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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. 


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.

Apple denied Durov's statement about the request to block Telegram channels about Belarus

The founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, accused Apple of trying to "avoid responsibility for complying with its own rules" by using "tricky language". Durov wrote about this in his Telegram channel.

Earlier, Durov said that the Corporation requested the blocking of three channels dedicated to Belarus. They published photos and personal data of security forces and members of election commissions who, according to the authors, committed violations in the elections. The total number of subscribers was about 100 thousand.

According to Durov, Apple's "trick" lies in the company's claim that it does not require disabling three Belarusian channels that disclose the personal data of security forces involved in suppressing protests. Apple requires not to publish posts that disclose personal information. However, Durov notes, the company does not mention that these channels consist entirely of such posts.

"By hiding its requirements in vague words, Apple is trying to avoid responsibility for complying with its own rules", said the founder of Telegram.

"It's time for Apple to learn to take responsibility for its policies, rather than trying to hide them from users,” added he.

According to Durov, he would prefer to keep these channels. The founder of Telegram suggested that they will eventually be blocked on devices using the iOS operating system, but the channels will remain available on other platforms.

According to Apple, the company received complaints from users that their personal data, including names and phone numbers, was transmitted through channels. These complaints were passed to the messenger team, asking them to remove information that reveals someone's personal data on the Internet without their consent, as well as content aimed at specific people.

Telegram did not raise any objections, but promised to check this information and inform Apple about the results of the check.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported that a group of hackers threatens to bring down the tax, energy and banking systems of Belarus if the head of state Alexander Lukashenko does not comply with the ultimatum.

Russian business expressed fear about the isolation from the global Internet

Representatives of big business warned that banning modern website encryption protocols in Russia is tantamount to disconnecting the country from the global Internet. The adoption of the bill in the proposed form, in their opinion, will formally make it illegal to use smartphones and computers and will entail "catastrophic consequences".

Recall that, in September, the Ministry of Digital Development of Russia proposed banning encryption protocols that allow hiding the name or ID of the site requested by the user. These protocols — TLS 1.3, ESNI, DNS over HTTPS, and DNS over TLS — are already being gradually implemented by some browsers. The department believes that the use of these protocols will prevent the system from restricting access to resources containing prohibited information.

It is noted that any encryption protocols are suitable for vague definitions in the text of the bill, regardless of the scope of application. This means that after the law comes into force, any encryption will be formally outlawed, that is, the use of computers and smartphones as such will become illegal, and the operation of any information (for example, banking) will be paralyzed.

The bill will also entail serious costs for the budget: all "illegal" cryptography in state information systems will have to be upgraded or simply disabled. The business products of Russian IT companies will also suffer — without the support of popular encryption technologies, they will become uncompetitive on the world market. And the personal data of Russians will be visible to any technical specialists of Telecom operators and hackers.

Earlier, E Hacking News was reported that Roskomnadzor has notified one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges  Binance about entering it into the register of prohibited sites.

Roskomnadzor has added the site of the Binance crypto exchange to the list of banned sites in Russia

 

Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) has notified one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges  Binance about entering it into the register of prohibited sites. So far, the site in Russia is not blocked and continues to work.

"On September 24, 2020, we received a notification from Roskomnadzor of the Russian Federation about the introduction of the site binance.com to the domain name registry containing information prohibited for distribution in Russia. According to the letter, this is information about the possibility of purchasing an electronic cryptocurrency (Bitcoin),” reported the press service of the crypto exchange.

As noted in Binance, the company has not previously received notifications from law enforcement and civil government services, as well as from the judicial authorities about the existence of any lawsuits or court decisions.

"We also continue to provide services to Russian users in full, and customer funds are safe,” said the company.

At the moment, the site in Russia is not blocked and is working.  It is worth noting that the crypto exchange intends to challenge the decision of Roskomnadzor to enter it in the register of prohibited sites in court, told the Director of Binance in Russia Gleb Kostarev.

"Binance values its reputation and does not intend to agree with the court's decision, as well as with the intention of Roskomnadzor… The company plans to challenge the Agency's decision in court,” said Mr Kostarev.

"There have already been precedents in court practice when other crypto sites have challenged such decisions,” added he.

Experts estimate the chances of Binance getting the block cancellation in court as high. Alexander Zhuravlev, managing partner of the law firm EDB, called the court order to block Binance as unfounded. In Russia, there is no ban on the turnover of cryptocurrencies. Last fall, changes were made to the State Code that legalized digital rights, including cryptocurrencies. 

