Ash Ball, a young person in Australia, is working to end cyberbullying as part of the Project Rockit team. Ball, one of the Internet Society’s 25 Under 25 awardees, says he believes that it’s important to empower the younger generation to step in when they see someone being harassed online.
That message is especially important today, which is Safer Internet Day, a call to action to make the Internet safer for everyone.
Linda Patiño is another 25 Under 25 awardee leading the charge. “I was a victim of online harassment, receiving kidnapping and rape threats,” she says. Patiño’s work with the Colombia-based organization Colnodo uses ICTs to promote Internet safety and gender equality. “A tool can be so harmful. I enter this world [of activism] so other girls know they are not alone, that we are creating things to help them get through this. Even though these tools have serious impacts, we are doing good change” in the world.
We all have the power to help make the Internet a more welcoming and accessible place, but Ash Ball and Linda Patiño show that it’s a community effort to do so. No one person can do everything, but we can all do something.
Online media companies are chasing their tails when it comes to policing terrorist material, and other dangerous and offensive content. But there is artificial intelligence-based technology out there that can spot it before it goes live, says David Fulton, CEO of WeSee.
Leading figures in both government and academia have been focused on a common cause in recent months – how best to solve the growing problem of online terrorist content. However, the jury’s out on whether the big digital media players, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are up to the job, despite being under growing pressure from pending legislation. The good news it looks like a powerful new image-recognition technology based on deep learning and neural networks could provide a solution.
In the same week in June that German lawmakers passed a bill forcing major internet companies to banish “evidently illegal” content within 24 hours or face fines up to $ 57 million, a conference took place in Harvard University entitled: Harmful Speech Online: At the Intersection of Algorithms and Human Behaviour. It discussed how best to constrain harmful online content, and was co-hosted by the Harvard-based Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a London-based think tank.
The opening address stated that extremism in online spaces can have an enormous impact on public opinion, inclusiveness and politics. It also cited the enormous gap – in terms of resourcing, activism, and even basic research – between the problems of harmful speech online and the available solutions to control it.
Just a few weeks later in September, the heads of state of the UK, France and Italy met with internet companies at the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss the issue. In a speech ahead of the meeting, UK Prime Minister Theresa May threatened the internet giants with huge fines if they could not come up with a way to detect and remove terrorist content within two hours. This time span is significant as within two hours two-thirds of the propaganda is shared – so you could question whether two hours is actually too long.
In response, Google and YouTube have announced they are increasing their use of technology to help automatically identify videos. Meanwhile the problem continues and is only going to get worse. A recent article in the Telegraph revealed that, according to official figures, 54,000 different websites containing advice on bomb making, and committing attacks using trucks and knives, were posted online by supporters of the so-called Islamic State group between August last year and May this year.
What’s more, Cisco has forecast that by 2020 there will be 65 trillion images and six trillion videos uploaded to the web, which will result in over 80% of all internet traffic being image or video-based in less than three years’ time. That’s a lot of content to monitor for extremist and other inappropriate material, but the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) could hold the key to unlocking this conundrum.
Emerging Field of Viztech
Pioneers in the new field of Viztech have developed a highly effective adult and violence video filter. It uses AI to identify terrorist and other harmful digital content automatically – and not within two hours of being published, but before it actually goes live. It can spot inappropriate digital content, such as an ISIS flag or face of a known hate-preacher. Viztech can also detect and categorize video, as well as still images, quickly and efficiently, processing information just like the human brain, but up to 1,000 times faster, so not just mimicking human behavior but performing far better.
Driven by deep learning and neural networks, it’s similar to the technology behind the iPhone X’s facial recognition system, but much more sophisticated. Rather than being reactionary, it’s predictive, filtering, identifying and categorising video content before it even appears online. In Viztech lies the solution to curbing online terrorist material and its unfortunate effects, which is something governments, academics and, of course, digital media businesses are all desperate to do. Ultimately it holds the key to a safer internet for everyone.
Start-up Satsafe makes the regular in-vehicle black box redundant by taking its concept a step further and opening up new opportunities to keep drivers safer in a range of environments. Satsafe is currently working with the expansive Manchester CityVerve project, and with Liverpool City Region’s LCR 4.0 program.
Bye-bye black box……hello Satsafe TelematiCam
Black Box technology is already being used by fleet managers to monitor driving behavior, and is increasingly also used by insurance providers to measure driver performance information that can help reduce insurance premiums – particularly where younger drivers are concerned.
