Workers from emerging economies in particular are benefitting from these networks according to the study conducted by researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute. The findings, published in the Journal of Management reveal that platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr offer companies in rich Western countries a simple and cheap mechanism to hire knowledge workers in lower income countries, without the burden of setting up offices abroad or contracting with an outsourcing company.
‘Many knowledge workers in emerging economies are benefitting from this arrangement,’ says Professor Vili Lehdonvirta, the lead author of the study. ‘Knowledge workers who previously worked at outsourcing companies in countries like the Philippines, for example, can now work directly for Western clients through these online platforms. Workers can earn more this way, and avoid gruelling commutes. However, their income and work hours can be less predictable.’
Online labour platforms use a variety of ways to provide clients information on worker skill set and productivity, such as skill tests and reviews from previous clients. ‘Workers benefit from having this information available to clients. We found that clients are highly influenced by information on worker performance when choosing whom to hire,’ says Dr Otto Kässi, co-author. ‘Moreover, our findings show that workers from low-income countries benefit much more than workers from high-income countries.’
One likely explanation for this finding is that Western clients tend to assume that workers from low-income countries are less skilled or less productive, unless they have explicit information to the contrary. One knowledge worker who participated in the study said, ‘Once […] you do get those first few projects and you get good feedback, then it doesn’t really matter anymore that you’re from the Philippines.’ Workers in emerging economies can fin
d their hourly rate shoot up 5% with just one additional project’s worth of work history, while a Western worker will only see an average of 0.1% wage increase for each additional project.
However, platforms alone are unlikely to eradicate global wage gaps. The study found that a graphic designer in the Philippines earned an average of $8.47 per hour, while a graphic designer from the United States earned an average of $19.53 per hour. ‘Our findings imply that a worker from the lowest-income country would need to have around a thousand projects’ worth of work history on the platform to obtain the same hourly rates as a worker from the highest-income country,’ says Lehdonvirta.
Another finding that warrants further research is how the online platforms themselves are benefitting from the differences in client perception between workers in low- and high-income countries. ‘The experience and project history that low-income workers build up on a specific platform is so valuable to their ability to secure future work,’ explains Kässi. ‘This creates very high switching costs for workers to move between platforms. We should be looking at the implications on things such as dependence, value capture, and working conditions, in the same way that we would scrutinize the effects of multinational enterprises and traditional outsourcing.’
Password managers don’t protect you from hackers
Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…
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.
MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled
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.