Russian authorities prohibit modern Internet protocols because they make it difficult to block websites


 The Ministry of Digital Development of Russia wants to ban the use of experimental encryption protocols DNS over TLS, DNS over HTTPS and ESNI in Russia, which can be used to bypass access blocks to prohibited sites. Experts warn that to implement such a ban, it will be necessary to block the servers of Google, Cloudflare and Cisco.

On September 21, the Ministry submitted for public discussion a bill that prohibits the use of encryption protocols in the Russian Federation, which allow to hide the name of an Internet page or site. In particular, the Ministry believes that this will help to increase the effectiveness of blocking sites that are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.

According to the head of the Ministry of Digital Development Mister Shadaev, all the advantages of the new DNS request encryption protocols for users are obvious, "but we must understand that their wide distribution will also allow us to bypass all existing filtering and blocking systems for prohibited sites, including sites that contain illegal content."

"Mozilla decided last year to enable DoH Protocol in Firefox by default. DoH Protocol is also already included in the Google Chrome browser. Naturally, all this creates opportunities for many users of these browsers to go to blocked sites and bypass the parental control mode. I don't think that many parents would be very happy about this," the Minister explained the need to develop the bill.

So, mister Shadaev gave an example when, at the request of the UK government, Mozilla agreed not to include the DoH function in its browser by default for users in this country. The head of the Ministry of Digital Development noted that this was done largely under pressure from the public and the Association of British Internet service providers. 

The Antidrone system and a new platform for online voting were created in Russia

The Antidrone system will allow detecting drones that fly up to any object, said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Kaspersky Lab. Depending on the model of the drones, the program can either land it, send it back, or stun it.

"This is necessary at sporting events, at airports, and for private businesses. Do I want someone's drones flying around our office? I don't want. This is the case when simultaneous sales will probably go both in Russia and in Europe," said Eugene Kaspersky.

Another startup of the Kaspersky Lab is an online voting system based on blockchain. According to Eugene Kaspersky, it can only be hacked by infecting a specific device. However, it will be difficult to infect a lot of devices.

"If you infect a thousand devices, it will not affect big elections in any way, but if you infect a million devices, it will be immediately noticeable. Of course, the elections will be disrupted, but we will see it," said Eugene Kaspersky.

The development also includes a process for monitoring online voting.

"If you want to observe the elections, put the server in the blockchain. So we simultaneously increase the blockchain, that is, the number of machines that calculate all this, and give access to observers. That is, if you want to be an observer, come with your computer,” explained the expert.

Also, during the pandemic, the company created its own travel accelerator "Kaspersky Exploring Russia". The program is designed to help tourism startups overcome the crisis and create the basis for further implementation of their projects. During the selection stage, the Kaspersky Lab received more than 500 applications from 47 countries.

Mister Kaspersky also said that Russia trains the world's best programmers, but this sometimes leads to the fact that the world's best hackers also speak Russian.

Russian engineer raised $5 million for Tamagotchi for hackers

Russian techno enthusiast Pavel Zhovner raised almost $5 million for the production of Tamagotchi for hackers Flipper Zero.  The project attracted 37,987 users of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.

Zhovner launched the campaign in early August and expected to be able to raise at least $60,000 within a month — the minimum amount needed to start production in China. However, the enthusiast received this money within 8 minutes after the start of the collection. A day later, the project raised $500,000, and by the end of the weekend - more than $1 million. The campaign ended on 29 August with an impressive result of $4 882 784.

“I’m even a little glad that this will finally end, I can breathe out. We are called to continue the campaign on all sorts of IndieGoGo, but we decided to take a break and go into development more tightly, without being distracted by marketing,” wrote Zhovner in his Telegram channel.

Flipper Zero is an electronic multitool equipped with a built-in radio module for receiving and transmitting signals at frequencies of 300-928 MHz, as well as an infrared transmitter for controlling household appliances.

The creator describes the device as a universal tool that can turn into anything in the hands of experts — from remote control for a TV to a device for hacking a Wi-Fi router.

The developers said that Flipper Zero does not fall under the description of a special tool or device for the secret collection of information. The device does not have the ability to capture audio-visual information and is not disguised as household items. The factory firmware will not contain jamming, brute force, or other potentially malicious features.

Also, inside Flipper Zero there is a cyberdolphin that needs to be fed. This mascot is a reference to Johnny Mnemonic, the cult cyberpunk film.

Kickstarter's sponsors are expected to be able to receive their devices as early as February 2021. Later, the creator plans to release Flipper Zero for free sale through online stores and resellers at a price of $169.

