Telstra gave ABS mobile data to track Canberrans’ locations

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APRIL 24 2018 – 7:18PM

Sally Whyte

The Australian Bureau of Statistics used people’s mobile phones in order to track their location hour by hour for a study on population movement.

The agency has defended the study because it did not track people in real time, with a spokesman saying “the ABS has not tracked or conducted surveillance on any Australian”.

The study used mobile phone data from two weeks in April 2016, with suburbs across the ACT and surrounding areas in NSW targeted to show the ways populations move throughout the day and at different times in the week.

First reported by freelance journalist Asher Wolf, the study has been made public through presentations given by demographer Andrew Howe at conferences in Adelaide and Redcliffe, Queensland last year.

Slides for the presentations claim that mobile device user data that was aggregated and anonymised is the solution to a data gap in showing temporary population estimates.

 An image from the Australian Bureau of Statistics presentation on a study that used mobile phone data to track hourly ...
An image from the Australian Bureau of Statistics presentation on a study that used mobile phone data to track hourly population changes in the ACT. Photo: Sally Whyte

The ABS presentation said it had a “trial engagement with a telco company,” but did not specify which company this was. Telstra has since confirmed that it was the company involved.

Privacy advocates have slammed the study and how the ABS had dealt with the data. Chair of Digital Rights Watch Tim Norton said the study was “irresponsible” by the ABS in light of controversy over the 2016 census.

“They’re under a dark cloud of lacking consent in the way they engage with people’s personal data so to do this study and then try and hide it, which is what it looks like, I think is incredibly irresponsible,” he said.

Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation David Vaile has compared the ABS’ attitude around people’s data to that of Facebook.

“It’s a very contemptuous and patronising but also Facebook-like attitude to their right to keep things quiet or to not reveal the full extent of what they’re doing,” he said.

The ABS spokesman said individuals could not be identified from the data.

“The ABS received aggregate level telecommunications data from a telecommunications company to inform estimates of temporary populations. No individual information was provided to the ABS. Only aggregated counts of mobile telephone transactions were supplied in broad geographical areas,” the ABS spokesman said.

The ABS said the information was obtained under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act, and that it is also bound by the Privacy Act. It said that it was not required to undertake a privacy impact assessment, because no personal data was used.

“Under this legislation, the ABS is bound to maintain the secrecy of information collected and protect people’s confidentiality,” the spokesman said.

The study was part of “ongoing efforts to use existing available data, rather than obtaining it directly from the population”.

“This is accepted, common practice in many overseas countries.”

The study was undertaken in the months leading up to the 2016 census, where the ABS was criticised for its plan to retain respondents’ names and addresses for four years instead of the 18 months used in previous years. The period in the study was before mandatory data retention laws came into effect, but the ABS is one of the government agencies that can request metadata from telecommunications companies.

Telstra has also defended its role in the study.

“Telstra is firmly committed to the protection and security of our customers’ personal information, which is outlined publicly in Telstra’s Privacy Statement, and we comply with all relevant privacy legislation,” a spokesman said.

“We do not share any information which identifies, or could reasonably identify, a customer with third parties unless we have the appropriate informed consent or are required to by law.”

“For the ABS project Telstra supplied anonymised and aggregated data insights under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. No individual customer information was provided,” the spokesman said.

The data provided by the company allowed the ABS to make hourly population estimates, showing how the population grew in the ACT during business hours, and dropped in surrounding areas of NSW at the same time.

It also showed that the number of people in the Belconnen Town Centre rose to around 10,000 each weekday, almost double the area’s estimated resident population.

The data projected hourly population estimates in Bruce at the time of a Raiders v Tigers NRL match, including a breakdown of females and males. It also showed the number of people in the area at the time of the Groovin the Moo music festival.

The data was also able to project how many people attended AFL matches at the MCG on particular dates, as well as the population in beach towns on the NSW south coast over a long weekend.

“The pilot was conducted in the Australian Capital Region (the ACT and surrounds). Many of the people who use the services and infrastructure in Canberra do not reside in the ACT, yet Commonwealth funding is allocated to states and territories based on its usual resident population, not its service population,” the ABS spokesman told Fairfax Media. This information could be used to make population-based funding decisions in areas with fly-in, fly-out populations, the spokesman said.


Source :  The Canberra Times

He lost an arm, a hand and an eye, but war hero Michael Lyddiard is tougher than you are

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By David Wroe

Michael Lyddiard was flat on his stomach rendering safe a Taliban-made booby trap bomb when it detonated, blowing him a metre backwards.

The blast took his right arm below the elbow, his right eye and part of his left hand.

About three months later, his father made a passing remark that he had a tonne of rocks in his driveway that needed moving but he didn’t expect his son to do it given his injuries.

Mr Lyddiard, whose physical and mental toughness are almost hard to fathom, came back the next morning, started work at 6am and spent the day shovelling the rocks, just to prove he could.

Former soldier Michael Lyddiard pictured in Townsville.

Former soldier Michael Lyddiard pictured in Townsville. Photo: Cameron Laird

Other soldiers talk about how Mr Lyddiard could be seen walking around his Townsville barracks in the early months after his injury carrying a bucket of sand so he could do push-ups with his stump in the bucket.

“I was trying to fit back in the unit. I’d run round with a bucket of sand so when the platoon or the squadron got told to do push-ups I could do it with them. It was about being there and being seen as equal.”

Camaraderie has been central to Mr Lyddiard’s recovery since 2007. He’ll spend the Anzac Day dawn service on Wednesday “with my beautiful family” at his home unit the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment.

