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Children should be made aware of Internet risks: Google

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Google

New Delhi, Feb 6: Children need to be aware of the Internet risks that can expose them to bad actors and abuse on the web, a top Google executive said at an event here on Tuesday to commemorate Safer Internet Day 2018.

“We want to bring Internet for everyone. Keeping the web safe for everyone is a shared responsibility,” Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust and Safety at Google India, told reporters.

“While the Internet has made life easier by helping us share and receive day-to-day information, we also need to be aware of the consequences, negative experiences that make us vulnerable to threats.

“Women, children and adults are vulnerable to bad actors on Internet, hence there is an urgent need to sensitise them about the possible threats,” Mohanty added.

India has the second largest Internet user base in the world. In 2017, India crossed over 400 million Internet users and this number is expected to reach 650 million in the next two years.

With improved connectivity and affordable smartphones and data, Indians are taking to the web in a big way, spending over 200 minutes daily on their screens.

“Internet is like nuclear energy that can be used and misused. It has phenomenal abilities in helping us, but also has a potential to damage the social as well as the individual structures,” Anil Swarup, Secretary – Department of School Education and Literacy, told reporters.

While much is being done for securing the Internet, “there is an urgent need to scale the safety efforts”, Swarup said, adding that sensitising the teachers and spreading the safety measures through them to the students across the country can help.

On the occasion of Safer Internet Day 2018, Google India announced its collaboration with NCERT to integrate a course on “Digital Citizenship and Safety” in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) curriculum in schools.

“Digital Citizenship and Safety” essentially focuses on being a responsible user on the Internet, who is not only aware of how to stay safe online but also practises judgment and helps others to stay safe and be respectful of others online.

“Students from class I to class XII across 1.4 million schools in India would now learn how to become good and responsible digital citizens, through structured classroom modules on the social, ethical and legal aspects of Internet safety.

“Through our course integration with NCERT, we aim to teach children the essentials of staying safe while exploring the online world,” Mohanty said.

In addition, Google has also created a curriculum for teachers so that they can help students learn all about digital citizenship in their classrooms.

The programme includes specific resources for kids and educators, enabling them with the tools they need to learn and educate themselves on Internet safety.

The syllabus for online safety presented in the curriculum will be systematically graded and has been divided into four overarching themes — Being Smart; Being Safe; Being a Digital Citizen and Being Future Ready.

The curriculum is structured to match the intellectual and curiosity needs of different age groups of the children.

“As they advance through their classes, they will be taught more advanced topics such as privacy, device management, intellectual property and reputation management.

“Integrating technology with pedagogy is our concern. But pedagogy should take dominance and not technology, as it would help children to construct their own knowledge base and help them bring about a change in classroom,” said Hrushikesh Senapaty, Director at NCERT.

IANS

Tech

Twitter outage hits India users

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Twitter Black

New Delhi: Twitter users in several parts of the world, including India, on Wednesday reported facing problems accessing the platform as the homepage refused to load.

Instead of showing a fresh feed of tweets, “Something went wrong, try again” popped up as a message.

The cause of the outage is not known as Twitter is yet to come out with an official announcement.

According to Downdetector, which offers real-time status and outage information, there was a sudden surge in users reporting problems with Twitter at around 8.12 pm.

Most of the problems have been reported by desktop users, followed by Android and iOS users.

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India

ISRO adopts new satellite naming style, RISAT-2BR2 now EOS-01

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

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Chennai, Oct 28 : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided follow a new naming policy for its earth observation satellites, it is learnt.

Henceforth, the Indian space agency will be naming its earth observation satellites as EOS tagged with a serial number.

As a result, ISRO’s radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR2 has been renamed as EOS-01, an official preferring anonymity told IANS.

The ISRO on Wednesday said its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) will launch EOS-01 as a primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

The launch is tentatively scheduled at 3.02 p.m. on November 7, subject to weather conditions.

EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, the ISRO said.

The radar imaging satellite with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.

The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.

This time around, the ISRO will be using the PSLV rocket’s DL variant that will have two strap-on booster motors.

This rocket variant was used the first time to put into orbit Microsat R satellite on January 24, 2019.

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

Owing to Covid-19 pandemic norms, ISRO has decided to close the rocket launch viewing gallery for the public during this launch and gathering of media personnel at the Sriharikota rocket port is also not on the cards.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Politics

Facebook must demonstrate neutrality, revamp its SOPs: Congress

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Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal

New Delhi: A day after the resignation of Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das, the Congress on Wednesday welcomed the change in Facebook India’s leadership team.

The Congress also said that the matter will not be resolved by just changing one individual.

“Facebook must demonstrate its neutrality through a thorough revamp of its institutional processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs), so as to ensure foolproof checks and balances that cannot be tinkered by an individual’s whims and political leanings,” said Congress General Secretary (organisation), K.C. Venugopal.

“It must also outline the steps taken to curb false, polarising and hate news/content spread rampantly on its platform, threatening India’s social harmony,” he added.

After American newspaper Wall Street Journal had on August 14 reported substantively on the blatant biases of Facebook India’s team headed by Ankhi Das, the Congress had raised the issue.

The newspaper had reported that Das and her political partisanship towards the ruling party and its leaders, by way of wilful propagation, was spreading spread fake and hate news.

Subsequently, the Congress wrote two formal letters to the CEO of Facebook Inc, Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to look into the matter seriously. Facebook responded to the letter reiterating its neutrality and promising due action.

Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das is leaving the company with immediate effect “to pursue her interest in public service”, the social networking giant announced on Tuesday.

“Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service. Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last nine years,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

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