Subscribers to multiple streaming services more likely to also be online pirates: survey | Film – Blog – 10 minute

The more subscription film and TV services Australians have signed up to, the more likely they are to continue to download pirated content, according to a survey published by content owners.
The online survey of 1,800 respondents, conducted by Sycamore on behalf of film industry lobby group Creative Content Australia, found around one third of the population had subscribed to one streaming video service, such as Netflix or Stan, while just 13% said they had three or more subscriptions.
Of the 13% who said they had three or more, half said they continued to pirate content online, with the most common reason being that what they pirated wasn’t available on the services they paid for.
Research by Roy Morgan in December last year found 14 million Australians were subscribed to some form of pay television service, including Foxtel, Netflix and Stan. Netflix accounted for the most, at 11.9 million.

The content lobby group has argued that piracy continues in Australia despite this.
“It’s terrifying,” Creative Content Australia chair Graham Burke told Guardian Australia.
Burke left the helm of Australian film distribution giant Village Roadshow at the start of this year, after having been CEO for over 30 years. He quoted piracy figures for several Australian films, including Ride Like A Girl, and said it was new release films that were the target of pirates.
“It’s a beautiful film,” he said. “Illegal transaction in Australia: 89,000. Legal transactions: 62,000. The piracy sites are providing them with the current crop of first-run movies.”
Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Justin Warren said people who were paying for multiple subscriptions were likely turning to piracy out of frustration at not being able to find what they wanted on the services they were paying for.
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“These are people who’ve tried to pay for the content they want to watch, but they still can’t get access to it after buying subscriptions to multiple services. I imagine that’d be pretty frustrating,” he said.
Since 2015 content owners have managed to have hundreds of websites facilitating piracy or illegal streaming blocked by Australian internet service providers, under laws passed by the Coalition government.
Content owners such as Village Roadshow have also successfully lobbied Google to voluntarily remove hundreds of piracy site links from its search results, but Burke said the large number of mirror sites linking back to those removed from search results were still leading people to piracy sites.
Ahead of a federal government content review to be released later this year, the organisation representing film and television companies isn’t pushing for specific changes to laws around piracy, but instead focusing on personal responsibility of the people downloading pirated content.
The survey asked respondents how often they had encountered malware, viruses, ransomware or other identity fraud issues, with 28% reporting a virus or pop-up containing malware and 10% saying that their “TV was hacked” as a result of piracy.
“The price of a movie is nothing compared with what you are potentially leading yourself into – that’s the reality,” Burke said.

But Warren said warnings about malware and viruses extended beyond piracy websites.
“The overall risk depends on a range of factors, so someone who never pirates content but engages in other risky behaviour like browsing the internet with an unpatched operating system and clicking every emailed link they get sent could still be more likely to get malware than a pirate who has a robust anti-malware regime in place,” he said.
“If you don’t want to get sick, sure, don’t lick public transport, but also wash your hands. But if you have children in primary school, buy tissues in bulk.”

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Teen magazines may be extinct, but their pernicious advice still lives online | Rachael Krishna | Opinion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

If there was anyone in need of clear information about the process of developing into a woman, it was my teenage self – raised by brothers and attending a faith-based school where discussions of sexual health were severely limited. Before social media the places where young people curious about their bodies and puberty could find information were few and far between. For peoPle like me, teen magazines were the logical place to look for answers.
Magazines for teenagers existed long before the 1990s and 2000s, but there was a boom in titles during those two decades. Mizz was first published in 1985; Bliss followed 10 years later, and CosmoGirl arrived in 1999. Young people had more expendable income, and groups like the Spice Girls rose to prominence in an era that prized the idea of female empowerment. Young women had a plethora of titles we could purchase ourselves. Hidden behind covers displaying members of Blue and free samples of Impulse were headlines about periods, body hair and relationships, all promising honest information derived from real-life experience.

