EU eyes temporary ban on facial recognition in public places | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

The EU could temporarily ban the use of facial recognition technology in public places such as train stations, sport stadiums and shopping centres over fears about creeping surveillance of European citizens.
A prohibition lasting between three and five years is seen as a way for Brussels to manage the risks said to be posed by the breakneck speed at which the software is being adopted.
The option is contained in an early draft of a European commission white paper obtained by the news website Euractiv. The final version is due to be published in February as part of a wider overhaul of the regulation of artificial intelligence.
The draft document points to the right under the general data protection regulation for EU citizens “not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling”.
Under the proposal, a new regulatory framework for artificial intelligence could “include a time-limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces”.
The paper states that the “use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces would be prohibited for a definite period (eg three to five years) during which a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed”.
The possibility of driving forward in the field of artificial intelligence is often cited by Brexit enthusiasts as one of the major advantages for the UK as it leaves Brussels’ regulatory orbit. Critics claim Brussels is overly cautious in its treatment of new developments.
The UK will leave the EU at the end of this month but remain under its laws until at least the end of 2020. The coming negotiation over the future relationship will determine how closely the UK will align to EU rules, including on data handling and collection.
Facial recognition software is one of the fastest-growing technologies and is becoming a staple of Europe’s private and public surveillance networks.
Three UK police forces – the Met, South Wales and Leicestershire – are trialling such software as an “innovative” way to identify people suspected of committing a crime or on watchlists.
The German government is planning to roll out facial recognition technology in 134 railway stations and 14 airports after a successful trial in Berlin.
France is set to become the first EU country to allow its citizens to access secure government websites through such software. In July, the French parliament recommended a new regulatory framework to allow experimentation.
In September, the high court in London ruled that South Wales police acted lawfully and did not breach human rights or data protection laws in its use of facial recognition software.
Civil rights organisations have voiced their concern at the speed at which the technology is being adopted. The UK’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has urged caution on the use of what it describes as an “intrusive” technology.
Last weekend, football supporters and civil rights activists expressed their anger after two surveillance vans equipped with the technology were seen patrolling outside Cardiff City’s stadium before a derby match with Swansea.
The campaign group Big Brother Watch organised a protest and a banner was unfurled inside the stadium during the Championship game reading “No facial recognition”.
More broadly, Brussels is looking at a range of options for dealing with the ethical and legal questions posed by artificial intelligence. Under one plan, developers would be asked to follow a voluntary ethical code. They would receive a gold-standard label in return.
The commission is also looking at minimum standards for government departments and the use of legally binding EU instruments when it comes “high–risk applications of artificial intelligence” in areas such as healthcare, transport, policing and the judiciary.
A commission spokesman declined to comment on the leaked paper. He said the commission wanted to “fully reap the benefits of artificial intelligence – to enable scientific breakthrough, to preserve the leadership of EU businesses, to improve the life of every EU citizen by enhancing diagnosis and healthcare or increasing the efficiency of farming”.
The spokesman added: “To maximise the benefits and address the challenges of artificial intelligence, Europe has to act as one and will define its own way, a human way. Technology has to serve a purpose and the people. Trust and security of EU citizens will therefore be at the centre of the EU’s strategy.
“Data is the indispensable raw ingredient of AI. We thus have to unlock, exploit and make flow data generated and owned in Europe, to create wealth for our societies and opportunities for our businesses. Our industry is world leader in most innovative sectors. Europe has everything it needs to be successful.”

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EU mulls five-year ban on facial recognition tech in public areas – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses, according to proposals seen by Reuters.
The plan by the EU’s executive – set out in an 18-page white paper – comes amid a global debate about the systems driven by artificial intelligence and widely used by law enforcement agencies.
The EU Commission said new tough rules may have to be introduced to bolster existing regulations protecting Europeans’ privacy and data rights.
“Building on these existing provisions, the future regulatory framework could go further and include a time-limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces,” the EU document said.
During that ban, of between three to five years, “a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed.”
Exceptions to the ban could be made for security projects as well as research and development, the paper said.
The document also suggested imposing obligations on both developers and users of artificial intelligence and that EU countries should appoint authorities to monitor the new rules.
The Commission will seek feedback on its white paper before making a final decision, officials said. EU digital and antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager is expected to present her proposals next month.
The US government earlier this month announced regulatory guidelines on artificial intelligence technology aimed at limiting authorities’ overreach and urged Europe to avoid aggressive approaches.

