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MyOffice, the Russian alternative to Office 365 gains momentum in Africa

The MyOffice platform, the Russian equivalent of Microsoft Office 365, is conquering Africa. The Russian software developer has signed deals for the licensing of the MyOffice package with the governments of Cameroon, Burundi, and the Congo. In the future, the Russian company plans to enter the markets of 23 more African countries.

An important advantage of the information product for customers was the absence of the need to store data on foreign servers.

"We can be sure that government secrets will be protected from hackers or any third parties," said Minister of Education of Cameroon Laurent Etundi.

Dmitry Komissarov, founder and CEO of MyOffice, said that sales in Africa can make up 15% of the company's total revenue. "We were very surprised by the growth of the project in Africa,” added he.

"MyOffice is a small company. It is expected that this year its total income will be $26 million. However, the company is supported by Kaspersky Lab, which had sales of almost $700 million last year. The administration of President Vladimir Putin also helped promote the company in Africa.

Years of declining oil revenues have pushed Putin to find other ways to expand trade, including with Africa. Some MyOffice agreements are a consequence of a summit held last year in Sochi to promote trade with Africa. A representative of the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications was present at the signing of the agreement between the company and Congo.

Millions of people in Africa are only now beginning to access the Internet. According to the GSMA, more than 300 million devices will be connected to the Internet in sub-Saharan Africa by 2026.

Interview with founder of the copyright timestamped entity Digital Witnessor

 The world is changing, technology is changing. We conducted an interview with one of the founders of a new startup Digital Witnessor and lawyer Mister Dhruv Bagri. He shared with us his knowledge about copyright, how to securely register it, quickly and easily, using Blockchain, and from a legal point of view.

If you have created your own software, your clothes design, a choreographic dance, wrote a poem and do not know how to register copyrights to your creation, how to protect your rights, then this article is for you.


  • Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Dhruv Bagri, I am a  Lawyer at RDB Associates. We frequently work on matters relating to Intellectual Property protection, including a lot of copyright infringement work. I’m also one of the founders of the platform Digital Witnessor.


  • How would you describe Digital Witnessor?

We have developed a platform called Digital Witnessor that creates timestamps using blockchain on your works. This allows you to protect your intellectual property rights in just a few seconds. The timestamp is considered official proof of ownership, and this saves you a considerable amount of time and legal fees in case of infringements and helps in more than one way. As the Company is based out of Estonia and the Service provided has been structured, studied, and developed by industry veterans from Cyber Security Privacy Foundation PTE Ltd, a Singapore based cyber security company, it boasts of maintaining high levels of privacy in accordance with GDPR guidelines and also provides high levels of security protection to any and all content passing through the Platform.


  • Why copyright is so important?

A copyright is a right in rem, which means that the right exists on the person who created the work right from the time such work was created. The platform is created at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty in the law with regard to copyright. Music and Art and their associated businesses are booming in the last decade. All these come under copyrightable work.  So, the copyright timestamped entity that is Digital Witnessor helps protect individuals and companies against copyright theft.


  • Are companies secure from their own programmers/employees and third parties?

Typically, the company would be the copyright holder, even though an employee might create it on behalf of the company. That is usually the structure that is in place and is an industry-standard. However, there are times when the company would not be holding the copyright. And that basically implies that the company needs to go ahead and register the copyright with country-specific entities/registrars that are available within their respective jurisdictions, which would create a legally binding registration that could be affected in a court of law. However, without that, litigation becomes a big hassle when copyright has not been registered. It becomes harder to prove that the work is originally theirs. So, Digital Witnessor takes away this problem for the company. We will generate a timestamp for the company data that needs copyright using blockchain technology. In fact, it's just a hash that is created and that could stamp your creation. The main file would also not be required to be uploaded. A file would be stamped without giving us access to its contents in case of any sensitive and confidential information which creates a bit of a hesitation in the holder of the works as to providing such content to us. 


  • How can a timestamp be useful in court? It’s legal?

From a legal point of view, a proceeding that includes a hash-signed block is an electronic document that can serve as written evidence in court.

It would also be helpful in case you are applying for copyright after a particular period of time, for example, you need to apply for copyright because the company is selling its entity and the buying entity would require such IP rights to exist. Similarly, a company receiving investments, the investor would always be more favorable to companies holding IP rights as this would deem to be an intangible asset in the company books. So, a timestamp would help the registration authorities to access this document in itself and in determining the exact time on which such the work was created. That makes things simpler. Secondly, a timestamp would be binding in a court of law. Blockchain has been implemented in quite a few countries across the world. So, it would definitely be helpful in most of the countries around the world.

Timestamp plays the role of a virtual notary and is much more credible than the traditional one. Because nobody can alter the information on the blockchain, not even the Company and I think that is the beauty of this Product. 