Shaped by the latest wellness fads, girls searching for advice are fed a hogepodge of digitised playground rumours

In reality, much of the content on offer was a mirage. Airbrushed cover girls with tiny waists, clear skin and glossy hair promoted a narrow and unrealistic version of teen beauty. Dating advice was largely restricted to heterosexual relationships. There seemed to be an outright refusal to write honestly about teenage bodies; painful periods were described as ordinary, and young women were encouraged to remedy discomfort with a hot bath or chocolate ice cream. Little mention was made about the severity of pain or the potentially serious side-effects of hormonal contraception. If these were mentioned, they were presented as horror stories: “I got pregnant on the pill and didn’t know”, or “I went through menopause at 16”. Even gender-neutral issues like acne and stretch marks were handled tentatively, the latter going mostly unmentioned.
These omissions betrayed an unease with addressing the subject of women’s bodies. By skirting over hormones, uteruses and all that can go wrong with them, teen magazines created a void that we filled with alternative answers. My generation was variously told that it’s normal to be in agony one week a month or for your contraception to destroy your mental health. I was left grossly unprepared for the fairly common realities of being a woman. Recently I asked friends if they had similar experiences: “Did anyone else hear of endometriosis, PCOS or cystitis in your teenage years and from teen magazines?” The responses were telling. “I learned about endometriosis when someone actually listened to me about how painful my periods were,” said one friend.

The advice in these magazines has since been mocked and parodied. But if we can now recognise that the guidance was ridiculous, where were the initiatives to replace it with good information? Now, as then, it may simply be that too few people take teenage girls seriously, or care enough about women’s pain.
Teen magazines did not survive the digital revolution, and by the 2010s most had become online-only or disappeared altogether. But their collapse didn’t put an end to misinformation, which has rippled across the internet and flourished on platforms that resonate with women – particularly Instagram, where a number of thread pages and accounts have become go-to bibles for young women. Trends such as clean eating, self-care and flat-tummy teas are mutations of the spurious information once available in teen magazines.
In my work as a journalist and fact checker, I’ve seen teenagers tell each other that corrosive apple cider vinegar is good for the skin and that eating coconut oil can shorten your period and reduce bleeding. A deficit of accessible healthcare advice has resulted in a generation muddling together bad advice of the sort found in old teen magazines with expensive modern-day “fixes”. Shaped by the latest wellness fads, young women searching for reliable advice are fed a hodgepodge of digitised playground rumours, jade-egg mysticism and almond milk food vogues. Authority is less dependant on expertise or qualifications than follower count. Many of these accounts are nothing more than crowdsourced puberty manuals with a VSCO filter.
There’s a tendency to eulogise teen magazines and demonise their digital successors. But this ignores the continuity between the poor guidance printed in these publications and the misleading advice available online today. One of the most pernicious effects of misinformation is everyday physical harm, the small mistakes made by young women resorting to bogus health tips in the absence of legitimate guidance. Today, despite an abundance of online sources, we seem no more willing to have frank and truthful discussions about women’s bodies – or women’s pain.
• Rachael Krishna is a journalist at Full Fact

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3 Best Online OCR Tools To Extract Text From Images – Blog – 10 minute

Transcribing text from images can be a real pain. When text is presented as an image or some other non-selectable format, school and work become difficult. The only solution is to put those eyes and fingers to work and get to typing it—or is it?
Optimal Character Recognition, or OCR, is the process of converting typed or handwritten text from media such as scanned documents or photos into plain text.

Although it’s subject to mistakes, depending on the clarity of the text, using OCR to extract text from images can save you hours of monotonous work. One use case of OCR would be for if you’re a college student needing a particular page out of a textbook. If a friend were to send you a photo of the page, you could use OCR to extract all of the text from the image to easily read and copy it.
In this article, let’s explore three of the best OCR tools online to extract text from images, none of which require any OCR software or plugins to download.
OnlineOCR is one of the simplest and quickest ways to convert an image or PDF file into multiple different text formats.
Without an account, OnlineOCR.net will allow you to convert up to 15 files to text per hour. Registering for an account gives you access to features such as converting multi-page PDF documents and more.
OnlineOCR.net supports converting from the PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF formats, outputting them as DOCX, XLSX, or TXT.
OnlineOCR.net can recognize text in English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Moldavian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

The conversion process requires three simple steps. You upload a file, capped at 15 MB, select your language and output format, and click the Convert button.