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How technology is powering sustainable public toilets in Telangana- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Focused on changing the poor perception of Indian public toilets in India, Loocafe is Asia’s first free to use luxury public toilet, powered by technology. The startup was established in 2016. Speaking about his journey Abhishek Nath, Managing Director & CEO, Ixora Corporate Services says, “We started as a team of professionals, who have spent 15-20 years with major corporate houses. We pooled in our strengths to launch this unique venture. We are a no frills workplace with a flat organisational structure. It has been learning for us every single day.”
Abhishek Nath, Managing Director & CEO, Ixora Corporate Services
Today Ixora employees 1000+ people, and innovation and disruption is a part of its inherent culture, points out Nath, adding further, “Our brand Loocafé by far is the best sustainable public toilets concept, implemented in South Asia. We have appreciated by national and state governments.” The concept has also received various innovation awards.
Loocafe works on PPP model and is free to use. “We just request for space and rest is done us. We also pay for all utilities such as water, electricity, etc.,” informs Nath. Currently, it is in collaboration with the Government of Telangana and the British Council. So far more than 17 Loocafes have been installed (in 10 months). The company is in talks with various municipal corporations across the country.
Loocafe has 24/7 India’s first cleaning command centre with state-of-the-art IoT enabled technology which enables complex toilet management sustainable. The Live Toilet Management System includes:

Smell indictors: Smell is one of the key issues which most public toilets face and addressing this was imperative. “Today all Loocafes have IoT smell indicators looped back with our centralised cleaning command centre, which is monitored and helps maintain hygiene, cleaning frequency,” explains Nath.
Utility mapping: To have a toilet working and hygienic specially in public domain it is important to keep a check on water, electricity, air-condition levels. All key utilities are IoT mapped and connected to the central command centre and constantly monitored.
Footfall monitoring.
CCTV surveillance : The area constantly monitored, this also help track the teams at site.
All shop floor team members, attendance are geo tagged and fenced.

