Dhaka, Oct 14 (UNB) – Uber driver partners under the banner of Dhaka Ridesharing Drivers Union enforced a 24-hour strike from Sunday midnight to realize their various demands, including reduction in the commission taken by the company to 12 percent from the current 25 percent.
All the cars and motorcycles got registered with the Uber app would remain under the purview of the strike, said Dhaka Ridesharing Drivers Union leader Quayum Ahmed.
He said they are compelled to enforce the strike as the Uber authorities are not any taking step to meet their demands though thy have been pressing for those to be met since July last.
Their other demands also include removing the bar to working hours, fixing fare per kilometre and minute from the start to the end of every trip, increasing fare due to rise in gas and oil prices, ensuring security of divers and compensation if passengers cause damage to vehicles, not taking action against drivers without investigating passenger complaints, training passengers on location and making it mandatory to provide passengers’ photos in their Uber accounts and taking steps for giving drivers trips near destination.
Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, launched on-demand ridesharing service in Dhaka on November 22, 2016.
Meanwhile, Uber’s Dhaka office issued a statement regretting the inconvenience following the strike of its driver partners.
“We regret the disruption caused to the riders and driver-partner community, due to a small group of individuals. We remain committed to serving the city and ensuring that our driver partners continue to access a stable income, while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around Dhaka,” it said.
“We’ve processes in place for our driver-partners to address concerns and issues through our Partner Sheba Kendras and in-App feedback,” The statement added.
An Uber spokesperson, wishing anonymity, said most drivers did not respond to the call for the strike as most of the driver-partners have continued proving service to the commuters.
Dhaka, Oct 12 (AP/UNB) - Facebook faces a rough road ahead with Libra, but defections by high-profile partners are still unlikely to spell the end for the digital currency.
On Friday, Visa and MasterCard announced their departures from the Libra project, as did e-commerce giant eBay and payments startup Stripe. Last week, PayPal became the first major company to drop out of Libra. The exodus comes amid growing — not to mention stronger-than-anticipated — regulatory pushback against Libra in the U.S. and elsewhere.
"It's a big setback for them but it's not the end," said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress later this month to talk about the company's plans for Libra. Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee where Zuckerberg will testify on Oct. 23, called Libra "a new Swiss-based financial system" that potentially is too big to fail and could require a taxpayer bailout.
Libra's supporters say it could open online purchasing to millions of people who do not have access to bank accounts and could reduce the cost of sending money across borders. It's easy to see how attractive an alternative like Libra could be to people in countries beset with hyperinflation, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe .
But Facebook already faces scrutiny over its poor record on privacy and its dominance in social media, messaging and related businesses. Will people trust it to create a new, global currency? Libra also poses new questions for the social network: Given that cryptocurrency is lightly regulated now, if at all, how will financial regulators oversee Facebook's plan? And just how much more personal data will this give the social media giant, anyway?
Litan said Facebook can still easily launch Libra in countries with no pushback, of which there are plenty. She also dismissed the idea that Facebook needs partner companies such as MasterCard or Visa in order to keep Libra afloat.
"The only reason they want the companies is because it looks good," she said. "It was never a democratic blockchain. It was always run by Facebook and a couple of financial companies that were going along for the ride."
Now, those are just not going on the ride.
"You have to remember, this is the blockchain. This is the internet. It's pretty much unstoppable," she added.
The financial industry is more heavily regulated than internet companies — especially in the U.S., where tech companies have often been given free rein. Companies creating Libra are in for a "rude awakening" if they expect the same model of light regulation, said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics in Washington.
She expects Libra will fall under U.S. regulations adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Which agency will oversee the venture will depend on what the currency system does, she said.
In the U.S., the head of the House Financial Services Committee wants Facebook to suspend plans for a new currency until Congress and regulators are able to study it more closely.
In July, Waters and other committee Democrats sent a letter to Facebook requesting a halt on moving forward with the currency and with the digital wallet, called Calibra, which would be used in the new currency system. House Democrats also have threatened legislation that would block big tech companies from getting into banking.
One hurdle Facebook and its partners will face is the potential for criminals to use it for money laundering and fraud, given the pseudo-anonymous nature of Libra and other digital currencies.
Facebook said it will comply with all existing financial regulations.
Facebook has been dogged with questions about users' personal data, especially since the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit last year.