Regardless of the output format you select, a plain text preview of the conversion will appear in a field below a link to download the file in your selected format. This helps prevent users from wasting a download on an extraction that may be inaccurate.
NewOCR currently only offers text extraction from image files, but it supports a few other interesting features that many online OCR providers don’t.
To begin using NewOCR, simply click the Choose File button, select the image you wish to extract text from, and then click on the blue Preview button. This will then bring up a preview of your image and present several additional options.

Unlike most other online image-to-text converters, NewOCR will actually allow you to set multiple recognition languages. This can be quite helpful if you’re unsure of what language the text in an image is written in, but you have a good guess and wish to get a proper translation from its plain text.
If your image is skewed to one side, you can also dynamically rotate it. When you’ve applied the necessary options, you can click the blue OCR button to extract the image’s text.

From here, you can download the extracted text in TXT, DOC, or PDF format, or send it straight to Google Translate or Google Docs for further editing.
Last but not least, OCR.space is definitely one of the most robust options we’ve found, and it should have you covered for just about any image-to-text operation.
OCR.space is one of the best OCR tools that supports the WEBP file format. Other than that, PNG, JPG, and PDF are also supported. Additionally, you don’t have to upload a file—you can remotely link to it if it’s available somewhere online.
Other niche features include auto-rotation, receipt scanning, table recognition, and auto-scaling. OCR.space is one of the only online OCR tools that supports outputting files as searchable PDFs (with visible or invisible text), and you can even choose between one of two different OCR engines for the best possible extraction.

All you have to do is upload or link a file, click the Start OCR! button, and then a preview of your results will dynamically load on the same page. If you’ve selected your output as a searchable PDF, the Download and Show Overlay buttons will also be available.
One of the most interesting and unique features of OCR.space is that it can output your extraction as JSON. This JSON will have fields that include each word in the text and their coordinates on the image itself. This is a very appreciated feature if you’re a coder out there trying to programmatically extract text from images.
With the three web tools above, extracting the text from just about any clear and legible image should be a piece of cake. Even if you’re a fast typer with multiple monitors, there’s no need to suffer through transcribing text images yourself. OCR was made for a reason, and these websites help you make the best use of it!
If you have any other tips for the best OCR tools or services you’d like to share, or you’d like help with using one of the above, feel free to drop us a message in the comments below.

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ICICI Bank launches online hackathon for startups to create next generation products and solutions- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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ICICI Bank recently announced the launch of the fourth edition of ‘ICICI Appathon’, a virtual challenge for start-ups to create next generation products and solutions. Start-ups can develop unique products by using over 250 APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) hosted on the Bank’s API Banking portal.
Participants need to envision innovative solutions around diverse set of APIs in categories like lending, payments, retail & corporate banking, trade among others.
Speaking on the initiative, Anup Bagchi, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “ICICI Bank has been at the forefront of digital innovations since its inception. We continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with the wider start-up ecosystem which will help foster rapid innovation and bring in value addition for our customers. ‘ICICI Appathon’ is a great opportunity for all new age companies to partner with us and create path breaking solutions by using our APIs.”
Overall process and timelines:
Registration: Startups can register on https://developer.icicibank.com/ and submit their ideas by February 23, 2020. Startups will have to share a brief presentation describing problem statement, market opportunity, product features and APIs to be used for integration.
Development: The names of the shortlisted start-ups will be announced by February 25, 2020. Access to ICICI Bank APIs would be given for product development and startups would have to provide video of the product demo by first week of March 2020.
Evaluation: Finalists will be announced by mid-March 2020. They will be invited to Mumbai to compete in the ‘Grand Finale’.
Eligibility criteria:
· The programme is open to startups and companies aiming to use ICICI Bank’s APIs
· Participating team should use at least one of the listed ICICI Bank APIs available on the website
These innovative solutions will be judged on the basis of multiple parameters like its concept, uniqueness, functionality, business potential, user experience and scalability. The finalists will also get a chance to work with ICICI Bank’s Business and Technology teams to improvise their solutions before the grand finale.
‘ICICI Appathon’ winners will be selected by a jury of eminent leaders from the banking industry and start-up ecosystem. The winners will be awarded with prizes worth over Rs. 10 lakh along with a partnership opportunity to create products with ICICI Bank.

