NCC tasks judiciary on Cybercrime Act

NCC tasks judiciary on Cybercrime Act

Umar Danbatta, NCC Boss.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, on Monday called on the judiciary to ensure implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015.

Danbatta made the call in Lagos at a workshop for Judges on Legal Issues in Telecommunications, organised by the NCC in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).

He said that implementation of the Act would ensure reduction if not total eradication of cybercrimes in the country.

According to the executive vice-chairman, implementation of the Cybercrimes Act entails that the judiciary understands the law, to keep abreast of developments in cyberspace.

“The knowledge of the law will ensure that forbiddens in the Act are adequately addressed.

“The implementation of the cybercrime law is domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser but the NCC plays an important role in the articulation of the law.

“We have an important department of the commission: the New Media Information Security Department.

“It has played an active role in engaging the judicial arm of government to ensure implementation of the Act.’’

Danbatta noted that proliferation of the e-payment system, following the Federal Government’s adoption of the cashless policy had led to massive increase in mobile and online transactions in recent times.
He said that the proliferation of e-payment system came with a resultant increase in financially-related cybercrimes.

Danbatta noted that cyber criminals had continued to develop new strategies to circumvent cyber- security models, regardless of their sophistication.

“We are hopeful that in the continuing course of implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015, cyber security will be strengthened,’’ he said.

Danbatta said the annual workshop, which was in its 12th year, was conceptualised to bridge knowledge gaps in topical and emerging areas of telecommunications.

He said the workshop had a view to keep the judiciary abreast of key and relevant issues in the telecommunications industry.

According to him, such vital knowledge of the industry will ensure that the judiciary is able to competently navigate relevant legal issues presented for adjudication.

The NJI Administrator, Justice Rosaline Bozimo, said that the courts were often approached for determination of legal issues and remedies arising from operations of telecommunications stakeholders.

Bozimo listed service providers, customer grievances, financial service operations, kidnapping and terrorism related matters as issues requiring legal remedies.

She said that electronically generated evidence and data that were presented for determination required clear understanding of the operation of the sector.
The administrator stressed that the electronically generated materials necessitated continuing judicial education in telecommunications.

“This workshop, therefore, serves as an avenue for judges, regulators and other stakeholders to share knowledge, exchange ideas and experiences on pertinent legal and technical issues in the sector.
“This is with a view to further understanding and overcoming these challenges,’’ she said.

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South Africa: Finance Minister fraud charges dropped and social media reacts

South Africa: Finance Minister fraud charges dropped and social media reacts

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Image Source: thejohannesburgtimes.com).

According to ENCA, Pravin Gordhan’s lawyers have confirmed that fraud charges brought against the South African Minister of Finance have been withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The NPA held a briefing on Monday in Pretoria where National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams outlined his reasons for dropping the fraud charges against the Minister.

The Minister was charged with two other co-accused, the former South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Oupa Magashule and former deputy SARS Commissioner Ivan Pillay. Charges against all three have been dropped.

Gordhan and his co-accused faced charges of fraud that relate to a pay-out made by Sars to Pillay when he took early retirement. The Minister was set to appear in court on November 2.

According to the ENCA report, opposition party the Democratic Alliance has called on NDPP Abrahams, to resign from his position.

Social media has reacted to this;

NDPP Shaun Abrahams letter to lawyers confirming charges withdrawn against Pillay, Magashula and Gordhan. pic.twitter.com/Comr0qrpmW

— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) October 31, 2016

#shaunabrahams so now that the charges against Gordhan have been dropped, what fresh hell will JZz unleash in a bid to get rid of him?

— judith february (@judith_february) October 31, 2016

https://t.co/vn8DvqyQg5. So JZ’s quartet has bn defeated by the public. Zuma & Shaun have no reason to continue in their offices.

— Bantu Holomisa (@BantuHolomisa) October 31, 2016

#NPA Media wants to know why Abrahams didn’t do this review before charging Pravin Gordhan and whether he will resign

— Debora Patta (@Debora_Patta) October 31, 2016

Note to #shaunabrahams, all you needed to say was: “there never was a case against Min Gordhan; charges are hereby withdrawn”.

— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) October 31, 2016

So often we have seen individuals in such instances bring civil case against state for damages. Gordhan could bring a massive claim.

— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) October 31, 2016

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Analytics-as-a-Service – a remedy to overcome ‘analytics inertia’

Analytics-as-a-Service – a remedy to overcome ‘analytics inertia’

A company’s data is now firmly acknowledged as one of its most vital assets. With a better understanding of one’s data, organisations can move closer to their customers, decide how best to evolve and transform their operations, and enhance their offerings.

