Institute Unveil Nigeria’s Solar-powered Electronic Voting Machine

After several persuasions from different bodies for a transparent, free and fair electoral process, an electronic voting machine has been produced. The solar-powered electronic voting (e-voting) machine was reportedly developed by the Electronic Development Institute in Anambra state.

According to Professor Mohammed Haruna, Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), the machine has a cloud-based storage which would collate election results. Furthermore, all federal, state and local government elections can be conducted in a day- with each voter casting his votes between 50 to 90 seconds for all executive and legislative elections.

Why is an e-voting machine important in Nigeria?

One of the biggest impediments to Nigeria’s growth is its flawed electoral process. Almost every election ever held in the country has been rife with allegations of fraud and rigging. This has caused Nigerians to lose hope in its electoral system and spurred several riots and protests against results.

The e-voting system ensures a transparent and fair process which is also auditable. Countries such as the USA, UK, Romania and Brazil that have used this voting system have boasted of faster results, security and accuracy. Therefore, Nigeria has a lot to gain from the adoption of the e-voting system.

According to Haruna, the e-voting system eliminates several disadvantages of the traditional system such as – ballot box snatching, multiple thumb printing, failure of card reader and alteration of data between polling units and collation centres.

With this, voters can monitor election progress and results in real time, Nigerians in diaspora can also vote.  Other features of the e-voting machine include: facial recognition, thumb printer and card reader.

Now that we have made progress in solving the challenge of our voting machine, how do we also solve the issue of the candidates we vote for?

Techpoint

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1.7bn Advertisements Blocked In 2016, Says Google

Google’s Director of Product Management Sustainable Advertisements, Scott Spencer, said that Google blocked 1.7 billion advertisements in 2016 for violating its advertising policies.

Spencer said in a statement on Saturday in Lagos that the number was double the bad ads the company took down in 2015, stating that Google achieved this because of its improved technology.

”If you spent one second taking down each of those bad ads, it’d take you more than 50 years to finish. But our technology is built to work much faster.

”Last year, we did two key things to take down more bad ads. First, we expanded our policies to better protect users from misleading and predatory offers.

”In July we introduced a policy to ban ads for payday loans, which often result in unaffordable payments and high default rates for users.

”In the six months since launching this policy, we disabled more than five million payday loan ads.

”Second, we beefed up our technology so we can spot and disable bad ads even faster.

”For example, ‘trick to click’ ads often appear as system warnings to deceive users into clicking on them, not realising they are often downloading harmful software or malware,” the director said.

He said that in 2016, Google’s systems detected and disabled 112 million ads for ‘trick to click’, which was six times more than in 2015.

According to him, a free and open web is a vital resource for people and businesses around the world.

He said that ads played a key role in ensuring that people had access to accurate, quality information online.

”But bad ads can ruin the online experience for everyone. They promote illegal products and unrealistic offers.

”They can trick people into sharing personal information and infect devices with harmful software.

”Ultimately, bad ads pose a threat to users, Google’s partners, and the sustainability of the open web itself.

”We have a strict set of policies that govern the types of ads we do and don’t allow on Google, in order to protect people from going for misleading, inappropriate or harmful ads,” Spencer said.

He commended its team of engineers, policy experts, product managers and others who were waging a daily fight against bad actors.

The director said that over the years, the commitment had made the web a better place for everyone, and a worse place for those who seek to abuse advertising systems for their own gain.

He said that in addition to its efforts and commitment, Google supported industry efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads to protect people from bad experiences across the web.

According to him, while Google took down more bad ads in 2016 than ever before, the battle does not end there.

”As we invest in better detection, the scammers invest in more elaborate attempts to trick our systems.”

He promised that the company would continue to protect people online and ensured that they got the best services from the open web.

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Facebook Announces ‘Fake News’ Offensive In Germany

Social media giant Facebook announced Sunday that it will introduce new measures to combat fake news in Germany, as Europe’s largest economy and most populous nation enters an election year.