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Crio.Do launches online program for helping engineering students gain real product development experience- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Crio.Do, a pioneer in experiential learning for product development, announced a new program: Crio Launch, for pre-final and final year engineering students. The program focuses on enabling engineering students to gain real product development experience and learn relevant technical skills along the way.
Crio Launch is a completely free program that focuses on software engineering foundations. Students learn foundational concepts by actually applying them in building real software products. Crio Launch participants are handpicked for the program based on a multi-stage selection process. Each stage of the selection process evaluates a student’s appetite to learn and grow their future. Crio Launch has garnered interest from a large number of students in over 500 campuses across the country, making it one of the largest experiential learning programs for product development in India. Students graduating from Crio Launch stand the chance of bagging full or part scholarships to Crio Launch Plus.
Launch Plus is Crio’s flagship career-accelerator program, where a student’s product development skills are elevated to the next level. Apart from product development skills gained through the “Learn by Doing” approach, students are encouraged to develop competencies like “ independent problem-solving”, “ product sense”, and “ willingness to stretch out of one’s comfort zone” through real experiences in the program.
Rathinamurthy R, Co-Founder Crio.Do, said” Global developer market is around 20 to 25 million developers and this number is growing rapidly. India forms 1/5 th of this market. There is a growing aspiration among developers to get into software product development, coupled with an increase in opportunities in this space. Our goal is to become the de-facto platform for any developer to pick up skills. Technology-led business models and startups are transforming every industry, and high-quality product developers are going to be at the center of this transformation. Existing ways of nurturing talent through video-based learning and traditional universities are not making the cut. We believe developers need and deserve better ways to learn and shape the new world. Our platform empowers developers with work-like Micro-Experiences that help them build a demonstrable portfolio and showcase real skills”
Students who graduate from Launch Plus would be able to hit the floor running from day one in any high-paced, dynamic, product company. For tech companies, Crio Launch Plus graduates would be a unique pool of talented developers with the hunger to build technology and solve real customer problems.
Both, Crio Launch and Crio Launch Plus are extensive programs dedicated to foster a student’s product development skills in about 8-10 weeks. This requires 400-500 hours of a student’s commitment to meet the milestones set in each of the programs.

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Salesforce makes its Sydney conference an online only affair amidst Coronavirus fears – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Salesforce’s premier Australian conference has become the latest casualty of the global Coronavirus epidemic, with its flashy Sydney World Tour event to be streamed online this year.
The cloud-based software company on Wednesday said it had made the difficult decision to change the format of the event from an “in person event” to “an online experience” on March 4.
The event usually attracts tens of thousands of technology leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region to the International Convention Centre on Darling Harbour.
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our stakeholders,” Salesforce said in an update on its website.
“Over the last few months, we have been closely monitoring the evolving situation with the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak to ensure we are taking every precaution to look after our customers, partners and employees.”
Salesforce said the decision to change the format was made “after careful consideration of our stakeholders and reflection on our values”, and that the online program would be as valuable.
“World Tour Sydney Reimagined will deliver a full program of inspiration and enablement direct to you, streamed from Australia completely online for the first time ever.”
World Tour Sydney joins a long list of yearly technology conferences that have been abandoned in recent weeks over Coronavirus, including Mobile World Congress Barcelona and Facebook’s San Francisco summit.
Cisco Live Melbourne became the first major Australia technology conference to be cancelled last week.
Research by Analyst firm Garner suggests that events such as trade shows are a critical marking channel for technology providers as it gives them the ability to engage with buyers firsthand.
As such, technology providers devote the largest percentage of marketing spend to these events. Technology providers on average invest 8.4 percent of revenue on marketing, of which more than a third is allocated to marketing.
According to John Hopkins University’s dashboard, he death toll from the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak stands at 1875, the vast majority of which have occurred in China’s Hubei province. There are 73,451 confirmed cases worldwide.

