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SA voting could go digital

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Technology is radically changing many parts of our lives. MARK CHIRNSIDE, CEO of ThisIs Me, discusses the possibility to use technology to streaming the voting process.

Technological innovation has – and continues to – transform the world we live and work in, but can it potentially change the way we vote by streamlining and simplifying voting by completely digitalising the process? The answer is a resounding yes.

At a time when local municipal elections are top of mind, this is a domain where technology could potentially offer a solution, simplifying the often admin-intensive process.

While a complete solution will require years of research, planning and testing, there are platforms currently available that can be introduced not only nationally, but also at city council and body corporate level that can assist in reducing the administrative burden inherent in the voting process.

It is here that a platform such as ThisIsMe can be introduced to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in fulfilling its constitutionally mandated obligation to record the physical addresses of South African voters.

Through links to Home Affairs and South Africa’s major banks, ThisIsMe ultimately gives a “heartbeat” to your identity, conclusively proving the identity of South Africans to others.  

While the reality of full digital voting functionality may only be developed and implemented in many years, ThisIsMe could be deployed by the IEC in future elections to record – rather than verify – details.

While there is very little the IEC can do to refute an address claim, the idea is to eliminate people voting at multiple voting stations on voting day.

A realistic scenario when it comes to the forthcoming election, is that the IEC invite citizens in areas where physical addresses are lacking or an area of contention, to make use of ThisIsMe to process their mobile numbers and email addresses.

With digital voting having already taken place in Eritrea, Namibia and some American states, it is only a matter of time before countries and organisations leverage the convenience and cost benefits of a digital voting platform.

Ultimately anyone who argues against eliminating a paper-based voting process need just be reminded that people said the same thing about banking before the introduction of ATMs and online banking.

Going forward we are hopeful that ThisIsMe is given the opportunity to introduce the platform’s benefits in the voting space. This can then be used to open the door to provide full capability later on.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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