  • What kind of blockchain - private/public are you using? Why?

We are using a public blockchain. Firstly, in a public blockchain, anyone can take part by verifying and adding data to the blockchain. Secondly, A public network is more secure due to decentralization and active participation. Thirdly, a private blockchain is more prone to hacks, risks, and data breaches/ manipulation. In a private blockchain, anyone who is overseeing the network can alter or modify any transactions according to their needs.


  • How does it work? For example, I am a designer and I want to copyright a shoe model. What should I do and how will it happen?

As I mentioned earlier, it can be uploaded on the platform. It is not necessary that the design in itself be uploaded onto the platform.

Post which the platform would timestamp that particular uploaded file, in this case, that file will contain a shoe design. Once that is timestamped and the credentials of the author are stamped, it enters the blockchain. 


It should be noted that the content of the original works is never available to be viewed on the blockchain or exposed publicly. It is not visible to us as and it's not visible to any third party either.


So, what we provide is a time stamping facility which allows you to do three things:

    •    Legally establish yourself as the copyright owner of the work.

    •    Legally establish the date of creation.

    •    Take legal action against anyone who infringes on your copyrighted work.

Ease in assignment and transfer of said Copyrighted works to 3rd Party entities and individuals 


  • We know that Digital Witnessor works together with legal company RDB Associates? What is the role of this company?

RDB Associates is a full-service multi-specialty law firm based out of Bangalore in India and with multiple offices across India. I am one of the founding partners of the firm, which started in 2017. We believe that in our country as well many people are not going to go and get their copyrights registered, or we see that people do that for their other available Intellectual property rights such as trademarks, industrial designs, Patents, etc.

But with copyright, no one really gives that extra push to get their works registered. So, we noticed that there were many infringement matters wherein copyrights were in question and it was very hard for even the opposing counsel and for us to prove that such and such copyright existed at a particular time or not.

We did find a way to prove that the creations are in fact created on those particular timelines. It made the process a little more streamlined and a little more simple especially since it's not easy for everyone to approach the registrar for the Copyright and requires properly drafted applications. With the introduction of the platform Digital Witnessor, one can do it in a few seconds and get the process of registration started with ease.


We have a separate intellectual property team that works on registration and cases of infringement. We are integrated into the whole aspect through the onboarding of our clients onto this Platform or giving legal opinions on whether copyright exists or not, sending out legal notices in case of any infringements, and so on and so forth.


What is the distinctive feature of your company from others on the market?

Presently there aren’t many timestamping companies. We don't technically provide the same service as other competitors in the market dealing with similar platforms. However, one of the features that is distinctive is that we provide for easy assignment of copyrights from the copyright owner to third parties. So, that is a great feature that is available on our platform.

However, our other main USP is that our platform is going to be used across the world. Most of the companies that exist are very jurisdictional specific, so they only apply to certain areas thereby limiting their rights to such certain jurisdictions alone. 


  • What are the benefits that a company would get by using the platform Digital Witnessor?

Some benefits that the company would get is primarily establishing their definite right in rem and streamlining the process of registering with applicable registrars/entities in their jurisdictions by making it much easier for registration of their work.

It will ease the process in a way that quicker decisions would be made regarding the infringement of copyrights. And individuals do not have to wait longer and go through a long, arduous litigation process to get justice. So we believe that in case of IP rights, it is important to establish definite rights and to not leave it open-ended whereby one invites liability. Streamlining the process is very important and that's the main benefit that the platform would be providing.


  • How do you see the company in 5 years?

We do have certain things lined up and planned for the next couple of years, for starters, the integration of the technology for agreements. Enforceability of contracts and agreement terms would be made much easier. So once this facility is provided, I think many companies would be or would in fact like using this platform just to streamline the internal processes as well.

But currently, I think we need to concentrate on copyright protection, and we shall take it one step at a time.


  • We've covered quite a bit in this conversation. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share about?

I think we covered most of the aspects of the platform and its benefits.  Just looking forward to see how this develops, grows, and integrates itself into the market in the coming few months

Group-IB presents patented-technologies to protect against cyber threats

The international company Group-IB presented its own patented technologies designed to identify hackers, search for threats on the Internet and investigate cybercrime

Using artificial intelligence technology, the patented system of Group-IB has helped Interpol identify members of the Nigerian hacking group TMT, which has attacked hundreds of thousands of private and state-owned companies in recent years.

In addition, Group-IB was involved in the Carding Action 2020 operation of Europol and the UK police, which aims to combat the illegal market for the sale of stolen bank cards. Using its own technologies, Group-IB analyzed and transmitted to the police data on 90 thousand compromised cards of clients of financial organizations in Europe. As a result, it was possible to prevent damage that could have been caused to European banks in the amount of 40 million euros.