“It’s important to us that the reports and news posted on Facebook are reliable,” a blog post on the Silicon Valley firm’s German website read.

German politicians have warned that populist parties and foreign nations could use fake news to try and influence parliamentary elections slated for September or October.

Facebook’s new German initiative targets “unambiguously wrong reports” being shared on the social media platform.

The firm said it would offer a simpler reporting process for users to flag suspected fake news, display warnings next to statements identified as false by independent fact-checking organisations, and cut off advertising revenue to fake news sites presenting themselves as real news organisations.

Stories flagged with a fake news warning will not be eligible to be converted into an ad seen by other users or “promoted” into other users’ feeds for a fee.

“We think that independent and transparent fact-checking can be a powerful instrument for journalism,” Facebook said.

Nonprofit investigative journalism organisation Correctiv will be the first fact-checking partner in Germany, the firm added, saying that they are “confident” of adding other news organisations in future.

Facebook’s latest measures come just days after it announced the creation of a “Journalism Project” aimed at boosting the credibility of the information it circulates.

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Teenager Invents Phone Charger That Uses Hand Energy

A teenager, 19-year-old Michael Vaga, has invented a technology that charges your phone using power generated from the human body.

The import of this new device is that one can now charge phones without having to find the most times elusive plug.

The gadget is called ‘HandEnergy’ and it works by allowing users to charge their phones just by rotating their hand.

By rotating your hand, you activate the device’s gyroscope to produce energy that can then either be stored or used to immediately charge your mobile phone.

HandEnergy received more than £50,872 in Kickstarter funding. The Inventor, Michael Vaga, lives in Minsk, Belarus. He said of the gadget as follows-

“With each rotation of your hand, the rotor speed increases significantly and generates more power. The average speed of the rotor is 5,000rpm. We translate the mechanical energy you put in into electrical energy and this means you can charge your device.”

He said that the product, which took the better part of a year to develop is great for people who travel frequently or are often away from power sockets.

It takes between 40 minutes and one hour to fully charge the batteries of the HandEnergy device and this speed is reduced by 30 per cent if a phone is being simultaneously charged.

Mr Vaga and his team believe the device not only provides emergency energy but it is also clean energy which is good for our ecosystem.

Mr Vaga said further that:”‘It’s a superb feeling when a project you have developed for many years not only keeps moving, but actually picks up the pace. All of our reviews have been great. People admired the project and were happy someone came up with a device that will save them from power shortages.”

HandEnergy is currently scheduled to roll out in March 2017 with an expected retail price of 99 euros (£84).

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Internet Users Shrink As Glo Records Increase In New Subscribers

The Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for October published on website of Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that the total number of internet users on the networks of the four major operators shrank by 378,015 from 93.5m in September to 93.1m in October.

According to data published by telecom industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Globacom was the only network that recorded an increase in its internet subscriber base in the month of October, 2016.

The latest report reconfirms Globacom’s position as Nigeria’s data grand masters as it grew its internet customer base to 27,185,552 million in October from 26,887,929 in September. This indicates an increase of 297,623 during the month.

On the other hand, MTN and Etisalat had reductions in the number of customers surfing the net on their network during the period, while Airtel did not record any increase as its figures for the two months were the same.
The data revealed that MTN had 32,464,779 million subscribers browsing the internet on its network in October, which is a decrease of 306,480 internet subscribers from the September figure of 32,771,259.

On its part, Airtel had 18,832,238 million internet users in October, the same figure it recorded in September. Like MTN, Etisalat had 14,693,492 million data customers in October, showing a loss of 369,158 compared to the 15,062,650 million users it recorded in the preceding month of September.

According to the NCC data, the CDMA operators lost 13,664 internet users, after recording 38,309 in October compared to the 51,973 figure recorded in September.

Globacom’s position as telecom subscriber’s first choice for internet services was strengthened in October when it became the first network to launch a nationwide rollout of the 4G LTE advanced network. With the launch of the service, millions of subscribers on the Glo network have been able to enjoy instant efficient broadband internet connectivity.