Soon the company will introduce an app, which will enable people to locate toilets and it’s features will be  similar to Uber or Ola. “R&D is a part of our DNA. We also work with various startups in this space to keep pace with the evolving technologies,” says Nath.
“Public toilets are one of the most difficult areas to be maintained. Globally, most toilets get shut in the first six months of operations as there is no clear sustainability plan. Various departments have to liaison amongst each other to get public toilets operational to ensure best hygiene standards. Our tech enabled command centre helps in monitoring hygiene by mapping cleaning standards and frequency,” he states.
Pointing out that training and keeping the teams motivated at all times is also a big challenge, Nath says, “No one wants to be in toilets all day, cleaning, and doing a thankless job. We have a fully equipped training centre which trains and deploys the staff. Each individual goes through a two-day workshop. They are constantly rewarded and given recognition for their exemplary work to keep them motivated.” The teams also go through regular medical checkups to ensure their well being.
According to Nath, they have now started work on police verification for all staff on the ground, along with stronger CCTV surveillance, to ensure safety. “We have been working to tie-up with global partners to enhance hygiene. One such initiative has been a tie-up with Peesafe to ensure free seat sanitisers in every Loocafé,” he shares.
Nath reminds that public toilet sustainability is the biggest challenge and Loocafe has a unique offering – POS + toilets. “The revenue generated from the POS is used for the Opex and Capex payments, hence this is a truly sustainable concept with a small footprint of 20/8 sq ft,” he adds.
A few innovative features of Loocafe:  A vertical garden; Loocafe Pink (all women public toilets have many features including baby feeding room); disabled friendly; Loocafe Green (coming by March 2020); and Loocafe Gold with next gen architecture and premium facilities.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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Public Health England delays FA Cup games to encourage mental health mindfulness- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Public Health England has teamed up with the FA Cup to delay its third round of fixtures this weekend (4 January) by one minute to instead encourage fans to focus on their mental health.
The historic first is part of the government body’s ‘Every Mind Matters’ initiative which directs people to an NHS advice service with tools designed to help people better manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Heads Together, the project spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex looks to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health via fundraising for crucial services.
It has a season-long Heads Up partnership with the FA. This rallies around a minute-long film narrated by Prince William, starring famous faces from the world of football including Frank Lampard, Harry Maguire and Alex Scott.
Using football as a platform to drive discussion on mental health, the spot asks fans to ‘take a minute’ to consider their own wellbeing and act if needed. While the collaboration is aimed at everyone, including players, supporters, friends and families, the FA has recognised that the beautiful game can be a powerful way to reach men in particular.
Of the 15 million-plus football fans in England, 69% are men, and Public Health England’s research has shown that men are less likely than women to seek help or take self-care actions for early signs of common mental health concerns.
The film will be played across stadiums, broadcast and social media as kick-off times across all Emirates FA Cup Third Round fixtures are delayed by 60 seconds from Saturday (4 January).
Matchday collateral, including programme advertorial and LED boards will underline the message, and national and regional PR, TV, VOD and targeted social media activity during the FA Cup Third Round fixtures will extend reach.
The ‘Every Mind Matters’ platform initially launched in October 2019 with a one-off broadcast of a three-minute film narrated by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Since the film was launched via a roadblock across ITV, Channel 4 and Sky channels, over a million ‘Mind Plans’ have been completed, using a free, NHS-assured tool from Every Mind Matters.

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SmileDirectClub makes its debut on the public market – gpgmail


SmileDirectClub rang the opening bell earlier today, marking its first day of trading as a public company. The teeth-straightening company is now trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “SDC.”

Already, the stock is trading down 11% at $20.36 per share.

SmileDirectClub kicked off its IPO hoping to raise up to $1.3 billion at an offering price of $23 per share, with an expected market cap of around $10 billion. The company originally intended to set its price between $19 and $22 per share.

“We are focused on long term shareholder value – the next 12, 24, 36 months and beyond,” SmileDirectClub CFO Kyle Wailes said in a statement to gpgmail. “Today’s IPO allows us to reinvest in innovation in product, process, international growth and customer experience. We are just getting started but our commitment to our mission, our 5,500+ team members, our customers and now our shareholders is stronger than ever.”

The company plans to use money raised from the IPO for international expansion and developing new dental products. SmileDirectClub filed to go public back in August amid concerns from national dental associations.

Prior to this, SmileDirectClub reached a $3.2 billion valuation following a $380 million funding round last October. Investors from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice led the round, which featured participation from Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital. This funding came on top of Invisalign maker Align Technology’s $46.7 million investment in SmileDirectClub in 2016, and another $12.8 million investment in 2017 to own a total of 19% of the company.

In 2018, SmileDirectClub’s revenues came in at $432.2 million, a significant uptick from just $147 million the year prior.

The company ships invisible aligners directly to customers, and licensed dental professionals (either orthodontists or general dentists) remotely monitor the progress of the patient. Before shipping the aligners, patients either take their dental impressions at home and send them to SmileDirectClub or visit one of the company’s “SmileShops” to be scanned in person.

SmileDirectClub says it costs 60% less than other types of teeth-straightening treatments, with the length of treatments ranging from four to 14 months. Upfront, SmileDirectClub costs $1,895, with the average treatment lasting six months.

Though, members of the American Association of Orthodontists have taken issue with SmileDirectClub, previously asserting that SmileDirectClub violates the law because its methods of allowing people to skip in-person visits and X-rays is “illegal and creates medical risks.” The organization has also filed complaints against SmileDirectClub in 36 states, alleging violations of statutes and regulations governing the practice of dentistry. Those complaints were filed with the regulatory boards that oversee dentistry practices and with the attorneys general of each state.

