Instagram's recommendation algorithms linked and encouraged a "vast network of paedophiles" seeking illicit underage sexual content and conduct, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). These algorithms also marketed the sale of unlawful "child-sex material" on the network, it said. The report is based on a joint investigation by the Wall Street Journal and researchers from Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst looking into child pornography on Meta's platform. Buyers might even "commission specific acts" or organize "meet ups" on some accounts. Also read: Instagram adds new tools to help content creators earn money "Pedophiles have long used the internet, but unlike the forums and file-transfer services that cater to people who have interest in illicit content, Instagram doesn't merely host these activities. Its algorithms promote them," the WSJ report said. "Instagram connects pedophiles and guides them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests." According to the investigation, Instagram users may search for child-sex abuse hashtags. According to the researchers, these hashtags directed users to accounts that offered to sell paedophilic items and even included footage of minors harming themselves. Also read: Meta brings Facebook Reels to Bangladesh Anti-paedophile campaigners alerted the corporation to accounts purporting to belong to a girl selling underage sex content. The activists got automated answers that stated, "Because of the high volume of reports we receive, our team hasn't been able to review this post." In another situation, the message advised the user to conceal the account in order to avoid viewing its material, the report said. A Meta spokesperson confirmed receiving the reports but failing to act on them, attributing the failure to a technological glitch, it also said. Also read: Instagram adds new tools to help content creators earn money The company told the WSJ that it has repaired the flaw in its reporting system and is offering fresh training to its content moderators. "Child exploitation is a horrific crime. We're continuously investigating ways to actively defend against this behaviour," the spokesperson said. Meta claims to have shut down 27 paedophile networks in the last two years and is preparing more. It also stated that hundreds of hashtags that sexualize minors, some with millions of postings, had been banned, the report concluded. Read more: Wish you could tweak that text? WhatsApp is letting users edit messages
In a stunning show of unity, parents in a town in Ireland have banded together to jointly adopt a no-smartphone code for their children until secondary school. Parents’ associations across the Irish town of Greystones have adopted the no-smartphone code for their children, the Guardian reports. “If everyone does it across the board, you don’t feel like you’re the odd one out. It makes it so much easier to say no,” said Laura Bourne, one of the parents. “The longer we can preserve their innocence, the better.” Read more: How to Break Internet Addiction? Last month, schools and parents in the town of Greystones in Ireland took the initiative out of concern that smartphones were fueling anxiety and exposing children to adult content. It is a rare occasion for an entire town to take action together on such an issue, the Guardian reports. The voluntary “Greystones Pact” is to withhold smartphones from children – at home, in school, everywhere – until they enter secondary school. Applying it to all children in the area will, it is hoped, curb peer pressure and dampen any resentment. “Childhoods are getting shorter and shorter,” Rachel Harper, the principal of St Patrick’s School who led the initiative, told the Guardian. Nine-year-olds had started requesting smartphones, she said. Read more: How to keep your child engaged at home without gadgets “It was creeping in younger and younger, we could see it happening.” A town-wide policy reduces the chance of a child having a peer with a smartphone and parents can present the code as a school rule, said Harper. “They love it – now they can blame the schools.” The initiative has garnered interest from parent associations in Ireland and internationally, prompting Ireland's health minister, Stephen Donnelly, to recommend it as a national policy. Read more: Effects of Excessive Use of Smartphones “Ireland can be, and must be, a world leader in ensuring that children and young people are not targeted and are not harmed by their interactions with the digital world,” he wrote in the Irish Times. “We must make it easier for parents to limit the content their children are exposed to.” The “Greystones Pact” stemmed from children showing anxiety levels only partly attributable to Covid-era adaptation, Harper told the Guardian. Schools circulated questionnaires among parents, leading to a meeting of community stakeholders and an initiative dubbed “it takes a village”. Read more: How to entertain an unwell child without screen time Not all parents will deny their primary schoolchildren a smartphone – the code is voluntary – but enough have signed up to create a sense of critical mass, said Harper. “Hopefully down the line it’ll become the new norm,” she told the Guardian.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said Bangladesh wants the United States as a long-term productive partner for increasing global competitiveness, and expand the export base to become a "developing" country in 2026. “We shall need support to increase our global competitiveness and expand the export base. I am optimistic that the United States would become our long-term productive partner in this challenging venture through trade, investment, technology transfer, and by creating a smooth and predictable supply chain for mutual benefits,” she said. The prime minister made the appeal while speaking at a business roundtable on “US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership: Shared Vision for Smart Growth” at US Chamber of Commerce here. US-Bangladesh Business Council organised the event with important US business leaders. The premier is here on a six-day visit to celebrate the 50 years of