However, technology start-up Satsafe has developed its TelematiCam, a device that’s designed to make the black box redundant. The device works by sending data to a cloud analytics platform where it is merged with other data sets to give a more granular picture of driver behavior than can be provided by standard black box technology.
The TelematiCam combines driving monitoring technology with intelligent in-built GPS, while accelerometers monitor driver behavior. It can also record high definition video.
Given the nature of these features, the device has many uses. In the case of a crash, for example, supposedly the GPS data could help pinpoint the location, while the video footage could be helpful to insurers in assessing claims, and to emergency services in determining the causes of a crash.
Meanwhile, the TelematiCam’s ability to detect unusual motions via the accelerometer could be used to identify a crash or other incident. It is then possible to automatically alert the emergency services to the precise location and time of an incident. The speed with which emergency services get to accidents can be crucial, so this can be a life-line to those who may be injured.
Statsafe has received support for its technology from the Liverpool City Region business support program, LCR 4.0, which is providing business support to help SMEs innovate in areas like big data, Internet of Things, cloud computing, augmented reality and systems integration.
This support has enabled Satsafe to work with the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and the Hartree Centre in a project to connect the TelmatiCam, a mobile app and a cloud platform, the company claims.
Satsafe is also the lead partner for road safety of CityVerve, the UK’s £15m city demonstrator project in Manchester, which is focused on using the Internet of Things to deliver a smarter, more connected city.
Satsafe told Internet of Business that, while it is only halfway through the project, so far it has deployed 40 telematics black box systems with a popular taxi company in the city, which is helping to encourage good driving practices. The black boxes can identify drivers with low scores, which may indicate that they could benefit from re-training, presenting safety benefits for the driver, passengers and other road users.
Stuart Millward Founder and CEO of SatSafe told Internet of Business, “This project is of particular significance for Satsafe as we have already spent two years refining our product for insurers and fleet managers with the support of various programs, such as the European Space Agency Business Incubator, LCR4.0, IoT Boost and more.
“CityVerve is an opportunity to demonstrate how telematics technology can also help other drivers such as minibus/community transport operators, those driving for work and courier companies.”
Smart homes are considered by some the hallmark of IoT, and with the growth of the industry, increasing numbers of companies want to get in on the action, developing and rolling out smart devices. According to data from consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the U.S. smart home market will reach $ 29 million by the end of this year.
Smart locks on the doors of connected homes?
Smart locks will precipitate connected home systems, which is why, according to the VB Profiles database, there are 34 companies involved in the market.
UniKey Technologies is one such company. UniKey just finished a venture capital funding round that resulted in an undisclosed amount of money, but before this round, the company had already raised $ 11.4 million in only four years. Such huge funding rounds can only signal the excitement of the market when it comes to smart home products.
As shown in the picture above, UniKey’s smart locks use your smartphones as keys. Users would install the UniKey locking system in their doors, and then place any paired iOS or Android phones next to the lock to unlock the doors. Because the UniKey system uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data, users don’t need to download any apps to make the device work.
UniKey also provides a stable user management system that allows users to delete any paired device in the system in case they can’t find their phones or want to set up a specific period of time in which to use the paired devices. The locking system uses unique an encryption algorithm, which, according to UniKey’s official website, provides bank-level security.
According to the VB Profiles database, Vivint Smart Home is the largest company in the home security market. So far, Vivint has raised over $ 900 million, which makes up 83 percent of all funding in the market. The company is heavily involved in the smart home market, producing devices like smart locks, smart doorbells, and connected garage doors; Vivint aims to build a complete, connected outdoor smart security system.
To use the smart access control service, users need to download Vivint’s app, which also has a live function — depicted in the picture above — that’s connected to the doorbell, so users can tell who is knocking at the door. The app also allows users to connect with smart products like Amazon’s Echo, offering a seamless user experience indoors.
Cooperation over competition
Both established and up-and-coming brands enjoy their own niches; they try to distinguish themselves from others so that their products will be unforgettable. And while there is nothing wrong with wanting to be remarkable, the constant jockeying for uniqueness has resulted in the absence of a unified standard in the industry.
Let’s take Apple’s HomeKit, which is trying to combine third-party smart home products and integrate them with its iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and operating systems. Apple wanted smart home companies to use this platform so that customers only needed to use one smart home app. Although the platform supported several brands, apps made by the companies themselves provided more detailed and convenient functions, which led users to download company-specific apps, raising the learning cost for customers and resulting in a subpar user experience. Apple just noticed this problem, so they have begun switching to hardware products for the smart and connected home market.