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Someone reportedly uploaded a playable build of StarCraft: Ghost online – Blog – 10 minute

In context: There have been a countless number of games that have been labeled “vaporware.” Vaporware is any software that has been announced but never released. The first software to receive this moniker was Microsoft’s ill-fated Xenix Unix OS.
A working copy (sort of) of famed vaporware StarCraft: Ghost has reportedly leaked online. Screenshots of the title first appeared Sunday morning posted on Twitter by Museum of Play Curator Andrew Borman.
Shortly after that, several videos of the game in action began showing up on YouTube. Many of the gameplay captures have been taken down, presumably because of copyright violations. However, the flood of Ghost footage seems endless.

Who would have thought a month ago that Starcraft Ghost would leak in some form? pic.twitter.com/24wCp4XBsE
— Andrew Borman (@Borman18) February 16, 2020

Kotaku notes that the incomplete game was leaked with an Xbox SDK then posted online. Several people have downloaded it and have got it to work on modded Xbox 360s.
Blizzard initially announced Starcraft: Ghost in 2003. It was supposed to be a third-person shooter based in the Starcraft universe slated for an Xbox release later that year. Blizzard was so confident about its debut that it hosted a one-hour gameplay screening at the Mayfair Curzon theater.

However, the development of World of Warcraft took priority and pushed the game back several years. Eventually, the looming arrival of next-gen consoles forced Blizzard to abandon the title.
There is no telling how long the above video will remain up. If it is broken as you read this, just search for StarCraft: Ghost on YouTube, and you should find many other examples.

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Antisocial: How Online Extremists Broke America by Andrew Marantz – review | Books- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Andrew Marantz is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and a pretty good one. He’s written a lot of perceptive stuff about the tech industry in recent years. One morning in 2016, he was in his office exploring “a particularly foul part of social media undergrowth”, when the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, came in, looked at the screen and asked: “What the hell is that?” Marantz told him to sit down and watch.
He repeated some of the Facebook searches he’d been doing, bringing up toxic memes and propaganda posts and reading out the “engagement” statistics below each one: 5,000 shares here, 15,000 “Likes” there. Then he pulled up the New Yorker’s Facebook page. A recent landmark piece got just 87 shares; Remnick’s own piece about Aretha Franklin had even fewer – 78 shares. And so on. “I get it,” said the editor. “It’s not auspicious, but where’s the story in it?” Marantz pressed on, exploring the maze of pro-Trump propaganda and viral memes. “What if I could find the people who are peddling this stuff?” he asked. “That could be a story,” Remnick replied.
He was right, and this book tells that tale. To research it, Marantz frequented some of the nastiest circles of the American “alt-right”, got to know some of the home-grown virtuosos of disinformation and disruption, embedded himself in a startup that specialises in exploiting online “virality”, and reflected on the recent history of social media and its monetisation and amplification of hate, white supremacism and disinformation. His conclusions are not reassuring for anyone who regards a functioning public sphere and accountable media power as prerequisites for democracy.

