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Posts tagged ‘China’

Some IoT Devices Are Watching You

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Internet of Things (IoT) device security — especially in home security camera systems like Wyze, Aqara, and Ring — have repeatedly been shown to be leaky and insecure at best, with no two-factor authentication or encryption present. This has allowed for a multitude of incidents wherein hackers have gained control of people’s digital lives and threatened them.

The problem still is the passive watching that might be happening. Many of the devices are assembled in China, using Chinese parts. Even if the companies are not explicitly Chinese, this presents a threat. So much so that the U.S. Department of Interior at the end of January instituted a ban on Chinese-made drones and drone parts over fears that the tech might be sending information back to the Chinese government.

With billions of IoT devices coming to market now and over the next few years, it’s critical that each device is embedded with security.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

 

Maps and Apps Following Corona Virus

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The CDC App

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The Chinese government is working with two of the country’s largest technology companies to track the disease. Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings created color-based systems that record the health of individuals and identify carriers of the coronavirus.

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China Is spraying whole City Block To Contain Corona Virus

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Workers are rolling giant machines down empty streets, blasting huge plumes of disinfecting spray. Lines of trucks move down large boulevards, filling the air with ominous white mist. It’s not clear what exactly the authorities are spraying in Wuhan. A report by Business Insider suggests the material could be a low concentration bleach-and-water solution.

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Li Wenliang, the doctor from Wuhan, China who was one of the first to warn others about what was then an emerging coronavirus outbreak, died of the virus early on Friday morning.

Li was hospitalized in January with a bad case of 2019-nCoV. This week, reports emerged that he had died — an announcement that was immediately contested by conflicting reports from Chinese officials and Wuhan Central Hospital, which released a bizarre statement saying that doctors were still trying to resuscitate Li, who it claimed was not dead but actually in critical condition.

 

Corona Virus Started in Animals

The coronavirus that emerged in China and rapidly spread around the world jumped to humans from an animal.  These zoonotic viruses, can potentially be more dangerous.

The Chinese government has also temporarily banned the sale of wildlife in markets and restaurants. While the origins of the virus are still unclear, it is thought that the virus was passed from bats to people, possibly via snakes or minks. All of these animals were reportedly on sale at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, where the first cases of the virus were reported.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has called for the ban to be made permanent. “Poorly regulated, live animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spillover from wildlife hosts into the human population,” Christof Walzer at the WCS said in a statement.

 

Tech Giant Shutting down In China Amid The Corona Virus

 

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Google is temporarily closing all of its offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as a result of the coronavirus.

Other tech giants, including Amazon and Microsoft, have also taken action to protect staff from infection.

This week global corporations have been shutting operations in China and advising overseas staff not to visit the country.

Google said it is stopping staff travelling to China and Hong Kong, while employees currently in the country have been advised to leave as soon as possible and then work from home for a minimum of two weeks.

Google has four offices in mainland China, although the company has not said how many staff it employs there.

While Google’s search engine is not available in China, its offices focus on sales and engineering for its advertising business.

Starbucks has closed half of its outlets in China to protect its staff and support government efforts to contain the coronavirus.

The coffee shop chain warned that the rapidly expanding infection is likely to affect its financial performance.

Starbucks has almost 4,300 outlets in China, making it the company’s largest market outside the US.

Chinese Experts Suspect Corona Virus originated From Bats

 

People wearing masks at a market in Hong Kong, Monday, Feb, 3, 2020. China's death toll from a new virus has risen hundreds and…
People wear masks at a market in Hong Kong, Feb, 3, 2020.

The new corona virus that has killed at least 425 people in China may have originated in bats, Chinese scientists say.

A new study published Monday in the journal Nature said experts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which specializes in the study of viruses, say the new virus is 96% genetically identical to a virus found in bats in southern China’s Yunnan province.

The study said the new corona virus is 80% genetically similar to the SARS virus that killed more than 800 people in 2002 and 2003.

Chinese officials do not know exactly how the virus could have been transmitted from animals to people, but believe open-air markets in China, where wild and domesticated animals are sold, may be a contributor.

As of early Tuesday, the corona virus death toll in China stood at 425 with the number of confirmed cases exceeding 20,000.

 

 

Bats have been recognized as the natural reservoirs of a large variety of viruses. Special attention has been paid to bat coronaviruses as the two emerging coronaviruses which have caused unexpected human disease outbreaks in the 21st century, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), are suggested to be originated from bats. Various species of horseshoe bats in China have been found to harbor genetically diverse SARS-like coronaviruses. Some strains are highly similar to SARS-CoV even in the spike protein and are able to use the same receptor as SARS-CoV for cell entry. On the other hand, diverse coronaviruses phylogenetically related to MERS-CoV have been discovered worldwide in a wide range of bat species, some of which can be classified to the same coronavirus species as MERS-CoV. Coronaviruses genetically related to human coronavirus 229E and NL63 have been detected in bats as well. Moreover, intermediate hosts are believed to play an important role in the transmission and emergence of these coronaviruses from bats to humans. Understanding the bat origin of human coronaviruses is helpful for the prediction and prevention of another pandemic emergence in the future.

Exert retrieved from Hu, B., Ge, X., Wang, L. et al. Bat origin of human coronaviruses. Virol J 12, 221 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-015-0422-1

Researchers Using Mapping Tools For Corona Virus

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The coronavirus illness (nCoV) is currently bigger than the SARS outbreak of 2003.

