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In a bid to help countries ensure secure and verifiable voting, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has announced “ElectionGuard” — a free open-source software development kit (SDK).
“ElectionGuard” will enable end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organisations for secure validation, and allow individual voters to confirm their votes were correctly counted, announced Nadella during the keynote at Microsoft Build developer conference here on Monday.
“‘ElectionGuard’ will make voting secure, more accessible, and more efficient anywhere it’s used in the US or in democratic nations around the world,” said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust.
Developed with Galois, “ElectionGuard” will be available starting this summer to election officials and election technology suppliers who can incorporate the technology into voting systems.
“We currently have partnerships with election technology suppliers responsible for more than half of the voting machines sold in the US,” Burt added.
“ElectionGuard” is not intended to replace paper ballots but rather to supplement and improve systems that rely on them, and it is not designed to support internet voting.
“ElectionGuard” is verifiable, allowing voters and third-party organisations to verify election results.
It is also secure, auditable and open source — free and flexible with the ability to be used with off-the-shelf hardware.
“ElectionGuard” provides each voter a tracker with a unique code that can be used to follow an encrypted version of the vote through the entire election process via a web portal provided by election authorities.
During the process of vote-casting, voters have an optional step that allows them to confirm that their trackers and encrypted votes accurately reflect their selections.
But once a vote is cast, neither the tracker nor any data provided through the web portal can be used to reveal the contents of the vote.
After the election is complete, the tracker codes can be used by voters to confirm that their votes were not altered or tampered with and that they were properly counted, said Microsoft.
Voters, candidates, news media and any observers can run verifiers of their own or downloaded from sources of their choosing to confirm tabulations are as reported.
On the security front, “ElectionGuard” uses something called homomorphic encryption – which enables mathematical procedures a” like counting – to be done with fully encrypted data.
The ElectionGuard SDK will be available through GitHub beginning this summer. (IANS)
Diwali is known for gifting and jewellery tops the list, with the focus on buying gold and diamonds. ORRA jewellery, a trusted diamond jewellery brand is gearing up for the festive and bridal season. As they open their 50th store in the country, IANSlife caught up with Dipu Mehta, Managing Director, ORRA, to find out how the company plans to ramp up its now 50 company-owned and operated stores, expanding its retail presence in Tier-1 and 2 cities and target the millennial segment.
Q: The brand is expanding in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, is brick and mortar the way forward to create a presence in this segment?
A: ORRA currently is expanding in metros plus tier-2 cities. But we aren't opening stores in any new markets. We are only opening in markets where we are already present. We are increasing the number of stores within cities as the demand for jewellery buying has also increased. Currently, we are present in 25 cities with 50 stores, and by the end of the month, we would be launching another seven stores.
Also with a category like jewellery, it is important to have brick and mortar stores as the customers like to see and hold higher value jewellery before purchasing. Jewellery buying is an important decision to the customers and having a store gives them that assurance.
ORRA currently is expanding in metros plus tier-2 cities. | Wikimedia Commons
Q: Jewellery is recession-proof do you agree and why?
A: Jewellery buying in India has always been an emotional and occasion-led purchase. It is also considered a great investment. The pandemic has affected all industries and the purchase pattern of consumers has slowed down. We wouldn't call it recession-proof but due to the festive season coming up, we predict a good season for all retailers.
Jewellery buying in India has always been an emotional and occasion led purchase. | Photo by Joeyy Lee on Unsplash
Q: The small Indian wedding doesn't mean that jewellery gets minimal, it just means people are investing more in jewellery. Please elaborate on how the brand's consumer behaviour has shifted in this regard.
A: Weddings in the family has always been a strong motivator for bridal jewellery purchase. It doesn't matter if the wedding is on a large scale or small scale, the kind of jewellery worn has been large. The only difference we see now is due to the pandemic and the limited number of guests at weddings the families are spending more money than before on buying diamond jewellery. We have seen the customers upgrade to higher-value diamond necklaces than ever before.
Weddings in the family has always been a strong motivator for bridal jewellery purchase. | Photo by Aayush(gop) Rawat on Unsplash
Q: The brand is the only one to offer 0 per cent interest EMI on diamond jewellery. Please share the idea behind this and what is the impact it has had on sales?
A: The idea came from the insight that during a wedding in the family, the father of the bride is always the most worried about all the wedding expenses. At ORRA, we understand this and decided to offer 0 per cent interest EMI.
We are the only brand offering 0 per cent interest EMI on diamond jewellery and we have seen a great response from customers. Offering this has led a lot of customers to upgrade the jewellery and purchase larger pieces. We are seeing a growing trend of customers who prefer buying jewellery on EMI and to pay it in equal monthly installments instead of paying the whole amount in one go.
OORA is the only brand offering 0 per cent interest EMI on diamond jewellery and they have seen a great response from customers. | Needpix
Q: The millennial and Gen Z as a segment, how important are they to you and are you doing any digital marketing for this audience?
A: The millennial and Gen z customers are extremely important to us and we launched our 'Desired Collection' specially to target this age group and style. This generation has a distinct style and makes their own decisions, they are tech savvy and are comfortable making jewellery purchases on our e-commerce website. They love a good deal along with great designs and quality products. Our customers are extremely engaged with us on our social media handles and we ensure that we respond to all their product-related queries within a day. We also have live chat and video calling facility which helps them make a decision.
OORA's customers are extremely engaged with them on our social media handles and they ensure that they respond to all their product-related queries within a day. | Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash
Q: Lastly what are the trends you predict for 2021 and 2022?
A: We see an upward trend this season and in the coming few months. We see an increase in demand in diamond jewellery purchases and with the help of 0 percent interest EMI we can see more and more customers buying larger pieces of diamond jewellery. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: diamond jewellery purchase, Diwali is known for gifting and jewelry, festive and bridal season,
In 2009, the Centre had mandated that Central government officers travel via Air India for all official purposes including availing of LTC. On Monday, conglomerate Tata Group entered into a share purchase agreement with the Central government for buying out the latter's stake in national carrier Air India, Air India Express, and AISATS.
Earlier, a Letter of Intent was issued to the Tata Group. After the SPA, Tata Group would need to fulfill the conditions precedent in the agreement before taking over the airline. The rest of the transaction is expected to be completed by December.
Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for the national carrier under the divestment process. Talace had quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore for 100 per cent equity shareholding of the Centre in Air India along with that of Air India Express and AISATS. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, air India, ministers, government, purchase, dues, Tata group, centre
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