Museum losing millions

Facebook donates £1 million to help save a museum losing millions

Facebook is donating £1 million to Bletchley Park. The UK centre for Allied code breaking during World War II that now operates as a museum. This museum is losing millions of pounds during the pandemic. Rory Cellen-Jones the BBC’s Technology Correspondent takes closer look into this generous donation.

Leaders of the UK’s cultural sector warned the industry is facing possible devastation. A potential loss of more than 400,000 jobs and up to £74 billion in revenue to the end of 2020. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new research from Oxford Economics commissioned by Creative Industries Federation. The research suggested museums are losing millions of revenue. As well as, theatres, galleries, will experience twice as much economic fallout from the pandemic as the overall economy. This also includes the industries of music, film, TV, Architecture and publishing.

Donation helps museum losing millions

The Bletchley Park Trust, a registered charity, announced in August that the site was facing a revenue shortfall of £2 million because of falling visitor numbers caused by the coronavirus. Because of the drop-in revenue (95% of annual income), the park announced it was considering 35 redundancies, constituting a third of its workforce. Facebook’s donation will save some of these jobs, but it’s not clear how many.

Museums lose millions

Former Bletchley Park employee, Jean Valentine, handles part of the Turing Bombe — an electromechanical computer
used to crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during WWII. Photo by Rui Vieira / PA Images via Getty Images

An ongoing legacy

Facebook said it made the donation in recognition of Bletchley Park’s “ongoing legacy as a birthplace of modern computing.” The park’s code breakers and mathematicians cracked the Enigma codes used by the Nazis. An achievement that some historians say shortened the length of the war by two to four years. They also made key theoretical and engineering breakthroughs. These include the creation of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer. With the help of Alan Turing’s work, the English mathematician who is seen as the father of modern computer science and artificial intelligence. At its height, the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park included some 10,000 employees, with women constituting roughly 75% of the workforce.

Bletchley Park Quote

 “The historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook. We are thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing,” said Steve Hatch, Facebook’s vice president of Northern Europe, in a press statement. The UK is Facebook’s biggest engineering hub outside the US, home to more than 3,000 employees, with more than half working in engineering roles.

In a press statement, Bletchley Park CEO Iain Standen said the site was “very grateful to Facebook” for its donation. “With this significant support, the Bletchley Park Trust will be better positioned to operate in the ‘new world’. It will keep its doors open for future generations,” said Standen.

Helping businesses in these troubled times

Museums are losing millions and all of the creative industries are experiencing difficult times. If ignored, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.

LIS client benefit from support for workers from home. Our team provide remote IT support and make sure your team have the correct access and security to enable them to work as if they were in the office. Contact the LIS Help Desk to find out how we can support your company.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#technews #bletchleypark #funding #facebook

Ban ransomware payments

Should ransomware payments be banned?

The Government have been recently lobbied to ban ransomware payments. They have been asked to prohibit companies and individuals being able to pay ransom demands. Cyber criminals try to scam organisation with cyber-attacks using ransomware malware. The prohibition of ransom payments would cut the flow of income to attackers. As well as shutting down the desire to hit U.K. citizens and companies with ransomware.

Prohibition of ransom payments for ransomware could mean there is no point in cyber attackers going after U.K. Alexander Culafi a news writer from Search Security explores the ban ransomware payments story in more detail.

Ransomware payments

A security firm involved in the business of combating ransomware has called for a government ban on the
payment of ransoms by companies. There was no other practical solution other than to ban ransomware payments.

Paying ransomware demands could be illegal

Companies paying ransom when attacked by ransomware in an effort to retrieve their data has always been controversial because it encourages future attacks. Now, doing so may also be illegal.

The U.S. Department of Treasury today warned that paying ransomware demands may be illegal and that companies that do so could be prosecuted.

The warning came in advisories from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Both warned that any company that paid a ransomware payment, or a third party that facilitated a payment, could be prosecuted in the case that the hackers demanding the ransom were subject to U.S. sanctions.

There is an exception: Companies that are considering making a ransomware payment can do so but only with government approval.

Specific attention was given to third-party companies that facilitate ransomware payments. “Companies that facilitate ransomware payments to cyber criminals, encourage future ransomware payment demands. They also may risk violating OFAC regulations,” the Office of Foreign Asset Control said in its advisory.

