Connect with us

Misc News/Press Release

Your Facebook profile exposes your intimate secrets: Research

Published

on

facebook profile can expose

facebook profile can expose

Using a dataset of more than 58,000 U.S. Facebook users, University of Cambridge researchers predicted race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views using Likes alone.

New research, published today in the journal PNAS, shows that surprisingly accurate estimates of Facebook users’ race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views can be inferred from automated analysis of only their Facebook Likes – information currently publicly available by default.

In the study, researchers describe Facebook Likes as a “generic class” of digital record – similar to web search queries and browsing histories – and suggest that such techniques could be used to extract sensitive information for almost anyone regularly online.

Researchers at Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge, analysed a dataset of over 58,000 US Facebook users, who volunteered their Likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results through the myPersonality application.

Users opted in to provide data and gave consent to have profile information recorded for analysis. Facebook Likes were fed into algorithms and corroborated with information from profiles and personality tests.

Researchers created statistical models able to predict personal details using Facebook Likes alone. Models proved 88% accurate for determining male sexuality, 95% accurate distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American and 85% accurate differentiating Republican from Democrat. Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82% of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse – between 65 and 73%.

But few users clicked Likes explicitly revealing these attributes. For example, less that 5% of gay users clicked obvious Likes such as Gay Marriage. Accurate predictions relied on ‘inference’ – aggregating huge amounts of less informative but more popular Likes such as music and TV shows to produce incisive personal profiles.

Even seemingly opaque personal details such as whether users’ parents separated before the user reached the age of 21 were accurate to 60%, enough to make the information “worthwhile for advertisers”, suggest the researchers.

While they highlight the potential for personalised marketing to improve online services using predictive models, the researchers also warn of the threats posed to users’ privacy. They argue that many online consumers might feel such levels of digital exposure exceed acceptable limits – as corporations, governments, and even individuals could use predictive software to accurately infer highly sensitive information from Facebook Likes and other digital ‘traces’.

The researchers also tested for personality traits including intelligence, emotional stability, openness and extraversion. While such latent traits are far more difficult to gauge, the accuracy of the analysis was striking. Study of the openness trait – the spectrum of those who dislike change to those who welcome it – revealed that observation of Likes alone is roughly as informative as using an individual’s actual personality test score.

Some Likes had a strong but seemingly incongruous or random link with a personal attribute, such as Curly Fries with high IQ, or That Spider is More Scared Than U Are with non-smokers.

When taken as a whole, researchers believe that the varying estimations of personal attributes and personality traits gleaned from Facebook Like analysis alone can form surprisingly accurate personal portraits of potentially millions of users worldwide.

They say the results suggest a possible revolution in psychological assessment which – based on this research – could be carried out on an unprecedented scale without costly assessment centres and questionnaires.

“We believe that our results, while based on Facebook Likes, apply to a wider range of online behaviours.” said Michal Kosinski, Operations Director at the Psychometric Centre, who conducted the research with his Cambridge colleague David Stillwell and Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research.

“Similar predictions could be made from all manner of digital data, with this kind of secondary ‘inference’ made with remarkable accuracy – statistically predicting sensitive information people might not want revealed. Given the variety of digital traces people leave behind, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to control.

“I am a great fan and active user of new amazing technologies, including Facebook. I appreciate automated book recommendations, or Facebook selecting the most relevant stories for my newsfeed,” said Kosinski. “However, I can imagine situations in which the same data and technology is used to predict political views or sexual orientation, posing threats to freedom or even life.”

“Just the possibility of this happening could deter people from using digital technologies and diminish trust between individuals and institutions – hampering technological and economic progress. Users need to be provided with transparency and control over their information.”

Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research said he hoped the research would contribute to the on-going discussions about user privacy: “Consumers rightly expect strong privacy protection to be built into the products and services they use and this research may well serve as a reminder for consumers to take a careful approach to sharing information online, utilising privacy controls and never sharing content with unfamiliar parties.”

David Stillwell from Cambridge University added: “I have used Facebook since 2005, and I will continue to do so. But I might be more careful to use the privacy settings that Facebook provides.”

Source: Press Release University of Cambridge

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

COVID19 Update: With 18 New Cases, Himachal Crosses 300 Mark, 24 Recovers in One Day

Published

on

Shimla– May 30 brought good news and bad news for Himachal Pradesh. The good news is that 24 patients recovered in one day, and bad news is that new COVID-19 cases continue to appear. According to the COVID-19 bulletin (9:00 PM) issued by the Health Department for May 30, 18 new cases were reported from Hamirpur, Kangra, Solan, and Una. Now, the tally has risen to 313, of which 197 are active.