The Coronavirus Timeline

Researchers have been using mapping tools to track the spread of disease for several years. Ten European countries started Influenza Net in 2003 to track flu symptoms as reported by individuals, and the American version, Flu Near You, started a similar service in 2011.

Lauren Gardner, a civil engineering professor at Johns Hopkins and the co-director of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering, led the effort to launch a real-time map of the spread of the 2019-nCoV. The site displays statistics about deaths and confirmed cases of coronavirus on a worldwide map.

Huawei Ban Partially Lifted

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After speaking with President Xi Jinping on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he’ll allow Huawei Technologies Co. to buy products from U.S. suppliers, in a concession to China after talks with the country’s. Trump met with Xi on Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, and agreed to pause the trade war between their countries.

 

Oregon Engineering Students Con Apple Out Of Hundreds of Thousand Dollars iPhones

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Two engineering students from Oregon State University allegedly ripped off Apple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in iPhone replacements and are now facing criminal charges in federal court, as first reported by The Oregonian. Authorities allege the students pulled off a convoluted scheme in order to wring Apple of the cash by using counterfeit devices and exploiting Apple’s return policy.

Beginning in 2017, the two men allegedly smuggled thousands of counterfeit iPhones into the US from China and then sent them in for Apple to repair or replace, claiming the fakes wouldn’t power on. In many cases, Apple did replace the counterfeit goods with real iPhones, which cost the company an estimated $895,800.

Huawei Sues The United States Government

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Huawei sues the US government over ban, says it’s unconstitutional

Huawei  is fed up with the US government. Whether it will emerge victorious or humiliated is something the tech industry will be watching closely. Huawei has filed a lawsuit in Texas suing the US government over a new law that banned Huawei’s products from use in federal agencies. It has labeled the ban as unconstitutional and seeks to have that part of the law overturned.

There might be little chance that Huawei will win that case but the act alone is enough to create ripples that will be felt in years to come. Huawei said that the US has repeatedly failed to present evidence of accusations of state-sponsored espionage and this lawsuit could very well force the US government to actually produce hard evidence.

This lawsuit could work both ways, depending on whether the US does have such evidence that the company is a national security threat. If it does, it will cement other countries’ decision to ban Huawei from government and maybe even public use as well. Huawei is challenging the new National Defense Authorization Act, saying that the US government is in violation of the constitution by singling it out. In doing so, the US Congress has acted as Judge, jury, and executioner, without even taking the company to court, Huawei says.

 

Huawei and It’s Aggressive PR Campaign

 

 

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Huawei has started the year with an aggressive PR campaign the reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei  has suddenly give a series of interviews with foreign media to deny the company was a threat, while executives have dismissed the US warnings as baseless. Huawei has welcomed media to its tightly-guarded facilities in southern Guangdong province, starting with a tour of a smartphone production line in Dongguan.

The United States says Huawei equipment could be manipulated by China’s Communist government to spy on other countries and disrupt critical communications.

The world is preparing for the advent of ultra-fast 5G telecommunications, an advancement that Huawei was expected to lead and which will allow wide adoption of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence.

Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, Ren’s daughter, also faces a court hearing on Wednesday in Vancouver on a US extradition request. Two Canadians have been detained in China in suspected retaliation over her arrest.

The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and Meng of circumventing US sanctions against Iran. Two affiliates also have been charged with stealing trade secrets from telecommunications group T-Mobile.

Sceptics, however, say it is highly unlikely that Ren, a former Chinese army engineer, could have steered his company to such heights in such a strategic sector without the support of Beijing, which has clearly stated its goal of becoming the world’s high-tech leader.

Besides its network dominance, Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone supplier after Samsung and Apple.

The Chinese Twins That Had Their Genes Altered May Have Had their Brains Enhanced As Well

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Twins, called Lulu and Nana, reportedly had their genes modified before birth by a Chinese scientific team using the new editing tool CRISPR. The goal was to make the girls immune to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Now, new research shows that the same alteration introduced into the girls’ DNA, to a gene called CCR5, not only makes mice smarter but also improves human brain recovery after stroke, and could be linked to greater success in school.

Photo of Dr. Jiankui He

He Jiankui poses for the cameras of the Associated Press in the days before his gene-editing experiments became known.

Mark Schiefelbein | AP

The team, led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, claimed it used CRISPR to delete CCR5 from human embryos, some of which were later used to create pregnancies. HIV requires the CCR5 gene to enter human blood cells.

The experiment has been widely condemned as irresponsible, and He is under investigation in China.News of the first gene-edited babies also created speculation about whether CRISPR technology could one day be used to create super-intelligent humans, perhaps as part of a biotechnology race between the US and China.

There is no evidence that He actually set out to modify the twins’ intelligence. MIT Technology Review contacted scientists studying the effects of CCR5 on cognition, and they say the Chinese scientist never reached out to them, as he did to others from whom he hoped to get scientific advice or support.

The health ministry in Guangdong, China determined that scientist He Jiankui broke national laws when he used the CRISPR gene-editing technique to engineer human embryos with resistance to HIV and then implanted the embryos into women who then birthed the babies. Based on the probe, the Southern University of Science and Technology has fired He from his position as a researcher and teacher there. According to an article in the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, police may also explore charges against He and his colleagues

 

China & Artificial Intelligence

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China’s leadership – including President Xi Jinping – believes that being at the forefront in AI technology is critical to the future of global military and economic power competition.