the partnership between the World Bank and Bangladesh. She arrived in Washington DC on April 29. In the roundtable, Hasina also invited the US businesses to invest in Bangladesh’s many vibrant and high-potential sectors, such as renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobile, pharmaceuticals, light and heavy machineries, chemical fertilisers, ICT, marine resources, and medical equipment. She said her government is setting up 100 ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZs) and 39 Hi-tech Parks in different parts of the country. With more than 600,000 free-lancing IT professionals, Bangladesh is just the right destination for IT investments. Moreover, access to young, skilled vibrant workforce at a competitive wage will continue to be an added advantage in Bangladesh, she added. The premier repeated her offer of a dedicated ‘Special Economic Zone’ solely for the US investors in Bangladesh. She called on the US business leaders to explore opportunities and invest in Bangladesh. “I also call on you here today to remain and be with us as partners in our journey to a developed, prosperous, and Smart Bangladesh by 2041,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said the United States is a major economic and development partner of Bangladesh. Both countries have intensive engagements in many areas, including trade and investment. “Our shared aim is to achieve mutual benefit and prosperity for our peoples. This shows in our growing bilateral trade, and people-to-people interaction.” In 2021-2022, Bangladesh exported commodities worth US$ 10.42 billion to the United States, and imported goods worth US$ 2.8 billion. Read more: US keen to work with Bangladesh, other partners to ensure an open Indo-Pacific Stating that Bangladesh is a market of 170 million and its geographical location puts it in the heart of a market of 3 billion, she said, “Since connectivity brings prosperity, we promoted and established connectivity with our neighbours.” “Bangladesh has now emerged as an ideal place for trade and investment in the region, and beyond. An example is Japan’s proposal to develop an industrial hub in Bangladesh along the coastal belt.” She mentioned that now the focus of Bangladesh is to promote economic and commercial relations with regional and global partners, including the United States. She said the physical, legal, and financial infrastructures of Bangladesh are being improved. “Our efforts to sustain overall growth through investments in infrastructure are visible across the country. Last year, over the large Padma River, we built with our own fund, our longest bridge, now an important feature in regional development,” she said. She said Bangladesh has also built metro rail, and improved port infrastructure, including deep seaport. “These have heightened domestic and regional connectivity.” The PM said the climate responsible growth policy, labour reforms, and improvement in labour safety standards of Bangladesh deserve appreciation. She said the government's efforts have led to Bangladesh making remarkable socio-economic growth over the last 14 years. “It is now universally acknowledged as a “Role Model of Socio-Economic development.” “This has also been possible due to the continuity of good governance, rule of law, and stability; investment in rural economy; empowerment of women; and ICT that led to Digital Bangladesh,” she said. She said the government’s vision is to build a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041. This vision is beyond becoming a high income developed country by 2041. Smart Bangladesh is about being inclusive and founded on its smart citizens, smart economy, smart government, and smart society. Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh's most liberal investment policy status in the region. It includes foreign investment protection by law; tax holiday; remittances of royalty; unrestricted exit policy; full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit and others. “I assure you that we are giving topmost priority to improving our investment environment. In this regard, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority is implementing the Bangladesh Investment Climate Improvement Programme”. She opined that the United States can be the most robust partner of Bangladesh. It is currently the largest single country destination of exports, largest source of foreign direct investment, a long-standing development partner, and an important source of training and technology. “I hope that the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council will play a significant role in advancing trade and investment cooperation between our two friendly countries.” In the event, she inaugurated the US Bangladesh IT Connect portal (us.itconnect.gov.bd) to facilitate b2b matchmaking and to make it easier for US businesses to find their right ICT partner in Bangladesh. Read more: US wants stronger relationship with Bangladesh, leaving aside ‘misunderstandings’: Momen PM’s ICT Affairs Advisor Sajeeb Wazed and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid also spoke at the high-level roundtable Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Planning Minister MA Mannan, and PM's Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Chairman of Board of Directors of U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council Board and also president of Excelerate Energy Steven Kobos, President of U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council Ambassador Atul Keshap, Global Chair Emeritus of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Hans-Paul Bürkner, Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy and Indo-Pacific Policy Operations at Mastercard Ravi Aurora, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of bKash Kamal Quadir, President and Managing Director of Chevron Bangladesh Eric Walker and Global Head of Exploration and New Venture at ExxonMobil Dr John Ardill were present. The Prime Minister earlier attended two separate meetings with USBBC senior executives and the President and CEO of the US Chamber and Commerce at the Briefing Centre at the US Chamber of Commerce here.