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Google’s Self-driven Car Unit To Transform To A New Company

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is introducing an all-new brand, Waymo, which will be responsible for the outfit’s self-driving cars.

The new company will be headed by John Krafcik, the same man who has been in charge of Google’s self-driving car arm since 2015. According to Krafcik, the simple aim of Waymo is “to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”

“We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport. In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services,” says Krafcik.

Since beginning testing, Google has completed two million miles of real-world driving on public roads and over a billion miles in simulation. Its self-driving cars can do everything from identifying stopped police and service vehicles to navigating multi-lane four-way stops, a tricky task for even many human drivers.

Google says that on October 20, 2015, the company completed the world’s first fully-self driven car ride with a legally blind man named Steve Mahan in the car. He was driven through an Austin, TX neighborhood by Google’s self-driving car with no one else riding along with him.

Though no details were announced, Krafcik says that the company’s next step is to get everyday people into its cars to help with tasks like running errands and commuting to work.

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Facebook Messenger Launches New Powerful Native Camera

Fast Camera, Unique Art and 3D Special Effects

Today we are excited to launch a brand new, faster and easier to use camera with art and special effects to help make your conversations better than ever. Rolling out globally over the coming days, we hope you’ll be as happy as we are with the new experience in your favorite messaging app. We’ve seen that the way people are messaging is becoming much more visual. In fact, over 2.5 billion emojis, photos, stickers and videos are sent every day on Messenger.

In some ways the camera is now replacing the keyboard. As more people use Messenger in their every day lives, we wanted to make it faster, simpler, and more fun to send photos and videos— so we built the new Messenger Camera.

What’s New?

It’s even quicker and easier to capture and share moments as they happen. Imagine the Messenger camera as a powerful new tool that lives just behind your inbox. It’s always one tap away— whether you’re already in a conversation or have just opened up the app. You will see the shutter button center in the screen (we’ve dressed it up for the Holidays!) a tap takes photo, a long press records a video.

We’re also introducing a place to find new art and special effects. We are especially excited to debut 3D masks and special effects, which make it super easy to apply an artistic filter to your full screen photo and to turn your world into a work of art. Try them out – you can take a selfie and transform into a reindeer or play with falling snow or even just ask someone how they are doing – it’s the perfect way to spread a little happiness in your messages.

We’ve also added thousands of stickers, frames, masks, and effects to choose from too – and you can personalize exactly how you use it. We’ve worked with artists and influencers all over the world and these artists have added their own touch to the customization tools you can now use in Messenger.

And there’s more! Unique to Messenger we’ve also created a place where you can make your text messages even more fun. Check out the palette icon by the shutter and it will take you to a blank canvas where you can add art and stickers to your text. We’re making it super easy to add more delight to the conversations you’re having about what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and the plans you are making.

Of course, if you just want to send a message with only text, you can still do that too. All of the features that you know and love in Messenger are just the same. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts about our new Messenger Camera!

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Etisalat Loses 324,000 Customers To MTN, Glo

The active users of telecommunications services in the country stand at 153.51 million in October, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.

The telecommunications industry regulator made this known in its Monthly Subscriber/Operator Data, obtained on Friday in Lagos.

The reports stated that of the GSM operators, MTN had 60,982,487 users in October, which increased by 423,918, against 60,558,569 recorded in September.

Globacom figure increased in October by 150,280, giving a total of 37,117,992 customers as against 36,967,712 in September.

Airtel had 32,775,916 subscribers in the month under review, which were same users recorded in September.

Etisalat, however, recorded a reduction in customers by 324,485, giving a customer base of 22,210,315 as against 22,534,800 users in September.

The report revealed that the active telecommunications services customers increased by 214,572 in October, as against the figure in September which stood at 153,299,535.

According to the data, 153,086,710 of the 153,514,107 active numbers subscribed to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network services.

The GSM operators’ active customers increased by 249,713 from 152,836,997 subscribers recorded in September.

