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Google won’t deploy AI to build military weapons: Pichai

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Sundar-Pichai

San Francisco, June 8: After facing backlash over its involvement in an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Pentagon project “Maven”, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has enphasised that the company will not work on technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm.

About 4,000 Google employees had signed a petition demanding “a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology”.

Following the anger, Google decided not to renew the “Maven” AI project with the US Defence Department after it expires in 2019.

“We will not design or deploy AI in weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people,” Pichai said in a blog post late Thursday.

“We will not pursue AI in “technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms,” the Indian-born CEO added.

“We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons, we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas like cybersecurity, training, military recruitment, veterans’ healthcare, and search and rescue,” Pichai noted.

Google will incorporate its privacy principles in the development and use of its AI technologies, providing appropriate transparency and control over the use of data, Pichai enphasised.

In a blog post describing seven “AI principles”, he said these are not theoretical concepts but “concrete standards that will actively govern our research and product development and will impact our business decisions”.

“How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right,” Pichai posted.

Google will strive to make high-quality and accurate information readily available using AI, while continuing to respect cultural, social, and legal norms in the countries where it operates.

“We will seek to avoid unjust impacts on people, particularly those related to sensitive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, income, sexual orientation, ability, and political or religious belief,” Pichai noted.

Pichai said Google will design AI systems to be appropriately cautious, and seek to develop them in accordance with best practices in AI safety research.

“We will design AI systems that provide appropriate opportunities for feedback, relevant explanations, and appeal. Our AI technologies will be subject to appropriate human direction and control,” he added.

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FinCEN files: Big banks let $2tn ‘dirty money’ move around world

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

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US-dollar

New Delhi, Sep 21 : The FinCEN files show that the world’s biggest banks have allowed criminals to move “dirty money” around the globe. In total, these reports flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions, according to BuzzFeed News.

The BBC reported that Russian oligarchs used banks to avoid sanctions and moved their money into the West.

It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past five years that have exposed secret deals, money laundering and financial crime, a BBC report said.

The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017.

These documents are some of the international banking system’s most closely guarded secrets. Banks use them to report suspicious behaviour but they are not proof of wrongdoing or crime.

They were leaked to Buzzfeed News and shared with a group that brings together investigative journalists from around the world, which distributed them to 108 news organisations in 88 countries, including the BBC’s Panorama programme.

FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Investigation Network. Concerns about transactions made in US dollars need to be sent to FinCEN, even if they took place outside the US.

Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are an example of how those concerns are recorded. A bank must fill in one of these reports if it is worried one of its clients might be up to no good. The report is sent to the authorities, BBC said.

It has been revealed through these documents that HSBC allowed fraudsters to move millions of dollars even after it learned from US investigators that the scheme was a scam.

JP Morgan allowed a company to move more than $1 billion through a London account without knowing who owned it. The bank later discovered the company might be owned by a mobster on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

There is also evidence that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays Bank in London to avoid sanctions meant to stop him.

Accoridng to BBC, the UK is called a “higher risk jurisdiction” like Cyprus, according to the intelligence Division of FinCEN. That’s because of the number of UK registered companies that appear in the SARs. Over 3,000 UK companies are named in the FinCEN files – more than any other country.

Deutsche Bank moved money launderers’ dirty money for organised crime, terrorists and drug traffickers. Standard Chartered moved cash for Arab Bank for more than a decade after clients’ accounts at the Jordanian bank had been used in funding terrorism.

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

According to BuzzFeed News, some entities have been flagged numerous times in the FinCEN Files. Mayzus Financial Services, an online payment processing company that served clients involved in a bitcoin ring, sets the record, appearing as a subject of 36 SARs.

Second is Kaloti Jewellery International, a Dubai-based precious metals company that was flagged as a subject in 34 separate SARs by eight different banks.

More than 250 SARs reference people with addresses in the US, and more than 120 with addresses in Russia. The UK, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Ukraine were also common locations for people, each appearing in at least 20 reports, it said.

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MTNL plans to sell assets in Mumbai through DIPAM

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MTNL chairman Purwar

New Delhi, Sep 19 : State-run telecom operator MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the framework of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which comes under the Finance Ministry.

The assets proposed for sale include land, staff quarters and telephone exchange in Mumbai, said Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

“MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the DIPAM Framework…. No property in Delhi is presently under monetisation through the DIPAM Framework,” he said.

He informed the Lok Sabha that international property consultants have been appointed for end-to-end transaction advice on monetisation of these properties.

Noting that the asset monetisation process is a complex one involving multiple stakeholders and agencies, he said that a specific time frame for the completion of these monetisation transactions cannot be defined at present.

The value at which the assets would be monetised would depend on the feasibility of monetisation of the asset, the monetisation model and the market conditions prevailing at the time of monetisation, Thakur said, adding that it would be difficult to anticipate the sale proceeds presently.

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Mozilla bug may let hackers target Firefox for Android browsers

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Mozilla has fixed a vulnerability in the popular Firefox browser that can be exploited by hackers to hijack Firefox for Android browsers on the same WiFi network and send users to malicious sites, urging the people to install the latest browser update.

The bug was found in Firefox SSDP component by Chris Moberly, an Australian security researcher working for GitLab, reports ZDNet.

The Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) is a simple protocol designed to solve the problem of service discovery over a local network.

“Any Android owner using a Firefox browser to navigate the web during this kind of attack would have his mobile browser hijacked and taken to a malicious site, or forced to install a malicious Firefox extension,” the report mentioned.

The bug has been fixed in Firefox 79. Mozilla said users should update as soon as possible to Firefox v79 for Android to remain safe.

Attackers could leverage exploits to take over outdated routers, and then spam a company’s internal network and force employees to re-authenticate on phishing pages.

The new Firefox for Android now offers Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), providing a better web experience.

“The revamped browsing app comes with our highest privacy protections ever – on by default. ETP keeps numerous ad trackers at bay and out of the users’ business,” the company said last month.

The Enhanced Tracking Protection automatically blocks many known third-party trackers, by default, in order to improve user privacy online. Private Mode adds another layer for better privacy on device level, it added.


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