"Law enforcement agencies effectively use our technology in cybercrime investigations to find criminals. There is a result, so our technologies work, "said Ilya Sachkov, founder and CEO of Group-IB.

Group-IB presented its solutions at the CyberCrimeCon 2020 cybersecurity conference. The Threat Intelligence&Attribution system, which has no analogs, saves all possible data about hackers, including those that were tried to delete, and sets detailed information about them, up to the identity of the criminals.

The second system, Threat Hunting Framework, is able to protect the entire company: from traditional IT networks to remote workplaces of employees. The AI system finds unknown threats and targeted attacks both inside and outside the protected perimeter, giving the security service the tools to properly respond to an incident.

All Group-IB technologies are integrated into a single system that automatically blocks attacks and immediately goes to specific criminals.

Pinterest soon to join the Online Classes Plethora

 

With 400 Million monthly active users (a 30% increase from last year), Pinterest is gaining foot among millennials and Gen Z. And their secret of success is their creative interface and their constant new features that attract Gen Z to the platform for future growth, learning, and inspiration. And thus, the photo-sharing social app is aired to be testing online events where users can sign up for Zoom classes by creators. 

The organization confirmed that the feature is undergoing tests with selected users but didn't comment further either on the confirmation or the launch. 

The creators can organize lessons through Pinterest’s class boards, manage class materials, notes, and other resources, and connect through a group chat option. The classes would work through communities- similar to pinboards, if a user wants to join a class, they'll have to click on a sign (a book) to join and they will be mailed with the class detail and zoom link. The communities will be a space to inform about notes, photos, class overview, description, group chat, and more. like lists of what to bring to class, notes, photos, and more. 

The feature was discovered by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong on Tuesday by looking into class details. Though, she adds that clicking on these links results in nothing as the feature is not yet active. There are some demo profiles that you can check out: “@pinsmeditation” or “@pinzoom123,” but their communities are empty.

 "We are experimenting with ways to help creators interact more closely with their audience," a Pinterest spokesperson said in a statement. 

 The social media company is constantly on the rise with 442 million global monthly users and a 50 percent increase in Gen Z loggers. Their Q3 revenue rose to 58 percent and a 60 percent increase is expected in Q4. With these numbers, it is no shock that the company will invest in new features and quirks for their users, and what could be more beneficial than online classes during a worldwide pandemic. As Pinterest commented, "We continue to navigate uncertainty given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other factors".

WhatsApp's 'disappearing messages' now available for Indian users; here's how you can enable disappearing messages on your WhatsApp

 The much popular messaging application earlier announced that they will be rolling out a new 'Disappearing Messages' feature, where sent messages disappear after seven days around this month. Now, this particular feature is available for Indian users to avail on their smartphones.

The new feature is launched for Android, iPhone, KaiOS, Web, and Desktop supporting WhatsApp and made available to all 2 Billion of their users. 

There are still some key points you should know about the feature. Though the feature is for both individual and group chats, only admins can turn on the disappearing feature in groups otherwise your messages won't disappear even though your feature is 'ON'. The feature needs to be switched on for individual chats and if the disappearing message is forwarded to a user with the disappearing message off, then the texts won't go from their chat after seven days.

One should also be wary before turning on the disappearing message feature as the content of disappearing messages like media would disappear from the chatbox but if auto-downloaded to phone or saved in backup, it will remain there so. Also, people can take pictures or screenshots of the message.

As said before the messages will vanish after seven days but it won't apply to your past texts and media.

"This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat," WhatsApp said on its help page. 

Here's how you can enable disappearing messages on your WhatsApp:

  •  On Android and iOS phones, tap on the contact name in your chatbox.

  •  Along with other info, there will be an option of 'Disappearing messages'.
  • Tap on the 'Disappearing messages' option and in the next window turn the option 'ON'.
  • For turning the feature off, follow the same steps, and instead of 'ON', tap on the 'OFF' option.

The feature does not provide an option for reducing or increasing the time limit for the message to vanish, the period will remain seven days.

The Ministry of Digital Development of the Russian Federation developing monitoring application to combat COVID-19

The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation (the Russian Ministry of Digital Development) will launch an application to track contacts of patients with COVID-19

The head of the Department Maksut Shadaev confirmed that the Ministry of Digital Development is completing testing of a mobile application under the name "Stopcoronavirus. My contacts". It will be used to track the social contacts of Russians to fight the coronavirus.

According to the app's video presentation, the Phone will scan a person's surroundings within a radius of up to ten meters. All contacts will be recorded anonymously on his device. If someone gets sick, the person who contacted them will receive a notification about the possible risk. A sick person will have to report their illness via the app. To do this, they will need to enter a special code. Presumably, it can be obtained only by passing a positive test for coronavirus. This is necessary in order to avoid false notifications.