Ransomware payments are controversial

Paying ransoms in ransomware attacks has always been controversial. Firstly, a serious ransomware attack could and has seriously crippled companies and cost them. Secondlay, hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business and costs. Finally, sometimes paying the ransom to obtain access to core business files is arguably worth it.

The counter-argument is that every single time a company pays a ransomware demand, it encourages future ransomware attacks. Hacking groups know this, which is why they keep deploying attacks.

An expert’s opinion

James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at security awareness training company KnowBe4 Inc. compares ransomware to the Italian Mafia.

“Many years ago, in Italy, there were many kidnappings by organized crime groups of the wealthy and affluent families,” McQuiggan told SiliconANGLE. “They would request large sums of money in exchange to return the victim’s loved ones. The kidnappings got so bad that the Italian government initiated a ban on paying any ransom to organized crime groups. The government would seize all financial assets to prevent the kidnapped families from getting the money to pay.”

He went on, “At first, the crime groups called the bluff of the families who couldn’t pay and killed the family member. However, after a short while, the organized crime groups realized they couldn’t pay, and quickly, the kidnapping and ransoms came to an end.”

Returning to today’s advisories, McQuiggan said that even if an organization wishes to pay the ransom, it would have to collaborate with the U.S. Treasury, FBI and other government agencies to send the funds. “The U.S. government’s recommendation of not paying comes with a similar notion of not negotiating with terrorists. Never pay the ransom when involved with kidnappings and thus, the anticipated action of reducing ransomware attacks,” he said.

Stay protected with LIS

Unfortunately, we are unable to stop cybercrime. However, we try and help prevent it. Our clients benefit from our Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus and Office 365 Security Package solutions. Can you afford to take the risk?

Practice safe IT. STAY PRODUCTED! Contact the LIS HELP DESK to discuss your options.

LIS – Securing your digital world

#Ransomware #Cybercrime #Security #ITSupport

 

 

Digital Services Tax

Retail giantAmazon will NOT be impacted by £500m digital services tax. However the smaller retailers will be, HMRC admits. However, traders who use the site will be, the HMRC has revealed.

The Guardian claims the online retailer will only have to per a 2% charge on revenues it receives from third-party sellers trading on its marketplace. In June Rishi Sunak signed a letter alongside counterparts in France, Spain and Italy declaring that tech giants needed to ‘pay their fair share of tax’.

Seven months after the tax was announced, HMRC has revealed Amazon, paid £293million in taxes. On sales of £13.73 billion will not be affected by it.

Digital Services Tax

The Digital Services Tax was announced in March. With the hope that Facebook, Google and Amazon would make a ‘fair contribution,’ the Treasury had said. ©AP

  • Two per cent on tax on internet giants will not impact Amazon, HMRC admits 
  • Treasury said Digital Services Tax would make companies pay ‘fair contribution’
  • Business leaders say the tax is penalising smaller companies who use Amazon  

With Amazon expected to cover the cost by charging higher fees. This results in putting it at an advantage compared to the businesses that use the website.

Should the Digital Services Tax be ditched?

In August it was reported that the Treasury was considering ditching the tax. Mr Sunak concluded that the £500million a year it is expected to raise is a pinprick compared with the hundreds of billions of pounds dent to the nation’s finances caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Business groups have criticised the levy following this latest revelation. Lord Leigh of Hurley told the House of Lords: ‘It is clear that the UK government is not taxing Amazon properly. It is allowing it to avoid tax on its own sales through the marketplace’.

‘This puts regular retailers at a significant disadvantage. The digital sales tax does not achieve its objective of yielding more revenue from the likes of Amazon. However, it is simply passed on to its suppliers in the marketplace, which have to absorb this tax in their margin.’

Announcing it earlier this year, the Treasury described the levy as ‘a new 2% tax on the revenues of search engines. Including, social media services and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users’.

Businesses should make a fair contribution

The Government department hoped the measure would ‘ensure large multinational businesses in-scope make a fair contribution to supporting vital public services,’ it wrote in March.

The British Independent Retailers Association has voiced its own opposition. They warned the tax has penalised smaller retailers while giving Amazon the edge.