SmileDirectClub explicitly calls out those issues in its S-1 as potential risk factors. Here’s a key nugget:

A number of dental and orthodontic professionals believe that clear aligners are appropriate for only a limited percentage of their patients. National and state dental associations have issued statements discouraging use of orthodontics using a teledentistry platform. Increased market acceptance of our remote clear aligner treatment may depend, in part, upon the recommendations of dental and orthodontic professionals and associations, as well as other factors including effectiveness, safety, ease of use, reliability, aesthetics, and price compared to competing products.

Furthermore, our ability to conduct business in each state is dependent, in part, upon that particular state’s treatment of remote healthcare and that state dental board’s regulation of the practice of dentistry, each which are subject to changing political, regulatory, and other influences. There is a risk that state authorities may find that our contractual relationships with our doctors violate laws and regulations prohibiting the corporate practice of dentistry, which generally bar the practice of dentistry by entities. Two state dental boards have established new rules or interpreted existing rules in a manner that purports to limit or restrict our ability to conduct our business as currently conducted.

Additionally, as the S-1 notes, a national dental association recently filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration claiming that SmileDirectClub’s manufacturing violates “prescription only” requirements. While no regulations or laws have been passed that would affect SmileDirectClub to date, it’s a possible scenario that would greatly impact the company’s core business.


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Apple Music launches a public beta on the web – gpgmail


Apple Music is coming to the web. Apple today is launching a public beta of its popular music streaming service on the web, which will be available to all Apple Music subscribers worldwide. This is the first time that Apple Music has been officially offered on the web, though an unofficial app over the past few months has gained attention after attracting hundreds of thousands of users.

Clearly, there was some pent-up demand for a web version of the service.

To use the new Apple Music web version, subscribers can visit the link beta.music.apple.com and sign in with their Apple ID.

At launch, the service includes many core features, like searching and playing songs from the Apple Music catalog, searching and playing songs from your library (if Sync Library is enabled), accessing your playlists and more.

All the main sections from the Apple Music app will also be available, including Library, Search, For You, Browse and Radio. Other features will roll out over time as the service is further developed.

During the beta testing period, Apple will be soliciting feedback from customers as it works on the product to help it streamline features and squash any bugs.

At a later date, new users will be able to sign up for Apple Music through the website. But for the time being, you’ll need to be an existing subscriber who signed up elsewhere.

The web version is now one of several ways Apple is making its music service more accessible across platforms.

The service is already available as an app for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and Mac. And at this year’s WWDC 2019 event, Apple announced its plans to dismantle iTunes on the Mac, making Music a standalone app with access to both downloads, library content and Apple Music’s streaming service.

Apple Music is also offered on non-Apple platforms, like Android, Windows, Sonos and Amazon Echo.

Cross-platform availability is essential in today’s streaming market, as Apple Music faces competition from Spotify, Pandora/SiriusXM, Amazon Music, YouTube Music and other local players.

At last count, Spotify had 108 million paying subscribers in the quarter ending in June and Apple Music topped 60 million subscribers in late June.


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We Company reportedly mulls slashing its valuation ahead of its initial public offering – gpgmail


The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company formerly known as WeWork is considering slashing its valuation as it looks to woo public market investors.

The company is reportedly considering a valuation of somewhere in the $20 billion range for its initial public offering, a figure that’s far less than the $47 billion valuation it received when it raised its last round of private funding.

Since filing for its initial public offering earlier this summer, questions have swirled around the viability of The We Company (as it’s now known).

According to the Journal, the company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Adam Neumann flew to Tokyo last week to meet with SoftBank Group — one of the company’s largest investors.

Neumann went to see if SoftBank would make another investment into the company — reportedly coming in as an anchor investor for the public offering and taking a big bite of the $3 billion to $4 billion the company was looking to raise. Neumann also reportedly discussed using SoftBank cash to delay the public offering until 2020.

A few billion here and a few billion there, and soon you’re talking about real money.

SoftBank has already balked at putting more cash into the We Company ahead of the public offering, and it’s not clear whether the company will step in as a white knight now.  