Many executives are realising that now is the time to start defining their analytics strategies, and start building the tools that enable their organisations to make sense of the masses of data streaming in.

But in South Africa, we still see a pervading sense of inertia – borne from a number of challenges which we have encountered based on our engagement with multiple clients:

• Existing legacy IT infrastructures are not designed to handle the workloads of analysing large volumes of increasingly complex data

• Building in-house analytics engines is often a very capital-intensive and time-consuming process

• Data science and related technical skills are in short supply in South Africa, making it difficult to stock the right team, and retain skilled individuals

The answer to these challenges could well lie in the rapidly-evolving sphere of Analytics-as-a-Service.

Rudraksh Bhawalkar, Practice Manager, Analytics, Africa, Wipro Limited and Dean Terry – General Manager, Analytics, Wipro Limited.

Using Cloud-based tools specifically designed to ingest and analyse large data sets, CIOs and their teams are able to get their data analytics engines up and running at rapid speed.

Instead of worrying about building the tools, they’re able to focus all their time on deriving value from the data – transforming the business based on the insights that are generated.

With Analytics-as-a-Service, one can scale and customise the tools as the business requires – and build out machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities over time, continually enhancing the process of data analysis.

In fact, Analytics-as-a-Service enables us to realise the vision of “Big Data 2.0”: a centralised, consolidated platform, on which applications from every point in the value chain can reside. Each application is able to automatically draw insights from the platform.

So, as organisations set out on the road to Big Data 2.0, where should they begin?

Firstly, it’s important not to fall into the all-too-common trap of ‘doing analytics for analytics’ sake’. A better starting point is to consider the boardroom-level priorities, and determine which data sets are most likely to add value to these key strategic objectives.

Allied to this is the focus on customers, and their experiences of your organisation. Ask yourself what are the customer journeys and customer experiences you’d like your users to enjoy? And what data will you need to collect in order to know how to improve those experiences?

With these principles at the centre of your thinking, the next step is to select an enterprise-class, highly matured Analytics-as-a-Service platform. Ideally, it should provide you with pre-packed ‘accelerator’ services that allow you to derive instant results from the platform.

From there, you can start building greater levels of sophistication into your data analysis, as you use the initial insights to start making changes to the business (in line with the executive vision that’s been outlined).

We find that organisations start very quickly discovering new uses for their data, enabling them to see fresh market opportunities, provide new services to customers, and streamline efficiencies within the organisation.

But this applies not just to large enterprises. Excitingly, Analytics-as-a-Service can help newer, more disruptive companies compete against their larger peers, both locally and globally. For the first time, it’s no longer just the ‘big boys’ that are able to afford enterprise-class analytics tools. For Companies of all sizes, there are wonderful opportunities to take advantage of ‘Big Data 2.0’.

Instead of being paralysed by over-analysis of the strategy, organisations should dip their toes in the water, and get started on their Big Data journey, by effectively using latest-generation Analytics-as-a-Service platforms.

By Rudraksh Bhawalkar

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Kaspersky Lab and Smart Africa Alliance to improve cybersecurity

Kaspersky Lab and Smart Africa Alliance to improve cybersecurity

Kaspersky Lab has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Smart Africa Alliance on October 27 at the Kaspersky Lab headquarters in Moscow. The MoU which will see the two parties working together to drive improvement of protection of networks and critical systems, as well as raise cybersecurity awareness across the continent.

The Alliance is responsible for bringing together organisations at both local and international levels to transform Africa into a knowledge economy through ICT enablement. Smart Africa works with the private and public sector, to assist in ensuring that there is access to broadband and ICT throughout the continent. Increased access also means increased threats, and so to be successful this requires heightened levels of security education and awareness.

The memorandum was signed between Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, and Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Executive Director of Smart Africa. Under the terms of the memorandum, Kaspersky Lab will ensure the provision of expertise in the area of cyberthreats to the Alliance. In addition, the parties agreed to exchange data relating to cyberthreats on the continent.

At the signing ceremony, Dr. Touré, who is also the former secretary general of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, said; “As we move Africa to becoming an information and knowledge-driven society, it becomes absolutely necessary to cooperate with major cybersecurity organisations, such as Kaspersky Lab, to ensure that rapidly growing digital infrastructure is safe and secure. In the digital age, network security and integrity of information are becoming extremely important, as does the confidentiality of personal data. This makes cybersecurity a top priority for Smart Africa. We are very pleased with our cooperation with Kaspersky Lab.”

