Dhaka, July 23 (UNB) - Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Tuesday said 900 government digital services out of 2,760 identified services have to be delivered directly to the people.
“There’s no scope to show apathy in providing digital services to people,” he said at a programme organised on the occasion of National Public Service Day-2019 at Bangladesh Post Office.
He said a people-friendly administration is needed to take Bangladesh to a new height in the digital arena.
“The government, under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has built a Digital Bangladesh and implemented various revolutionary programmes,” he said.
The minister said digital services should be ensured at all organisations.
Dhaka, July 23 (UNB) - Google is poised to pay a modest $13 million to end a 2010 privacy lawsuit that was once called the biggest US wiretap case ever and threatened the internet giant with billions of dollars in damages, reports The Indian Express.
The settlement would close the books on a scandal that was touched off by vehicles used by Google for its Street View mapping project. Cars and trucks scooped up emails, passwords and other personal information from unencrypted household Wi-Fi networks belonging to tens of millions of people all over the world.
The debacle became known as “Wi-Spy,” and it caused almost as much of an uproar as Facebooks’s more recent Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The accord still requires the approval of a San Francisco judge. But under the settlement, proposed Friday night with no fanfare, the owners of the Wi-Fi networks whose information was captured by Google won’t get individual payouts, except for about 20 plaintiffs who filed the complaint as a class action.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said it would be difficult to identify masses of affected people, a decade later, from the random snippets of data that the company collected when its vehicles drove by their homes.
Instead, what’s left of the $13 million — after administrative costs and the lawyers who brought the lawsuit to get a commission of as much as 25 per cent — will be distributed to a handful of consumer privacy advocacy groups, according to a court filing detailing the terms of the deal.
Also, Google will destroy all the data it still possesses and commits to teaching people how to protect their privacy on the internet.
The amount Google is offering is less than one-sixth the net income the Alphabet Inclusive unit generates on average in a single day. That is in line with the relatively small settlements that Google, Facebook Inclusive and other internet companies have paid over the last decade to end a variety of lawsuits over alleged privacy violations.
One challenge to larger settlements is the hurdle consumers face to prove they were actually injured and are legally entitled to damages.
The Street View lawsuit is one of the few where consumers gained the upper hand, notably when the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco in 2013 rejected Google’s argument that it was legal to intercept open Wi-Fi networks because they were akin to AM/FM radio transmissions. The court’s conclusion that the federal Wiretap Act applied meant that if Google went to trial to fight the allegations and lost, it could be hit with $10,000 in damages for every violation.
But in Friday’s filing, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the settlement was justified, in part, because there was a risk that they could still lose the case — and end up with nothing. They also argued that the accord will act as a deterrent and that the funds designated for privacy-oriented groups will help educate future information technology workers to “to become safeguards of internet privacy rather than exploiters of personal information communicated over the internet.”
Google declined to comment.
Washington, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Older U.S. east coast cities are leaking nine times as much natural gas into the air — from homes or pipes heading into houses — than the federal government had thought, a new airborne monitoring study finds.
It’s probably not a safety problem because what’s coming out doesn’t reach explosive concentrations, but the extra methane heading into the air is a climate change issue, said study co-author University of Michigan atmospheric scientist Eric Kort.
Scientists flew a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplane over New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and Providence, Rhode Island, for 1,200 hours in 2018 and found lots more methane. They couldn’t tell if the methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was leaking from inside homes or the pipes leading to homes.
“You have a very leaky system,” study co-author Colm Sweeney, a NOAA atmospheric scientist, said Monday.
The six cities spewed nearly 937,000 tons of methane (850,000 metric tons), which is more than twice what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, according to the study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Methane comes from different places, not just natural gas, and that’s where the study found the biggest change from what the government had previously thought.
The EPA’s estimates had figured much of the methane coming out of the five cities spewed from landfills and wetlands, not natural gas for home use. But the airplane monitors, which could differentiate between landfill gas and natural gas based on other chemicals that come out, found that 88% of the methane was natural gas, except in Providence.
So scientists calculated that nine times as much natural gas was being released as EPA had estimated.
Previous studies had looked at individual cities using different methods. This study is the first to give a comprehensive look over a large area.
Cornell University’s Robert Howarth, who wasn’t part of the study, praised it, saying it “shows the problem is widespread.”
Methane traps about 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide, but doesn’t last nearly as long. By showing that leaks are a big issue, the study “represents a huge opportunity to get some early gains on controlling greenhouse gas emissions,” Sweeney said.
Washington, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Behind America's late leap into orbit and triumphant small step on the moon was the agile mind and guts-of-steel of Chris Kraft, making split-second decisions that propelled the nation to once unimaginable heights.
Kraft, the creator and longtime leader of NASA's Mission Control, died Monday in Houston, just two days after the 50th anniversary of what was his and NASA's crowning achievement: Apollo 11's moon landing. He was 95.
Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. never flew in space, but "held the success or failure of American human spaceflight in his hands," Neil Armstrong, the first man-on-the-moon, told The Associated Press in 2011.
Kraft founded Mission Control and created the job of flight director — later comparing it to an orchestra conductor — and established how flights would be run as the space race between the U.S. and Soviets heated up. The legendary engineer served as flight director for all of the one-man Mercury flights and seven of the two-man Gemini flights, helped design the Apollo missions that took 12 Americans to the moon from 1969 to 1972 and later served as director of the Johnson Space Center until 1982, overseeing the beginning of the era of the space shuttle.
Armstrong once called him "the man who was the 'Control' in Mission Control."
"From the moment the mission starts until the moment the crew is safe on board a recovery ship, I'm in charge," Kraft wrote in his 2002 book "Flight: My Life in Mission Control."