What is clear is that We needs money and its long term viability as a business is contingent on the infusion of massive amounts of cash.

Indeed, the company has a $6 billion line of credit at stake, which would be pulled if the public offering underperforms.

If the company fails to hit the $3 billion mark in its public offering, then the credit line promised from the big banks that are underwriting the public offering goes away.  That would be a pretty devastating turn of events for a company that’s currently racking up losses in the billions of dollars.

All of this comes during a shuffling of deck chairs designed to make the company look somewhat better to institutional investors and the public. Stories like this, however, don’t instill confidence that the We Company can avoid the iceberg that is its own business model.


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Some thoughts from the public company roller coaster – gpgmail


2019 has already been an active year for U.S. tech IPOs. Some highly anticipated unicorns, such as Uber and Lyft, have disappointed investors with their IPO debuts and their first results as public companies. Others, such as Fiverr, Zoom and CrowdStrike, have soared. And food-tech brand Beyond Meat (two words you normally don’t see together) hit a high of $239 from their $25 IPO price.

The first of these 2019 tech IPO companies will soon face a new challenge as the early investor and employee lockups expire — often 180 days after the IPO — allowing them to sell and increasing the number of shares available to trade. Lyft will remain at the front of the 2019 pack when the lockups expire, bringing more of the company’s stock into play on the public market. Regardless of what happens next, it’s amazing to see the trajectory of companies that have built such impressive businesses in such a remarkably short period of time.

I was recently at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to ring the opening bell and celebrate our three- millionth borrower on the platform. It brought back great memories from when our company, LendingClub, entered the public fray in 2014. LendingClub was the largest U.S. tech IPO that year, and is still one of the biggest U.S. tech IPOs of all time. We listed at a $5.4 billion valuation, and our shares surged 67% on the first day of trading. We were thrilled to celebrate the validation of our hard work and excited about the next stage of our growth. However, by the time our lockups expired, we had fallen back to around our IPO valuation of $15 a share.

Since then, despite being the market leader in the fastest-growing sector of consumer credit in the country with double-digit annual growth, the company today is worth less than a fifth of what it was in 2014. Our story is thankfully unique, and I’ll spare you the details here, but suffice to say… we had a rough period. We are back on track now, delivering growth and margin expansion while executing against our vision.

However bespoke our story, there are some observations I’ll share that might be useful for others as they think about life post-IPO. I’m not going to cover the issues around short-termism and the tyranny of quarterly targets (which have been well-documented elsewhere), but rather a few of the implications that sure would have been useful for me to know going in…

Things will be different — really

I’d compare the period leading up to the IPO to the period when you are expecting a baby. Intellectually, you know things will be different when you bring home a newborn. But knowing it and living it are two different things. Going public is a transformational event that permanently changes your company and how the CEO, CFO and board spend their time (with obvious trickle-down effects). From the moment we rang the NYSE bell on December 11, 2014, everything changed.

Making money matters

Investors buying your stock are essentially valuing your future cash flow. At some point, you have to have your “show them the money” moment and become profitable. Amazon famously lost a total of $2.8 billion over 17 straight quarters after their IPO and was the subject of a lot of skepticism and criticism throughout. The company maintained their strategy, delivering top-line growth and investing in their future and, suffice to say, investor patience paid off!

At LendingClub, we have invested millions of dollars to develop products that delight our 3 million+ customers (and, at 78, our NPS is at its highest level in the history of the company) and expand our competitive moat. We are now driving toward adjusted net income profitability.

Like it or not, there is a scoreboard

Once you go public, some people stop thinking of you as a business, and start thinking about you as a stock price. And that stock price is always broadcasting. It broadcasts to your equity investors, your employees, your partners, your board — to everyone who is listening.

You can’t preserve your culture, but you can and must maintain the values your company holds dear.

When the stock is up, everyone feels great. But, in a volatile market or a downturn, there are a lot of people who will be needing to hear your view on what’s happening. Communication to your stakeholders is not in the way of you doing your job, it is a critical part of your job that just got A LOT bigger. You need to stay ahead of it and deliberately carve out the time to make it a priority.