An Amazon spokesman said: ‘Like many others, we have encouraged the government to pursue a global agreement on the taxation of the digital economy at OECD-level rather than unilateral taxes. Rules would then be consistent across countries and clearer and fairer for businesses.’

IT does not have to be taxing

Who is likely to be affected? Large multi-national enterprises with revenue derived from the provision of a social media service, a search engine or an online marketplace to UK users. This is you if your website turns over more than £25 million in the UK! Hats off if you fall into this category. You are one of the few as the Government had some very specific targets in mind when devising this tax, introduced by the Government as of 1st April 2020.

Unfortunately, we are unable to help Amazon with their tax problems! However, LIS clients do benefit from our years of IT experience. Contact the LIS Help Desk to see how we can help your business. With an approach based on the socially distanced human touch, our knowledgeable team will help you achieve your business goals.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Digital #Tax #ITSupport #Business

Robots conducting job interviews?

“Congratulations, you have been selected for an interview. For the professional minigamer position at Open Mind Corporation,” a robotic voice announces over a blank screen. “My name is Alex. I will be guiding you through the interview. The whole process will take no more than 10 minutes. Let’s hear your voice. … Smile for the camera. … Welcome to the interview.” Robots conducting job interviews help companies save time, money and keep social distancing

The conversational AI recruitment technology is validated and proven to objectively assess general work performance. As well as, identify competent candidates and reduce the risk of faulty recruitments. Designed and produced by Tengai AB is a HR Tech start up based in Sweden that is combining AI and an unbiased recruitment methodology in the world’s first interview robot.

Robots conducting job interviews?

Unbiased interviewer Tengai now available in English

Robots conducting job interviews: How it works

How exactly AI interviews work remains something of a mystery. The tech is driven by an interest in increasing efficiency in the interview process. The virtual interviewer/robot asks a standard set of questions (pre-designed rather than spontaneous or follow-up questions that probe into answers). It then evaluates candidates’ responses, including physical reactions and the cluster of words used. The physical reactions under scrutiny could include micro expressions. Unlike regular facial expressions which are difficult to hide or manipulate. As well as other forms of body language, vocal tone and volume and response time. Don’t panic just yet, it doesn’t appear that the algorithms judge an applicant’s appearance.

But how can the robot evaluate whether an answer shows ingenuity and creativity? As well as business acumen, a capacity for empathy or a collegial vibe? Doesn’t it take a seasoned interviewer—much less one with a pulse!—to do that?

Well, it’s conceivable that an algorithm could detect things like enthusiasm, passion, confidence and the quality of an applicant’s vocabulary, right? And isn’t it also conceivable that an algorithm could measure a candidate’s appreciation for social cues by examining responses and expressions? 

Large companies embrace the new technology

These systems are now being used by major companies, including Unilever, Vodafone, Intel, L’Oréal, Mars, and Citibank, to name but a few. Kevin Parker, CEO of Utah-based HireVue, one of the more prominent platforms in the space, tells me that one of the company’s customers, “a large grocery chain in the U.S.,” used the platform to interview about 20,000 people a day for stocker and cashier jobs. But A.I. interviews are also being used for internships and professional positions, especially in the age of social distancing.

Robots conducting job interviews: The risks

Some fear that AI run amok could engender disparate impact discrimination claims (i.e., where a facially neutral policy or practice disproportionately and adversely affects individuals with legally protected characteristics). For example, there is a fear that since AI may involve machine learning. The robot may develop assumptions over time regarding the suitability of certain groups of people for employment based on historical interview results with respect to members of those groups. 

If this technology does become the norm, some new skills will suddenly become just as important as your work experience, education and professional referrals. Whether you’re a database administrator or a regional sales rep, you might want to enrol yourself in an acting class or get a poker coach. “Impression plays a major role in personality analysis,” the researchers said. A study found that 7% of a person’s impression depends on the spoken word. 38% on vocal sounds and a whopping 55% on facial expressions.

The human touch

A recent study revealed that the number one reason customers dread calling companies for support is the growing probability that they will encounter a bot instead of a human upon connection.