The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators had 244,477 active users in October, showing a decrease of 31,827 from 276,304 customers they had in September.

Between the two surviving CDMA service providers, Visafone’s customers reduced to 240,017, as it lost 31,827 users in September to record 271,844, while Multi-Links maintained 4,460 customers in September.

The monthly subscriber/operator data showed that the Fixed Wireless network’s (landline) consumers decreased to 26,942 in October, as they lost 3,774 customers from their record of 30,716 in September.

Also between the two Fixed Wireless operators, Visafone had 26,514 subscribers in October, losing 3,774 users from the September record of 30,288; while Multi-Links maintained its September record of 428 customers.

It also revealed that the Fixed Wired operators (landline) subscriber base reduced by 2,752, giving a total of 124,812 users in October, as against 127,564 recorded in September.

In the Fixed Wired arena, MTN Fixed took a decline move from 8,591 in September to 5,842 in October, thereby reducing by 2,749 users, Glo Fixed had 12,514 users in October, adding 11 customers to the September record of 12,503.

IpNX network moved from 2,587 subscriber base in September to 2,539, reducing its customers by 48 in October.

It said that 21st Century network had 103,917 customers in October, recording an increase of 34 users to its September record of 103,883.

The report also showed that Smile Communications, the only operator on the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) network had 31,166 active users in October, as it added 3,212 customers to its September subscriber base of 27,954.

The regulatory body said that Section 89 Subsection 3(c) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 mandated it to monitor and report the state of telecommunications industry.

“The commission is mandated to provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance.

“This is with a view to identifying areas where regulatory intervention will be needed.

“The commission regularly conducts studies, surveys and produces reports on the telecommunications industry.

“Therefore, telecommunications operators are obligated, under the terms of the licenses, to provide NCC with such data on a regular basis for analytical review and publishing,’’ the report stated.

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Facebook, ICLDNG Partner To Launch Free Internet Safety Resources In Nigeria 

Facebook has partnered with the International Centre for Leadership Development Nigeria (ICLDNG) to launch free internet safety resources for teenagers, parents and educators through its newly launched Safety Centre. The redesigned Safety Centre is available in over 50 languages.

The new Safety Centre walks people through the tools Facebook offers to control their experience on the platform, as well as numerous tips and resources for safe and secure sharing of information. It works well on mobile devices and includes step-by-step videos on a variety of useful safety topics.

An addition to Facebook’s Safety Centre is the Bullying Prevention Hub, a resource for teens, parents and educators seeking guidance on how to prevent and address bullying. Developed with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence in 2013, Facebook now works with 50 partners around the world to make the Bullying Prevention Hub more widely available.

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and to make the world more open and connected,” says Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager Africa. “We want everyone to feel safe when sharing and engaging with friends, family and loved ones on Facebook. To help achieve this, we work with external experts and gather feedback from our community and partners like the International Centre for Leadership Development Nigeria to develop and improve our policies, tools and resources to keep people safe on Facebook.”

“We’re pleased to partner with Facebook to help educate people about how they can stay safe online,” says Felix Bidemi Iziomoh, Executive Director at ICLDNG.  “We believe in the positive uses of technology and are happy to play a role in helping to create a better and safer online community.”

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New Century Intiative And Singleclick Nigeria Provides Free Coding Training For Enugu Secondary Schools

New Century Initiative and Singleclick Nigeria in collaboration with PPSMB (Post Primary School Management Board), Enugu have started a free coding program for public secondary schools in Enugu. The program is to introduce over 2000 students in the state to the concepts of computer science and computational thinking. In its pilot phase, students in 7 selected schools will learn coding using scratch and web development using HTML and CSS.

This will expose the students to powerful tools that could give them creative problem solving skills and make them critical thinkers, giving them relevant skills to solve local issues of sustainable development and as well provide employment opportunities both for themselves and those around them in the future.