Eugene Kaspersky said, “We are pleased to launch this cooperation with Smart Africa as this alliance is doing a very important job in the region. Building a strong IT base and developing capabilities and skills means creating a strong base for sustainable economic development. But smart digital technologies bring many new risks and threats, and it’s very important to make cybersecurity an integral part of the development process.”

Staff Writer

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Etisalat simplifies customer experience with MyEtisalat

Etisalat simplifies customer experience with MyEtisalat

The MyEtisalat platform offers unique security features that enable customers to disable their devices if stolen (image: Charlie Fripp)

Etisalat has launched an online self-service platform known as ‘MyEtisalat’. The plaftom can be accessed via and app and on the web. Its aim is to provide superior experience to subscribers on the network.

At the demo event Chief Product and Information Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Otuyemi Otule, said the platform is an industry game changer as it simplifies the experience and journey of Etisalat customers across its various digital platforms. Etisalat self-service platform gives our customers full access to their account information and available services.

The platform which can be accessed via an app and on the web, empowers Etisalat customers with a vast bouquet of features and functions which allow them to manage all their Etisalat devservices without the need to remember, text or dial codes.

“The platform was developed as a result of intelligence generated from customer feedback and surveys. This is proof that Etisalat is a brand that cares about what its customers are saying and feeling and strives to respond to their feedback”, he said.

Otule said further that ‘My Etisalat’ service provides convenience and ease to subscribers while the service covers various segments of Etisalat business offerings such as prepaid, post-paid, airtime, data, roaming and value added services with features and functions second to none in the mobile telco space.

“With the innovative service, Etisalat customers can now also enjoy greater value when they use the platform as it gives them control over their preferences on the network. The self-service platform also offers unique security features that enable customers to disable their devices if stolen”, he stated.

In addition to the highlighted unique benefits, ‘MyEtisalat’ application is available on all major application platforms such as iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows and is zero-rated, which means customers do not need data to use the application or to have an Etisalat SIM physically on their device to access this service on the web.

Staff Writer

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Huawei, music vendors to accelerate digital economy in Africa

Huawei, music vendors to accelerate digital economy in Africa

Huawei signs MoU with Mtech at the Partner Summit held in Johannesburg.

Huawei signed music cooperation contracts with global and local music vendor during the Huawei Southern Africa Partner Summit held at the Huawei Innovation & Experience Center in Johannesburg. The summit attracted over 40 industry partners.

Aimed at creating a sharing platform to promote digital collaboration in Africa, the summit witnessed Huawei’s efforts in leveraging its Digital inCloud, a software platform, to integrate content across music, video, gaming and other digital service genres of the likes to operators, so that more end users will be able to enjoy digital content at a convenient way. Partners from telecom operators, consultancy, service and content partners including Deloitte, Capasso, Mtech and Siphumelele Zondi as thought leader gathered at the summit. Huawei signed the music cooperation contracts with Spice Music, Mtech, CCA and other local music vendors, which marks a milestone of digitalization of music in Africa.

Under the global digital wave, Africa shows great demand for digital services, like music, game and video, etc. According to Huawei’s analysis, in 5 years, digital services’ year-on-year growth will be around 40%. However, there still remains a big gap between the growing damands and the digital productions. Wilson Feng, President of Huawei’s Carrier Business in Southern Africa Region, said, “Huawei is willing to work hand in hand with Africa partners to create a better industry ecosystem. We will leverage our innovative technologies of digital services, and our global resources to improve African consumers’ digital experience, and accelerate African’s digital economy development. Through the cooperation, Huawei’s digital business cloud will also help our partners in monetization, which means it’s a win-win solution for all parties in the ecosystem.”

The cooperation with content providers means that Huawei will have the copyrights of millions of latest music from the international and local vendors. This is Huawei’s first breakthrough into the global music space. Huawei will be able to provide the music and platform to telecom operators in South Africa, like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, etc, and the operators can provide their music Apps to their end users. The end users can download the operators music App , such as MTN Music+, to listen or download the latest and most popular music.
At the Summmit, Mtech and Grafton, Huawei’s partners from Nigeria shared their successful case in the Nigerian music market– how they used the MTN Music+ platform to attract the users and monetize the music products. Praiz Adejo, one of the best musicians from Nigeria, also presented his story of attracting more fans through digitalizing his music through technologies from Huawei.
South Africa music copyright association Capasso, SABC, Deloitte, CMGE, MTN,CellC, Telkom also shared their opinions on how to develop the digital services in Africa.

Siphumelele Zondi, industry though leader, senior producer and anchor of SABC, said during his presentation at the summit: “There is a great need for local South African artists to venture into the digital space. Often local content is on demand but not available on digital platforms, which then promotes piracy. Africa is a mobile device intensive environment, and platforms such as Huawei’s Digital inCloud can aid the availability of local content to Africa.”

