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- By Dr. Munish Raizada, Editor-in-Chief of NewsGram
Chicago, December 10,2017:
Today is Human Rights Day.
And YouTube tweeted on this: “It’s
Join us as we spread the message that all human beings are born equal in dignity & rights.”
Apparently, the Giant Google is not able to see the violation of rights it is causing to smaller players. Yes, let me narrate the story!
The YouTube Channel of NewsGram was Terminated more than 8 months back. And it is still Terminated.
Our YouTube account Terminated for No Reason!
This is a story of how Monopolistic Google treats other media organizations, albeit, small and helpless (read: not resourceful) with disdain, contempt and unilaterality. You can appeal to YouTube (essentially, its parent company Google), but that also is a very limited window: no phone calls, no proper explanation. In other words, holier than thou and higher-than thou attitude.
At YouTube, our (terminated) channel of NewsGram does not represent an individual’s account. It is not a personal account. It represents a media organizations’ account. NewsGram is a media organization incorporated in Illinois and approved by IRS as a tax-exempt charitable organization. In other words, we are a 501(c)(3) entity.
As a media organization, we publish all kinds of news and views and at our YouTube channel, we publish(ed) various educational videos. We cover a wide variety of topics and issues, ranging from current affairs, politics, society, religion, entertainment and opinions.
If CNN is a media organization, so is NewsGram. If BBC is a media organization, so is NewsGram. If NY Times is a media organization, so is NewsGram.
We are a small fish in the pond, we may be financially crunched, but we are treading along!
Google (YouTube) terminated YouTube channel of a media organization, without even alerting or suspending. No explanation, no prior communication. It did not flag us, expressing the concerns. It just Terminated.
Just Terminated! Reason?
It Terminated using a sweeping clause:
This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.
So, again, NewsGram is a media organization. It is not an account of an individual in personal capacity. We are not spamming anyone (in fact, people spam us), we are not doing any deceptive practices (what we publish is for everyone to see), we are not producing any misleading content( and, as said above, as a media house, we present a wide variety of content and point of views and opinions, which we have the right to). And coming to ‘other terms of service violation! Well, that is as ill defined as it could get by YouTube.
Note: NewsGram’s account was not terminated because of copy right violation. I am glad that the snobbish YouTube did not slap us with that ‘false accusation’! Glad!
We appealed several times. Almost every month.
And that is the issue. YouTube sounds very democratic. You can appeal! Yeah, you can appeal! Wow! So much freedom!
But, every time, YouTube will send you back the same cliche:
Thank you for your account suspension appeal. We have decided to keep your account suspended based on our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. Please visit http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines for more information.
Please do not respond to this email. Replies to this email will not be processed. Please refer to our Help Center for more information.
The YouTube Team
While appealing to YouTube, , every time we at NewsGram gently remind to the Lords sitting at YouTube that:
“Being a media house, we publish divergent views, but at no time have “spam, scams or commercially deceptive content” which seems to be have been reason for the suspension of our account.
Also, we have a direct agreement with Voice of America and other news agencies and get several of videos from them, with a permission to use on our YouTube channel and our website.”
We even asked them to explain to our organization what violations have we committed so that we could fix that.
But, each time, the lords just brush aside our application using a sweeping brush. They can not explain because they probably can not explain.
YouTube has no reason, so the best policy: Keep mouth shut. Why care about small creeps like NewsGram! Right!
After all, what benefit NewsGram brings to YouTube? We do not advertise, so we do not bring any revenue to YouTube. Note: We were not monetizing at YouTube, yet our solace was that our educational videos were getting hundreds of thousands eyeballs.
Will YouTube terminate a media organization’s YouTube account citing vague and generalized reason? Do not we owe an explanation to know what ‘violations’ have we done and how do we fix them, if any?
But why Google will care? After all, it is easier to talk of Human Rights Day , rather than looking at its own backyard and see how things can improve!
With this public post, we are again applying to YouTube today to reinstate our terminated channel with a hope that YouTube wakes up from its deep slumber and helps us through the process of revocation, rather than keeping is ‘terminated’!
On the day of writing this article, we applied again to YouTube to un-suspend our account.
The result? Same! Lord Google threw trashed our submission and replied via email:
We have decided to keep your account suspended based on our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. Please visit http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines for more information.
Please do not respond to this email. Replies to this email will not be processed. Please refer to our Help Center for more information.
In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).
As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.
The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.
"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.
The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)
An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.
The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.
LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.
"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).
After a 10-minute bidding war involving nine bidders in the saleroom, online and by phone, it sold for three times the high estimate to an undisclosed buyer. The sale price of 18,582,000 pounds ($25,383,941) includes an auction-house fee known as a buyer's premium.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.
When it last sold at Sotheby's in October 2018, the piece was known as "Girl With Balloon." Just as an anonymous female European buyer made the winning bid — for 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) — a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared. Image source: voa
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared.
The work quickly became one of Banksy's most famous, and Sotheby's sent it on tour to cities including New York and Hong Kong before Thursday's auction.
Auctioneer Oliver Barker joked that he was terrified to bring down the hammer to end Thursday's sale. There were jitters among Sotheby's staff to the last that Banksy had another surprise planned.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby's chairman of modern and contemporary art, called the shredding "one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century."
Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two male police officers kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."
Several of his works have sold for multiple millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural honoring Britain's health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for 16.8 million pounds ($23.2 million) at a Christie's auction, until Thursday a record for the artist.
"Girl With Balloon" was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Banksy, Artwork, Auction, Girl With Balloon, Sotheby
WASHINGTON — Suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year, more than the $416 million reported for all of 2020, U.S. authorities said on Friday, as Washington put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role in combating ransomware attacks.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the average amount of reported ransomware transactions per month in 2021 was $102.3 million, with REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos the most prevalent ransomware strains reported.
President Joe Biden has made the government's cybersecurity response a top priority for the most senior levels of his administration following a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize U.S. energy and food supplies.
Avoiding U.S. sanctions
Seeking to stop the use of cryptocurrencies in the payment of ransomware demands, Treasury told members of the crypto community they are responsible for making sure they do not directly or indirectly help facilitate deals prohibited by U.S. sanctions.
Its new guidance said the industry plays an increasingly critical role in preventing those blacklisted from exploiting cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions. Image source: Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
"Treasury is helping to stop ransomware attacks by making it difficult for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need partners in the private sector to help prevent this illicit activity," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions.
Hackers use ransomware to take down systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving hefty payments, typically in cryptocurrency.
Large scale hacks
This year, gangs have hit numerous U.S. companies in large scale hacks. One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline led to temporary fuel supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, sparking fears of disruptions to grain harvesting in the Midwest.
The Biden administration last month unveiled sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex OTC, S.R.O. over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, in the Treasury's first such move against a cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware activity. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Cryptocurrency, United States, Hacking, Ransomware