Modern technology is all about providing more speed and efficiency. The wireless cellular network is helping humankind to bring immense digital solutions in life, education, business, communications, development, etc. To achieve the utmost efficiency in digital communication and networking, scientist and technologist are bringing 6G technology. Here’s everything we know so far about 6G. What is 6G? The next big thing in wireless technology is 6G or sixth-generation wireless, the successor to 5G cellular network and technology. This upcoming technology promises to deliver unparalleled speed and minimal latency, building upon the advancements of 4G and 5G networks. By utilizing higher frequency bands and cloud-based networking technology, 6G will provide a revolutionary experience that blurs the line between the internet and everyday life. Read More: '5G can change the face of industry in Bangladesh' Expected Features and Benefits of the 6G Technology As the world continues to embrace the benefits of 5G, researchers and engineers are already looking ahead to the next generation of cellular networks. High Speed Network With the growing demand for internet data and the increasing use of multiple devices in everyday life, wireless companies are rushing to provide robust and flexible cellular networks that can compete with traditional broadband internet providers. The 6G technology promises to deliver even faster data transfer speeds and lower latency. One of the primary features of the sixth-generation wireless network will be the use of untapped radio frequencies. Researchers are exploring ways to transmit data across waves in the hundreds of gigahertz or terahertz ranges, which could allow for astonishing data transfer speeds. Although no frequency over 39GHz is currently utilized in 5G, engineers are hoping to leverage the massive quantity of unused spectrum to enable faster and more efficient communication. Read More: Vivo releases third ‘6G white paper’ Freer Spectrum Efficiency Spectrum frequency refers to the range of radio frequencies used to transmit data over wireless networks. It is measured in hertz (Hz) and determines how much data can be transmitted over a given distance. Different frequency ranges are used for different types of wireless communication, such as cellular networks or Wi-Fi. Read More: Huawei plans to roll out 6G by 2030
Innovation and technology hold immense potential for accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment, which is a prerequisite for sustainable development in Bangladesh, said Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA. “Digital technologies can offer solutions that can be used to meet women's needs and promote their empowerment. For example, digital literacy and skills help women move to superior and more complex positions in their workplaces,” he said. He also said digital transformation has paved the way for women to develop their skills. It’s encouraging to note that the participation of women at the management level in the RMG industry is increasing. He made the comments while speaking a dialogue on “innovation & technology for gender equality and minority rights” as a special guest. Gloria Jharna Sarker, MP, Shehela Pervin PPM, Additional Deputy Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, Gordon Shannon, Head of Programme Development and Funding Global, Christian Aid in Bangladesh, and Sara Hossain, Honorary Executive Director, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) also spoke at the dialogue organized by Christian Aid and its partners in Dhanmondi, Dhaka on March 13. In his address, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said the ready-made garment industry had huge contributions to women empowerment in Bangladesh by creating their employment in the formal sector.“Their financial ability has earned them dignity in families, given them a voice in decision making and freedom to take their decision,” he said. “The RMG industry is a bright example of how digital technologies can make a difference to women’s empowerment and rights. Garment factories are now paying their workers in mobile financial services (MFS) accounts, enabling them to have full control of their money which they can now send to their families and save for the future,” Faruque Hassan said. In the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing landscape is being hugely dominated by technologies with many automatic machines and software being integrated into production processes to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly, he said. It’s important to create opportunities for women to adapt to the changing trends through skilling and reskilling so that they can have equal space in the workplace, he added. “As the government has envisioned for a developed Bangladesh, this vision cannot be achieved without leaving women behind and playing their active roles,” Faruque Hassan said.