PPSMB, was set up by the Government of Enugu State of Nigeria to Supervise, Manage and control all the state government owned Secondary Schools in Enugu State. The Board controls 291 schools spread across the seventeen (17) Local Government Areas of the state, with students population of about 150, 000 made up of 60, 000 males and 90, 000 females as at 2014/2015 academic session.

The project is themed #TeenTech and is in consolidation with Enugu State Oganiru Economic Submit to provide underprivileged students in public schools the requisite tech skills to take advantage of many technology tools for sustainable development.

Though other schools will follow suite, but the pilot phase is for the underlisted selected schools which are;
Uwani Boys Secondary School, Enugu
Queens School, Enugu
Nike Grammar School, Nike, Enugu
Annunciation Secondary School, Enugu
CSS Iva Valley, Enugu
Girls Sec School, Enugu
Trans Ekulu Girls Secondary School, Enugu

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Aiki Nigeria Calls For Application For ‘Ready Set Code’

In continuing to upskill young people, Aiki Nigeria calls young coders and social enthusiasts to apply for the Ready Set Code conference. This will include a Hackathon session where applicants will be trained to solve social challenges in the following sectors:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Environmental

Ready Set Code is a one-day developer’s conference aimed at getting mobile app developers to pitch directly to the technology market. This event aims to increase participation of developers in building locally, while pitching their ideas directly to the wanting markets. The winners of the competition will get seed funding for their ideas.

The program will feature youths in the technology industry who will showcase their apps with the goal of fostering economic and social change in Nigeria. In the past 1 year and 11 months, Aiki Nigeria has gone round the country to train young people on Basic ICT knowledge, coding skills. We are excited to call for young people who have undergone our training to apply for this competition.

“Technology has played a role in raising income and driving employment opportunities in developing worlds; and there is a huge demand for IT programmers in a rapidly growing economy and a lot of young people are unemployed with no skill which is what birthed ‘Code2Earn’. With ‘Code2Earn’, unemployed youths can earn a living and create more jobs” This program is part of a bold vision of getting 1 Million fingers Coding by 2017,” says Bukonla Adebakin, Team lead, The Future Project.

“The goal is to empower young Nigerians to become entrepreneurs using technology, with coding as its focus, which in turn will help their communities, their country, or even the continent at large

The Conference will be holding at Digital Village, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on the 10th of December, 2016.

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The Guardian Announces The Launch Of Guardian Brand Studio

The Guardian, Nigeria’s most credible and trusted newspaper, is pleased to announce the launch of Guardian Brand Studio, an innovative multiplatform content marketing solution for advertisers. Following on from the launch of Guardian TV and the overhaul of its digital platforms, this launch demonstrates The Guardian’s ongoing commitment to being a leader in the market.

Guardian Brand Studio consists of a team of writers, designers, videographers, developers and researchers that work with advertisers to create branded content to reach influential and well educated audiences in Nigeria, the diaspora and globally. We use our journalistic and storytelling skills to work with brand marketing departments to create compelling content that will engage audiences on our platforms and beyond.

Toke Alex Ibru, the Executive Director, The Guardian Newspapers, stated, “The media industry is continually evolving and requires publishers to adapt to the ever changing needs of our audience and advertisers. The launch of Guardian Brand Studio continues to build on our vision to become the most progressive and innovative publisher across the region.”

Daryn Wober, CEO Ventra Media/Guardian Digital said, “The Guardian Brand Studio will allow our advertiser partners to create content and tell stories in partnership with a leading news brand. All the skills that The Guardian has built around multiplatform journalism and content creation can be harnessed for the benefit of their brands.”

The studio has already worked with brands such as Zenith Bank, Jumia, Nairabet and United Capital to deliver campaigns using editorial, photography, video, info-graphics and technology. Advertisers provide Guardian Brand Studio with a creative brief and the team deliver a content and distribution strategy before moving to production and syndication. Content is then made available across all of The Guardian’s platforms including print, online, Guardian TV and social channels. Clients are also then able to utilize content and assets across their own platforms to achieve maximum reach and impact.

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