It is reported that the information will be anonymous, the identity of the patient will not be disclosed. Data is automatically deleted after 14 days. According to the presentation, the app "cares not only about your health, but also about personal data, does not collect or give away any personal information."

Mr. Shadaev said that the use of the app will be " absolutely anonymous and safe." "No registration required — just install and activate it. At the same time, installing the app, as well as informing about the fact of the disease— is a voluntary matter, but the more users install it, the wider the coverage will be," he said.

The development was carried out by the Ministry of Digital Development in cooperation with the Moscow government, as well as "in partnership with Apple and Google". The app should be available in the App Store and Google Play soon.

It's worth noting that the app uses Bluetooth-based anonymous "coronavirus" monitoring technology, launched this year jointly by Apple and Google. Devices, iPhones or Android smartphones, will communicate with each other via the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) short-range protocol. Applications based on this technology are already working in many countries.

New €4.2 Million fund to empower internet innovators to develop blockchain-based solutions

 Get up to €123k (equity-free funding), free coaching and free access to top infrastructure

The EU-funded project ONTOCHAIN has €4.2 Million euros to develop a new software ecosystem for trusted, traceable, and transparent ontological knowledge management, and is looking for internet innovators to co-create it.

18 proposals will be selected in the first open call of the project to produce functional and technical specifications for the ONTOCHAIN framework.

Through a 7-month supporting programme, participants will get up to €123k (equity-free funding), free coaching and free access to top infrastructure.

“Today, the digital life is an extension of our physical world and demands the same critical, moral and ethical thinking. By bringing ONTOCHAIN to you and building it with you we expect to contribute to a more distributed and transparent internet that respects and promotes the fundamental values of diversity, equality, privacy and participation.” Caroline Barelle, ONTOCHAIN Coordinator.

How it works?

In the first phase of the programme the 18 selected projects will start by conceptualizing a research project for one of the following topics:

    • Applications

    • Semantic interoperability

    • On-chain data management

    • Off-chain knowledge management

    • Ecosystem economy

    • Ecosystem scalability and integration

Six of them will proceed to the second phase to elaborate the concept proposed in phase one and prepare design specifications to be implemented. Additionally, the best projects will be awarded for the publication of their outcomes.

Applications are open on F6S until 15 January 2021, at 17:00 CET.

http://www.f6s.com/ontochain/apply

For more information about the ONTOCHAIN open call go to

https://ontochain.ngi.eu/apply

About ONTOCHAIN

ONTOCHAIN marries the Semantic Web with Blockchain to deliver a novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable, and transparent ontological knowledge management. ONTOCHAIN, which is developed under the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative, explores and delivers novel interoperable on-chain and off-chain data, ontology, knowledge and information management methods. The ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem consists of a novel protocol suite grouped into high-level application protocols, such as data provenance, reputation models, decentralised oracles, market mechanisms, ontology representation and management, privacy aware and secure data exchange, multi-source identity verification, value sharing and incentives and similar, and core protocols that include smart contracts, authorisation, certification, event gateways, identity management and identification, secure and privacy aware decentralised storage, data semantics and semantic linking, ONTOCHAIN optimisation and similar. The ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem will demonstrate its potential in high impact domains, such as eHealth, eGovernment, eEducation, eCommerce, decentralised infrastructures and similar in order to achieve trustworthy information exchange and trustworthy and transactional content handling.

The project is operated by 7 partners with complementary expertise that form the core of a vibrant ecosystem: European Dynamics (Luxembourg), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), IntelliSemantic (Italy), iExec Blockchain Tech (France), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Greece) and F6S (Ireland). 

Interview with experts who lead the project ONTOCHAIN

On 9 November E Hacking News conducted an interesting interview with experts from different parts of the world that lead the project ONTOCHAIN. It is a new European funded project, with the goal to empower internet innovators with a novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological blockchain-based knowledge management. This three years innovation project will distribute a total amount of 4.2 million euros via three open calls in order to build the ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem.

  • Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Caroline Barelle: I’m Docteur Caroline Barelle, the Coordinator of the European project ONTOCHAIN. I am working for European Dynamics (Luxembourg), one of the partners of the ONTOCHAIN project among seven partners from six countries with complementary expertise that form the core of the ONTOCHAIN vibrant ecosystem: University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), IntelliSemantic (Italy), iExec Blockchain Tech (France), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), the German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Greece) and F6S (Ireland). ONTOCHAIN is also part of the Next Generation Internet initiative that is developed actually in Europe with the ambition to ensure that the development and progressive adoption of advanced technologies, concepts and methodologies contributes to make the future Internet more human-centric, particularly in these times of crisis.

