Huawei poses security threat to UK, says former MI6 chief | Technology | The Guardian

Huawei should be completely banned from supplying 5G mobile networks in the UK because its operations are “subject to influence by the Chinese state”, according to a report by a Conservative MP and two academics.

They argue that a decision announced by Theresa May last month, following a fraught meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), to allow the company to supply “non-core” equipment should be overturned because using the company’s technology presents “risks”.

In a report from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), the authors go on to claim Huawei “has long been accused of espionage” – a claim denied repeatedly by the firm – and notes that “while there are no definitely proven cases”, a precautionary principle should be adopted.

The document is co-authored by the Tory MP Bob Seely, who has already raised concerns about Huawei, and the expert academics Peter Varnish and John Hemmings. It adds to pressure heaped on the British government to reconsider letting Huawei participate in the UK’s 5G network from the US and Australia, whose intelligence agencies share information with the UK.

Last month May provisionally approved the use of Huawei technology for parts of the UK’s future 5G telecoms networks after a meeting of the NSC. A leaked account of the meeting said five cabinet ministers raised concerns about the company.

The HJS report has a foreword by Sir Richard Dearlove, who led MI6 between 1999 and 2004. Using blunter language than the report’s authors, he wrote: “I very much hope there is time for the UK Government … to reconsider the Huawei decision.

“No part of the Communist Chinese state is ultimately able to operate free of the control exercised by its Communist Party leadership,” Dearlove added. “Therefore, we must conclude the engagement of Huawei presents a potential security risk to the UK.”

Huawei says it has never engaged in espionage or allowed its technology to be knowingly hacked by the Chinese state. Earlier this week, its chairman, Liang Hua, said the company would be prepared to sign a “no-spy agreement” during a visit to the UK. Its founder, Ren Zhengfei, has said he would rather shut the company down than be ordered to conduct any surveillance on behalf of the Chinese state.

The HJS report notes countries such as the US and Australia have categorised Huawei as a “high-risk vendor”. Malcolm Turnbull, the former prime minister of Australia, also endorsing the report, said he had ordered a ban on Huawei in 5G networks because the risks of using its kit “cannot be effectively mitigated, you can’t design a way around it”.

British intelligence agencies have broadly argued the risks from using Huawei technology can be contained and an arm of the UK’s GCHQ has been monitoring and examining the company’s software and technology for back doors and vulnerabilities since the middle of the last decade.

No evidence of hacking has been made public, and the agencies are understood to have advised Theresa May and the NSA that any risks in using Huawei kit can be contained through a limited deployment.

However, five ministers raised concerns about the decision at the NSA meeting. One, Gavin Williamson, then the defence secretary, was fired by the prime minister for leaking details about the deliberations of the meeting, which prompted some Tory MPs to demand the UK decision be overturned.


Meanwhile, the Dutch intelligence service is investigating whether Huawei is involved in espionage for the Chinese state in the Netherlands, the newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

Citing intelligence sources, the paper said the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) was probing a possible hidden “back door” into customer data belonging to one of the Netherlands’ three major telecomms providers: VodafoneZiggo, T-Mobile/Tele2 or KPN.

The paper said the AIVD had declined to confirm or deny the information and the three networks either refused to comment or said they were not aware of the investigation. A Huawei spokesman told the paper the firm abided by the laws and regulations of every country in which it operates and protected customer privacy.

Why is Huawei controversial?

Huawei is a Chinese telecoms company founded in 1987. Politicians in the US have alleged that Huawei’s forthcoming 5G mobile phone networks could be hacked by Chinese spies to eavesdrop on sensitive phone calls and gain access to counter-terrorist operations. Allies who allow Huawei technology inside their 5G networks have been told they may be frozen out of US intelligence sharing. Australia, New Zealand and Japan have banned Huawei from their 5G networks.

In the UK, BT has excluded Huawei telecoms infrastructure from its own 5G rollout and removed some of its equipment from the 4G network. In January 2019 Vodafone said it had decided to ‘pause’ the use of Huawei equipment in its core networks across Europe. The UK’s defence secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked by prime minister Theresa May after a leak revealed the sensitive decision that the UK would not be totally banning Huawei from 5G projects.

Poland’s internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudziński, has called for the European Union and Nato to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets, after an Huawei employee was arrested on spying charges.

Much of the doubt surrounding Huawei stems from founder Ren Zhengfei’s background in China’s People’s Liberation Army between 1974 and 1983, where he was an engineer. His daughter, Huawei’s senior executive Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 over allegations of Iran-sanctions violations, and she awaits extradition to the US. Ren, referring to trade issues between the US and China, says the company is ‘like a small sesame seed, stuck in the middle of conflict between two great powers’.

Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein/AP
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Several Dutch operators use Huawei hardware and software in their mobile networks and Bart Jacobs, a professor of computer security at Radboud University, in Nijmegen, told De Volkskrant the discovery of a “back door” to customer data sounded “like a smoking gun with possible geopolitical consequences”.

The Dutch government is aiming to make a decision within the next two weeks whether or not to award contracts for parts of the Netherlands’ new 5G mobile network to Huawei, which is substantially cheaper than its rival bidders.

The paper said it had seen a copy of a joint report by the AIVD and the Dutch military intelligence service, MIVD, recommending it would be “undesirable” for the Netherlands to make itself dependent on IT products and services from countries that have been determined to conduct “offensive cyber programmes against Dutch interests”.

This content was originally published here.

WhatsApp urges users to upgrade after discovering spyware vulnerability | Technology | The Guardian

WhatsApp is encouraging users to update to the latest version of the app after discovering a vulnerability that allowed spyware to be injected into a user’s phone through the app’s phone call function.

The spyware was developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the vulnerability.

Attackers could transmit the malicious code to a target’s device by calling the user and infecting the call whether or not the recipient answered the call. Logs of the incoming calls were often erased, according to the report.

WhatsApp said that the vulnerability was discovered this month, and that the company quickly addressed the problem within its own infrastructure. An update to the app was published Monday, and the company is encouraging users to upgrade out of an abundance of caution.

The company has also alerted US law enforcement to the exploit, and published a “CVE notice”, an advisory to other cybersecurity experts alerting them to “common vulnerabilities and exposures”.

The vulnerability was used in an attempted attack on the phone of a UK-based attorney on 12 May, the FT reported. The lawyer, who was not identified by name, is involved in a lawsuit against NSO brought by a group of Mexican journalists, government critics and a Saudi Arabian dissident.

“The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” WhatsApp said in a statement. “We have briefed a number of human rights organizations to share the information we can and to work with them to notify civil society.”

NSO Group did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for a comment. The company told the FT that it was investigating the WhatsApp attacks.

“Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” NSO Group told the FT. “NSO would not, or could not, use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization, including this individual.”

NSO limits sales of its spyware, Pegasus, to state intelligence agencies. The spyware’s capabilities are near absolute. Once installed on a phone, the software can extract all of the data that’s already on the device (text messages, contacts, GPS location, email, browser history, etc) in addition to creating new data by using the phone’s microphone and camera to record the user’s surroundings and ambient sounds, according to a 2016 report by the New York Times.

WhatsApp has about 1.5bn users around the world. The messaging app uses end-to-end encryption, making it popular and secure for activists and dissidents. The Pegasus spyware does not affect or involve the app’s encryption.

This content was originally published here.

Google has given $150,000 in free ads to deceptive anti-abortion group | Technology | The Guardian

Google has given tens of thousands of dollars in free advertising to an anti-abortion group that runs ads suggesting it provides abortion services at its medical clinics, but actually seeks to deter “abortion-minded women” from terminating their pregnancies.

The Obria Group, which runs a network of clinics funded by Catholic organisations, received a $120,000 Google advertising grant in 2015, according to a pubic filing. In 2011, it received nearly $32,000. Such grants are designed to support and expand the reach of nonprofits around the world.

Obria was awarded the 2015 grant despite the fact Google had faced intense criticism a year earlier, after a pro-choice group found the platform was running deceptive ads for clinics that appeared to offer abortions and other medical services, but instead focused on counseling and information on alternatives to abortion.

In some cases, such clinics, known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), are located close to Planned Parenthood clinics and provide some medical treatment, such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and prenatal counseling. But they also seek to deter women who enter from seeking abortions and do not offer referrals for alternative treatment.

Google should not allow CPCs to use its platform to serve misinformation to pregnant women

Obria runs a network of clinics across the US, many of which suggest on their websites that they offer abortion. The clinics are actually opposed to abortion and all forms of contraception.

Obria’s use of Google grants underscores how Google has become a vital marketing tool for such organisations. A group called Choose Life Marketing, which helps CPCs market their services, encourages its clients to apply for Google grants.

The Guardian obtained a screenshot of an exchange in January in which a Choose Life Marketing employee sought assistance in an open online chatroom for not-for-profit organizations seeking assistance for Google ad grant applications. In the exchange, a Google employee explains that two centers’ websites were rejected because they were not secure, not because of their content. They were encouraged to re-apply.

Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, a watchdog fighting a recent change in federal rules on what kinds of clinics can receive federal funds for healthcare services, said Google was usually the first resource for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy.

“Google should not allow CPCs to use its platform to serve misinformation to pregnant women,” she said. “Google’s business model is predicated on serving ads to customers, and the company is clearly uninterested in taking the steps necessary to crack down on misleading ads placed by CPCs.”

Google said it made ad grants available to “a diverse group that represents many different views and different causes” and both groups that provide abortions and those that are opposed to abortions are given grants.

Google would not comment on the Obria grant, but said all recipients have to comply with its policies. One such policy prohibits misrepresentation in ads as well as ads that “intend to deceive users by excluding relevant information or giving misleading information about products, services, or businesses”.

Google awarded the Obria grant as part of a program to support nonprofit organisations around the world with in-kind donations worth up to $10,000 a month.

It is not clear which precise ads were published through Obria’s grants, because the information is not public.

Obria did not return a request for comment.

The group recently faced scrutiny after it was awarded $1.7m in federal funds – known as Title X funding – meant to support healthcare providers that offer family planning services. Obria does not offer birth control, including condoms, in its clinics, offering “natural family planning” methods instead.

When the Guardian presented Google with a host of other examples of ads for clinics that appear to offer abortion services but do not, the company declined to comment, saying only that any ads that violated its policies would be taken down. Those ads were still available online several days later.

Google promised to address the issue in 2014. But the problem resurfaced in 2017, when the company was forced to remove more misleading ads. In 2018, Google was criticized for pointing women seeking abortions in Silicon Valley to CPCs through its maps service, while demoting results for Planned Parenthood clinics.

Google continues to feature ads for the clinics that appear to violate its policies. In one such case, an ad for a Texas clinic called the Grapevine Women’s Clinic pops up if a user does a local search for “abortion clinic”.

At first glance, the Grapevine clinic appears to offer abortion services: it emphasizes a woman’s choice, provides detailed information about the abortion pill and recommends that women call insurance providers to pay for their procedures. The clinic also says it provides “post abortive counseling”.

This content was originally published here.

[Infographic] Galaxy Fold: The Technology Behind a Whole New Smartphone Category – Samsung Global Newsroom

Introducing a whole new category of smartphone, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold brings together the best of the smartphone and tablet experiences, folding them into one device.

The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch cover display and, when unfolded, the device reveals the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, offering endless multitasking possibilities. The Galaxy Fold is also equipped with six versatile cameras from cover to cover, allowing you to snap a photo whenever, wherever and offering you flexibility in function, as well as form. With a next-generation AP chipset and 12GB of RAM, the Galaxy Fold can achieve powerful performance.

Take a look at the infographic below for more details about how the Galaxy Fold goes beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone.

This content was originally published here.

Biafra technology had solution to Nigeria’s problems –Tsav – Daily Post Nigeria

Elder statesman and former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abubakar Tsav, has said that Nigeria would have been among developed nations if it had tapped the inventions of Biafra after the civil war.

According to him, failure to accept the Biafran technology after the war and the successive corrupt leadership Nigeria has had over the years have been responsible for the country’s poor development indices.

In an interview with Sun newspaper, Tsav said: “I only pray that people who are coming now are those who have the interest of the people at heart and are God-fearing; they are not just there to make money, but are there to serve the nation.

“Since the end of the civil war, we have not been progressing as a nation because during the civil war for instance, when the Biafrans were confined to their territory, they had no option than to device a means of survival and they were able to manufacture bombs, mines, refine petroleum products, and other technological feats.

“If we had accepted them, by the time the war was over, by now we would have gone very far beyond where we are today; we would have been technologically advanced.

“We never attained that because we are not united, we are corrupt and selfish. If we had tapped the ingenuity of the Biafrans, those inventions, etc, Nigeria would have been far ahead than what we are today, but unfortunately, corruption came in because everybody wanted to make money for himself; that is why we are in this sorry state now.

“Through corruption, people are making so much money that they don’t know the number of houses they have, and that is why we are still struggling that we cannot produce ordinary toothpick in this country; we cannot produce handkerchief in this country. All these things are imported from different countries of the world. It is a big shame indeed.”

This content was originally published here.

Facebook co-founder calls for company to break up over ‘unprecedented’ power | Technology | The Guardian

A co-founder of Facebook has called for the government to break-up the company, warning that Mark Zuckerberg’s power is “unprecedented and un-American”.

