When the President signed into law the proposed Tulong Trabaho Act in late February this year, images of the past scandal involving the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) briefly flashed in our minds. Still fresh in our minds is a Commission on Audit (COA) report on TESDA released in 2013 that highlighted a number of questionable payments to 11 technical vocational institutions (TVIs) found to have overpriced tuition fees or shortened training schedules. It was during the time when the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as pork barrel, was still in existence, and where 19 legislators were implicated in the TESDA anomalies, mainly for having supported the questionable TVIs. With billions of pesos made available to TESDA in recent years, either through the national government, the pork barrel system, or donations, the COA not only revealed “non-compliance” to TESDA training standards, but even the presence of “ghost” … [Read more...] about Poor regard for tech-vocational education
LONDON — In Spain, activists were convicted for social media posts that violated an expanded anti-terrorism law. The Twitter accounts of German citizens were blocked because of rules enacted last year that prohibit hate speech. And a Dutch court determined Google must remove search results about a doctor punished for poor performance, in compliance with a privacy law. Heralded as the world’s toughest watchdog of Silicon Valley technology giants, Europe has clamped down on violent content, hate speech and misinformation online through a thicket of new laws and regulations over the last five years. Now there are questions about whether the region is going too far, with the rules leading to accusations of censorship and potentially providing cover to some governments to stifle dissent. The unintended consequences may be compounded as European governments pursue more laws and policies to restrict what communication can be shared online. Last month, Britain proposed appointing … [Read more...] about News Europe takes on big tech: Has it gone too far?
PETALING JAYA: A total of five UK technology organisations are investing in Malaysia, according to a joint statement by the UK Department for International Trade and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia. The ministry said this reinforces the UK’s long-term commitment to Malaysia as a key partner in trade and investment. “It also reflects Malaysia’s attractiveness as an investment destination and as a springboard to the wider Asean market.” The five companies are Ideagen, AuditXPRT, Mitra Innovation, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and Sage. Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo (pix) said as Malaysia continues to implement technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and cyber security, the investment of more UK tech companies to Malaysia highlights their confidence that Malaysia is moving in the right direction. “The aim of collaboration in the area of technology is incredibly essential not only to aid … [Read more...] about Five UK tech firms to invest in Malaysia
SHANGHAI - Shanghai software engineer Wu Linfeng watched the silent comedy "Modern Times" recently and soon found himself crying -- watching Charlie Chaplin’s classic stressed-out assembly-line worker was like watching himself. Overworked, underpaid, and feeling like a hamster on a wheel, he is among China’s masses of mostly male tech-industry staff whose long hours have sparked a national debate about work-life balance. The coders, engineers, programmers, software developers, game designers and other IT manpower behind China’s burgeoning digital economy have become known as "996" workers due to the 9am-9pm, six-day week they work, without overtime pay. Wu, who asked that a pseudonym be used to protect his job, has followed that schedule for three years at a leading Chinese internet company. "You’re the first girl I've spoken to in about a year," he told an AFP reporter, with just a hint of exaggeration. Chinese tech companies have grown rapidly along with the … [Read more...] about News Working stiffs: China’s tech minions burn out in ‘996’ rat race
LONDON: From algorithms to track "dark" ships smuggling stolen crude oil to an online licensing system to undercut corruption, one Nigerian government agency hopes it can use new technology to tackle theft which has cost the country billions.But the initiative by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) may be too late to stem the migration of energy majors to the relative safety of drilling at sea, driven offshore by an illegal trade that Nigeria's sprawling bureaucracy has for decades proved unable or unwilling to tackle.Deep in the maze of creeks in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, thieves tap pipelines and siphon the crude via rubber hoses up to 2 kilometres long into barrels aboard small craft.They then sail alongside larger vessels, allowing the contraband to be pumped ship-to-ship into oil tankers bound for export, usually to Asia - mixed imperceptibly in a ratio as small as 10 percent with the legitimate product.Africa's top oil exporter has turned to French data firm Kpler, … [Read more...] about Nigeria deploys satellite tech to track oil smugglers