There are others sharing the microphone

When you are starting out, the world is divided into two types of people: those who love you, and those who don’t know/care. When you are a public company, a lot of voices join the conversation. You’ll add a different beat of reporters focused on your financials. You have analysts who are paid to research and think about your company, your strategy, your prospects and your value. These analysts may have never covered a company quite like yours (after all, you are breaking new ground) and you’ll need to spend time together to understand what matters.

You also can attract a whole new kind of investor, a “short” who has a vested interest in your stock going down. All of these voices are speaking to your stakeholders and you need to understand what they are saying and how it should affect your own communications.

Be careful, the microphone is on

Remember those days when everyone attended the “all hands” and you could share the details of your product road map, your corporate strategy, what’s working and what isn’t? Yeah, those are over. The risk of material nonpublic information leaking means you need to find a new balance in transparency with your employees (and your friends and partners for that matter).

It’s a change to behavior and to culture that doesn’t come naturally (at least it didn’t to me). It’s a change that can be frustrating to employees as the necessary opacity can erode trust as people feel out of the loop. At LendingClub, we still regularly communicate as much as we can and trust our employees, but there are places where you have to draw the line.

Your competitors are listening

Ironically enough, while your ability to share key details with employees is limited, you are sharing a lot with your competition. Shareholders and money managers want to know your battle plans and expect a detailed update at your earnings call every quarter. You can expect that your competitors are taking notice and taking notes.

Your scarcest resource

As the above would indicate, being public means that you are inevitably going to be spending less time running the business, and more time focused externally. Not a bad thing, but something you need to plan for so that you have the resources in place underneath you to maintain business momentum. If your management team isn’t materially different as you head to the market than it was a few years ago, I’d be surprised if you have what you need.

Your culture will change, focus on your values

I once asked a senior Google executive advice on how to preserve culture when going through massive periods of transition. She told me that you can’t preserve your culture, but you can and must maintain the values your company holds dear. Her advice, which I have followed and am passing on to you, is to make sure you write them down, hire against them and assess performance against them.

We started this practice years ago and it is remarkable how consistent our values have remained even as the company has evolved and matured. We codified six core values that put the customer at the center of everything we do. We are guided by our No. 1 value — Do What’s Right. You know a LendingClubber when you meet them, and it is part of what makes us great.

Being a public company is not for the faint-hearted, but being public is part of growing up. Being public legitimizes the company, unlocks liquidity to fuel growth and enables you to attract the next generation of talent. We always said that going public would allow us to deliver more value to a greater number of consumers and would lend legitimacy to our growing industry. We have facilitated more than $50 billion in loans and are still at a small percentage of our immediately addressable market. Although challenging at times, we’re seeing our dream to truly help everyday Americans come to life.

We’ve worked hard since our IPO to change the face people associate with finance. We’ve built a diverse team, established strong core values and nurtured a culture that has resulted in the kind of company we want to represent fintech and the tech industry as a whole — both inside and outside Silicon Valley.

So, to the new joiners in the public sphere — life in the spotlight is a wild ride. Congratulations on this step in your journey, and on to the next!


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YouTube begins to label videos by publishers with government or public funding – gpgmail


Days after Google said YouTube was used in a coordinated effort to spread misinformation about protesters in Hong Kong, the platform has begun labeling videos uploaded by media organizations that receive government or public funding. While YouTube says the new feature, which is now live in 10 regions, including Hong Kong, is intended to provide more context about publishers, it is being criticized for not drawing a clear distinction between media that receives government funding, but are editorially independent, and ones that serve as government mouthpieces, like Xinhua News Agency or the China Global Television Network.

The feature was first spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong. A YouTube policy update states that “if a channel is owned by a news publisher, that is funded by a government, or publicly funded, an information panel providing publisher context may be displayed on the watch page of the videos on its channel.”

The panels includes brief statements about how the publisher is funded and links to a Wikipedia entry about the publisher. They have been rolled out in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Hong Kong. (On YouTube’s U.S. site, they can be seen on videos uploaded by publishers including the Voice of America, BBC, Xinhua and National Public Radio.)