From yesterday’s cases, six cases were reported from Hamirpur, five from Kangra, four Una, and three from Solan.

In Hamirpur, the persons who tested positive belong to Neri, Kangu, Badsar, Naduan, and Tareri areas. All had returned from Delhi and Punjab. The total for Hamirpur has now reached 107, of which 78 cases are active, 28 have recovered, and one has died.

In Kangra, the patients were identified as residents of Dehra, Palampur, and Lambagaon. Three of these four persons had returned from Delhi and one from Gurugram.

In Solan, the 11-year-old son of a woman who had tested positive earlier also tested positive. Two other persons who had returned from Delhi also tested positive.

In Una, four residents of Bangana area, who had returned from Mumbai, tested positive for COVID-19.

District-Wise COVID-19 Cases in Himachal Pradesh Till May 30, 2020 (9:00 PM)

Corona cases in himachal pradesh on may 30

Further, on Saturday, a total of 1692 samples were tested, of which 1262 were found to be negative and reports of 422 samples were still awaited.

From June 1, the State Government has decided to re-open intra-state public transport without permits. Several guidelines have been issued for bus stand authorities, bus driver and conducts, and passengers. However, making people follow so many guidelines including regular sanitization and social distancing would be a mammoth task for the State Government. Besides, it’s to be seen what effect it cast on the rate of appearance of new cases in the State.

Click to Read All Guidelines Issued For Passengers, Staff, and Authorities. 

Continue Reading

Misc News/Press Release

All Activities, Religious Places, Shopping Malls, Restaurants Outside Containment Zones to Re-Open from June 8

Published

on

New MHA Guidelines for lockdown from June 1, 2020

New Delhi- Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones, today.  The guidelines would come into effect from June 1, 2020, and would be effective till June 30, 2020.  The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus. The new guidelines have been issued based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs. 

A strict lockdown was imposed throughout the country since March 24, 2020.  All activities were prohibited except for essential activities. Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.

Note: The below given notification issued by the MHA has been published with no or little editing by Himachal Watcher 

Salient features of the new guidelines

Lockdown measures would continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed. 

All activities that were prohibited earlier would be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry:

 

Phase I (permitted to open from June 8, 2020)

  • Religious places and places of worship for the public;
  • Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and
  • Shopping malls. 

Health Ministry would issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Phase II

Schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs.  State Governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders.  Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July 2020.  MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions. 

A limited number of activities to remain prohibited throughout the country

  • International air travel of passengers;
  • Operation of Metro Rail; 
  • Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and,
  • Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations. 
  • Dates for the opening of the above activities would be decided in Phase III, based on an assessment of the situation. 

Unrestricted Movement of Persons and Goods

  • No restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods.  No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit would be required for such movements.
  • However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate the movement of persons, it would give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed. 

Night curfew would continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities.  However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management would continue to be followed throughout the country, to ensure social distancing.    

States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones or impose such restrictions, as deemed necessary. 

Protection for vulnerable persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community.  To ensure safety, various authorities are advised to encourage the use of the application.

Click to Read Complete Notification Issued by MHA on May 30, 2020

 

Continue Reading

Misc News/Press Release

Bus Services in Himachal Resumed, Read All Directions for Passengers, Staff, Management

Published

on

Himachal Pradesh bus Service from june 1

Shimla– The Department of Transport, Himachal Pradesh, has issued notification confirming nod to restoring public transport within the State from June 1, 2020. The transport services would be allowed only between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The buses are allowed to ply with a maximum of 60 per cent seating capacity to maintain social distancing. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police have been directed to provide adequate police force for crowd management

General directions have been issued for the staff and passengers.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: –

  1. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police shall provide adequate police force for crowd management and law & order maintenance at all bus stands.
  2. All Stage Carriage buses (except AC buses) shall operate on their respective routes.
  3. To maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding in above-said buses, the occupancy shall be maintained at no more than 60%.
  4. All passengers shall wear masks from the time of boarding till alighting from the bus.
  5. Driver, conductor and passengers should undergo self-monitoring for flu-like symptoms and in case any symptom appears, then she/ he shall report the same to the nearest health institutions.
  6. The buses shall be sanitized completely in the late evening hours or early morning before plying on their routes. The critical areas/touch points in the bus must be sanitized, periodically during the day.
  7. All safety protocols of the Health Department shall be followed by driver, conductor and passengers.
  8. No standing passengers shall be allowed in the buses during the journey.
  9. No e-pass shall be required for inter and intra district movement. However, for inter-state journey passengers must have e-pass issued by the District Magistrate.
  10. The Gram Panchayat/Municipal Committee shall render all possible assistance to the private operators and HRTC for boarding and lodging arrangement as and when demanded.