Chris Hughes, who helped established Facebook after meeting Zuckerberg at Harvard University, wrote in the New York Times that Facebook’s acquisition of rival platforms had given Zuckerberg unparalleled power over speech.

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – that billions of people use every day,” Hughes wrote.

“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.

“It is time to break up Facebook.”

Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly users, according to its most recent earnings report, while WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, are each used by more than 1 billion people. Hughes’s appeal for tighter regulation comes as some lawmakers are calling for big tech companies to be reined in.

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has pledged that if she is elected president she will break up Facebook, Amazon and Google, criticizing “anti-competitive mergers” such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Hughes left Facebook in 2007 to work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and sold his Facebook shares in 2012 – for half a billion dollars – but said he still felt “a sense of anger and responsibility” at the company’s omnipotence.

“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech. There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of 2 billion people,” Hughes wrote.

Facebook has been plagued by scandal over the past year. In March 2018 it emerged that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and Brexit campaigners, had harvested millions of Facebook profiles to target users with personalized political advertisements. Just last month Facebook admitted to “unintentionally” uploading the address books of 1.5 million users without consent.

Hughes said the government should create a new agency to regulate technology companies and create “acceptable guidelines” for free speech on social media.

“If we don’t have public servants shaping these policies, corporations will,” he said.

“I don’t blame Mark for his quest for domination. He has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice. It’s on our government to ensure that we never lose the magic of the invisible hand.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This content was originally published here.

Demand a Climate Emergency Action Plan – Centre for Alternative Technology

An action plan for our changing planet

Measures that could help us reach net-zero include:

It’s vital that all emissions are included in this plan, and we must pay our historic debts. The UK and other long-industrialised nations grew wealthy on the back of burning fossil fuels; climate justice demands that we take ambitious action now, and provide both financial and technical support for less developed countries to help with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Please help us reach more people by sharing with your friends and family:

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The 20 best homes Instagram accounts | Technology | The Guardian

Best for kitchen hacks @reformcph
The Danish kitchen brand updates Ikea cabinets with simple, stylish cupboard fronts in sorbet shades.

Best for maximalists @degournay
These sumptuous, hand-painted murals and wallpapers are far too pricey to buy – just be inspired by shots of walls blooming with lemon trees or exotic birds. More is more.

Best for dining room style @richardleemassey
London’s most tireless restaurant-goer documents inspiringly beautiful places to eat, from humble caffs to top-end eateries – offering take home #interiorsinspo one meal at a time.

Best for snoopers @themodernhouse
This UK estate agent only sells homes that score high on the design scale. As exciting for nosy people as for those moving house.

Best for barefoot luxury @uxua
A hotel in Brazil whose beachy shots are interspersed with distressed interiors, soft linen, and tropical style.


Best for DIY ideas @grillodesigns
Young blogger Medina Grillo on updating her rented home in Birmingham; you can do a lot with a little.

Best for mid-century buffs @theatomicranch
Mid-century modern design in a gorgeous Palm Springs setting, where walnut sideboards sit alongside cacti. A Don Draper-inspired dream.

Best for brutalists @modernistestates
Take a tour of cityscapes, retro fonts and concrete buildings that have aged into their beauty.

Best for pared back palettes @daniellesiggerud
A former student of the minimalist architect John Pawson, Siggerud is now an architect based in Copenhagen, and in love with the many muted shades – and textures – of grey.

Best for real-life style @almostmakesperfect
Against a palette of peach, white, and pale brown, Los Angeles-based craft blogger Molly’s own home is a masterclass in staying stylish with a toddler in tow – complete with bespoke stairgate.

Best for colour lovers @farge_dagny
From her cabin outside Oslo, colour consultant Dagny Thurmann-Moe provides clients with modern ways to team colours. Full of ideas and shades that shouldn’t work together, but do.

Best for the unexpected @beau_traps
The brainchild of globetrotting dealer and interior stylist, Maxime Fisher, who discovers unusual, rare and unexpected interiors.

Best for prints @evasonaike
Designer Eva Sonaike draws on her Nigerian heritage to create bright and beautiful textiles – it will inspire you to be braver using print at home.

Best for globetrotting @hanyayanagihara
Booker-shortlisted author and magazine editor Hanya Yanagihara shares inspiring designs she discovers on her regular travels, from frescoes in Paris to cerise walls in Milan.

