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WhatsApp opposes bill seeking to break end-to-end encryption on private messages

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Meta-owned WhatsApp opposed new legislation by the United Kingdom seeking to break end-to-end encryption on private messaging citing a threat to the privacy of billions of people around the world. 

“Private messages are private. We oppose proposals to scan people’s private messages, and we’re proud to stand with other apps to defend encryption and your right to privacy,” wrote Will Cathcart, who is the WhatsApp head, on Twitter. 

The messaging app penned down a letter which opposes the legislation that “opens door to trying to force technology companies to break end-to-end encryption on private messaging services”. 

“The law could give an unelected official the power to weaken the privacy of billions of people around the world,” the letter stated. 

The letter, mutually signed by several other companies, said that any company, government or person should not have the power to read personal messages. The companies said they will continue to defend encryption technology. 

“We’re proud to stand with other technology companies in our industry pushing back against the misguided parts of this law that would make people in the UK and around the world less safe,” it said. 

They also urged the UK government to address the risks that Online Safety Bill poses to everyone’s privacy and safety. 

“Around the world, businesses, individuals and governments face persistent threats from online fraud, scams and data theft. Malicious actors and hostile states routinely challenge the security of our critical infrastructure. End-to-end encryption is one of the strongest possible defences against these threats, and as vital institutions become ever more dependent on internet technologies to conduct core operations, the stakes have never been higher,” it added. 

The letter said that the bill would open a door to routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance of personal messages, hence, compromising the security and privacy of users.  

The companies urged the government to ponder over the bill as
“weakening encryption, undermining privacy, and introducing the mass surveillance of people’s private communications is not the way forward.”

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‘e-procurement system should be implemented throughout the country’

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The e-procurement system was implemented, according to a news release from the PPRA managing director, in order to decrease public spending by increasing transparency.

Hasnat Ahmed Qureshi stated that the system would soon be adopted nationwide, including in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, following its installation in 27 ministries and 280 governmental departments.

In cooperation with the Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Accountant General Pakistan Revenues, and State Bank of Pakistan, he said, a system was planned to facilitate procurement agencies and suppliers. One-window operation and e-payment options will be provided by the system.

The PPRA managing director also noted that the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Division, which are acting in accordance with the Prime Minister’s instruction, have made significant contributions to the implementation of the e-procurement system.

8,500 government workers and vendors have received specialized training for the “E-Pak Acquisition and Disposal System” initiative, which was started with support from the World Bank in March 2023.

The Procurement Rules 2004 have undergone 25 revisions by the federal PPRA in order to provide an easy and uncomplicated procurement process.

For the convenience of procurement engineers and suppliers, the PPRA has released high-quality bidding documents and procurement regulations. Additionally, help desks that offer daily technical support to departments and suppliers have been set up.

After successfully registering for free on the e-procurement system, about 13,000 suppliers and commercial entities are now qualified to participate in federal government procurement processes.

The e-procurement system, which would assist the provinces in ensuring efficient and transparent procurement procedures, has been given to Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the federal PPRA. Since July 1, the Punjabi government has successfully brought the e-procurement system into the province in an effort to guarantee openness.

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The China-Pakistan alliance aims to introduce environmentally friendly solar-powered electric bicycles.

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Recently, a preliminary cooperation deal was made to bring eco-friendly solar e-bikes to Pakistan by Road King, a well-known electric scooter company in Pakistan, and AGAO Solar Mobility, a China-based startup that specialises in solar-powered scooters.

With solar panels installed, solar scooters are environmentally friendly electric scooters. Instead of using conventional charging methods, these panels use solar energy to recharge the scooter’s battery. The Chinese company said that the short-distance, carbon-emission-free scooter and solar energy combination is dedicated to this goal.

The demand for products in Pakistan’s local transportation industry, trends in product development, and particular cooperative methods were all extensively discussed by the parties at the conference, according to CEN.

The Chinese firm promised to help Road King with product optimisation, marketing support, and technical support for solar-powered e-bikes. Developing superior transport products in tandem with the needs of the regional market is the aim.

As the delegation from Road King pointed out, we will aggressively pursue collaboration with the Chinese side and bring solar e-bikes to the Pakistani market. The high efficiency and eco-friendliness of solar e-bikes perfectly match Pakistan’s present need for environmentally friendly transportation.

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China is constructing the majority, namely two-thirds, of the world’s new wind and solar power plants.

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According to a report by the U.S.-based think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM), China is constructing 339 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale wind and solar energy, which accounts for 64% of the total global capacity. The project pipeline of the first-place country is more than eight times that of the second-place U.S., which has 40 GW.

The authors of the paper stated that China’s rapid progress makes it highly achievable to treble renewable capacity by the end of 2030, even without more hydropower. They urge China to increase its climate ambitions in its upcoming promises to the United Nations next year.

Last week, the Sydney-based think tank Climate Energy Finance said that Beijing is on course to achieve its own target of installing 1,200 GW of wind and solar power by this month, which is six years ahead of schedule.

According to GEM research analyst Aiqun Yu, China’s coal-centric power grid is facing difficulties in accommodating the rapid growth of renewable energy sources. To address this issue, there is a need for the accelerated expansion of transmission lines.
However, a different analysis published by Carbon Brief on Thursday revealed that the recent increase in capacity has resulted in renewable generation reaching unprecedented levels.

According to the analysis conducted by Lauri Myllyvirta, senior fellow at Asia Society Policy Institute, China’s electricity generation from coal reached a record low of 53% in May. At the same time, a record high of 44% of electricity came from non-fossil fuel sources. This suggests that China’s carbon emissions may have reached their highest point last year, assuming this trend continues.

The percentage of coal decreased from 60% in May 2023.

In May, solar power generation increased to 12% and wind power generation reached 11%, primarily due to China’s significant addition of new capacity. The remaining non-fossil fuel electricity was comprised of hydropower at 15%, nuclear power at 5%, and biomass at 2%.

In May, the power industry in China experienced a 3.6% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, which account for almost 40% of the country’s total emissions, due to the increased generation of renewable energy.

“According to Myllyvirta, if China continues to rapidly deploy wind and solar energy, it is expected that the country’s CO2 emissions will continue to decrease, with 2023 being the year when emissions reach their highest point and start to decline.”
In May, solar power generation had an unprecedented increase of 78% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 94 terrawatt hours (TWh).

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, there was a 29% rise in electricity generation from solar power. However, this figure does not account for the electricity generated by rooftop solar panels, which represents approximately half of the total solar electricity produced.

The new analysis computed the wind and solar power production by utilizing data on the capacity of power generation and the utilization figures provided by the China Electricity Council, an industry body.

Wind power generation increased by 5% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 83 TWh. This growth was primarily driven by a 21% increase in capacity. However, the overall utilization of wind power was lower due to fluctuations in wind conditions. Hydropower production experienced a significant increase of 39% compared to the previous year, during which it was adversely affected by a drought.

Gas-fired output experienced a decline of 16%, while power generation from coal decreased by 3.7%, despite a 7.2% growth in overall energy consumption compared to the previous year.

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