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Nepali team finds asteroids

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KATHMANDU — A nepali team has found six new asteroids during the Nepal Asteroid Search Campaign-2017 held from January 19 to February 18.

Five teams were selected for the campaign from Nepal which included four from Kathmandu and one from Pokhara.

The participating teams were provided with the photos taken by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) based in Hawaii, USA along with necessary software and instructions.

The teams found nine asteroids based on the photos and sent it to the US mainland. It will take a few years for the research to be verified.

The students from Celebration Co-Ed School in Kathmandu, teachers and students from Pokhara’s Prithvinarayan Campus, and club members from Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) took part in the search campaign.

NASO Chairman Suresh Bhattarai said it was possible to give Nepali names to the new finds after necessary verification process.

The participating teams had analysed 180,000 moving masses of rock in the data provided by Pan-STARRS which currently operates two telescopes of 1.8 meters.

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Android apps may be illegally tracking children, study finds

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Over 3300 free and popular children’s Android apps available on the Google Play Store could be violating child privacy laws, according to a new, large-scale study, highlighting growing criticism of Silicon Valley’s data collection efforts.

Researchers using an automated testing process have discovered that 3,337 family and child oriented Android apps on Google Play were improperly collecting kids’ data, potentially putting them in violation of the US’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA law (which limits data collection for kids under 13).

Only a small number were particularly glaring violations, but many apps exhibited behavior that could easily be seen as questionable.

Researchers analyzed nearly 6,000 apps for children and found that 3,337 of them may be in violation of the COPPA, according to the study report. The tested apps collected the personal data of children under age 13 without their parent’s permission, the study found.

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“This is a market failure,” said Serge Egelman, a co-author of the study and the director of usable security and privacy research at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The rampant potential violations that we have uncovered points out basic enforcement work that needs to be done.”

The researchers are adamant that they’re not showing ‘definitive legal liability.’ These apps may be running afoul of the law, but it’s up to regulators at the FTC to decide if they are. Without iOS data, it’s also unclear how common this problem is across platforms.

The potential violations were abundant and came in several forms, according to the study. More than 1,000 children’s apps collected identifying information from kids using tracking software whose terms explicitly forbid their use for children’s apps, the study found.

The researchers also said that nearly half the apps fail to always use standard security measures to transmit sensitive data over the Web, suggesting a breach of reasonable data security measures mandated by COPPA. Each of the 5,855 apps under review was installed more than 750,000 times, on average, according to the study.

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Unfortunately for parents, there’s little consumers can do to protect themselves since the policies and business practices of app developers and ad tracking companies are often opaque, Egelman said.

The study also points to a breakdown of so-called self-regulation by app developers who claim to abide by child privacy laws, as well as by Google, which runs the Android platform, he said.

Agencies

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