2023 is set to be a significant year for the eSports community. As the world have been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions have been eased. Major tournaments and conventions are announcing the return of physical events, while some have adapted to hybrid setups. The eSports industry is expected to grow, with a projected 577.8 million eSports enthusiasts by 2024. Let’s explore the most anticipated eSports events in 2023 and where to watch them. All Major Upcoming e-Sport Events of 2023 CDL Major 3 The Call of Duty League (CDL) is hosting its third major tournament from March 9-12 in Dallas, Texas. This season's CDL has been marked by parity, with no dominant team emerging yet. Atlanta FaZe, the winner of Major 2, is favored to win this tournament due to their sustained excellence over the past few years. However, Toronto Ultra, Boston Beach, Seattle Surge, Los Angeles Thieves, and OpTic Texas are all considered strong contenders. OpTic's popularity adds to the excitement, and the crowd is expected to be particularly lively if they go on a run. The tournament promises to be thrilling, with many teams competing for the championship title. Read More: Esports can help youths imagine a new civilization: Prof Yunus Smash Ultimate Summit 6 Beyond The Summit's Smash Ultimate Summit 6 will take place in Los Angeles, California, from March 23-26. The event has a reputation for showcasing the personalities of esports stars in intimate and casual settings, making it a beloved tournament for fans. Unfortunately, this will be the last tournament organized by Beyond The Summit due to the company shutting down. Sixteen of the world's best Smash Ultimate players, including Sparg0 and Tweek, have qualified to compete, and the legendary player Hungrybox will also make an appearance. Collision 2023 will determine the final participant. This is a must-watch tournament for fans of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Evo: Japan 2023 Evo: Japan 2023, a smaller version of the biggest fighting game event of the year, will be held in Tokyo, Japan from March 31 to April 2. Seven popular fighting games, including Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Guilty Gear Strive, will be played by top contenders such as Derek "iDom" Ruffin, Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol, and Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. Read More: eSports: How to Build a Career in Online Multiplayer Gaming Although Capcom Cup champion MenaRD is not registered to compete, the runner-up, Zhen "Rou" Kuang, will be vying for the title. William "Leffen" Hjelte, Vineeth "ApologyMan" Meka, and Julian "Hotashi" Harris are among the notable entrants in Guilty Gear Strive. RLCS Winter Major The RLCS Winter Major is the second global event of the 2022-23 Rocket League season, and it will be held in San Diego, USA. The tournament will feature 16 teams, and the defending champions, Gen.G from North America, will be among the contenders if they qualify. Other North American teams expected to compete include G2, FaZe, Version1, and Spacestation Gaming. Strong European candidates for the tournament include Karmine Corp, Team Liquid, Team BDS, and Oxygen Esports, who made a big move by signing Finlay "rise" Ferguson. Read More: Top 10 Wealthiest Esports Gamers in the World Blast Copenhagen Major The upcoming Blast Copenhagen Major will kick off the 2023-24 Rainbow Six Siege season. The event will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with European teams having dominated the 2022-23 season, teams like G2, KOI, Wolves and BDS could be among the favorites to win this Major. However, with roster shuffles and meta changes expected in the offseason, new contenders could emerge from other strong regions like North America and Brazil. Astralis, who finished fourth at the Six Invitational, will also be looking for a new organization this season. League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is set to take place in London, England from May 2-21. The tournament, which features 13 qualifying teams from all nine LoL eSports regions, including the spring champs, will have a double-elimination play-in and bracket stage. Read More: Esports in Bangladesh: Prospects of Competitive Multiplayer Video Game Industry China's Royal Never Give Up is the defending champion, but Korea's T1 is expected to be a top contender, especially with their legendary player Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok running it back with the same roster. After winning the LEC winter championship, Europe's G2 Esports has already qualified for the event. CS: GO Major The first CS:GO Major of 2023 will be held in Paris, France, from May 8-21. This tournament will have a prize pool of $1.25 million, making it the largest CS:GO event announced for the year so far. Team Vitality, the second ESL Pro League winners in 2022, are expected to be a top contender, with the home crowd cheering them on. Other likely contenders include FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, Heroic, Outsiders, G2 Esports, and Team Liquid, and we will have a better idea of the field after the IEM Katowice. The 24-team field will be determined through qualifiers in April. Read More: Blizzard's global esports director Kim Phan steps down VCT Masters: Tokyo The VALORANT Champions Tour's