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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Security experts at Google see resurgence in state-backed hacking and phishing- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Security experts at Alphabet Inc’s Google sent 1,755 warnings in April to users whose accounts were targets of government-backed attackers, following a resurgence in hacking and phishing attempts related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Google said on Wednesday its Threat Analysis Group saw new activity from “hack-for-hire” firms, many based in India, that have been creating Gmail accounts spoofing the World HealthOrganization (WHO).
These accounts largely targeted business leaders in financial services, consulting and healthcare corporations in numerous countries including the United States, Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus and UK, the company said in a blog post.Google said it continued to see attacks from hackers on medical and healthcare professionals, including WHO employees.
WHO and other organizations, at the center of a global effort to contain the coronavirus, have come under a sustained digital bombardment by hackers seeking information about theoutbreak.
“Since March, we’ve removed more than a thousand YouTube channels that we believe to be part of a large campaign and that were behaving in a coordinated manner”, the blog post added.

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Security experts release curated lists to block COVID-19 threats – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Thousands of experts and researchers from round the world, including Australia and New Zealand, who have joined forces to collaborate and share information on cyber security have released a network blocklist to help stop attacks abusing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Known as the Cyber Threat Coalition (CTC), the security researchers have released an initial version of curated data sets that anyone can use to halt COVID-19 related cyber crime.
The downloadadble blocklist is vetted by the CTC to help avoid false positives. 
Currently, data sets are populated with domains and uniform resource locators (URLs) used by criminals such as ransomware extortionists and scammers to prey on people, businesses and governments.
Lists of internet protocol addreses and hashes have not yet been released.
The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre’s security specialit Adli Wahid explained to iTnews that the blocklists can be used for several purposes.
These include the popular Pi-Hole security device that can act as a domain name system (DNS) sinkhole to prevent access to malicious sites.
It can also be used in large DNS deployments with the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) server, with administrators setting up special zones to ensure that malicious sites either do not resolve for users, or redirect to a landing page that warns they are harmful, Wahid said.
Wahid said the lists are used by the Quad9 nonprofit public domain name resolution service operated by IBM, Packet Clearing House and Global Cyber Alliance, which is free for everyone to use to block threats.
Users who operate threat intelligence platforms such as the open source Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) can get feeds with the blocklist, Wahid said.
The MISP feeds can be used to create intrusion detection system (IDS) rules for applications such as Snort, to detect and block attacks.
People hunting the criminals could also make use of the lists, Wahid said.
“Another community that can use the blocklist include researchers who try to find who are behind the attacks, and who try to detect patterns in the data to reveal for example domain generation algorithms (DGAs) which helps defenders predict how malicious sites are registered, and prevent this from happening,” Wahid said.
While the data is vetted to prevent false positives, Wahid hopes that in the future the lists will have time and date stamps on them that show when they were added.
This would be helpful for security information and event managment (SIEM) and analytics purposes, as researchers could focus on just a subset of data delineated by time, Wahid suggested.