Vlado Stankovski: I’m the scientific and technical coordinator of ONTOCHAIN. I work as a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Actually, our earlier initiative was the Human Centered Cloud, which we developed under the IFIP organization, established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO. The idea here is that the Internet in the past couple of decades has been governed by pretty strong software companies around the world. And now what we want to achieve with the Next Generation Internet initiative is to include in the core protocols of the Internet mechanisms so that people can rely and build on their historical and cultural achievements gained in the past couple of thousand years of European history. for example, the Internet backbone should support pluralism, diversity, democracy, human-rights and other aspects like this. So, we are very much engaged in this type of activity.

Miguel Gonçalves: I’m EU projects manager at F6S (Ireland), a company that has become the largest tech founder community. We are supporting the ONTOCHAIN project making sure that we deliver all the money that comes from taxpayers to the best applicants who will participate in the open calls, this is very important. So we will make sure that we found the best innovators to join us to build this novel software ecosystem called ONTOCHAIN. 

  • How Would You Describe Your Project?

Caroline Barelle: So from a general point of view, this project is funded by the European Commission and under the program, ICT-54-2020, blockchain for the next generation internet. The idea is to empower Internet innovators to co-develop with us a novel software ecosystem that will provide trustworthy and transparent applications for knowledge and information management as well as for knowledge, information and service exchange. We will do this via three Open Calls implemented successively over a period of 3 years and a total budget of equity free funds to be distributed to third parties of 4,2M€. The first Open Call is dedicated to the conceptualisation of the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem around 6 axis: Applications,Semantic Interopearbility, On-Chain Data Management, Off-Chain Data Management,Ecosystem Economy and Ecosystem Scalability and Integration . It is actually is actually open for Innovators. The second Open Call  is about from the concept, to transfer the relevant specifications and to develop appropriate applications for vital sector of the economy (eScience, eEducation, eHealth, eGovernment, eCommerce, eTourism, eInfrastructures) that will be tested and validated then during the third Open Call.

Vlado Stankovski: From my viewpoint, we have funding to build a software ecosystem that will be built and used by stakeholders that share our common goal, which means to improve the Internet protocols in a way that people can trust the knowledge and information that is being generated, stored and shared among individuals and organizations on the Internet. And by doing so to enable many dynamic, semantically complex and heterogeneous ecosystems of resources and actors that would underpin our future smart and sustainable society. 

This project follows the general idea of the Semantic Web, which is to deliver trust by delivering a Semantic Web technologies stack which is now part of the World Wide Web. You probably all know about the initiatives of the World Wide Web consortium, such as the Web Ontology Language (OWL), and other initiatives like this. And the ultimate goal of this technological stack is the trust between the different parties that share knowledge and information on the Internet.

Now, in our ONTOCHAIN project, what we want to achieve is to design and integrate an additional technology, which is coming from the area of blockchain. Blockchains are proven for people to trust them because they already do monetary transactions across the world by using different types of Ledgers. Blockchain is a shared database of transactions. In a way, this is resembles ontologies which are shared conceptualization of physical or abstract entities or shared organization of human knowledge. With these two database and knowledge base technologies put together what we hope about is to “marry" the Semantic Web with blockchains and by doing so, build a new software ecosystem that would improve the the trustworthiness of content and information on the Internet. 

Caroline Barelle:  What I would like to add, is that also one of our goals is to integrate ONTOCHAIN in a specific legal and regulatory and ethical framework that is currently thought over for blockchain and smart contracts. Standardisation and interoperability are also important aspects of what we are doing.

  • What do you mean by ontological knowledge?

Vlado Stankovski: Ontology is a shared conceptualization. We as humans have shared a lot of concepts together, for example, the concept of a car, is the same concept in Japan, in Europe,in the United States and in Latin America, all over the world. We know that carriages and later cars have existed for several thousand years. Carriages have been run using horses, but today we have battery run cars and so on. Yet, we have the concept of a car. So, having these concepts shared helps improve the interoperability of applications, the data which are stored by one application can be sent as input other applications, and easily understood by the other applications. An example of a computer language that helps solve such interoperability problems is the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) of the W3C, and is part of the already mentioned Semantic Web technologies stack. At a practical level, this helps applications communicate information among each other. Ontology languages may be used for more complex specifications of the knowledge that we have about different concepts, so that we can share the same understanding among applications and among each other. We can describe the concept of a car, but we can also describe concepts such as news items, elections, artificial intelligence methods in all their complexity.

  • Who will benefit from this project and how?

Caroline Barelle: We are, in fact, looking for innovators, developers and Internet experts. They will be our partners in co-developing the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem. A part from the equity free funding, they will also benefit from mentoring from worldwide recognised experts in the diverse fields related to ONTOCHAIN. The added value also for them would be a gain in visibility and community building with other innovators, industry and potential investors.