Staff Writer

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IoT an accelerator for Nigeria's Smart Cities

IoT an accelerator for Nigeria's Smart Cities

An IoT-enabled city can reroute traffic around congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for failed infrastructure like street lighting or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution right across the environment.

The idea of clean streets, punctual public transport, less congestion and crime has been a vision that futurists have always had and talks of how the Internet of Things could contribute to building efficient citites dominated the discussion at the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

A great deal of people believe that building the smart city will be extremely disruptive, but Lanre Kolade, Managing Director of Vodacom Business Nigeria has a different perspective. Kolade explained at the recent Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting that governments do not have to tear down the towns of today to build smart cities which will improve services and the quality of life for their inhabitants. He explained that by using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, a host of intelligently connected services become possible.

According to Kolade, about 48 percent of Nigerians are living in urban areas and this proportion will continue to grow as urbanisation continues. With the number of people living in urban areas around the world predicted to rise to 6.4 billion by 2050; cities like Lagos need to adopt IoT technology to meet the rising challenges of a mega city. He maintained that governments have a central role to play in making towns and cities run effectively but that with constrained budgets and a growing population; issues such as traffic, pollution, and public safety are becoming more difficult to manage. Authorities must adopt technologies that will improve sustainability, ease congestion, help citizens and attract new businesses to their towns and cities.

An IoT-enabled city can reroute traffic around congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for failed infrastructure like street lighting or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution right across the environment. It can also protect citizens and businesses from crime more effectively, and safeguard vulnerable inhabitants in their homes, Kolade said.

In concluding the meeting, Solomon Ogufere, Commercial Director of Vodacom Business Nigeria said that Vodacom can help governments take control of their energy usage across multiple sites, and smart metres, installed in offices, factories and homes, can collect and report data on electricity, gas, and water use. He also explained that IoT-enabled lights can cut the need for regular engineer check-ups by alerting authorities before they fail. IoT lights can also detect when there is little or no traffic and turn off or dim individual lamps automatically; saving energy and reducing electricity costs.

Ogufere said that with IoT solutions, refuse collectors will need to make fewer journeys and use less fuel, and authorities can cut the number of refuse trucks they run. He added that IoT tracking devices can be installed on trains or buses to pinpoint their location in real time. If services are running late, IoT systems can automatically update signage at bus stops and train stations, or alert travellers via text message. This ensures users always get the information they need when planning their journeys.

Besides keeping people informed, governments can use IoT data to schedule additional services, amend routes, resolve issues, and meet unexpected demand. With IoT technology, towns and cities in Nigeria can become Smart Cities, creating cleaner, safer and more effective environments for citizens.

Staff Writer

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Microsoft unveils first ever desktop: Surface Studio

Microsoft unveils first ever desktop: Surface Studio

Panos Panay, VP for Surface Computing (static.independent.co.uk)

Microsoft announced the launch of the first desktop computer to be produced by Microsoft, the Surface studio. The device was unveiled at their event held in New York in October. According to ZD Net the Surface Studio is a multi-purpose device. It can be used for drawing, typing and drafting. The surface studio also folds down like a near-flat users desk made possible by its “zero gravity hinge”.

Said to bring competition to the Apple iMac and Mac Pro, the Surface Studio has a Surface Dial. The Surface Dial is a radial surface input device that is like a mouse wheel. It is a life saver for graphic designers and those using a pen.

Features

According to ZD Net Surface Studio boasts a 4.5k Ultra HD touchscreen at just 12.5 mm which Microsoft claims is the thinnest LCD monitor ever built. The picture display is impressive delivering 13.5 pixels per inch which is 63% more than a 4K television. The system also boasts a 2TB hard drive. The device also features a mic array, an HD Camera, and Windows Hello support. Another feature may be a fiducial marker, which is placed on top of the display, to provide a context-sensitive input option. It can be used for selecting colours in a painting app, or rotating a canvas

Affordability

The Surface studio could set you back about $2 999 to $3 999.

Although Microsoft has not announced the release day for its African market, the Surface Studio is available for pre-orders in America from November.

Staff Writer

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US, Russian, Japanese astronauts return from space station

US, Russian, Japanese astronauts return from space station

US astronaut Kate Rubins rests in a chair outside the Soyuz MS space capsule after she and two other astronauts landed in a remote area about 150 kms (90 miles) southeast of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan on October 30, 2016.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Dmitri Lovetsky

Three astronauts landed safely in Kazakhstan Sunday following a 115-day mission aboard the the International Space Station, including US astronaut Kate Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space.