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Brand safety best practices during an evolving news cycle: experts share insights on brand safety measures amid Covid-19 crisis- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Misconceptions about content blocking are making it difficult for brands to engage audiences during this pandemic, according to Tanzil Bukhari, managing director EMEA at DoubleVerify.
He was speaking at a panel session on brand safety best practices during an evolving news cycle for Tempemail’s Digital Transformation Festival. The session looked at how brands should scrutinise and own their brand safety controls. Given an increase in the volume of news and positive/negative sentiment, Bukhari added, “The impact on publishers has been well-documented, and a lot of news publishers are struggling because there is a challenge around monetizing this type of content;.”
Brands and agencies are listening very carefully to understand when it is appropriate to speak and what to say, says Stacy Gratz, global media director at Bacardi. She adds: “We have our insights team set up to listen and identify the signals of when is the right time for us to enter into the market in a meaningful way.”
What does a measured approach to brand safety look like?
According to James Buckle, head of digital services, global business, PHD, uncertainty remains a key theme, but, as the crisis progresses, everyone is learning more. He added: “As we collect more data and analyse that, we improve our understanding and can feed that into our strategies. We are getting more confident about what we can and cannot do.”
This learning is driving closer collaboration between brands and their agency partners, says Gratz, who says it is leaning on its partners more than ever. She adds: “They have helped us understand that we don’t need to block all Covid-19 or coronavirus content.
“We would have taken a really strong approach of just blocking everything, but our partners have come to us and helped us to understand that that isn’t always the right thing to do. It has helped us gain a better perspective of what’s going on.”
Bukhari says this measured and realistic approach helps brands to avoid becoming too overprotective, which is a normal reaction. “The challenge with being overprotective is it minimises scale and minimises a brand’s opportunity to engage consumers.”
He adds that brands can become complacent about brand safety, and this is where problems can creep in. According to Bukhari, there has been a lot of innovation in the tools available to execute strategies. Still, many brands have been slow to adopt these. Prior to the crisis, brands may have been complacent about considering these more precise controls, which may seem like additional work, but the Coronavirus crisis has made brands more sensitive and therefore open to more sophisticated controls as they better enable them to balance protection and reach.
“Over the years, the type of technology and the precision with which you can protect your brand has increased. It’s no longer just about having some very high-level categories that you seek to avoid,” says Bukhari.
What are you willing to risk?
For Buckle, the next challenge lies in helping advertisers to understand that these tools can be used for individual campaigns, rather than taking a blanket approach. “It is moving to understand that there are varying degrees of safety you can apply,” he said.
“You can’t reduce risk overall,” he added. “There will always be issues, as new platforms and new ways of interacting emerge, that we will have to solve in the future.”
Buckle believes a more collaborative approach between brands, agencies and partners will be vital for dealing with new developments and future crises. Media owners can play their part by, for example, putting controls on their websites, particularly around user-generated content.
From a brand perspective, Gatz said working with partners and agencies has helped to elevate the issue of brand safety to become a conversation for all parts of marketing, legal and compliance. “It has forced some conversations that we had not been having as a brand and took for granted.”
The key to getting brand safety right? Build strong consumer engagement
The next stage in the development of brand safety is to challenge the status quo, said Bukhari. “People get used to doing the same thing over and over and think it’s good enough. At DV, our time is spent engaging with brands and crafting the right strategy that is relevant to their brand, and what this crisis has taught us is we should always review what we are doing and understand if that is the right way to do it.”
Brand safety can be so much more than a question of protection and brand hygiene as it can also offer insight into consumer engagement, according to Bukhari.
“There is a lot of data that agencies and brands can use to optimise ahead of the curve. It is about shifting that dynamic and that understanding from protection to how this data can optimise performance.”
Watch the session on demand here.

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The Key to Nigeria’s Economic Regeneration is in Indigenous Software, say Experts | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Business News Daily