Lee Atwater, ‘the Paganini of the modern political dog-whistle’, with George Bush in 1986. Photograph: Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
Early in the book, Marantz observes that “Trump seemed to draw on pools of dark energy not previously observed within the universe of the American electorate”. This supposed invisibility rather depends on historical amnesia. The white supremacism that manifested itself in 2016 has a long history, and not just in the deep south. Marantz himself traces its antecedents back to Lee Atwater – “the Paganini of the modern political dog-whistle” – who worked for the sainted Ronald Reagan and was deputy director of his re-election campaign. Atwater popularised the “southern strategy” of coded racism aimed at white voters in the deep south that turned many of them from Democrats to Republicans. (He later joined the lobbying firm co-founded by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, names that have become familiar again since 2016.) Reagan’s communications director was Pat Buchanan, who developed “America first” from a blueprint established by Charles Lindbergh and his fellow Nazi admirers in the 1940s. And Reagan’s campaign motto? “Let’s make America great again.”
There has always been a dark undercurrent of white supremacism in some sectors of American culture. It was kept from public view for decades by the editorial gatekeepers of the old media ecosystem. But once the internet arrived, a sophisticated online culture of conspiracy theorists, racists and other malign discontents thrived in cyberspace. But it stayed below the radar until a fully paid-up conspiracy theorist won the Republican nomination. Trump’s candidacy and campaign had the effect of “mainstreaming” that which had previously been largely hidden from view. At which point, the innocent public began to see and experience what Marantz has closely observed, namely the remarkable capabilities of extremist “edgelords” to weaponise YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for destructive purposes.
One of the most depressing things about 2016 was the apparent inability of American journalism to deal with this pollution of the public sphere. In part, this was because they were crippled by their professional standards. It’s not always possible to be even-handed and honest. “The plain fact,” writes Marantz at one point, “was that the alt-right was a racist movement full of creeps and liars. If a newspaper’s house style didn’t allow its reporters to say so, then the house style was preventing its reporters from telling the truth.” Trump’s mastery of Twitter led the news agenda every day, faithfully followed by mainstream media, like beagles following a live trail. And his use of the “fake news” metaphor was masterly: a reminder of why, as Marantz points out, Lügenpresse – “lying press” – was also a favourite epithet of Joseph Goebbels.
At the end of this absorbing and disturbing book, we are left with two awkward questions. One is whether digital technology – as controlled and deployed by a small number of unregulated tech corporations that derive their profits from monetising “user engagement” (a polite term for prioritising dis- and misinformation, lies, outrage and nonsense) – now constitutes an existential threat to liberal democracy. And if the answer to that is yes, are we going to do anything about it before it’s too late? Second, was the old media ecosystem, with its elitist gatekeepers, editorial control, political bias and other flaws, really worse than what we have acquired? Or, pace Winston Churchill on democracy, was it just the worst system apart from all the others?
• Antisocial: How Online Extremists Broke America by Andrew Marantz is published by Picador (£20). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p over £15

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Amazon, Flipkart Not In Favour of New Tax On Indian Online Sellers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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The possibility of implementing a 1 percent tax on each sale made by sellers on online e-commerce platforms is facing major resistance from online retailers, Amazon and Flipkart. This third-party tax proposition would be brought up at the Parliament next month. Ecommerce giants Amazon and Flipkart want a rollback on this tax as they believe it would hurt the fledgling e-commerce space. 
This taxation move is a part of the Government’s aim to increase tax revenues to combat the existing economic slowdown due to dropping consumer demand. As per a presentation by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) this tax will seriously impact the country’s growing e-commerce industry, as seen by Reuters. An increased compliance burden would affect retailers and also cause working capital concerns. 
There has been resistance from third-party sellers as well that have argued they already contribute through a sales tax to the nation. With this tax on their sales, it would become difficult for small businesses to sustain.
The tax would be exempted from online sellers as well as brick-and-mortar retailers that have a revenue of less than half a million rupees in the previous year. The Indian e-commerce industry is predicted to reach $200 billion by 2026 with the country moving to digital use for all kinds of activities. 
The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), an influential lobby group, has asked the Indian government to give some time leeway for e-commerce firms to comply with this tax proposal. They have suggested the tax be implemented on April 1, 2021, as reviewed by Reuters. 

