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India’s New Year’s Present: Atomic Clock at National Physical Laboratory (NPL) programmed to add an extra second to 2017

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Delhi, Jan 1, 2017: A ‘leap second’ was added to the Indian clock at 5:29.59 hours on 31st December’ 16, Sunday. The atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) was programmed to add an extra second to 2017 as it struck 23:59:59 last night. This was done to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation. in the fields of satellite navigation, astronomy and communication.

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Why:

D K Aswal, Director of National Physical Laboratory said, “The Earth and rotation around its own axis is not regular, as sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down, due to various factors including earthquakes and moon’s gravitational forces that often results in ocean tides. As a result, astronomical time (UT1) gradually falls out of sync with atomic time (UTC), and as and when the difference between UTC and UT1 approaches 0.9 seconds, a leap second is added to UTC through atomic clocks worldwide.”

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How:

Adding the leap second to the Indian clock is done by the NPL under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SCIR). To be in sync with the Indian Standard Time (IST) and the Earth’s rotational clock, the Indian clock need to be adjusted after the insertion of a leap second. Aswal said the Indian atomic clock was also synchronised with the atomic clock of International Bureau of Weight and Measure (BIPM), France.

After effects:

The adding up of an extra second will have an effect in the fields of satellite navigation, astronomy and communication. However, it won’t bring any difference to the daily life. Aswal said, “The leap second adjustment is not so relevant for normal everyday life. However, this shift is critical for applications requiring of time accuracies in the nanosecond, which are critical in the fields of astronomy, satellite navigation, communication networks.”

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Aswal added, ” Those utilising CSIR-NPL time dissemination services need not worry as they will receive the corrected time post the insertion of the leap second. Fun fact, 36 leap seconds have been added at intervals varying from six months to seven years since 1972. This will be the 37th year.”

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

 

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?