AI has become a new focus of international competition. AI is a strategic technology that will lead in the future; the world’s major developed countries are taking the development of AI as a major strategy to enhance national competitiveness and protect national security. China’s AI policy community is paying close attention to the AI industries and policies of other countries, particularly the United States.

Chinese officials have expressed concerns that AI “will lower the threshold of military action,” because states may be more willing to attack each other with AI military systems due to the lack of casualty risk. Chinese officials also expressed concern that increased used of AI systems would make misconceptions and unintentional conflict escalation more likely due to the lack of well-defined norms regarding the use of such systems. Additionally, Chinese officials displayed substantive knowledge of the cybersecurity risks associated with AI systems, as well as their implications for Chinese and international security.

China has already established two major new research organizations focused on AI and unmanned systems under the National University of Defense Technology. AI is viewed as a promising military “leapfrog development” for China meaning that it offers military advantages over the US and will be easier to implement in China than the United States. China now sees AI as “a race of two giants,” between itself and the United States.

China is advancing the state of the art in AI research, its companies are very successfully developing genuinely innovative and market-competitive products and services around AI applications. Sense Time, for example, is undisputed one of the world leaders in computer vision AI and claims to have achieved annual revenue growth of 400 percent for three consecutive years.

Although China has strength in AI Research and development and commercial applications, China’s leadership perceives major weaknesses relative to the United States in top talent, technical standards, software platforms, and semiconductors.

China’s strengths are mainly shown in AI applications and it is still weak on the front of core technologies of AI, such as hardware and algorithm development, China’s AI development lacks top-tier talent and has a significant gap with developed countries, especially the U.S., in this regard

 

 

Alibaba’s Futuristic Hotel Opens Amid Concerns

 

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Russia & China Manipulating The Atmosphere?

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China and Russia secretly conducted experiments this year aimed at manipulating the Earth’s atmosphere.

In June, scientists from the two countries jointly performed five tests that some have speculated to be military related, and detailed their results in Earth and Planetary Physics last week.

The experiments involved heating the ionosphere, which is an upper, electrically charged layer of the planet’s atmosphere. At Russia’s Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility (SURA) in Vasilsursk, a powerful transmitter was used to pump radio energy into the ionized plasma that characterizes this layer, some 310 miles above the town.

 

Russia's SURA facility.

Russia’s SURA facility. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese Scientists Still Pressing Ahead To Perfect Human Gene-Editing Technology

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Oncologist Lu You at China’s Sichuan University said a trial he is leading, using Crispr on 10 lung cancer patients, is done and the data will be ready for submission to a scientific journal next month. Meanwhile, at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing, the head of the biotherapeutic department said it is proceeding with five Crispr-related trials in adult cancer patients. Crispr is still nascent and all side effects are not yet known. A Chinese branch of the World Health Organization has withdrawn an application to register He Jiankui’s project in its clinical database. … Has he surfaced yet?

 

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Latest On Huawei Tech Ceo Meng Wanzhou’s Bail Hearing

 Chinese tech giant Huawei Lawyer says his team worked through the night to make changes to its bail plan for Meng Wanzhou to help satisfy concerns that have been raised about her release.

David Martin says they contacted four potential sources to offer sureties for Huawei’s chief financial officer and prepared affidavits after the judge and a federal prosecutor questioned whether Meng’s husband would be a suitable person to ensure she complies with any bail conditions.

Martin says one person who is proposed to offer a financial guarantee is a realtor who met Meng in 2009 and sold two properties to the couple.

The Case

China Strikes Back

The HIV Gene Editing Doctor Is Missing or Laying Low

A Chinese scientist,He Jiankui who claimed he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies, is missing, a report said on Monday.

The Shenzhen-based Southern University of Science and Technology dismissed claims that He has been detained.  A spokes person would not elaborate.

The spokeswoman said the school will keep the media updated.

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Chinese medical documents posted online this month said (here and here), a team at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, has been recruiting couples in an effort to create the first gene-edited babies. They planned to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in hopes of rendering the offspring resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.

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U.S. Panel Warns Against Purchasing Tech From China

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The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission gave a warning of dangers to the US government and private sector from a reliance on global supply chains linked to China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of information technology equipment. 

It appears that China’s aggressive push to dominate the high-tech industry by 2025 already is a sore point with Washington and a contributing factor in trade tensions that have seen the world’s two largest economies slap billions of dollars in punitive tariffs on each other’s products this year. 

The US also has had long-running concerns about state-backed cyber theft of corporate secrets, something that China agreed to stop in 2015. But the bipartisan commission highlights the potential security risks to the United States by China’s pre-eminence in the so-called Internet of Things, or IoT.

China’s role as an economic and military competitor to the United States creates enormous economic, security, supply chain, and data privacy risks for the United States,” the report says.

The commission, is warning that the potential impact of malicious cyberattacks through such systems will intensify with the adoption of ultra-fast 5G networks that could quicken data speeds by up to 100 times.  

Their report says “The lax security protections and universal connectivity of IoT devices creates numerous points of vulnerability that hackers or malicious state actors can exploit to hold US critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals at risk,”

The United States has already restricted government procurement from Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE, which deny their products are used for spying by China’s authoritarian government. 

In June, the Defense Department suspended the purchase of all commercial, off-the-shelf drones until a cybersecurity risk assessment strategy was established. In 2017, US customs authorities alleged that drones produced by Chinese company DJI, which has dominated the US and Canadian drone markets, likely provided China with access to US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data. DJI denied the allegation. 