Vlado Stankovski: The inclusion of semantics into blockchains has the potential to open immense possibilities for new smart applications in practically all domains important for people, life and nature around the world.

Existing applications already use blockchains to record hashtags of documents in order to ensure the immutability of the information, which is stored off-chain. Now, imagine that more complex semantics, which means complex structures representing important concepts, such as trustworthy news, elections, automated doors and cars, are being recorded on the blockchains. This would make it possible, for example, to commit to the specific ontologies and consequently commit to the same democratic rules, for example, when distributing important news, going to elections, or sharing cars. Once the common rules are specified on blockchain, on ONTOCHAIN, as a matter of fact, that would enable that people follow the same rules that have been democratically agreed among each other. So, ONTOCHAIN enables organizations not only to establish the common concepts and facts that can be trusted but to rely on diversity, democratic and pluralistic means, when engaging in very dynamic, semantically complex ecosystems in practically all domains. Our goal is to support the smart specialization wave, which is in the heart of the European Horizon 2020 programme of research and innovation.

Miguel Gonçalves: So, there are three levels of beneficiaries. The applicants who take part in the open calls and receive funding, support and mentoring. A second line of beneficiaries will be all the innovators who will use this novel software ecosystem to build the new applications and software. And finally, the citizens who will benefit from trusted, traceable, and transparent based solutions. This will be the end goal of the project.

  • How might your project evolve over time?

Caroline Barelle: From our view point, even if ONTOCHAIN is a three-year project, we foresee sustainability for this ecosystem and we hope to make it last for ever as far as possible. This is the goal. 

  • You announced your project publicly 2 months ago. Did you get the expected response from the public?

Vlado Stankovski: Yes, it is fantastic. We have received really a lot of interest from people who work on different aspects, for example, from the viewpoint of ontologies and the Semantic Web. We know there are several tens of thousands of researchers in the world working only on the development of the Semantic Web technologies stack, such as the Protegé community and other innovators. Then, from the blockchain viewpoint, many hundreds of people already expressed their interest. Moreover, from the viewpoint of cryptography, experts of post-quantum cryptography have shown their interest, security in general. We have some interest from the United States, from people who lead blockchain projects for defense agencies and many other domains. I would say this technology has a lot of perspectives. That's why it has been recognized already for funding as one of the key blockchain projects for the Next Generation Internet. It is amazing that we received so much interest from different experts. And this is what we need in order to be able to build something new and useful for the future generations of users of the Internet.

Miguel Gonçalves: As mentioned the project just started two months ago. We already had the opportunity to promote five ONTOCHAIN TALKS now available on Youtube, and other events. In terms of applicants, the open call is not launched yet. It will be launched very soon, on the 16th of November and will be open for a period of two months. And we then expect to receive a lot of high-quality applications from all over Europe and 16 H2020 associated countries. 

  • Are you going to launch your own blockchain? 

Vlado Stankovski: On the baseline of our ONTOCHAIN architecture we have Interledger. Many smart applications would use private and public blockchains. For example, a smart car may move from Ljubljana to Vienna and would enter the transactions there. Some, but not all data generated in Ljubljana may be needed in Vienna. We need to convey the higher-level semantics of the Ljubljana transactions and to move that to another smart environment, such as Vienna. This is the key idea of how Interledger will support ONTOCHAIN’s semantic transactions. We have an architecture about this that is made of four or five layers. We have applications for trustworthy content handling and information exchange, we have application protocols, then we have ONTOCHAIN protocols and we have underneath this Interledger. In short, ONTOCHAIN is not a typical ledger one may think. 

  • As I understand, you'll work on Etherium and Hyperledger?

Vlado Stankovski: For the time being, but we have also some other people who have attended our meetings, for example, from Tezos and other ledgers. We are really not restricted to few particular ledgers. This project will deliver some showcase applications in the short term, but it intends to open an area of new research where the semantics is shared among blockchains, we would like to see the generation of new type of blocks that we call them ONTOBLOCKS.

  • Would you launch your own tokens or is it just purely application?

Vlado Stankovski: Our partner company iExec Blockchain Tech (France) has already tokens, which will be used in one area. However, the point is that what we want to support a variety of ecosystems. The idea is that by using our ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem, one can establish their own applications that include trusted knowledge management mechanisms. Instead of just recording hashtags, one can record more complex semantics on blockchains. One key challenge in the project is how do we make the interface between what is trusted and resides on the blocks and what is trustless, inherently I mean, which is the sensing environment, the data and information, and the decentralised oracles that reside outside the blockchains.

Any ONTOCHAIN stakeholder can, of course, launch their own tokens and make business. One topic of our first open call, topic number five, is devoted to the development of new economic mechanisms benefiting from trusted knowledge management. 