 

The new policy also adds that “this information panel providing publisher context is meant to give you additional information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you watch on YouTube. Inclusion of the information panel providing publisher context is based on information about the news publisher made available by Wikipedia and other independent third-party sources. It is not a comment by YouTube on the publisher’s or video’s editorial direction, or on a government’s editorial influence.”

The panels will not be displayed in YouTube search results or affect the video’s features or eligibility for monetization.

Last week, Google disabled 210 YouTube accounts that it said were used to spread misinformation about the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Facebook and Twitter took action against accounts that they said were part of a propaganda campaign.

Twitter also banned state-run media outlets from buying advertising on its platform after users spotted Xinhua News Agency using sponsored tweets to portray the demonstrations in Hong Kong, which have been mostly peaceful, as violent. Twitter said its new policy distinguishes between state-funded media organizations that don’t operate independently of the governments that fund them and ones that have editorial autonomy like the British Broadcasting Corporation or the Public Broadcasting Service.

gpgmail has contacted Google for comment.




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Megvii, the Chinese startup unicorn known for facial recognition tech, files to go public in Hong Kong – gpgmail


Megvii Technology, the Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup known in particular for its facial recognition brand Face++, has filed for a public listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Its prospectus did not disclose share pricing or when the IPO will take place, but Reuters reports that the company plans to raise between $500 million and $1 billion and list in the fourth quarter of this year. Megvii’s investors include Alibaba, Ant Financial and the Bank of China. Its last funding round was a Series D of $750 million announced in May that reportedly brought its valuation to more than $4 billion.

Founded by three Tsinghua University graduates in 2011, Megvii is among China’s leading AI startups, with its peers (and rivals) including SenseTime and Yitu. Its clients include Alibaba, Ant Financial, Lenovo, China Mobile and Chinese government entities.

The company’s decision to list in Hong Kong comes against the backdrop of an economic recession and political unrest, including pro-democracy demonstrations, factors that have contributed to a slump in the value of the benchmark Hang Seng index. Last month, Alibaba reportedly decided to postpone its Hong Kong listing until the political and economic environment becomes more favorable.

Megvii’s prospectus discloses both rapid growth in revenue and widening losses, which the company attributes to changes in the fair value of its preferred shares and investment in research and development. Its revenue grew from 67.8 million RMB in 2016 to 1.42 billion RMB in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate of about 359%. In the first six months of 2019, it made 948.9 million RMB. Between 2016 and 2018, however, its losses increased from 342.8 million RMB to 3.35 billion RMB, and in the first half of this year, Megvii has already lost 5.2 billion RMB.

Investment risks listed by Megvii include high R&D costs, the U.S.-China trade war and negative publicity over facial recognition technology. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report that linked Face++ to a mobile app used by Chinese police and officials for mass surveillance of Uighurs in Xinjiang, but it later added a correction that said Megvii’s technology had not been used in the app. Megvii’s prospectus alluded to the report, saying that in spite of the correction, the report “still caused significant damages to our reputation which are difficult to completely mitigate.”

The company also said that despite internal measures to prevent misuse of Megvii’s tech, it cannot assure investors that those measures “will always be effective,” and that AI technology’s risks and challenges include “misuse by third parties for inappropriate purposes, for purposes breaching public confidence or even violate applicable laws and regulations in China and other jurisdictions, bias applications or mass surveillance, that could affect user perception, public opinions and their adoption.”

From a macroeconomic perspective, Megvii’s investment risks include the restrictions and tariffs placed on Chinese exports to the U.S. as part of the ongoing trade war. It also cited reports that Megvii is among the Chinese tech companies the U.S. government may add to trade blacklists. “Although we are not aware of, nor have we received any notification, that we have been added as a target of any such restrictions as of the date this Document, the existence of such media reports itself has already damaged our reputation and diverted our management’s attention,” the prospectus said. “Whether or not we will be included as a target for economic and trade restrictions is beyond our control.”


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