Masters tournament is set to take place in Tokyo from June 11-25, marking Japan's first time hosting an international VCT event. The tournament will feature the top three teams from each league in the VCT America, EMEA, and Pacific regions, as well as an additional EMEA team due to Fnatic winning the LOCK//IN tournament. Early favorites to qualify and compete for the championship include Fnatic, LOUD, NAVI, NRG, and DRX. The Evolution Championship Series (Evo) The Evolution Championship Series (Evo), the largest fighting games tournament of the year, will take place in Las Vegas in August. Alongside the main competition, there will be a weekend-long celebration of the FGC, featuring show matches and other friendly competitions. This year’s Evo Street Fighter tournament will feature Street Fighter 6, which is set to release in June. Last year’s winners of the most popular games were UMISHO in Guilty Gear Strive, Kawano in Street Fighter V, and Jae-Min "Knee" Bae in Tekken 7. Read More: 7 PS5 Games Releasing in March, April 2023 ESportsTravel Summit 2023 The ESportsTravel Summit 2023 is a major gathering for eSports event organizers, with a focus on travel and tourism. Attendees include organizers, sports commission representatives, event suppliers, and hotel chains who come together to learn more about the eSports industry, its impact on tourism, and how to profit from eSports events. The event will take place in Toronto, Canada and will provide an opportunity for networking and expanding knowledge. Conclusion The year 2023 is packed with major events across a range of popular esports titles, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Apex Legends, and VALORANT. These events will take place in various locations around the world, giving fans the opportunity to experience top-tier esports action live. Whether you're a fan of fighting games or team-based shooters, there's something for everyone in the upcoming esports calendar. So, mark your calendars, get your snacks ready, and tune in to watch the world's best gamers compete for glory and huge prizes. Read More: 10 Best Upcoming Video Games to Enchant You in 2023
International Women’s Day is being observed in the country today (march 08, 2023), as elsewhere across the globe, with focus on gender equality and empowerment of women. This year’s theme, ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’, highlights the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality and meeting the health and development needs of women and girls. International Women’s Day is observed every year on March 8 to put focus on women’s ongoing struggle for equality. Also Read: Top 10 International Scholarships for Women to Study Abroad Different organizations have chalked out elaborate programmes, including rallies, discussions and cultural events, to mark the day. Bangladesh's President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion. Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels are airing special programmes while newspapers published supplements highlighting the significance of the day. Also Read: UN secretary-general says women’s right are under threat
The man credited with inventing the cellphone 50 years ago had only one concern then about the brick-sized device with a long antenna: Would it work? These days Martin Cooper frets like everybody else about his invention’s impacts on society — from the loss of privacy to the risk of internet addiction to the rapid spread of harmful content, especially among kids. “My most negative opinion is we don’t have any privacy anymore because everything about us is now recorded someplace and accessible to somebody who has enough intense desire to get it,” said Cooper, who spoke with The Associated Press at the telecom industry’s biggest trade show in Barcelona, where he was receiving a lifetime award. Yet the 94-year-old self-described dreamer also marvels at how far cellphone design and capabilities have advanced, and he believes the technology’s best days may still be ahead of it in areas such as education and health care. “Between the cellphone and medical technology and the Internet, we are going to conquer disease,” he said Monday at MWC, or Mobile World Congress. Cooper, whose invention was inspired by Dick Tracy's radio wristwatch, said he also envisions a future in which cellphones are charged by human bodies. It’s a long way from where he started. Also Read: Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona Cooper made the first public call from a handheld portable telephone on a New York City street on April 3, 1973, using a prototype that his team at Motorola had started designing only five months earlier. To needle the competition, Cooper used the Dyna-TAC prototype — which weighed 2.5 pounds and was 11 inches long — to call to his rival at Bell Labs, owned by AT&T. “The only thing that I was worried about: ‘Is this thing going to work?’ And it did,” he said. The call helped kick-start the cellphone revolution, but looking back on that day Cooper acknowledges, “we had no way of knowing this was the historic moment.” He spent the better part of the next decade working to bring a commercial version of the device to market, helping to launch the wireless communications industry and, with it, a global revolution in how we communicate, shop and learn about the world. Still, Cooper said he’s “not crazy” about the shape of modern smartphones, blocks of plastic, metal and glass. He thinks phones will evolve so that they will be “distributed on your body,” perhaps as sensors “measuring your health at all times.” Batteries could even be replaced by human energy. “You ingest food, you create energy. Why not have this receiver for your ear embedded under your skin, powered by your body?” he imagined. While he dreams about what the future might look like, Cooper is attuned to the industry's current challenges, particularly around privacy. In Europe, where there are strict data privacy rules, regulators are concerned about apps and digital ads that track user activity, allowing technology and other companies to build up rich profiles of users. “It’s going to get resolved, but not easily,” Cooper said. “There are people now that can justify measuring where you are, where you’re making your phone calls, who you’re calling, what you access on the Internet.” Smartphone use by children is another area that needs limits, Cooper said. One idea is to have “various internets curated for different audiences.” Five-year-olds should be able to use the internet to help them learn, but “we don’t want them to have access to pornography and to things that they don’t understand,” he said. As for his own phone use, Cooper says he checks email and does online searches for information to settle dinner table arguments. However, “there are many things that I have not yet learned,” he said. “I still don’t know what TikTok is.”
Mexico, one of the major suppliers of the global automobile market, has shown interest to share its experience and transfer technology to help build the capacity of Bangladesh in automobile manufacturing. Mexican Ambassador to India Federico Salas Lotfe had a courtesy meeting with Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Monday in the capital. The Mexican ambassador said: "By exploring and diversifying trade, both sides would be benefited. I think the automobile, pharmaceutical, chemical, and fintech sector has huge potential." Also, Federico urged Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to set up businesses in Mexico. Read more: Car importers still unable to open LCs from banks Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice-president of FBCCI, informed the envoy about the Bangladesh Business Summit which will be held in March this year. The senior vice-president said, "Several plenary sessions will be held during the three-day Business Summit; trade and investment potential in Bangladesh will be discussed. CEOs from international companies, business leaders, analysts, and top officials of different countries and organisations will join the event." He called for the active participation of Mexican officials and the business community at the event. The senior vice-president also said the FBCCI will provide all kinds of support to Mexican businessmen to expand trade and investment in Bangladesh.
Israel’s tech industry has long been the driving force behind the country’s economy. Now, as Israel’s new government pushes ahead with its far-right agenda, the industry is flexing its muscle and speaking out in unprecedented criticism against policies it fears will drive away investors and decimate the booming sector. The public outcry presents a pointed challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who champions Israeli technology on the international stage and has long boasted of his own economic prowess. It also highlights how deep and broad opposition to the government’s policies runs, from political rivals, to top members of the justice system and military. Tech leaders say that since the government took power last month, a cloud has emerged over their industry, with foreign investors spooked at what some say is a country regressing rather than striving for innovation. They fear the government's plans to overhaul the judiciary and pledges by some top officials to advance discriminatory laws will imperil the industry that has earned the country the nickname Start-Up Nation and in turn, send Israel's economy into a tailspin. Read more: Hi-tech parks to help Bangladesh become knowledge-based economy: Palak “Investors are asking ‘where is Israel headed? Will it continue to be a country that leads technologically or is it moving two generations backwards? Are political agendas more important than the ability to be global tech leaders?’" said Omri Kohl, CEO of Pyramid Analytics, a company that makes business intelligence software. If the tech industry suffers, he said, “everyone will lose.” Over the last three decades, Israel’s tech industry has become the beating heart of its economy. The sector employs more than 10% of the country’s salaried workforce, according to official figures. And while the industry has struggled this past year like its counterparts abroad, it still accounts for about a quarter of the country's income taxes, thanks to its high salaries, and produces more than half of the country’s exports. During his time as prime minister for most of the past decade and a half, plus another stint in the 1990s, Netanyahu's political fortunes have been linked to the rise of the tech industry. For many in the tech sector, that makes his government’s agenda and the speed with which it is advancing all the