The commission is calling for Congress to push for assessments by US government agencies on their supply chain vulnerabilities.

China’s World’s First AI News Anchor

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China’s Xinhua News Agency has debuted an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor on Wednesday as the state-run media organization seeks to bring a “brand new” news experience to the world.

A report posted on YouTube by New China TV features a life-like, English-speaking “AI anchor” modeled after one of Xinhua’s actual presenters named Qiu Hao.

Explaining he is programmed to read texts typed into his system, the digital presenter said he would deliver the news without interruption.

“I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted,” it said.

According to the South China Morning Post, Xinhua said its new AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team and will work with other anchors to bring authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English.

It was also hinted that AI anchors may one day “challenge” their human counterparts because of their ability to work 24 hours a day provided human editors keep inputting text into the system.

 

Gaming Giant Using Facial Recognition To Combat Gaming Addiction

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Chinese internet giant Tencent began trialling a facial recognition age-check system to limit the amount of time kids spend playing its Honor of Kings online game. As a result of the Chinese government’s growing restrictions on video games, Tencent is verifying players’ ages by matching their faces to government records. The time allotted to children is based on their ages. The government has cited over-gaming – especially Honor of Kings, which grossed almost USD 2 billion last year – as causing widespread myopia, lack of focus in school, and even a national security risk by distracting its soldiers!

The World Health Organization officially classified ‘gaming addiction’ as a mental disorder; the nation of France banned smartphones in school.

Mishandled CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents

New report has described how a catastrophic failure on the part of the Central Intelligence Agency, combined with the Chinese government’s steadily more sophisticated internet monitoring capabilities, led to the dramatic collapse of an American intelligence network in China and the executions of dozens of spies and their associates. The incident is just one example of how authorities in Beijing are overseeing the creation of an ever more effective police state, complete with technology and tactics straight out of a certain genre of near-future science fiction movie.

It is considered as one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically broke up the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle.

Foreign Policy revealed how Chinese state security officials were able to completely demolish a CIA-run intelligence operation over the course of two years, beginning in 2010.  The New York Times first broke the news of the debacle in 2017, but its sources either did not disclose or did not know exactly what had happened or the true scale of China’s response. In May 2018, U.S. officials charged former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee with conspiracy to commit espionage over the affair, nearly five months after indicting him for retaining classified information.

The CIA turned to the FBI to help uncover the source of the leak, according to the report. That investigation helped turn up Lee, who allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars to deliver information to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, which oversees both foreign and internal intelligence operations.

Xinjiang, where Uighurs, a non-Chinese Turkic ethnic group that is predominantly Muslim, make up the bulk of the population, has been an ideal setting to test out new equipment and concepts of operation far from both Han Chinese and outside observers.

To help exercise social control, China has put into place one of the most elaborate surveillance architectures in the world, complete with omnipresent cameras connected to monitoring stations running advanced facial recognition software, checkpoints with paramilitary police, and a system of systems all tied to a government-issued identification card that includes a “score” of how much a threat an individual poses to the state. Authorities have also begun implementing mass biometric data collection, including blood and DNA samples, to go along with other official information on file. All this can limit a person’s ability to buy goods and services or get a job.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP

An archway with no less than seven cameras in front of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgarin in Xinjiang.

After a spate of knife attacks in Xinjiang by alleged separatists, Chinese officials instituted a policy where cutlery vendors must physically laser-etch a QR code linked the buyer’s ID into the blade.

In July 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that some 11,500 Uighurs that the Chinese government had approved to go on the Hajj, the sacred Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, had to carry special cards with a GPS tracker inside on a lanyard around their necks. Ostensibly for their own safety in the event of some sort of crisis, this system would obviously be able to monitor their every movement and it seems likely that anyone who decided to leave it behind would, if nothing else, take a serious hit on their social scorecard.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP

A security guards man a checkpoint with a metal detector and an ID scanning system in a shopping mall in Xinjiang’s Kashgarin.

 Recently added in Xinjiang itself are small drones shaped like birds with realistically flapping wings, according to a June 2018 report from the South China Morning Post. These “Doves” can fly for thirty minutes and carry a small, color video camera and an ability to transmit the feed down to an individual on the ground. It reportedly has a GPS antenna and could be able to fly a pre-programmed route or operate under line-of-sight control.

The Chinese are “applying a very, very broad attempted solution to what they see as an ideological danger,” James Millward, who teaches Chinese history at The Georgetown University, told The Atlantic earlier in August 2018. “In Xinjiang, the definition of extremism has expanded so far as to incorporate.

Northwestern Polytechnical University

China’s “Dove” drone, a product of the country’s Northwestern Polytechnical University.

 

Imaginechina via AP

Chinese police officers and dogs, all with cameras, in Tiananmen Square.

China’s Police are now wearing Google Glass-style headsets with similar recognition capabilities to spot repeat offenders for crimes as minor as jaywalking. In the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, public restrooms use facial recognition software to give out only a specific amount of toilet paper per person. Even the police dogs have cameras.

 

 

Chinese Bust Online Cryptocurrency Betting Ring

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Chinese police have broken up an illegal World Cup gambling ring hosting more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) worth of cryptocurrency bets, in the first major sports betting crime involving digital money in the country. The gambling platform ran on the dark web, which isn’t indexed by traditional search engines. During the eight months of the gambling platform’s operation, the site attracted 330,000 registered users from numerous countries, and built an army of over 8,000 agents who earned commissions for recruiting new members through a pyramid scheme.