As illustrated by the Business Insider graph above, we are at the beginning of the mass-market production period of the smart home. The consumer market, however, still doesn’t have a flawless business solution with regard to smart homes. Companies that wish to involve themselves in the market should focus on two aspects of devices — security and unity.
Although people have embraced technology in their day-to-day life, when it comes to security and safety, people don’t want to take any risks. No company can yet claim that its technology and smart access control services are invulnerable. Enhancing the quality of safety and security services will contribute heavily to the success of smart access control companies, and even the smart and connected home industry as a whole.
The market will, in the future, need more interaction and cooperation between companies, rather than endless competition. Connected devices form the basis of the entire smart home industry — so why shouldn’t companies connect as well?
If companies focus on their own products without regard for other devices in the market, users will not be able to experience the seamless lifestyle smart devices promise.
In an exclusive interview with Internet of Business, Bullguard CEO Paul Lipman discusses his smart home security vision for the company.
A few months back, Paul Lipman, CEO of cybersecurity company Bullguard, decided to experiment by plugging a new product from his company into the WiFi network of his own home. The product, Dojo, which was launched yesterday, is designed to identify and protect connected devices in smart homes.
Dojo quickly got to work. Within minutes, it had spotted no fewer than 35 connected devices in Lipman’s home.
“I was pretty startled,” says Lipman, stressing that he is by no means an outlier who acquires smart devices at a ravenous pace, but actually, pretty average. “I’ve got kids in the house and I’ve got my own stuff too, and it all adds up. There are games consoles, smart TVs, Amazon Alexa devices, various other things – and they’re all talking to the internet in some way, shape or form.”
In other words, even Lipman had no idea how ‘smart’ – or how vulnerable – is own home was. Plenty of consumers are in the same position, he says, which is why Bullguard is on a mission to make smart homes more secure. That’s been the case since Lipman joined Bullguard at the start of 2016 and it’s the idea that drove the company’s acquisition of Israeli start-up Dojo-Labs in August last year.
“My vision for the company, really, from day one was that the growth of the smart home, and the growth of the numbers of devices within the smart home, would result in a real gap in the market for security protection,” he says. That’s an expansion of Bullguard’s current business model, which is mostly focused on internet and mobile security for more standard computing devices: PCs, smartphones and tablets.
This is particularly important, Lipman adds, when you start to consider how the lines are blurring rapidly between digital and physical security. As well as the laptops, smartphones and tablets that people use to shop online, conduct internet banking transactions and fill in government forms, there are now a huge number of other devices connected to home WiFi networks that need protection.
Many of them, moreover, relate specifically to the physical security of the home such as smart locks and connected security cameras. The prospect of somebody being able to compromise such devices in order to unlock a front door or spy on a home to check its occupants are out, says Lipman, is a real worry.
So Dojo, which plugs into a home’s WiFi router, focuses on protecting the home network, as well as the devices connected to that network. A green light on the Dojo pebble says all is well. A yellow light might indicate that an attempt was made to connect to the network, but was blocked. A red light alerts the homeowner to take action, via Dojo’s smartphone app – clicking ‘block’, for example.
“What we’ve done is to take enterprise-class network security but deliver it in a way that’s incredibly simple for the average consumer to use,” says Lipman. “Many of these new devices are inherently insecure because manufacturers don’t have any incentive or motivation to secure these devices. They’re focused on time-to-market and on staying ahead of the curve in very fast-moving categories.”
But doesn’t that suggest a situation where the homeowner is potentially bombarded with Dojo alerts, which soon become a stressful and time-consuming distraction from daily routine? Not at all, says Lipman, because there’s some clever intelligence going on the back end that will make every installed Dojo device smarter over time.
“What we’re building here, our secret sauce, if you will, is collective intelligence that works across the entirety of our customer base to learn about what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour,” he says.
“For example, you might have a Nest thermostat, which typically sends small amount of data back and forth to Google – but if we see it sending or receiving data to a new location, maybe Russia, we’ll block [that data flow] immediately and apply the same rule across all Dojos in near real time. These learnings about good and bad behaviour, how different devices perform and behave, enables us to take more and more of that need to interact away from the customer. Instead, we provide it as a managed service to them.”
“That makes it easier for them to bring new devices into their own homes without worry. A safer smart home shouldn’t be complicated.”