Nigeria, and indeed the world, faces an unprecedented crisis in the form of COVID-19, and the country’s lack of preparedness is glaring.
However, The Guardian Nigeria reports that – having tried everything and failed – investment in innovation and knowledge economy can help the country navigate its way out of this recession. The Guardian notes that during any period of recession most countries invest in human capital.
For Nigeria, ICT presents a shortcut out of the present economic conundrum. And experts are in agreement. The establishment of a software engineering institute will help create homegrown solutions for local problems.
A software engineering institute will also help Nigerians discover competencies in software development, software acquisition, and cybersecurity – essential skills in ICT.
No modern economy can exist without fundamental information and communications technology infrastructure because these are the tools for national and economic development, says Chris Uwaje, chairman of Mobile Software Solutions.
“Yes, a software engineering institute is a very good idea. But there should also be massive investments in ICT infrastructure like technology parks or hubs to help reduce unemployment in the country because restless youth can channel their energies into productive ventures,” he says.
Dr. Yele Okeremi, president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), believes that an institute in this guise should only be as an interim arrangement.
In terms of creating awareness about software in Nigeria, Okeremi, also the founder and CEO of Precise Financial Systems, believes that there is a need to change the narrative of indigenous software.
“Our indigenous software narratives are not based on reality. Today, the number of failed foreign software is more than failed indigenous software and these are not talked about because people have [more patience in dealing] with foreign software as they see them as world-class. We change this narrative by promoting good indigenous software through empowering our indigenous software entrepreneurs’ financial standing to become role-models for our young people” he adds.
James Agada, CEO of Ixzdore Labs, agrees. He says that there are three ways to build technical competence: first is to teach mathematics in schools. The second part includes research, and the third aspect is experience – you have to actually utilize the research results through embarking on big challenging projects.
Agada continues to say that “Technical competence must be built for something that is generating money to keep them there, which is a project.”
Their unanimous consensus, however, is that government and its functionaries must muster the needed drives and strategies to harness these latent forces to fire the kiln of development.
Necessary awareness must also be created and imbued on all Nigerians on the need to encourage and patronise locally made ICT products.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Tech and science academies unite experts in COVID fight – Strategy- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Australia’s learned academies have joined forces to build a new platform to showcase how their combined 3000 researchers, technologists and other experts can help government, industry and academia combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Chief executive of the AUstralian Academy of Science, Anna-Maria Arabia, said the COVID-19 Expert Database was created to provide a mechanism for decision makers to easily access expertise from a range of fields, including business management and digital technologies.
Along with support from Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the public platform has the backing of Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.
The academies are seeking for experts to register on the platform to contribute to the national effort, Arabia said.
“All fields of expertise including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health, humanities, arts, and social science are needed.”
Other fields in which experts are being sought include data protection, digital technology, ICT, modelling and data analysis, surveillance, telehealth/eHealth, social media and online platforms.
“Australia and the world will benefit from quick access to expertise that provides insights into the COVID-19 pandemic and its scientific, health, social, cultural and economic implications,” Arabia said.
“By gathering the extraordinary expertise across our nation in one place, Australian academies offer governments and others an opportunity to consult experts and take actions that are evidence-informed and targeted.”
Kylie Walker, CEO of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, urged experts who could contribute to the effort to register on the database.
“This is a complex issue affecting all facets of society, so it’s important that our response is an interdisciplinary one,” she said.

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Growth in surveillance may be hard to scale back after pandemic, experts say | World news – Blog – 10 minute

Growth in surveillance may be hard to scale back after pandemic, experts say | World news – Blog – Tempemail.co

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented global surge in digital surveillance, researchers and privacy advocates around the world have said, with billions of people facing enhanced monitoring that may prove difficult to roll back.
Governments in at least 25 countries are employing vast programmes for mobile data tracking, apps to record personal contact with others, CCTV networks equipped with facial recognition, permission schemes to go outside and drones to enforce social isolation regimes.
The methods have been adopted by authoritarian states and democracies alike and have opened lucrative new markets for companies that extract, sell, and analyse private data. One of the world’s foremost experts on mobile phone surveillance said the pandemic had created a “9/11 on steroids” that could lead to grave abuses of power.

“>“Most of these measures don’t have sunset clauses. They could establish what many people are describing as a new normal,” Ron Deibert, who heads the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said in an interview with the Guardian.
“I think we have to be really vigilant about that to make sure there are appropriate safeguards in place because the potential for the abuse of power is pretty extreme … so it’s a little bit like 9/11 on steroids.”
In China, hundreds of millions have installed mandatory “health code” apps that determine whether users– given colour-coded designations of green, yellow, or red (for confirmed Covid-19 patients) – can travel or leave home.
In Europe, some of the world’s most privacy-conscious governments are collecting telecom data, employing drones and copying contact-tracing apps pioneered in Asia. In the US, Apple and Google have announced they will open up their mobile operating systems to allow for similar apps, which will run on iPhones and Android phones alike.

A man wears a face mask in Mumbai. Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images
Moscow, a city of 12 million people, will require citizens to have QR codes for travel on its streets and is seeking to employ its 100,000 surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology to enforce self-isolation schemes.
In India, local authorities have experimented with solutions such as mobile tracking apps, geolocated selfies, and releasing the addresses of coronavirus patients.
With the proliferation of digital surveillance methods, a number of global initiatives have appeared to chart their progress around the globe.
“This isn’t just an issue with authoritarian governments. This is happening across the world,” said Samuel Woodhams, the digital rights lead at the London-based Top10VPN, who has compiled an index of new surveillance measures related to the coronavirus outbreak. “A lot of the technologies we’re seeing are alarmingly similar.”