Twitter Rolled-out its Latest Feature that Lets Users Limit Reply



In an attempt to make conversations more effective and meaningful, Twitter has rolled out a new feature that will allow users to have a little more control over who is showing up in their mentions, the feature will enable users to get rid of spam in their conversations by limiting who can reply to their Tweets.

Before being launched globally on 11th August for both the Android and iOS users, the feature underwent a brief run in beta. It is now available for the Twitter App on both the platforms and also for the users accessing the platform via the official website twitter.com.

How the feature works?


While posting a tweet, you will come across a small globe icon at the bottom, upon tapping on that, three options will appear to choose who can reply to your tweet. If you choose nothing, the setting will remain default – meaning anyone can reply to the tweet or you can limit replies just to those who are tagged in the tweet; or only to your followers.

After selecting the preferred option, you are all set to compose your tweet and click on the 'Tweet' tab to publish it. One important thing to note here is that once the tweet is posted, you won't be able to change the reply settings for that particular tweet.

However, users must also note that people who are restricted from replying will get a greyed-out icon, but they will still be able to view and share your tweets – they can Retweet, Retweet with Comment, and like the tweet.

The feedback received by the users has been positive so far, indicating that users have felt more comfortable and guarded against abuse, trolls, and spam.

As per a blog post by Director of Product Management, Suzanne Xie, the new feature is successfully preventing about three potentially abusive replies while adding one potentially abusive retweet with comment.

Referencing from Xie's observations, “Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply,”
“We’ve seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren’t really possible before. Starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations," the blog post read.

"Since your Tweet = your space, we've been testing new settings to give people more control over the conversations they start. Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what's happening when they can choose who can reply. We've seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren't really possible before. Starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don't get in the way of meaningful conversations," Xie further said in a statement.

Here's All you Need to Know About Instagram Reels; Launched Globally in Over 50 Countries


As TikTok fell prey to extensive criticism and was labeled as a 'threat to security' by governments, resulting in the banning of the popular video-sharing platform, the creators have long ago started weighing what's next!

In the wake of TikTok's future succumbing to uncertainties, Instagram has rolled out a new feature 'Reels', that appear to be in direct competition with what TikTok had to offer.

Starting today, Instagram is launching "Reels" feature for its users in more than 50 countries, it is seen as a remarkable and well-timed attempt by Instagram to capitalize upon the global turmoil in the creative sphere of social media. It's also a potential opportunity for Instagram to expand its identity from a photo app to a video entertainment platform.

With the expansion, now the feature will be available in major international markets including India, the U.S., the U.K., France, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Japan, and many others.

In a similar manner like TikTok, Instagram Reels will allow people to create mini-clips with music that they can share with their followers, these short-form videos will be discoverable while users browse the "Explore" tab on Instagram.

Reels let users record 15 seconds long video clips and add filters, effects, and popular music onto them, the feature is entirely embedded inside Instagram's original app and is not to be mistaken for being an add-on or a separate app. It is not a different world altogether like TikTok or Vine, but just 'yet another thing' one can do on Instagram.

While announcing the release of "Reels", the company said in a blog, "It's a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram."

"Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage."

How to Create Reels?


"Select Reels at the bottom of the Instagram camera. You'll see a variety of creative editing tools on the left side of your screen to help create your reel, including:"

"Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.

AR Effects: Select one of the many effects in our effect gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.

Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown, before recording begins for the amount of time you selected.

Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next to help create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends into your reel.

Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected. This can help you stay on a beat or make slow-motion videos." Instagram explained in the blog.

Pavel Durov called on Apple to oblige to install different application stores


Apple should allow users to install apps not only from its own App Store. This opinion was expressed by the founder of Telegram messenger Pavel Durov. According to him, Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) should be obligated to this at the legislative level.

The day before, high-ranking Telegram Manager, Vice President of the company founded by Pavel Durov, Ilya Perekopsky, spoke at a panel discussion with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and representatives of the IT industry in Innopolis. He said that Apple and Google are holding back the development of startups by charging a tax of a 30 percent Commission from app developers. Almost simultaneously with Perekopsky's speech, Durov published an article in which he called for Apple to be legally obliged to install an alternative App Store on the iPhone.

Durov is sure that if this is not done, then app developers, in particular, from Russia, will be forced to sell their startups for little money. At the same time, Apple's capitalization will only grow.
“Preventing two supranational corporations from collecting taxes from all of humanity is not an easy task. Corporations employ thousands of lobbyists, lawyers, and PR agents, and their budgets are unlimited. At the same time, app developers are scattered and scared, as the fate of their projects depends entirely on the favor of Apple and Google," wrote Pavel Durov.