That appears to be part of the reason Facebook created a nonprofit oversight association to govern Libra. It also created a subsidiary, Calibra, to work on the technology, separately from its main social media business.
Still, Facebook is "going to get access to a lot of financial data," Forrester analyst Aurelie L'Hostis said. "What are they going to do with that information and what are they going to put in place to safeguard that information?"
Cryptocurrencies such as Libra store all transactions on a widely distributed, encrypted ledger known as the blockchain. Libra is designed so transaction amounts are visible, but transaction participants can be anonymous — at least until they move money into real-world accounts.
Facebook said people can keep their individual transactions from appearing on the blockchain by using Calibra's wallet app, though in that case, Calibra itself would have people's data.
Calibra said it won't use financial data to target ads on Facebook. It also said it won't share financial data with Facebook, though there are exceptions that haven't been fully spelled out, including situations where data sharing would "keep people safe."
IS FACEBOOK TOO BIG?
Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are all looking into whether Big Tech giants such as Facebook and Google have gotten too big.
Adding another major business will make Facebook bigger — if Libra takes off as intended — but it may not raise major antitrust red flags, said New York University law professor Eleanor Fox.
"It is a grass-roots entry into a new field and can actually reflect an increase in innovation," she said.
Sarah Miller, deputy director of Open Markets Institute, which advocates against monopolies, said it was "insanity" to trust Facebook to launch a global cryptocurrency when it is already facing regulatory scrutiny around the world over data privacy.
"The FTC needs to rein in Facebook before the corporation puts our financial information and currency systems at risk, too," she said.
Shijiazhuang, Oct. 12 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Licenses to allow road rests for self-driving cars that carry passengers were granted to Chinese artificial intelligence giant Baidu Friday by the government of Cangzhou city in northern China's Hebei Province.
A total of 30 car plates were given to Baidu's intelligent connected vehicles (ICV) at the 2019 China International Digital Economy Expo. This is the first time that Baidu's ICVs were issued car plates for road tests that carry passengers in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
A regulation on ICV road test management has also been issued in Cangzhou in support of ICV road testing.
Before the expo, Baidu and Cangzhou municipal government reached an agreement to work together on technologies of artificial intelligence, self-driving, cloud computing and big data to build a "smart Changzhou."
The China International Digital Economy Expo, held from Oct. 11 to 13, is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Hebei provincial government. Themed as "Digital Economy Leads High Quality Development," the expo is comprised of exhibitions, a forum on smart development of the Xiong'an New Area and investment promotion activities.
Beijing, Oct. 11 (Xinhua/UNB) -- China's two leading digital payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay have made explicit their policies forbidding transactions related to virtual currency trading.
Alipay reiterated Thursday in a statement that it closely monitors over-the-counter transactions to identify irregular behavior and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.
The platform will immediately stop the relevant payment services if any transactions are identified as being related to bitcoin or other virtual currencies, Alipay said.
WeChat Pay also said it does not support virtual currency transactions and has never allowed access of related merchants.
China rolled out a string of regulation measures on virtual currency trading in 2017 and has warned about risks of related transactions.
Dhaka, Oct 10 (UNB) – Mentioning that Bangladesh earned US$1 billion from software export in 2018, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Thursday expressed the hope that the export earnings will reach US$5 billion by 2021.
“The earnings from the software export were only US$26 million in 2008. It stood at US$1 billion in 2018,” he said while inaugurating the five-day Digital ICT Fair-2019 at Computer City Center- Multiplan in capital city’s Panthapath area with the slogan "Go Digitally, Make Your Life Hassle-free" as the chief guest.
The minister said every union will be brought under the coverage of fibre optic network and all classrooms will be digitised by 2021.
He said Tk 1,024 crore is transacted through mobile banking in the country every day.
Mustafa Jabbar said Facebook authorities in a recent meeting in Barcelona pledged to follow the legal framework and culture of Bangladesh in publishing contents.
He said the Computer City Center is the biggest computer market in South Asia.
Computer City Center President and Fair Convener Toufiq Ahsan presided over the inaugurating ceremony.
Around 746 shop owners and computer brands are taking part in the fair with special offers to attract people from all ages.
The fair also feature an art competition for children, cultural programmes, gaming zone and raffle draw.
Acer, Dell, HP and Kaspersky are the Platinum sponsors and Asus, Lenovo and Adata are gold sponsors of the fair while silver sponsors are TP-Link and Dahua.