Best for monochrome obsessives @_millergrey
This Newcastle-based blogger has an aversion to colour, and is drawn to anything that makes his rental home feel spacious and stylish. Airy whites and strong blacks abound.

Best for daydreaming @howieguja
Interspersed with shots of his local beach in Bellport, New York, are images of the coastal homes photographer Howie Guja comes across: think verandas, distressed wood and clapboard.

Best for culinary style @skyemcalpine
The food author’s main focus is recipes, but here she flits between her London and Venice apartments, documenting her clever ways with colour, texture and tablescapes.

Best for cheering you up @teklan
An art director, photographer, interior architect, set designer and colour addict, Stockholm-based Tekla Evelina Severin’s feed is perfect for an overcast day.

Best for small space living @contemporary_life
Swedish blogger Melia Malmquist has taken a dated city apartment and turned it into an olive green oasis, full of gleaming knick-knacks, high street bargains and a wealth of inexpensive ideas.

This content was originally published here.

‘They treat us like crap’: Uber drivers feel poor and powerless on eve of IPO | Technology | The Guardian

A lot of very rich people will get even richer when Uber goes public on 9 May in one of the most anticipated initial public offerings (IPO) to hit the stock market in 2019.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, could see his 8.6% stake in the company valued at close to $8bn if the company is valued at $90bn plus. One early investor, the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has a $3m stake in the company estimated to now be worth $400m. Uber’s current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, could make at least $100m from stock options on top of his salary of $45m in 2018.

Drivers, in the meantime, are feeling increasingly poor, angry and powerless. They charge wages have been cut ahead of the IPO and that the bonuses offered to long-term drivers by Uber and Lyft, its main rival, are inadequate.


A series of strikes organized by groups including Rideshare Drivers United is planned for 9 May in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Washington DC, London and other cities.

The Guardian spoke to drivers in the run-up to the share sale.

Hrant Goregian: full-time Uber driver for five years in Los Angeles

Goregian first started driving for Uber to supplement his income from a full-time job that he eventually had to quit in order to manage childcare duties for his two children. “What I feel Uber does is like if you throw a seed to the birds and bring them to the cage and close the cage on them. Uber made it seem so good. I purchased a hybrid car, then they started little by little to reduce the wages,” Goregian said.

Eight months ago his wife lost her full-time job. Goregian is currently struggling to support his family. “This month, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay my mortgage,” Goregian said.

According to Goregian, Uber treats drivers as just something they have to deal with until technology for autonomous cars gets to the point where they can eliminate drivers all together. “They don’t listen to us,” he said.

Ali Razak: full-time Uber driver for five years in Philadelphia

When Razak first started driving for Uber five years ago, he said it was a great company, offering drivers several incentives to start working for them.

“Once Uber got [control of] the market, they changed in the worst ways,” Razak said. “The only thing drivers are asking for is fair pay. Uber is doing everything except fair pay.”

When he first started, Razak made 80% of the fees from his fares, with 20% going to Uber. “Now, they are charging anything they want. Some of my fares they charge more than 60% of the rider fare,” he said. His pay has decreased from about $1,500 a week after expenses five years ago, to between $300 to $600 a week, while often working more hours.

He dismissed the bonuses being offered to Uber drivers from the IPO. With over 8,000 trips, Razak will receive a $500 bonus. “They are doing nothing for the drivers. All drivers are asking for is fair pay, and that’s what Uber won’t give to us. They are not willing to be transparent. They are willing to change the logo, they are willing to advertise, to spend millions on lobbying, but they are not willing to pay the drivers fairly.”


Peter: full-time Uber driver for one year in Los Angeles

“I pretty much have the lowest cost of living you can imagine in Los Angeles. I used to be able to afford that,” said Peter, who didn’t want his last name used fearing retribution from Uber. “Recently, Uber cut rates per mile by 25%. Now I’m having to work longer and longer hours in order to make rent.”

Peter currently lives in a small room in a house with eight other people. He used to have some spare money left over at the end of the month, but says that’s gone after the rate cuts for drivers. Peter makes $1,200 a month after expenses, despite often having to work 50- to 60-hour weeks. He’s put 30,000 miles on his car in just the past year, noting that mileage will probably increase as he has to drive more to make the same amount of money he used to.

“I want people to know how powerless you feel when your income comes from a faceless app and when you open it up one morning, things are just different and you’re earning less money and there’s no boss you can talk to, you weren’t told about it, you just see your income is lower today and you just have to deal with it,” said Peter.

Corey Roberts: full-time Uber Driver for three years in Philadelphia

“I love it, but they treat their drivers like crap,” Roberts said.