The head of the TelecomDaily information and analytical agency Denis Kuskov noted that changing the market is quite difficult because these two companies are leading it. Therefore, Durov needs to accept this fact.

Durov recalled that in 2016, Apple banned the Telegram team from launching its own game platform: "We had to remove the telegram games catalog that we had already created and almost the entire platform interface, otherwise Apple threatened to remove Telegram from the AppStore." According to Durov, in a similar way the iPhone manufacturer does with many other developers.

Telegraph service was unblocked in Russia


Russia stopped blocking the popular Telegram messenger almost a month ago. However, the related Telegraph service continued to be blocked. Now Russia has also unblocked the Telegraph platform for publishing and creating articles. 

The Telegraph platform was launched by the Telegram team in November 2016. It is designed to quickly create and publish articles, notes, and other similar content, a link to which can then be easily shared. Registration is not required for publication.

The blocking of the Telegra[.]ph service in Russia began at the end of 2018, a little later than the Telegram messenger.

According to the Roskomsvoboda resource, which closely monitors the registry of blocked sites, all pages with the Telegra.ph domain, which were blocked in Russia by the decision of a particular authority, are now excluded from the blocking registry. The last two similar pages were removed from the blacklist only on July 11.

It is interesting to note, according to Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, the cancellation of restrictions on access to the Telegram messenger in Russia is perceived positively in the Kremlin, as it is in line with the course of President Vladimir Putin on the development of the high-tech industry.

The Press Secretary of the Head of State also noted as a positive fact the participation of heads of the company that owns the messenger in government events on the development of the IT industry.
Recall that in Russia since April 2018, Telegram was blocked for non-compliance with the requirements for providing encryption keys, but during the coronavirus pandemic, the government began to use the messenger to distribute official information. In this regard, the State Duma even introduced a bill to unblock Telegram.  On June 18, Roskomnadzor decided to remove restrictions on access to the messenger, the creator of which, Pavel Durov, congratulated the Russians on this event.

Google Loses Control Over Blogspot.in, Millions of Sites Inaccessible


Google-owned 'blogspot.in', a blogging website also known as "Blogger" has become inaccessible to Indian users as Google appears to have lost its ownership over the domain.

Blogger.com is a free platform used by millions of users for blogging. As it used to fall under Google's ownership, one could link it to various other Google products such as Picasa, Google AdSense, and social network, Google+. The simplicity in accessibility made blogger widely popular; users just need a Google account to activate blogger.

People who were using Blogger for posting blogs faced issues while accessing their blogs, meanwhile, a number of web pages within the Indian domain became unreachable. According to a report by the Next Web, the issue occurred because of Google losing its ownership over the URLs Blogspot.in, however, the time when Google lost its control over the domain is not clearly known.

Referencing from the Next Web's report on the matter, "Whatever the reason might be, if I host a site or blog with Google, I would expect a company of this size to keep up and know when their domain name ownership expires,"

"If you use a blog regularly, an alternative is to host it on your own domain. But everyone might not want to do that just to keep things easy. And you’d expect Google Webmaster to do better," read the report.

One of the major issues faced by a million users was that the links that they have on put on several websites with the "Blogspot.in" domain became inaccessible. However, the blogs are still there, they were visible when users changed the URLs to blogspot.com. Chances are, this is just a temporary issue and would be taken care of by Google shortly, however, users who were using "Blogspot.in" domain will have to go through the trouble for now as the tech giant has not addressed the issue yet.

Religion Biased Algorithms Continue to Depict How Facebook Doesn't Believe in Free Speech


Facebook's brand image has taken a critical hit long ago falling from the top ten global brands list, the brand value has gone down by remarkable margins as the platform fell short in living up to its own standards and promises and continued making headlines for censure. Amid big scandals like Cambridge Analytica, data leaks, congressional scrutiny, the social media giant has constantly been under the radar for preferring certain gender, ethics groups, and race over others as seen in the company's allegedly flawed ad-serving algorithm. 

Owing to its discriminatory ways, Facebook became a subject of critics' accusations in October 2019 when the social media giant faced a class-action lawsuit for charges of bias against gender and age. To substantiate, with the use of several advertising experiments, researchers from Northeastern University, the University of South California demonstrated in a study that Facebook has been discriminatory in ad targeting for years now and indeed has an automated advertising system delivering ads to selected audiences. 