AI Is Changing The Economy & The Way We Do Business

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Artificial intelligence can help researchers identify diseases before they happen, reducing treatment costs. Whether it is advanced data analytics or an increased use of robots in surgery, AI can be a set of tools that can assist or help doctors provide care. AI tools can also help to halt the rise of healthcare costs in several ways: they can assist surgeons in complicated surgeries; and reduce human errors by assisting in diagnoses. The predictive capabilities of AI can also help to manage re-admissions – and even the spread of epidemics – more efficiently.

Artificial intelligence, in particular machine learning, can also help in the back office with insurance claims. Using past claim data, the algorithms can quickly work through claims. The technology is not only being tested in Japan, but is also being trialed by the private sector – for example, insurance provider Prudential Singapore.

China is the leading nation when it comes to deploying AI in the context of city planning and management. Hangzhou, a city of nine million people, has built a “city brain” which ‘runs’ the government on a huge amount of data collected from sensors and cameras.

 

Phone Scammers Stealings Millions From Chinese Community

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 Since December, 21 members of New York City’s Chinese community have lost a total of $2.5 million, according to the New York Police Department, with individuals reporting losses ranging from $1,800 to $1.4 million, according to Voices of NY. Some have lost their life savings.

The caller IDs make it seem like it’s coming from a local number, but investigators say it’s actually coming from a location in China.
The FTC reminded people never to send money to anyone who asks you to do so over the phone.

“Never give your Social Security number, your bank or credit card number, or other sensitive information to anyone who calls and asks for it,” the commission said.

80 Million Dollars Worth of iPhones Smuggled via Drones To China

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A smuggling ring has been using DJI drones to enable the transport of refurbished iPhones into Shenzhen, China. According to customs officials in the city, those responsible were caught after flying 500 million yuan ($79.8 million) worth of smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.

Chinese authorities have arrested 26 people who were part of an iPhone smuggling operation between Hong Kong and the mainland city of Shenzhen. The criminals used aerial drones to connect two 660-foot cables between two high-rise buildings, and then passed as many as 15,000 iPhones per night across the border.

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Toddler In China ‘Disables/Locks iPhone For 47 Years

 A mother in China is furious after her toddler managed to lock her iPhone for 47 years. The two-year-old boy in Shanghai disabled his mother’s iPhone for the equivalent of 47 years after playing with it and repeatedly entering the wrong passcode, according to a Chinese media report. The phone was given to the child to watch educational videos online. The mother returned home one day and when she checked the phone found it had been disabled for 25 million minutes, equivalent to 47 years. 

Apple store technician in Shanghai was quoted as saying that the woman could either wait years to try to input her passcode again or wipe the contents of the handset clean and then reinstall files. The woman decided to erase all the phone data and do a factory reset. The woman has been waiting for two months and the problem has not been rectified.

The report sparked a debate online in China. Some parents said the mother should never have allowed her child to play with the phone alone. Others said she should have backed up the data stored on her phone elsewhere so that if something went wrong she could easily retrieve it.

 

Woman Climbs In X-Ray machine To watch Her Bag

The Dongguan Railway Station in southern China last weekend had bags and other items passed through the X-ray machine, when the operator suddenly noticed the unmistakable shape of a person on the monitor, the BBC reported.

Looking like something out of a sci-fi movie, the woman can be seen in the X-ray image as she trundles along on the conveyor belt.

China’s state-run People’s Daily news outlet obtained a security video taken at the machine. It appears to show the moment a security officer told the woman put her handbag on the belt, and then cuts to footage of her emerging from the machine. The security officer can be seen laughing as she comes out.

The odd incident occurred during the Lunar New Year travel rush last weekend.

It’s not clear if she was carrying something special inside her handbag, or if she was simply curious about what the inside of an X-ray machine looks like. There’s also a chance that she mistook the instructions of the security officer, though again, it’s hard to tell.

Some reports have suggested she may have had a large amount of cash inside the bag and so didn’t want to be separated from it even for a brief moment. Many Chinese who work far from their home cities are known to take some of their earnings back with them on holiday visits. It’s really not a good idea to take a ride on an X-ray machine as the radiation it emits is unlikely to do you any good.

Cuba Plans to Publish A spanish Edition On The Thoughts Of President Xi Jinping of China

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Chinese and Cuban publishing houses have signed an agreement to jointly bring the Chinese leader’s thoughts on state governance and other issues to Cuba.

The agreement was signed during the 27th edition of the Havana International Book Fair that ended Sunday. Hermes Moreno, of the Cuban publishing house New Millennium that signed the agreement, said 5,000 to 10,000 copies are planned to be printed.

Cubans are interested to learn about the thinking of the top political leader of the People’s Republic of China.

Cuban readers are looking forward to having greater access to Xi’s books, as well as classic and contemporary Chinese literary works, which New Millennium may publish in the near future.

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CIA, FBI, and NSA Chiefs Say You Shouldn’t Use Huawei or ZTE phones

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Top officials from major U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency (NSA) have suggested people should not use phones made by Chinese manufacturers Huawei or ZTE. They have“Deep concerns,” over potential security risks claimed to come from using telecoms devices made by companies, “beholden to foreign governments.

There was a discussion at an annual meeting about various threats to the United States from around the world.  A wide range of subjects, including and primarily Russian influence on U.S. politics and North Korea’s nuclear program, right down to drugs entering the U.S. from Mexico. Cyber security and the use of technology in espionage, however, repeatedly permeated talks.