"No one can overrule me. ... They can fire me after it's over. But while the mission is under way, I'm Flight. And Flight is God."
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Monday called Kraft "a national treasure," saying "We stand on his shoulders as we reach deeper into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys."
Kraft became known as "the father of Mission Control" and in 2011 NASA returned the favor by naming the Houston building that houses the nerve center after Kraft.
"It's where the heart of the mission is," Kraft said in an April 2010 AP interview. "It's where decisions are made every day, small and large ... We realized that the people that had the moxie, that had the knowledge, were there and could make the decisions."
That's what Chris Kraft's Mission Control was about: smart people with knowledge discussing options quickly and the flight director making a quick, informed decision, said former Smithsonian Institution space historian Roger Launius. It's the place that held its collective breath as Neil Armstrong was guiding the Eagle lunar lander on the moon while fuel was running out. And it's the place that improvised a last-minute rescue of Apollo 13 — a dramatic scenario that later made the unsung engineers heroes in a popular movie.
Soon it became more than NASA's Mission Control. Hurricane forecasting centers, city crisis centers, even the Russian space center are all modeled after the Mission Control that Kraft created, Launius said.
Leading up to the first launch to put an American, John Glenn, in orbit, a reporter asked Kraft about the odds of success and he replied: "If I thought about the odds at all, we'd never go to the pad."
"It was a wonderful life. I can't think of anything that an aeronautical engineer would get more out of, than what we were asked to do in the space program, in the '60s," Kraft said on NASA's website marking the 50th anniversary of the agency in 2008.
In the early days of Mercury at Florida's Cape Canaveral, before Mission Control moved to Houston in 1965, there were no computer displays, "all you had was grease pencils," Kraft recalled. The average age of the flight control team was 26; Kraft was 38.
"We didn't know a damn thing about putting a man into space," Kraft wrote in his autobiography. "We had no idea how much it should or would cost. And at best, we were engineers trained to do, not business experts trained to manage."
NASA trailed the Soviet space program and suffered through many failed launches in the early days, before the manned flights began in 1961. Kraft later recalled thinking President John F. Kennedy "had lost his mind" when in May 1961 he set as a goal a manned trip to the moon "before this decade is out."
"We had a total of 15 minutes of manned spaceflight experience, we hadn't flown Mercury in orbit yet, and here's a guy telling me we're going to fly to the moon. ... Doing it was one thing, but doing it in this decade was to me too risky," Kraft told AP in 1989.
"Frankly it scared the hell out of me," he said at a 2009 lecture at the Smithsonian.
One of the most dramatic moments came during Scott Carpenter's May 1962 mission as the second American to orbit the earth. Carpenter landed 288 miles off target because of low fuel and other problems. He was eventually found safely floating in his life raft. Kraft blamed Carpenter for making poor decisions. Tom Wolfe's book "The Right Stuff" said Kraft angrily vowed that Carpenter "will never fly for me again!" But Carpenter said he did the best he could when the machinery malfunctioned.
After the two-man Gemini flights, Kraft moved up NASA management to be in charge of manned spaceflight and was stunned by the Apollo 1 training fire that killed three astronauts.
Gene Kranz, who later would become NASA's flight director for the Apollo mission that took man to the moon, said Kraft did not at first impress him as a leader. But Kranz eventually saw Kraft as similar to a judo instructor, allowing his student to grow in skills, then stepping aside.
"Chris Kraft had pioneered Mission Control and fought the battles in Mercury and Gemini, serving as the role model of the flight director. He proved the need for real-time leadership," Kranz wrote in his book, "Failure Is Not An Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond."
Born in 1924, Kraft grew up in Phoebus, Virginia, now part of Hampton, about 75 miles southeast of Richmond. In his autobiography, Kraft said with the name Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr., "some of my life's direction was settled from the start."
After graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1944, Kraft took a job with aircraft manufacturer Chance Vought to build warplanes, but he quickly realized it wasn't for him. He returned to Virginia where he accepted a job with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, not far from Phoebus.
Kraft's first job was to figure out what happens to airplanes as they approach the speed of sound.
After his retirement, Kraft served as an aerospace consultant and was chairman of a panel in the mid-1990s looking for a cheaper way to manage the shuttle program.
Later, as the space shuttle program was being phased out after 30 years, Kraft blasted as foolish the decision to retire the shuttles, which he called "the safest machines ever built."
Kraft said he considered himself fortunate to be part of the team that sent Americans to space and called it a sad day when the shuttles stopped flying.
"The people of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo are blossoms on the moon. Their spirits will live there forever," he wrote. "I was part of that crowd, then part of the leadership that opened space travel to human beings. We threw a narrow flash of light across our nation's history. I was there at the best of times."
Kraft and his wife, Betty Anne, were married in 1950. They had a son, Gordon, and a daughter, Kristi-Anne.
New York, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Microsoft is paying more than $25 million to settle federal corruption charges involving a bribery scheme in Hungary and other foreign offices.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Microsoft will pay about $16.6 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. While the case centered on Hungary, the SEC said it also found improprieties at Microsoft offices in Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.
The Justice Department said Microsoft will also pay an $8.75 million criminal fine stemming from the Hungarian bid-rigging and bribery scheme.
Federal prosecutors said that from 2013 through 2015, a senior executive and other employees at the Hungary office took part in a scheme to "inflate margins in the Microsoft sales channel" in connection with Microsoft software licenses sold to Hungarian government agencies.
Savings were falsely recorded as discounts and used for corrupt purposes, the prosecutors said.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a letter to employees Monday that the misconduct was "completely unacceptable" and involved a small number of employees.
Smith outlined changes to prevent public sector discounts from being used improperly and said the company is expanding its use of artificial intelligence to flag suspicious transactions.