  • And how do you deal with the censorship of anything that might be required in any sort of network like this, or would it be totally trustless? 

Vlado Stankovski: Censorship in our context is rather a new ONTOCHAIN infrastructure supporting diversity, pluralism, democracy, human-rights, sustainability and other historical achievements of humankind. Imagine that the resulting infrastructure will be a forest of ONTOBLOCKS, or rather an ONTOBLOCKS graph. . This means that our key achievements as humanity can be built into this trusted knowledge management structure. This is the key technological idea of the project. It is not the same as the current World Wide Web that are currently governed by a few big players.

  • We've covered quite a bit in this conversation. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share about?"

Caroline Barelle:  Just that we are actually calling for all Internet researchers, innovators and developers whether from high tech companies, academia or natural person(s) to be part of this adventure with us!

Walleon Smart Wallet – where Elegance, Fashion, and Innovation meet


With everything evolving around us, technology has reached another great peak when smart wallets came to the market. Being sure, everyone feels the same way, it was about time we are all able to protect our wallets from being stolen or lost, and this has been made finally possible. And to reach a time when the trackable wallet is not only smart for its anti-theft technology, but it’s also made of high-quality products and speaks of a huge fashion trend, well, it’s time we acknowledge its perfection. Let's start with the things that make it so great. 
 
Safety and protection by tracking your wallet 

Walleon lets you choose between Bluetooth tracking, which offers a more limited range, and Global GPS tracking that allows you to keep track of your wallet worldwide. This means that you can use the app on your phone to track where your wallet is. Moreover, while you may not yet know that your wallet is missing, the app will activate an anti-lost distance notification or alarm, based on the app settings. 
 
Anti-theft camera 

The in-built camera is an excellent addition to the wallet and offers a ton of other features except for the anti-theft function itself. When you realize that your wallet is stolen, you can activate the emergency mode, and it will start taking photos and sending them to your phone every few seconds. One of the many other favorite features is the option for selfies. You put your Walleon at a distance, and by using your phone, you take a picture of you and or you and your friends. 
 
SOS call button 

Another top-notch advantage the smart wallet gives you is the SOS call option. How does it work? First, you need to insert a SIM card in your wallet - prepaid or other. Then you need to set one or more SOS numbers through your app, and when in need, you can dial those numbers by using your wallet by holding a hidden button for a few seconds. For example, when you break your phone and there is no other way of contacting someone, or you had a car crash with no one around you, you fell during hiking or any other unfortunate situation or accident. Your Walleon will help you make the needed call and save you. 

LED light 

Although we all love the features above, this one is definitely the one that holds us captive more. And why not? It’s amazing! The light goes through the wallet, and you can change the color in any way you prefer - to match it with your outfit and accessories or even your mood. The function is fully optimized to save battery. The camera acts as a sensor, so when the wallet is in your pocket or covered, it turns off the light. Not only that but it can also auto stop after a few minutes (you can set your period for when the light should turn off) or turn it off permanently from the app on your phone. The LED light has low power consumption; the battery is 2500mah, and it also lights the money pocket so you can count your money in a low-light place. 
 
Portable battery charger 

Yes, that’s right! You can use your wallet also to charge your phone on the go. The battery is ultra-thin, in-built, and offers a fantastic opportunity to keep your phone fully charged all the time. RFID protection Speaking of all kinds of protection, as you’ve noticed, Walleon’s team is devoted to serving your needs, and it was created to make sure you are protected first. That is why RFID protection is such a great asset. 

There are many frauds for digital theft and the RFID option actually protects your credit and debit cards from those devices trying to export data and money from them. Your cards in Walleon are safe. Providing that many remarkable benefits, Walleon is a top-notch technology that fits your pocket with the best design ever made - high-quality leather, perfect sizes, and lightweight. Having it means being one step ahead of fashion and bringing your own style to a whole new level. 
 
You can find more information on our website https://walleon.net/ or in our Facebook Group.

The transition of critical IT infrastructure to Russian domestic software and equipment is postponed

The necessary Russian developments are still in short supply. Owners of critical information infrastructure still find the transition difficult to implement

The Ministry of digital development, communications and mass communications of the Russian Federation proposed to oblige owners of critical information infrastructure (CII) to switch to the preferable use of Russian software from 2024, and to Russian equipment from 2025. This is stated in the draft presidential decree published on the portal of normative legal acts.

The first version of the decree was published in May, it provided for the transition of the CII to Russian software from 2021, and to Russian equipment from 2022.

The proposed deadlines raised concerns among the owners of CII - banks and industry.

Several owners of critical information infrastructure pointed to the immaturity of the domestic software and hardware market. "Often there is a single developer or supplier of software or hardware of a certain class, which negatively affects pricing," said one of the owners. According to another owner, this single supplier will not be motivated to improve quality.