Director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, made the opening remarks. He said the United States is under attack from, “Entities using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States,” and called cyber threats one of his greatest concerns and top priorities. Coats singled out Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea as posing the greatest threats.

 

Huawei’s new flagship phone, the Mate 10 Pro, is available for pre-order in the US despite not having any deals with US carriers — so to get some attention, it seems the company has stooped to having fake reviews for the new phone planted online, as spotted by 9to5Google.

The fake reviews, are hosted on the Best Buy website, probably  the result of a contest Huawei ran on Facebook. On January 31st, the company posted to a Facebook group with over 60,000 members, asking for people to leave comments on the Best Buy pre-sale page in exchange for a chance to beta test a Mate 10 Pro. The original post has been deleted, but 9to5Google obtained a screenshot before it went down. “Tell us how to why (sic) you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy retail page,” the post states.

 

China’s Police Facial Recognition Glasses

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Some Police Officers in China will receive China, glasses equipped with facial-scanning technology. 

The glasses, issued to officers at a highly populated train station in the Henan province, are part of a security push leading up to Chinese New Year. So far, according to the state-media report, seven wanted criminals have been caught with the glasses, as well as 26 people using fake IDs. 

LLVision Technology, the company behind the tech, told the Wall Street Journal that the glasses can recognize 100,000 different faces, and can identify a person in 100 milliseconds.

Ehang The Flying Taxi

Crafted from a carbon fiber and epoxy composite with an aluminum alloy frame, the Ehang 184's...

The Chinese Company Ehang, says its aircraft can fly at cruising speed for 25 minutes at a time following a one-hour recharge of its electric motors, and that it can withstand force seven typhoon winds. Ehang already has an agreement with the State of Nevada to carry out testing there, and another with Dubai’s transport authority to do the same. But testing and proving the safety of the aircraft is only the first step. Getting them running for good is another.

 

 

Tianjin China Library Defends Use Of Fake Books

The deputy director of the futuristic six-story library in the coastal city of Tianjin – designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV China has defended the building’s design. Reports about it went viral when it was revealed that many of its “books” were actually only images printed on the walls.

The library soon was the talk on the internet after photographs of its interior and white floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the main entrance hall circulated on social media.

However, the euphoria was short lived with stories about its “fake books” soon making headlines around the world.

Tianjin Binhai Library, deputy director told Agence France-Presse that the mix-up was because authorities approved by the plan stating that the atrium would be used for circulation, sitting, reading and discussion, but omitted a request to store books on shelves. therefore they can only use the hall for the purposes for which it has been approved.

The library has about 200,000 books stored and hopes to house 1.2 million volumes in the future. About 15,000 visitors flocked to the library over the weekend

Singles Day

Image shows a delivery man in Shanghai on 11 November 2017

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A delivery man delivers parcels during Singles Day in Shanghai

 

Back in the 1970’s in Communist China very little thought went into shopping because there was not much to buy. People simply bought what little was available.Even in the 1980s, shopping in Beijing was little better. Shopping was get what you needed.

Officially called the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. 11.11 stands for the 11 November, when it is held. The two numbers were chosen to symbolize the wishes of single people to be in a relationship, as two elevens next to one another appear like two couples.

It was originally a non-commercial festival started by male college students who didn’t have a girlfriend. They created a day to get together to celebrate bachelorhood.

But the Chinese retailer Alibaba caught on to it and has turned it into the largest online shopping day in the world. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA, Tech30 sales soared past $18 billion after just 13 hours of the retail blitz known as Singles Day, eclipsing the $17.8 billion it managed in the full 24 hours last year. 

  Although Singles Day still mostly targets Chinese consumers, it’s also increasingly spreading to other countries, experts say.

 

Is Racism Becoming The Norm?

Racist Museum In China

A museum in China has removed an exhibit this week that showcased photographs of animals with portraits of black Africans, sparking complaints of racism.

The exhibit titled This Is Africa at the Hubei Provincial Museum in the city of Wuhan displayed a series of diptychs, each one containing a photo of an African person paired with the face of an animal. In a particularly striking example, a child with his mouth wide open was paired with a gorilla and other works included baboons and cheetahs.

The curator said exhibit was eventually removed after complaints by Africans, including some living in China, All the photographs were taken by Yu Huiping, a construction magnate who has traveled to Africa more than 20 times, has previously won awards for his work and is vice-chairman of the Hubei Photographers Association.

About 92% of the population belongs to the dominant Han ethnicity and ethnic minorities mostly live in the sporadically populated far west of the country. African countries are increasingly important trading partners, but cultural stereotypes dominate Chinese popular discourse on the continent.

 

Chinese Scientist Genetically Engineered Purple Rice Which Is Supposedly Healthier

Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice, which is rich in antioxidants

Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice, which is rich in antioxidants(Credit: Qinlong Zhu/South China Agricultural University)

Chinese scientists genetically engineered purple rice that is rich in antioxidants and may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

The added health benefits of the new rice are due to the increased levels of anthocyanins. Not only do these compounds boost antioxidant activity, which is linked to reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, they also give foods like blueberries and red grapes their eye-catching coloration. As a result, the new rice breed has a rich purple pigment.

The next phase for the team involves studying how safe the new purple rice is to eat, and whether the technique can be applied to other cereals. Eventually, the researchers say the technique could be used to increase the levels of other nutrients and chemicals in plants.