It's a well-established fact that algorithms are biased and Facebook has been no exception to it. To give you an idea, in 2019, the tech giant faced legal charges by the US government for allowing advertisers to deliberately target ads on the basis of religion, race, and gender – businesses could exclude people of a certain race, age  or gender from viewing housing ads, a blatant violation of Fair Housing Act. While settling its case, the company said that it won't be allowing the businesses to targets ads in discriminating ways, however, the issues were never truly addressed given the recent biases in Facebook's actions. 

'The Enlightened souls(https://6enlightened.blogspot.com/) is a spiritual group posting content regarding enlightenment, spirituality, ancient spiritual practices, goddess worship and etc., the spiritual website became one of the latest victims of Facebook's biased ad-targeting algorithms. 
Religion bias in particular as Facebook removed one of their ads containing images of the goddess 'Kali' along with other goddesses labeling it as sexual content. 
Later, Facebook was seen to be running a Netflix ad about a show wherein the girl was almost naked. The findings are critical of Facebook's claims regarding 'changed Ad tools' wherein the tech giant promised to amend its ways of managing the advertisements and preventing discrimination against certain groups, gender, religion, or age. 

Disappointed by Facebook's never-ending bias and existing issues despite the changes made by the company, 6enlightened made the decision of cutting Facebook off and using Twitter as the only social media.

FACEBOOK SHOULD STOP SUPPRESSING FREE SPEECH 

Given a whopping 2.5 million people use at least one of the Facebook's app, the social media platform should be more responsible in its advertising ways, however, unfortunately, the platform doesn't appear to believe in free speech but in censorship that they have actively practiced – evidently so for years now.

Telegram has withdrawn its appeal against the ban on issuing Gram tokens


The company appealed the court decision in March, but then the founder of the messenger, Pavel Durov, announced the termination of work on the blockchain project

Telegram has withdrawn an appeal against a court order banning the distribution of Gram tokens as part of proceedings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The decision was supported by both parties, the withdrawal was carried out using the standard form based on rule 42.1 — "leaving without consideration".

The appeal was sent in March after a court banned Telegram from issuing Gram tokens.  The court ruled in favor of the SEC, which argued that the Gram tokens were unregistered securities. The court also ruled that Telegram cannot issue tokens even outside the United States since this will give US citizens the opportunity to buy these tokens outside the country as well.

The founder of Telegram in an American court said that people outside the US can vote for their presidents and elect their own parliaments, but they are still dependent on the US when it comes to technology and finance.

On May 12, the founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov announced the termination of work on the blockchain project. He accused the US court of sentencing the TON project before it could be successfully implemented. Investors were offered to return 72% of their investment or sign a loan agreement with a return of 110% in a year.

After that, TON investor Vladimir Smerkis said that the majority of ICO participants are inclined to file a lawsuit against Durov. Smerkis allowed an option in which the Telegram team will need to make concessions to investors and reconsider the option of paying out funds.

Let's remind that on April 1, Federal Judge of the Southern District of New York, Kevin Castel, rejected Telegram's request to clarify the possibility of distributing Gram tokens bypassing American investors.

Russia puts cryptocurrency under a ban


Russian parliamentarians have developed a package of bills that assume administrative and criminal responsibility for the use of cryptocurrencies. Experts believe that such measures can lead to the destruction of the blockchain industry in Russia.

"People who currently own cryptocurrency will be forced to get rid of it before the law comes into force, or risk "going underground", and this is a loss or risk," said Dmitry Kirillov, a senior tax lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Based on the amendments, mining or exchanging 3.5 bitcoins will lead to criminal liability.

Penalties are provided for any use of digital assets, from the organization of a crypto exchange and mining farm, attempts to pay with cryptocurrency on the Internet.  Fines range from 500 thousand rubles ($7,000) for individuals and up to 2 million rubles ($28,000) for legal entities.

Founder of the stable cryptocurrency platform Stasis.net Gregory Klumov called the new amendments "putting nails in the coffin of financial innovation and technological progress."
"In fact, it is proposed to build a new iron curtain in the digital economy with their own hands," said Yuri Pripachkin, president of the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain.

Currently, in the Russian Federation, in addition to software, the hardware is being actively developed - means for storing tokens, cryptocurrencies. Many young specialists from the Russian Federation are already involved in this industry, and experts are worried that the adoption of this bill will put an end to the innovative economy.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported that, according to First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Blockchain is not a panacea, and cryptocurrency is not money. So, the Central Bank of Russia is not going to change its negative attitude to these assets.