The Association of Russian banks in June asked the Bank of Russia to support the postponement of the transition to domestic software. Bankers said that the transition in a short time will entail significant expenses, and currently domestic manufacturers do not have the necessary equipment. The Central Bank supported this proposal, sending relevant comments to the government and the presidential administration.

At the end of 2019, the government issued a decree on the introduction of a temporary ban (for two years) on public procurement of foreign data storage systems for use on critical information infrastructure facilities.

The law on critical information infrastructure security came into force on January 1, 2018. It provides for the connection of CII objects to the state system for detecting, preventing and eliminating the consequences of computer attacks. 


Twitter and Facebook CEOs asked to testify on election and content moderation before the US Senate

 

The US Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the CEO of Twitter and Facebook to evaluate their role in “platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles” and their role in the election.
After voting to move forward with a pair of subpoenas, the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed that the two CEO Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will be answerable to the Senate set on November 17, two weeks after the US elections. The committee lead by Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham set the agenda of the day as “platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles.”

 The aforementioned New York Post article was labeled false as it published a story about Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden. The article claimed that Hunter Biden organized a meeting between Joe Biden and an executive at a Ukrainian energy company Burisma in April 2015. Many are calling it a typical "Right-Wing Agenda" with hacked materials and personal mails. 

Twitter prevented its users from posting links to the article. 

As said in a press release, the senators will also dig the two CEO'S on their performance on the elections. Republicans are looking up to questioning the CEOs on their handling of the New York Post regarding the hacked material and messages fished from Hunter Biden. 

The Republicans also intend to enquire about the recent claims of anti-conservative political bias in the two social media platform's policy decisions. Not only the Republicans but the Democrats are also eager to question content moderation on the platform, "While Republicans on the Senate committee led the decision to pressure Zuckerberg and Dorsey into testifying, the committee’s Democrats, who sat out the vote on the subpoenas, will likely bring to the table their questions about content moderation, as well" reports TechCrunch on the matter.

Expert opinion: how the digital currency of the Bank of Russia will change the future of the country

Announcing the possible appearance of the digital ruble, the Russian Central Bank joined dozens of world Central banks that have begun research and experiments in the field of creating national digital currencies.

Yevgeny Marchenko, Director of E. M. FINANCE, was one of the first to share his opinion on the issue. The expert is sure that the introduction of the digital ruble is necessary to increase the convenience of payments for citizens.

Also, among other advantages for citizens and banks, the introduction of the electronic ruble will allow the Bank of Russia to better regulate the country's economy.

The official representative of the Garantex cryptocurrency exchange, Tatyana Maksimenko, noted that it will be increasingly difficult to conduct gray and black schemes since cash flows will be under control — both foreign and domestic.

According to independent expert Leonid Khazanov, the digital ruble is primarily beneficial to the Bank of Russia and the Federal Tax Service. According to him, it will be possible to more effectively control the movement of cash flows in the country and it will be easy to identify any user who has an electronic wallet, which means complete transparency of all transactions. And no one can create several accounts or disguise themselves in any way, each legal entity and individual can only have one e-wallet.

Experiments by Central banks in a number of countries with the national digital currency reveal unsolved problems: for example, the inability to control cross-border movements or the potential use of anonymizers that make it difficult to track payments. The fate of digital currencies, including the ruble, depends on whether regulators will be able to close these gaps.

The Central Bank of Russia considers the introduction of the digital ruble as a new form of money

The Bank of Russia announced that it is studying the problem of issuing a digital ruble. The initiative has been discussed for several years, and there has always been a lot of controversy around it

The Central Bank is considering the possibility of issuing a digital ruble in Russia in order to increase the competitiveness of the domestic economy. On October 13, the regulator presented a report according to which the so-called digital ruble will become an additional form of money along with cash and non-cash.

It is expected that such a payment system will appear in 2021.

The digital ruble can be used for online payments, as well as in offline mode, without access to the Internet and mobile communications. The Central Bank indicated that the digital ruble will increase the stability of the Russian payment system,  but additional infrastructure will be needed for its turnover.

According to the regulator, the digital ruble can make payments faster, easier and safer. At the same time, its use will reduce the cost of payment services, money transfers, and increase competition among financial organizations.

While cash has a unique number, and non-cash money exists in the form of records on accounts, the digital ruble will receive a unique digital code that will move from one user to another when paying.

The Central Bank will become the Issuer of the digital ruble. The digital ruble will be stored in a special electronic wallet. The regulator emphasizes that its digital currency is an equivalent form of national currency. All three forms of the ruble will be equal and equivalent to each other.

This currency will be introduced into circulation gradually. As the head of the State Duma Committee on the financial market Anatoly Aksakov noted, the law on digital financial assets was adopted in July. The document will come into force on January 1, 2021.