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By Usman Khan Lodhi
Lyft expands ADT-supported Emergency Help across the U.S.
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Lyft is making Emergency Help, a feature it launched to enhance transportation safety, now available across the U.S., which means both drivers and riders request assistance by quickly connecting to ADT security professionals. The program was initiated in select locations in the U.S. earlier this year.
With the help of the feature, riders and drivers will be able to immediately connect with an ADT security professional through voice or silently. While riders may select between the security company texting them, calling them, or calling 911 on their behalf, drivers will only have the ability to request a call from ADT. The firm stated that this is being done to "promote focused driving."
If users request assistance, ADT will alert authorities so they may immediately reach the user's live location. ADT will provide law enforcement agencies with ride details, which include "vehicle’s make and model, license plate number, and the intended drop-off location."
The ride-hailing service plans to expand this feature in the future by integrating it with its Smart Trip Check-in product, which checks on users who have been dropped at a considerable distance from their intended destination.
Vodafone develops remote product recall IoT platform
by Paul Hill
Vodafone’s research and development engineers have developed a prototype recall system for home appliances that monitor the hardware for defects and shuts them down if a defect is detected. Product recalls are very common among home appliances, such as tumble dryers, which can pose a fire risk.
With the new prototype system, manufacturers will be able to let consumers know immediately and automatically if a product has been recalled. Appliances shipping with the alert system will include a Vodafone Safety Alert Message Indicator - an LED linked to a mini electronic device that’s connected to Vodafone’s IoT network.
If a product recall is issued, the indicator LED will switch from green to amber if consumers need to speak to manufacturers, or red if there is a fault which needs immediate action. In an emergency, manufacturers will also be able to remotely shut down the product to reduce the risk of harm to the product or the consumer.
Commenting on the development, Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Group, said:
Vodafone also pointed out that the device will make product recalls easier in cases where the original customer has re-sold an appliance. As it stands, a manufacturer may only have the original buyer's contact details making it difficult or impossible to contact the new owner.
Twitter announces new labels for misleading COVID-19 posts
by Paul Hill
Twitter has announced that posts containing disputed or misleading information about COVID-19 will be graced with a warning label to alert users to the potential dubiousness of the post. Labels will contain a link to a webpage that shows reliable information about coronavirus. If Twitter finds that a post is more harmful, it will apply a warning explaining that the Tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts.
According to the social media giant, if a user posts an unverified claim with a “propensity for harm” rating of moderate or severe, no action will be taken – though those rated severe may get a label in the future. Disputed claims that have a moderate harm rating will get a label while those with a severe harm rating will get a warning overlay which can be dismissed by users. Finally, misleading information with a moderate harm rating will be labelled, and misleading information with a severe rating will be removed entirely.
Explaining how it’ll identify harmful posts, the firm said:
While most people will still see these labels, Twitter does note that there’s a caveat. Posts that have been embedded elsewhere and Tweets that are being viewed by people not logged into Twitter may still appear without a label. Overall, though, the new measure will help to better inform many more people so that they’re not tricked into believing unsubstantiated information.
UN agency says kids forced online earlier due to COVID-19
by Paul Hill
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, has warned that more children are being pushed online due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic. It said that they’re accessing the web at a younger age and that they’re spending longer online which increases the likelihood of cyberbullying and other risks.
The ITU estimates that 1.5 billion children, who would normally be at school, are stuck at home due to lockdown measures. Between more school work being digitally distributed and allaying boredom, more kids are forced to spend time online.
Commenting on the matter during an online briefing, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, an ITU director, is reported as saying:
Bogdan-Martin was also keen to point out that having access to the internet is very important for children’s education, but that this access must not dictate life. The ITU is working on developing standards and guidelines over the next couple of weeks which will advise on child protection online. Parents that are concerned with children’s access can use tools which restrict screen time or block certain websites from being accessed.
Uber improves passenger safety with on-trip report tool
by Paul Hill
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash Uber has announced that it’s launching a new feature within its app that allows passengers to report non-emergency safety issues during a trip. It said that feedback has been a part of Uber since the beginning but that research shows riders may not report everything after the fact due to distractions; now, they’ll be able to report issues during the trip itself while the incident is still fresh in a passenger’s mind.
To access the feature, tap the blue shield icon and look for the Report Safety Incident option. Here, you can report an issue. Some examples of non-emergencies that Uber lists include a driver not using a mount for their phone, the driver braking sharply, or the driver making inappropriate remarks. If the issue is more serious and you think it requires police attention, you can also make an emergency call from the blue shield menu.
Commenting on the need for on-trip reports, Uber said:
With trouble in London over safety fears, Uber has been trying to address concerns with the service. Last July, for example, the firm launched a safety tool called Check Your Ride which allows passengers to see if the car they’re getting into has a matching number plate, is the same make and model, and whether the driver photo matches with the person driving the vehicle. No doubt we’ll see more safety features from Uber as competitors like Ola enter the same markets with an emphasis on safety.