An emergency text message sent to Tasmanian citizens from police. Photograph: Barbara Walton/EPA
Whether that surveillance is eventually rolled back will depend on public oversight.
“[The crisis] has shown that negative technology can appear around the world, including in the west,” said Artem Kozlyuk, the head of the Moscow-based Roskomsvoboda internet rights group, which has released a global tracker called Pandemic Big Brother. “But we suspect that these measures are going to be under greater public control in western democracies than in not-entirely democratic regimes.”
Israel, with its global reputation for both state and private sector intelligence gathering technology, was quick to implement surveillance on a national scale, initially with phone tracking measures endorsed by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Lawmakers, however, opposed a proposal from the hardline defence minister, Naftali Bennett, to involve a private sector company in data analysis, which was later identified as the controversial Israeli spyware company the NSO Group.
Bennett had outlined a system in tweets that would give people a rating of one to 10 on their likelihood of carrying the virus, based on their movements and other factors.
Israel is not using an NSO-developed system but a person familiar with the company said a “handful of governments” were already piloting the software it made to track the virus.
An NSO spokesperson said it did not operate the platform it developed and data was not shared with the company. It denied any invasion of privacy. “The data required to operate the system by authorities and governments is statistical and aggregated, not personal data,” the spokesperson said.

Israeli police stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in Bnei Brak, a city east of Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
Campaigners have also warned the focus on surveillance measures may be diverting resources from health-focused approaches,such as improving testing capability or supplying hospitals with more medical equipment.
“It’s this kind of technological ‘solutionism’ that might look good on paper but is actually undermining efforts to fight the disease in the long run,” said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director at the London-based charity Privacy International.
Contact-tracing apps and other methods to identify those who have been in contact with people infected with the disease were pioneered in Asia. Hong Kong issues tracking wristbands to international arrivals that connect to a StayHomeSafe mobile app and a registered “quarantine address”, while Singapore’s TraceTogether app, which uses Bluetooth to find people within two metres of someone diagnosed with Covid-19 for half an hour or more, has been made open source to allow other countries to copy it.

Contact-tracing has been especially effective in South Korea, which has employed GPS data, CCTV footage and and credit card records to identify and warn suspected victims of the disease. But the country’s surveillance push would not have been effective without widespread testing, experts said, allowing officials to quickly confirm new coronavirus cases.
The adoption of tracing apps and other electronic surveillance measures has become a live issue of concern in Brussels, where member states have been warned of the risk to the EU’s “fundamental rights and freedoms”.
Authorities in Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and the UK have all either expressed an interest or started to roll out mobile phone apps to help them track and trace those infected with the virus.
The UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced plans on Sunday for a Bluetooth-based app that will warn users if they have recently been in close proximity to someone suspected to be infected with the coronavirus. The Dutch health minister, Hugo de Jonge, said last week at least 60% of the population would need to download the Netherlands’ similar app for it be effective. “We are looking at whether you can require everyone to do it,” he said during a press conference.

“>Meanwhile, telecom operators in Italy, Spain and other EU countries have released “heat maps” of users’ movements, arguing that the data was sufficiently anonymised and aggregated to prevent the tracking of individuals, which would be a potential violation of GDPR.
The UK’s last EU commissioner, Julian King, who held the security portfolio in Brussels, said he was concerned about the lack of debate so far “about what kind of society we want, and what values we hold dear”.
In Russia, the crisis has helped expose the country’s potential for digital surveillance, but also some of its limitations. Officials last month said they would use mobile apps, employ CCTV cameras with facial recognition, QR codes, mobile phone data and credit card records in a digital surveillance menu that opposition members had termed a “cybergulag”.
Most quarantine violations are, however, still exposed by physical surveillance, meaning police patrols and roadblocks on the streets. Pavel Chikov of the Agora International Human Rights Group noted that a more sophisticated system could be “too expensive” for many of the country’s regions to employ. In Tatarstan, an SMS permission system looked suspiciously similar to a local parking app, suggesting the government may just have adapted the technology.

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“>When Moscow did finally roll out its QR-code system this week, the website quickly crashed, and remained down on Monday morning. Privacy advocates have said personal data put into the system may not remain secure. “If they can even make it work, I have zero trust that this data is going to remain private,” said one open-source investigator based in Russia.

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