PROTOCOL FOR BUS STAND, BUSES AND STAFF: –

(a) At Bus Stand

  1. The entry/exit points shall be managed jointly by the team of District Administration, Health and Police department to ensure health check-up, screening and maintenance of Law & Order.
  1. Aarogya Setu App status would be checked preferably (for compatible device only) to ensure that passenger is free of COVID-19 symptoms. Passenger with “Red” status in AarogyaSetu App would not be permitted to travel.
  2. Only passenger(s) shall be allowed to enter the bus stand through single-entry point.
  3. Every toilet shall be sanitized and must have soap dispenser.
  4. HRTC shall ensure availability of masks, hand sanitizers at bus stands and their price shall  all be regulated the Regional Manager
  1. Bus Stand Management and Development Authority shall ensure adequate signages to guide the passengers.
  2. Public announcement system at bus shall regularly disseminate information about the precautions to be followed during travel.
  3. Physical distance of at least one meter shall be ensured while boarding and de-boarding.
  4. Proper queue system should be followed during boarding and at the ticket counter.
  5. Anyone moving inside the bus stand shall mandatorily wear the face cover.
  6. Adequate bins shall be placed for disposal of used material like etc. All such waste to be handled and disposed of as per the prescribed procedures.
  7. HRTC shall ensure that person sitting at cash counters be provided with adequate safety protective gears like gloves, masks, face cover, face shields, hand sanitizers etc.

 

(b). Inside the bus (passenger protocol)

  1. All passengers shall wear mask/face cover throughout the journey and ensure that co-passenger shall also wear masks.
  2. Passengers must use hand sanitizers regularly during their journey for their safety.
  3. It shall be ensured that only 60% of seats are occupied and seats marked as “Not to be used” are left vacant.
  4. Avoid unnecessary touching of common contact points.
  5. Avoid travelling in case of any illness. In case of emergency and illness, inform to the conductor for maintaining physical distancing during the journey.
  6. In case of any symptoms of illness of co-passenger, the information shall be provided to crew members of the bus.

 

(c). Bus protocol

  1. Boarding and de-boarding in the bus shall be from the rear and front door respectively. 
  2. A sticker shall be pasted on seats marked as “Not to be used”. 
  3. Every alternate seat shall be left unoccupied i.e. in case of three seats, middle seats, shall be left unoccupied and in case of two seats, only window seat shall be occupied. 
  4. While issuing the tickets, the conductor shall avoid physical contact with the passengers and maintain proper physical distance.
  5. Passenger must assist the driver/conductor to maintain 60% occupancy. 
  6. Proper ventilation must be maintained during the journey by opening the window glasses. 
  7. Buses shall be stopped for boarding and de-boarding on the designated bus stands/stops only. 
  8. Stage Carriage buses can pass through containment zones, however, boarding and de-boarding of passenger(s) shall be strictly prohibited within containment zones.
  9. Regional Manager, HRTC shall ensure that the proper hygiene and cleanliness is maintained at authorized Dhabas for passenger’s safety, which are to be notified by the District Magistrate.

(d) Conductor

  1. He shall wear mask/face cover, gloves and face shield throughout the journey.
  2. While issuing tickets, he/she shall ensure physical distancing from the passengers.
  3. He shall not allow passenger(s) to be seated on the seat marked as “Not to be used”. 
  4. He shall educate passenger(s) about the protocol to be followed during the journey and ensure that all safety precautions are adhered to by the all concerned. 
  5. He shall ensure proper ventilation in the bus.

(e) Driver

  1. HRTC/Private operators shall ensure proper segregation of a separate cabin for the driver.  He shall ensure minimum contact with the passengers and the public.
  2. He shall use protective gears like masks/face cover hand sanitizers etc.

 

(f) Way Side Amenities protocol

1, Proper sanitization and cleanliness must be ensured in the dining area, kitchen and toilets at Dhabas/restaurants.

2. Every Dhaba/restaurant must have sanitised for public use.

3. Soap dispenser must be available in the toilet and each washbasin.

4.Seating arrangement in the dining area must be such that proper physical distancing be maintained.

Any violation of these orders will be subject to prosecution under relevant provisions of the National Disaster Management Act 2005, the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and such other laws as may apply.

Continue Reading

Trending