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GDPR Impact Makes Google And Facebook Face Over $9 bn in Fines

GDPR, designed to give individuals in the European Union (EU) more rights to control their personal information, came into effect on Friday

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Other technology players, including JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony have also signed up to make screen-equipped smart speakers. Pixabay
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Withing hours of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on Friday, technology giants Google and Facebook have been hit with privacy complaints that could carry fines of up to $9.3 billion in total, a media report said.

With regard to privacy, Google, Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram are forcing people to adopt a “take it or leave it” approach which essentially amounts to demanding that users submit to intrusive terms of service, according to the the Austrian privacy-advocacy group Noyb.eu, CNET reported on Friday.

“Tonnes of ‘consent boxes’ popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service can no longer be used if user (s) do not consent,” the group was quoted as saying in a statement.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The group is asking regulators in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria to fine the companies up to the maximum four per cent of their annual revenue that the GDPR legislation allows.

This could potentially add up to a $4.88 billion fine for Google parent company Alphabet and $1.63 billion for each of Facebook, and its Instagram and WhatsApp services, if European regulators agree with Noyb.eu and decide to fine the companies the full amount, the CNET report said.

GDPR, designed to give individuals in the European Union (EU) more rights to control their personal information, came into effect on Friday.

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Seen as a measure to by European leaders to control the powers of technology companies, GDPR violations can cost companies either 20 million Euros or four per cent of annual turnover.

As a result of the regulation, several US news outlets blocked Europeans on Friday, the report said. (IANS)

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Facebook Aims to Make MRI Scans Faster Using AI With New York University

Advanced image reconstruction might enable ultra-low-dose CT scans suitable for vulnerable populations, such as pediatric patients, Facebook said

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Facebook partners with NYU to make MRI faster with AI. Pixabay

Facebook has forged a partnership with the New York University (NYU) on a research project that aims to make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans up to 10 times faster by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

If the project, called fastMRI, yields the desired results, it will make MRI technology available to more people, expanding access to this key diagnostic tool, Facebook said in a blog post on Monday.

MRI scanners provide doctors and patients with images that typically show a greater level of detail related to soft tissues — such as organs and blood vessels — than is captured by other forms of medical imaging.

But they are relatively slow, taking anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour, compared with less than a second or up to a minute, respectively, for X-ray and CT scans.

These long scan times can make MRI machines challenging for young children, as well as for people who are claustrophobic or for whom lying down is painful.

Additionally, there are MRI shortages in many rural areas and in other countries with limited access, resulting in long scheduling backlogs.

Making MRI scanners faster has several benefits, including increased access to these devices for patients.

Sufficiently accelerated MRI devices could also reduce the amount of time patients must hold their breath during imaging of the heart, liver, or other organs in the abdomen and torso.

Increased speed could let MRI machines fill the role of X-ray and CT machines for some applications, allowing patients to avoid the ionising radiation associated with those scans.

MRI Scans
Making MRI scanners faster has several benefits, including increased access to these devices for patients. Pixabay

This NYU-Facebook project will initially focus on changing how MRI machines operate.

Currently, scanners work by gathering raw numerical data in a series of sequential views and turning the data into cross-sectional images of internal body structures that doctors then use to evaluate a patient’s health.

The larger the data set to be gathered, the longer the scan will take.

Using AI, it may be possible to capture less data and therefore scan faster, while preserving or even enhancing the rich information content of magnetic resonance images.

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The key is to train artificial neural networks to recognise the underlying structure of the images in order to fill in views omitted from the accelerated scan, Facebook said.

The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group, believes that though this project will initially focus on MRI technology, its long-term impact could extend to many other medical imaging applications.

For example, the improvements afforded by AI have the potential to revolutionise CT scans as well.

Advanced image reconstruction might enable ultra-low-dose CT scans suitable for vulnerable populations, such as pediatric patients, Facebook said. (IANS)