When he first started driving for Uber, Roberts said he was attracted by the flexible hours and the feeling of being his own boss. Three years ago Roberts said 80% of the fare went to drivers and 20% went to Uber. “Now they take half in some cases,” he said.

On 5 April, Roberts noted his driver account was placed on hold for an annual background check that normally takes just three days. His account was on hold for more than three weeks due to an error made by the background check agency. “Your account will just be off and they don’t do anything to help you with wages. I have bills starting to rack up.”

Roberts complained that issues with driver support are common, as the support representatives are outsourced out of the US and the Uber app immediately sides with customers over drivers. “You can give your best service to a customer and if they’re having a bad day they can give you a one star or make a false report,” he added.


Ben Valdez: part-time Uber driver for nearly four years in LA

Valdez is a part-time driver for Uber, working nights after his full-time job as a local college. The wages, Valdez explained, have declined over the four years he’s been driving for Uber.

“The only way I can make a profit is through surge pricing during events for high demands. That’s the only way I can make money, to drive during those peak times or I can’t afford to drive for Uber,” he said.

Vincent Suen: full-time Uber Driver for about two years in LA

Suen first began driving for Uber in between jobs as a restaurant server. A car enthusiast who likes to drive, the opportunity to make a living as a driver seemed more appealing to him than another restaurant gig.

“I wish I knew what I know now earlier,” he said. “I was blindsided. If I knew about the expenses, how expensive it is to do this gig, I would not have gotten into it in the first place.”

Two years ago, Suen purchased a 2017 Toyota Prius to start driving for Uber. In that time, he’s put 122,000 miles on his car.


“There are plenty of days where minus gas, I make less than minimum wage,” added Suen. When he first started driving, he was making $1,200 to $1,400 a week before expenses, but has struggled to continue making that even by increasing his work hours to 10- to 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.

Suen stopped driving for Uber about six weeks ago after his doctor diagnosed him with sciatica. “The doctor says my spine is not straight, due to sitting for long hours just from doing Uber,” he told the Guardian.

An Uber representative told the Guardian: “Drivers are at the heart of our service – we can’t succeed without them – and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road. Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”

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City of Perth Briefcam technology to go live before June as part of $1 million Smart Cities trial | The West Australian

Video surveillance cameras that recognise your face, detect your gender, the colour of your clothes and how fast you’re travelling, and then track your movements, will be up and running in Perth by the end of the month.

The City of Perth will switch on the Briefcam technology in new surveillance cameras in East Perth as part of its $1 million Smart Cities trial. The technology, which also includes heat-mapping, will initially be tested in three of the 30 cameras in the new network, and potentially rolled out to more later.

City of Perth commissioner Andrew Hammond said the facial recognition technology would compare the faces of people captured on live footage with photographs supplied by law enforcement officials.

“The facial recognition capabilities will only be activated at the request of relevant law enforcement agencies,” he said.

The City of Perth will have the ability to move the detection and analytical capabilities between all the cameras in the network.

The Briefcam system uses “deep learning”, when a computer develops neural networks trained to recognise patterns, and “computer vision”, when a computer is trained to interpret and understand the visual world.

The software, which has been developed in Israel, will allow the City to be alerted if someone enters a restricted area defined by borders on the screen or if an object has been in the same spot for a certain time. It can also count pedestrians on footpaths and vehicles on roads.

The City of Perth is believed to have joined Border Force, which uses the technology at its passport gates at Perth Airport, as the only WA authority to use facial recognition surveillance on the public.

Chinese company Huawei is aggressively investing in the tech race, spending $21.2 billion on research and development last year. Hong-Eng Koh, Huawei’s global chief of public safety, said facial recognition alone was not sufficient because people could cover their face, so the company was supplying technology that does even more.

“Now we are meeting companies around the world, not just China, but in Europe, US, Israel that have different analytics, what colour you are wearing, how you are walking, what bag you are carrying, or your vehicle,” he said in a briefing in Shenzhen, China, last month.

How it works:

1: The Briefcam system can understand an entire scene and its background.

2: It detects, tracks, extracts and classifies every object or person.

3: Moving objects are separated from the video background, using artificial intelligence, and then tracked.

4: Objects are classified, for example people and vehicles, their attributes e.g. gender, carrying a bag, vehicle model, and saved in a database with their locations.

5: The information in the database can be searched, generate reports and send alerts.

6: The system allows hours of footage to be reviewed in minutes by simultaneously displaying events that have occurred at different times.

This content was originally published here.