 

The SAT Cheating Problem Overseas

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David Coleman, the owner of the SAT college-entrance exam, which has been plagued by a raft of cheating incidents overseas, outlined new security measures but stopped short of remedying the test’s biggest vulnerability.

The New York-based College Board said the steps include reducing the number of times the test is given outside the United States and increasing the auditing of test centers. But the not-for-profit organization did not say it would end its practice of reusing test forms overseas that were initially given in the United States – the source of many of its security lapses in recent years.

As Reuters reported last year, the College Board has failed to stop a widespread and known security problem. Asian test-preparation companies are gathering questions and reading passages from past SAT exams, and then giving their clients that material to practice upon. The questions later show up on SAT exams administered overseas, giving an unfair advantage to students who have seen them.

Reuters also found that the College Board knowingly had administered some exams overseas that it knew had leaked. More here

China’s New Robo Cop

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China had unveiled a robotic crime fighter known as the AnBot at the Chongqing International Tech Fair this April. This was developed by the National Defense University to enhance the country’s anti-terrorism and anti-riot measures. The droid will patrol the departure hall of terminal three of the airport, reports the People’s Daily Online. The robot is to help relieve the pressure off airport police in their daily patrols and save human resources. AnBot can work around-the-clock and deter suspects with sound and light, and react to emergencies with an electric riot fork. The security robot is equipped with four high-definition digital cameras, which it can use to snap pictures of travellers’ faces, and then send them immediately to human co-workers for further analysis. It is capable of autonomous patrols, intelligent monitoring and auto recharging.

Amazon Has A Counterfeit Problem

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The Chinese are selling counterfeit product through Amazon. Sellers are shipping their inventory to Amazon FBA centers, and when an order is placed, Amazon packs and ships the merchandise to the consumer.

The merchandise is also eligible for Amazon Prime and super saver shipping. Amazon even manages customer service and returns through this program 24 hours a day, according to its FBA advertisement. The problem with this is it offers Chinese counterfeiters easier access to product information, making it easier to create fake merchandise, send it to the FBA fulfillment centers, and undercut legitimate sellers.The counterfeiters even pay for reviews, generating thousands of positive reviews in a short period of time to add an appearance of legitimacy to their online store. Consumers are the ones who discover the fakes.

Amazon has made it easier for Chinese counterfeiters to do business through their FBA program, and has no effective method or plan to fix the problem and police offenders.

Watch what you purchase!

Medical Big Data In Beijing

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Tsinghua University’s Center for Statistical Science has set up a Medical Big Data Center  because of the increasing demand for medical big data research. One of the largest economic consulting firms headquartered in Boston named Analysis Group will also join the center as a strategic partner to develop the Medical Big Data Center.

According to Liu Jun, director of the Center for Statistical Science of Tsinghua University, who is also professor of statistics at Harvard University, the center’s research will focus on medical big data methodology development and applications. In addition, the center will provide research to support clinical decision making, health policies, hospital and healthcare system management, and innovation . The center will also focus on the development of talents who will lead medical big data research in academics, government and the healthcare industry.

The Medical Big Data Center will work together with the Institute for Data Sciences and Medical School, while other institutes in Tsinghua will also invite researchers and experts from various academic and research organizations, including Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Harvard University。The collaboration between research teams from Tsinghua and Analysis Group  will help develop talent who will play an important role in medical big data research, medical informatics and related industries in China.

Hackers Stole Social Security Numbers From Every Federal Employee

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Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid, said that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by the Chinese. Reid is one of eight lawmakers briefed on the most secret intelligence information. The United States officials have declined to publicly blame China. It is believe that the hackers now have all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees .

The union believes the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; and age, gender and race data.

Authorties believe the hackers stole what is known as Standard Form 86, which require applicants to fill out deeply personal information about themselves. The officials said they believe the hack into the security clearance database was separate from the breach of federal personnel data announced last week — a breach that is itself appearing far worse than first thought. It appears that all of the millions of security clearance holders, including CIA, National Security Agency and military special operations personnel, are potentially exposed in the security clearance breach. American officials have said that the cybertheft originated in China and that they suspect espionage by the Chinese government, which has denied any involvement.

After Edward Snowden, was able to steal tens of thousands of the agency’s most sensitive documents it has  become more difficult for the federal government to hire talented younger people into sensitive jobs, particularly at intelligence agencies.Today, if you get a job with the government, your own personal information may not be secure.

Chinese Test Cheating Tools & IVs

Chinese Test Cheating Tools Look Like Something Out Of James Bond

Chinese Test Cheating Tools Look Like Something Out Of James Bond

In Sichuan province, 40 students were suspected of using a high tech pen to cheat. The pen would send test questions back to another location and answers would be sent back to the cheaters via in-ear receivers.

Chinese Test Cheating Tools Look Like Something Out Of James Bond

A wired up t-shirt was confiscated during another important state sponsored exam. The shirt is wired with a camera and plugs into a mobile phone that sends signal out.

Study Hard with an I.V. Drip

The photos were taken at a high school in Xiaogan City, China. Seniors are getting amino acid drips so they can keep cramming for their college entrance exams, which are held in early June.

The Chinese government is apparently giving a 10-yuan amino acid subsidy to each student who takes this year’s Gaokao. And this high school, being efficient as possible, went ahead and put the IV drips in the classroom as the kids study

China Has Drones To Hunt down Cheaters For The Toughest Exam.

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The National College Entrance Exam, commonly called “the gaokao,” determines access to higher education and is taken annually by up to 10 million students across the country.