Russian mission control confirmed the touchdown of NASA’s Rubins, Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at 0358 GMT.

The trio landed southeast of the Kazakh steppe town of Zhezkazgan in clear but frosty conditions after a flight from the orbital lab.

“Landing has taken place!” Russian mission control stated, with commentators on NASA TV noting that the Soyuz craft had landed in an upright position.

Molecular biologist Rubins and Onishi were both returning from their first missions in space, while flight commander Ivanishin undertook a five-month mission at the ISS five years ago.

Footage from the landing site on NASA television showed Rubins smiling after she was hoisted out last from the Soyuz descent module.

“Everybody is feeling wonderful,” said Ivanishin, who emerged first from the craft, in comments translated from Russian.

After they are flown to the Kazakh city of Karaganda, Ivanishin will head to Star City just outside Moscow for post-mission work, while Rubins and Onishi will fly to Houston.

Their journey back to Earth marks the first complete mission to and from the orbital lab for a new generation of Soyuz spacecraft with upgraded features.

The trio’s arrival at the ISS was delayed by two weeks as Russian space officials carried out further software tests on the modified Soyuz MS-01 vehicle.

– DNA research in space –
Rookie Rubins’ participation in the mission generated particular excitement after NASA announced plans for the career scientist to sequence DNA aboard the ISS in a world first.

In August Rubins successfully sequenced samples of mouse, virus and bacteria DNA using a device called MinION while Earth-based researchers simultaneously sequenced identical samples.

NASA said the biomolecule sequencer investigation could help to identify potentially dangerous microbes aboard the ISS and diagnose illnesses in space.

Rubins was also the first woman aboard the ISS since Italian Samantha Cristoforetti returned to Earth with the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman (199 days) in June last year.

Fellow American Peggy Whitson, 56, will blast off to join an all-male crew at the lab with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy from the Baikonur cosmodrome November 17.

The blastoff was delayed by 48 hours as Russian space officials sought better docking conditions.

Whitson is NASA’s most experienced female astronaut and will command the ISS for the second time after becoming the first female commander of the station on her second space mission back in 2007.

Pesquet, 38, is a first time-flyer and the first French national to be sent to the ISS by the European Space Agency since 2008.

He said at a pre-flight press conference on Wednesday that he feared he would be “a pain for everybody” as he plans to bring his saxophone with him into space.

NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Andrei Borisenko and Sergei Ryzhikov of Roscosmos are currently aboard the orbital lab having blasted off from the Cosmodrome in another delayed launch on October 19.

Technical mishaps have complicated plans to extend the periods during which the ISS is fully staffed with six astronauts.

The space laboratory has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.

Space travel has been one of the few areas of international cooperation between Russia and the West that has not been wrecked by the Ukraine crisis.

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Tesla surprises with profit in third quarter

Electric carmaker Tesla on Wednesday announced a profit for the third quarter and said it sees more positive results ahead as it ramps up production of new models.

The company, known for heavy investments which have led to consistent losses, said its net profit amounted to $22 million in the past quarter, as it reported record revenues and deliveries. That compared with a $230 million loss in the same period last year.

Total revenues grew 145 percent from a year ago to $2.3 billion, as it delivered 24,821 vehicles, helped by the Model X sport utility vehicle added last year to its lineup.

The better-than-expected results, with only its second profitable quarter as a public company, lifted Tesla shares 5.5 percent in after-hours trade on Wall Street.

Company founder Elon Musk said in a letter to shareholders he expects profitability in the fourth quarter too as Tesla expands its global sales and refines its self-driving technology that is being offered — but not activated — on its vehicles.

“New product launches, increased store efficiency and new store openings drove year-on-year order growth in the third quarter, while self-driving hardware and other product enhancements position Tesla for additional market share gains,” Musk said in the letter with chief finance officer Jason Wheeler.

The letter said the company expects more than 25,000 deliveries in the fourth quarter to bring the total for the second half of the year to some 50,000 “despite the challenges of winter weather and the holiday season.”

Tesla, known for its high-end cars which sell for upwards of $70,000, is also working on a more affordable model at about half the price which is aimed at expanding the market for electric vehicles, as it seeks to boost the range between charges.

Tesla announced last week it will build self-driving technology into all the electric cars it makes, running it in “shadow” mode to gather data on whether it is safer than having people in control.

Musk referred to the hardware as “basically a super-computer in a car,” different from its auto-pilot technology to date.

It will be up to regulators and the public as to when the self-driving capabilities will actually be put to use on roads, according to Musk.

Tesla will be facing competition from other electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Bolt from General Motors, hitting the marketplace soon.

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