more confounding. “Bibi is determined but he also understands that we are a small country that is very dependent on the outside world,” said Eynat Guez, the CEO of human resources software firm Papaya Global, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. “With all due respect to Bibi, that determination will hit a wall very quickly” when investors start to pull out, she said. On Thursday, Guez tweeted that the company, which has raised nearly half a billion dollars from investors, would be “removing all of the company's money from the country” because of the proposed changes. The tech industry sees the government’s policies as a warning light for critical foreign investors, who they say are already holding off on investments as they wait for the political developments to unfold. The current government’s plans to accelerate settlement expansion on occupied lands sought by the Palestinians for a state could also impact foreign investment. Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund several years ago ruled out doing business with certain Israeli companies because of their involvement in the settlement enterprise, considered illegal by most of the international community. Last month, Israeli media reports said that the Norwegian fund was again rethinking its investment, in part because of the new government. Read more: Tech entrepreneurs to play important role in economy Maxim Rybnikov, an analyst with the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's, told The Associated Press in an email that judicial changes could present “downside risks in the future" that could affect Israel's debt rating. That sentiment was reportedly echoed by Israel's central bank chief in a meeting this week with Netanyahu and voiced publicly by numerous other leading economists and business figures. Many in Israel's tech sector say the circumstances could prompt young Israeli talent as well as global tech giants who have offices in the country to leave. That would be catastrophic for the homegrown industry, they say. Typically silent on politics, hundreds of tech workers walked out of their offices on Tuesday near tech hubs around the country to protest the planned changes. Waving signs reading “there's no high-tech without democracy,” and “democracy is not a bug that needs to be fixed,” they blocked a central Tel Aviv throughway for about an hour. Last month, hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists signed a letter calling on Netanyahu to rethink his policies for the sake of the economy, calling them “a real existential threat to the illustrious tech industry.” “We call on you to stop the growing snowball, steady the ship and preserve the status quo,” the letter said. Jerusalem Venture Partners, one of the country’s leading venture capital firms, issued a statement against a proposed law allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people, signed by the companies it backs. And leaders of top firms are speaking out on social media, including Barak Eilam, chief executive of the Nasdaq-traded NICE Ltd., one of Israel’s oldest and largest tech companies and Nir Zohar, chief operating officer of the website builder Wix, who have both slammed the proposed changes. Netanyahu has pledged to charge ahead with his policies. At a news conference on Wednesday, he lashed out at his critics, accusing his political opponents and the media of using scare tactics to promote their own agendas. “In recent days, I have heard concerns about the effect of the legal reforms on our economic resilience," he said. “The truth is the opposite. Our steps to strengthen democracy will not harm the economy. They will strengthen it.” Most worrisome to the tech sector is the planned overhaul of Israel’s justice system, which would give parliament power to overturn certain Supreme Court decisions. Critics say the changes would grant the government overwhelming power and upend Israel’s democratic system of checks and balances. Last weekend, an estimated 100,000 Israelis took to the streets against the planned changes. Tech leaders also have spoken out against pledges by Netanyahu’s ultranationalist partners to craft legislation that would allow discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community, seeing it as contradictory to the pluralistic values of the tech sector. Netanyahu has given authority over certain educational programs to Avi Maoz, the head of a radical, religious ultranationalist party who is anti-LGBTQ. Netanyahu has also made promises to his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners to strengthen their insular school system that emphasizes religious studies over subjects like math and English. Economists say this will prevent their integration into the modern world, a step seen as necessary to keep the economy afloat. Moshe Zviran, the chief entrepreneurship and innovation officer at Tel Aviv University, a position that encourages youth to navigate the tech world, said the next generation might not have the same opportunities as their predecessors because of the government's policies. “If there won’t be exits and sales and Israeli high-tech it’ll be a real problem. It’s a fatal blow to the Israeli economy," said Zviran, the former dean of the university's business school. “The minute that innovation departs, what are we left with here?”