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The government should actually understand the internet if it’s going to protect kids from online harms- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A world with less child abuse content, terrorist materials and self-harm images is a world worth striving for. This week’s publication of the government’s strategy against so-called “online harms” (i.e. to give Ofcom responsibility over policing online content) is therefore a long-overdue step. If only it were more informed. 
The policy proposal makes it painfully clear how little we currently know about the effects of new technologies; technologies that we, and our children, use for many happy and productive hours every day.
Our current system for understanding and regulating such innovations, the same one employed to deliver the online harms strategy, is not fit for purpose – it is outpaced by a fast-moving, highly individualised technological space. And these are the obstacles that are holding back our ability to react assertively to such accelerating technological change.

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Firstly, the current focus on screen time is misguided. Sonia Livingstone, LSE professor, supports this in a report published this week to mark Safer Internet Day; she points out that parents’ fears about three areas – content, contact and conduct – have little to do with the duration of “screen time”. The internet now provides children with a greater variety of uses, content and activities than ever, and time is not an appropriate measure for any of those. 
The focus of the government’s new policies on “online harms” might, therefore, be a welcome change for parents, the NSPCC and other organisations campaigning for a safer internet. 
Yet while it is relatively clear how self-harm images, radicalised content and child pornography are harmful, there could be many other aspects of the online world that are causing individual or general harm: for example, design features, algorithmic biases, and the tracking of behaviour across platforms. 
In her report, Livingstone quotes Wilbur Schramm’s 1961 reflections on the early days of television: “For some children, under some conditions, some television is harmful. For some children under the same conditions, or for the same children under other conditions, it may be beneficial. For most children, under most conditions, most television is probably neither particularly harmful nor particularly beneficial”. If we replace “television” with “internet” in this quote, we have an accurate representation of research today. 
It is currently impossible to identify anything except the most obvious of online harms. And what might be harmful to some, could be beneficial to others.

Had there been a concentrated conversation about this when development began on the Online Harms White Paper two years ago, many pertinent questions would have emerged. 
The first of these questions is about access to data. While huge amounts of rich data about our online activities are tracked in real time, these data are owned by companies which have little incentive to make them available for research. Even academic researchers – in the UK or anywhere else – are routinely excluded despite needing the data as raw materials to provide important evidence.

As I have found in my work, the lack of data access means researchers often need to rely on children’s (or parents’) own estimates of their time spent online to understand technology effects. This makes it impossible to provide detailed insights about anything other than “screen time” or other vague notions of time spent on different platforms. 

The government wants children growing up in the UK to have the world’s best safeguards against online harms. However, policy makers and regulators need to be furnished with high-quality, objective research. 
Academic research is heavily curtailed, and politicians are delaying important decisions as a result. If the regulator doesn’t want to be playing catch up with the tech giants for the next few decades, this will have to change. A much closer relationship between academics and policy, and more initiatives to ensure controlled and ethical data-sharing, transparent practices and real-time collaboration between scientists and the tech industry are needed.

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The British Academy, the national body for the humanities and social sciences, says debates over childhood policy currently give us an important opportunity for policy to draw on valuable research and protect the most vulnerable from harm.

The first step is to shape policy around the lives and perspectives of children. Where parents see “screen time”, academics might see a far richer variety of different activities children are engaging in, some harmful and some beneficial, e.g. doing homework, skyping relatives, watching TV programmes, reading horror stories or starting mindfulness meditation. 
With more well-rounded research and closer links to policy, we may discover more about the extent to which online risks can lead to harm, as well as understanding the opportunities new technologies provide. 
As it stands, research is highlighting that social media and digital technology are not as harmful as often feared. But when a more harmful technology arrives, the current system for understanding and reacting to it would be outmanoeuvred. This is where the real risks lie.
Dr Amy Orben is Emmanuel College research fellow at the University of Cambridge

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