LIS clients benefit from the human touch. We do not have robots that deal with our client issues. Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT audit. You are only a phone call or email away from an IT partner that can help your business save time and money.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#AI #Interviews #ITSupport #Technews

 

Google Assistant Features

Google Assistant is a capable helper but adjusting these options will protect your privacy and put you in control. We have put together a short guide of five Google Assistant features you should turn off right now.

Business Insider take a look how to turn off or limit Google Assistant Features, if you don’t want it listening to you all of the time.

Make life easier with Google Assistant Features

You can use Google Assistant Features to set timers, call friends or restaurants for takeout and so much more. It’s certainly convenient to have Google around to answer quick questions. It will even report on the day’s weather or control your smart home. Still, there are some things you might want to disable on your Google smart speaker or smart display. After all, every feature of Google Assistant won’t be a good fit for everyone.

Whether you’re worried about privacy or just want a more natural conversation experience, here are five things to toggle off to get a simpler and safer Google Assistant experience.

Google Assistant Features

One of Google Assistant’s most powerful features is its ability to act as the hub for your connected smart home of office.

Voice recording settings

Google recently announced changes to its voice recording privacy settings. Unless you opt in, Google won’t save your audio recordings or share them with its human analyzers to improve Google’s algorithms. However, if you opted in or have previously saved audio recordings, you can choose how long Google keeps them or manually delete them.

To adjust these settings, visit your Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. There, you’ll land on the You tab. Select Your Data in the Assistant and scroll down to Audio Recordings. Tap to see options for saving, reviewing and deleting recordings.

Continued conversation

Continued Conversation helps Google listen for follow up questions without you having to say “Hey, Google” a second time. While this is handy, the extra listening can sometimes be less than seamless, especially when you don’t have a follow up question or you’re just asking a question of someone else in the room. Luckily, you can turn off this feature.

To turn off Continued Conversation in the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. In the next screen, navigate to the Assistant tab. There you’ll see several options including Continued Conversation. You’ll be able to toggle off Continued Conversation and see which speakers it will affect.

“Hey Google” sensitivity

If you feel like you’re always waking up your smart speakers accidentally, the “Hey Google” sensitivity may be too high. You can adjust how well your Google Assistant responds to its wake word if it isn’t hearing you well enough or if it mistakes other words for its wake word.

To adjust the sensitivity in the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. In the next screen, navigate to the Assistant tab and you’ll see several options including “Hey Google” sensitivity. There you’ll be able to adjust the sensitivity for each individual speaker in your home. Select the speaker you’d like to adjust and choose from five settings from “least sensitive” to “most sensitive.”

Ask Google

You can ask your Google Assistant for info and help with everyday tasks. Ask it questions and tell it to do things.
It’s always ready to help you get things done.

Camera settings

If you use a Google-enabled smart display like the Nest Hub Max, Lenovo Smart Display or JBL Link View, you may want to keep your camera disabled when you’re not making video calls. Each display does this a little differently. While JBL and Lenovo offer physical shutter options, you don’t get a built-in shutter with Google’s in-house display, the Nest Hub Max.

Instead, there’s a toggle button on the back of the display to disable the camera and microphone. An indicator light beside the camera lens shows the current status. This is a tough one, because you’ll need to remember to switch it on and off each time you use a camera feature. Still, having the option to make sure your camera is off when it needs to be is important.

Activity controls

Like voice recordings, Google saves information on the sites and apps you use with your Google account. If you’re concerned about privacy, adjusting these settings offers some peace of mind.

In the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. Tap the three dots on the top right of your screen and select Google activity controls. There, you’ll see a page with options for controlling which information Google gathers from your online and mobile app activity. You also can turn on auto-delete and choose how often your data is removed.

Whether you adjust one or all of these settings, personalizing your voice assistant can make the entire experience much more pleasant. If you live in a large household, features like Voice Match and Household Contacts can help everyone live in harmony with the same devices.

“Hey LIS”. How can you help me?

Technology is always changing; upgrades need to be managed and don’t forget about security issues. LIS customers benefit from our years if IT knowledge. We managed their IT systems to allow them to concentrate on their business. Consider us like you PC doctor or Virtual IT PA.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options and found out how easy it is to keep your systems up to scratch.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#GoogleAssistant #ITSupport #Upgrades #Security