The pressure caused by the exam can be enormous, so enormous in fact that some studies have linked the test to student suicides. On top of that, fear of failure has pushed some exam-takers into cheating, a serious issue the authorities appear to have trouble getting on top of, not least because of the increasingly sophisticated methods employed.

Some students, for example, have worn eye glasses with tiny cameras that relay images of the question paper to an accomplice outside the exam room. The answers are then fed back to the student via an earpiece.

In an effort to combat this high-tech cheating method, the authorities in Luoyan, a city about 400 miles south of Beijing, have come up with the idea of using quadcopters. The quadcopter will hover above the exam room. If it detects a signal, the information is then relayed to a teacher’s tablet. By flying the drone around the general area, that teacher can then use the system’s specially designed app to pinpoint the signal’s source.

It’s not yet known how effective the technology really is, but the authorities have made students well aware of its drone-based efforts to catch cheaters, hoping the mere sight of the remotely controlled copter will be enough to persuade students to leave their camera-equipped specs and earpieces at home

 

 

 

Iris Scanner Mobile Phone Released This Summer

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Japanese mobile provider, NTT Docomo,will be releasing their smart phone this summer, with a built-in iris scanner. The Fujitsu Arrows NX F-04G uses iris recognition to replace phone passwords, and can even be used to send payments when shopping from your smartphone. The device uses a front-facing infrared camera and an infrared LED light to illuminate the user’s eyes, verifying their unique iris pattern. Besides biometrics, the Android device runs Lollipop 5.0, has 32 GB of storage, 3 GB RAM, and a 5.2-inch QHD display. Unfortunately, the Arrows NX F-04G will only be released to Japan. China also has an iris-scanning smartphone with the Vivo X5 Pro, which launched yesterday. Other companies like Samsung are reportedly working on iris-detecting smartphones, but we’re unlikely to see anything no time soon.

More Here

 

China Warns Wearable Technology Could Be Hacked

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China says wearable watch might pose a risk. Chinese military personnel have been warned that wearable technology is a national security threat. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily published a piece on Sunday that designated all wearable smart devices (e.g., fitness trackers, iWatch) a security risk, Defense One reported Monday.

 

Gmail Back ,Moving Slowly In China

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Access to Gmail returning to China, after a four-day disruption knocked out virtually all access to the popular email service from Google.

They are not sure what caused the outage last week. In a statement, a Google spokesman said the company had checked its systems and “there’s nothing technically wrong on our end.”

There was widespread speculation that Beijing’s surveillance and censorship program was responsible for the Gmail outage. The email service had been spotty for months, ever since officials cracked down on a number of Google’s myriad Internet services in anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. According to GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors Chinese censorship, users were still able to access Gmail through third-party email clients. But even that workaround was disrupted during the latest outage, the group said, after officials apparently began to block large numbers of IP addresses used by Gmail. An op-ed in the state-run Global Times newspaper called claims that the Chinese government blocked access “dubious,” and blamed Google, which it said “values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict.”

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China expected have a new homegrown operating system by October to take on imported rivals such as Microsoft Corp, Google Inc and Apple Inc, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

 

Computer technology became an area of tension between China and the United States after a number of run-ins over cyber security. China is now looking to help its domestic industry catch up with imported systems such as Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s mobile operating system Android.

The operating system would first appear on desktop devices and later on to smartphone and other mobile devices, Xinhua said, citing Ni Guangnan who heads an official OS development alliance established in March.

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Ni’s comments were originally reported by the People’s Post and Telecommunications News, an official trade paper run by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores,” Ni told the trade paper. Some Chinese OS already existed, but there was a large gap between China’s technology and that of developed countries, he added.

He said he hoped domestically built software would be able to replace desktop operating systems within one to two years and mobile operating systems within three to five years.

In May, China banned government use of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system, a blow to the U.S. technology firm’s business which raised fears China was moving to protect domestic firms. Microsoft is also under investigation for anti-trust violations.

In March last year, China said that Google had too much control over China’s smartphone industry via its Android mobile operating system and has discriminated against some local firms.

Mutual suspicions between China and the United States over hacking have escalated over the past year following revelations by Edward Snowden that U.S. intelligence planted “backdoor” surveillance tools on U.S.-made hardware.

The U.S. Justice Department, meanwhile, indicted five Chinese military officers in May on counts of extensive industrial espionage.

Ni said the ban on Windows 8 was a big opportunity for the Chinese sector to push forward its own systems, but that the industry needed further development and investment

Intel Surveys The Millennials

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Intel Corporation surveyed  12,000 people aged 18 and older in eight countries. The survey revealed  that Millennials are tech-savvy young adults who grew up with smartphones and iPads. However, many think technology makes people less human.The survey also revealed that 18 to 24-year-olds want technology to be more personal and know their habits. Older women and those living in emerging markets are the most enthusiastic about the role technology can play in their lives, the findings showed. 

Close to 90 percent of young adults questioned in the poll said innovations in technology make life easier, but about 60 percent admitted people rely on it too much and that it can be dehumanizing. Seventy percent said technology enhances their personal relationships and about half believe it will have a good impact on education, transportation and healthcare.

Women age 45 and older, and those living in emerging markets such as Brazil and India, are more enthusiastic about the impact technology could have on their lives. In China, more than 70 percent of women said technology is not used enough.

The findings showed that Italians and Japanese held the most negative attitudes toward technology.The survey, which was conducted in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States from July 28 to August 15, has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.89 percentage points.

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