ISIS is using the Internet for their recruitment drive, making no country unreachable. To try and combat any new South Africans being recruited, South Africa’s State agencies are monitoring cyberspace for any suspicious activity, writes ADAM WAKEFIELD.
South Africa’s State agencies were monitoring cyberspace for recruitment by the Islamic State (ISIS), State Security Minster David Mahlobo said on Tuesday.
“International terrorism is the biggest challenge in the world, it is the challenge of our lifetime,” he said at a media briefing in Cape Town and Pretoria, via video-link.
“ISIS is a little bit sophisticated because in their own recruitment drive they are using cyber space… In terms of the world, there is no country where they are not recruiting.”
Describing the ISIS as promoting a “funny ideology”, he said state security agencies were monitoring cyberspace to stop them from trying to radicalise South Africans to their cause.
“In South Africa, there is work we are doing in terms of monitoring cyberspace, including social platforms,” he said.
Referring to the 15-year-old Cape Town girl pulled off of an international flight on her way to reportedly join ISIS, Mahlobo said that if state security agencies had not been doing their job, the girl could have left the country.
“If the police and state security agencies had never done our work, that child could have left,” he said.
“The child that was trying to get out of this country, we intervened.”
Earlier at the same media briefing, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the recruitment of young people to take part in acts of terror was a growing global concern.
“The JCPS [Justice, Crime Prevention and Security] cluster will not allow South Africa to be used as a recruitment platform for terror groups. We wish to reiterate our resolve to ensure that South Africa remains a place where people feel and are safe,” she said.
“We want to sound a note of caution to all South Africans not to lend themselves to terrorist activities.”
Against the background of the 15-year-old being stopped from joining ISIS, government encouraged the community at large, and parents in particular, to be cautious and concerned about what activities their children might be involved with.
“Cyber technology has proven itself to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand it enables development, whilst on the other hand, greater internet accessibility poses major risks, especially for children,” the defence minister said.
“Parents should take an extra effort to monitor their children’s online activities. Parents and guardians need to know who their children are chatting with. They need to know what websites their children visit. We need to keep our children safe.”
CES: Most useless gadgets of all
Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.
But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.
The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.
1. DUX voice-assisted bed
The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.
2. Smart Baby Dining Table
Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.
Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.
CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”
Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.
Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:
Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator
The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication.
It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.
It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.”
Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.