He’s also used physical exercise, sometimes to extremes. This took a leap forward last year when he won three gold and two silver medals at the Toronto Invictus Games, the sports event Prince Harry helped establish for wounded and sick military personnel and veterans.

Mr Lyddiard is training in the hope of competing again this year in athletics and cycling events when the fourth games are held in Sydney in October.

Invictus is the Latin word for “unconquered”. Sydney Invictus chief executive Patrick Kidd, himself a former soldier, said the power of stories such as Mr Lyddiard’s would “help people in the broader community to understand what it is you need to do to move forward, to be resilient, to turn things around when times are hard”.

But the former combat engineer’s case shows how complex recovery from war wounds can be. More than a decade on, he talks as much about letting other people – and even his country – down as he does his own travails.

Michael Lyddiard meets Prince Charles in 2015.
Michael Lyddiard meets Prince Charles in 2015.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

There was anguish at forcing his mates to bear the burden of keeping him alive after, as he puts it, “I got my arse handed to me” in an Afghan valley. There’s the stress he caused his family. (He has two sons though he and his wife separated several years after he was injured.)

The physical injuries, seeing himself in the mirror, remind him of those feelings every day.

“I’ve come a long way, I’ve started a new chapter in my life. But I still feel a lot of anguish, a lot of guilt,” he said.

“If anything, I’m tired, I’m exhausted. I just wish I could be doing more. I feel like I failed my country. I feel like I failed what I had set out to do, so I’m still trying to find that place or way to prove who I am, or help others or empower others.”

Before Toronto, he spent a lot of time at home and he would bite back too sharply when someone made insensitive remarks about his disabilities, especially in front of his children.

Although he’d done triathlons and iron man competitions, competing in Toronto forced him to confront his problems fitting in with other people.

He took a dip at the start when the lights and noise of the opening ceremony provoked a relapse. He had to leave the ceremony and find a quiet place to get his heart rate and shakes under control.

But gradually he bonded with others, in particular Reese Hines, an American bomb disposal airman who had similar injuries.

“It was like a gradual return to who I was … that camaraderie, the mateship,” he said. “You can feel a sense of worth and that made me feel more comfortable being in that unfamiliar environment.”

Mr Lyddiard now has a degree in occupational therapy and works helping veterans.

Daniel Parker, a veteran of East Timor and Afghanistan, also credits the games with lifting him up.

A former combat engineer, he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and physical injuries caused by carrying heavy loads on operations. He won gold in the 100 metres and silver in the 200 metres last year and is hoping to compete in a range of track and field events in Sydney.

“We’re not competing against each other, we’re just out there competing against a time or to beat our PB [personal best],” he said.

“And to be able to hopefully break my PBs in front of a home crowd will be amazing.”


Source :  The Brisbane Times

PACE officially recognizes Russia’s occupation of Donbas

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Ariev also said PACE had taken into account an amendment proposed by the Ukrainian delegation in the report.

Photo from UNIAN

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a decision recognizing the occupation by Russia of part of Ukraine. “Russia is an occupier! The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a decision recognizing certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by the Russian Federation. This is the victory of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, which in the long term will increase Russia’s responsibility for violating the norms of international law,” PACE Vice President Volodymyr Ariev wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, April 24.

He also said PACE had taken into account the amendment of the Ukrainian delegation in the report “State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights.” “It’s a victory! An important amendment proposed by the Ukrainian delegation to PACE was adopted in the report ‘State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights,’ and the Assembly voted to recognize the occupation by Russia of part of Donbas! Fairy tales about coal miners, tractor drivers and post exchanges are no longer part of international documents,” Ariev added. As UNIAN reported earlier, Ariev said on April 23 PACE had refused Ukraine’s request to hold an urgent debate over the illegal election of the Russian president in occupied Crimea and other aspects of Russian policy.


Source: UNIAN

Ukraine’s central bank to curb inflation to 5% by end of 2020

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Tighter monetary conditions will slow the country’s economic growth, yet they are necessary to reduce inflation. Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Dmytro Sologub says the central bank’s tighter monetary policy will help to curb inflation to 5% by the end of 2020.

Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Dmytro Sologub says the central bank’s tighter monetary policy will help to curb inflation to 5% by the end of 2020.

“A tighter monetary policy will help to return inflation to the target range in the second half of 2019 and reduce it to 5% at the end of 2020,” the NBU’s press service quoted Sologub as saying. According to him, the tighter monetary conditions will have a deterrent effect on the country’s economic growth.

However, such regulatory policy is a forced measure for a gradual reduction in inflation. As UNIAN reported earlier, the National Bank in April decided to keep the key policy rate at 17% per annum after its increase four times in a row to 17% per annum in March 2018, 16% in January 2018, 14.5% in December 2017, and 13.5% in October 2017.

According to the NBU Monetary Policy Committee, which makes a decision on recommendations for the regulator’s board, the key policy rate is unlikely to be lowered this year.

The NBU’s highest rate was 30% per annum, which was in effect from March 4 to August 28, 2015. Inflation in Ukraine in March 2018 slowed to 13.2% year-over-year (y-o-y) against 14% recorded in February 2018 y-o-y.

Source:  UNIAN

Qatar Airways to expand fleet with 11 new planes this year

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24 Apr 2018 – 9:50

Qatar Airways to expand fleet with 11 new planes this year

Akbar Al Baker (second left), Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways, handing over a memento to H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, during the IATA conference at Sheraton Doha yesterday. Pic:Abdul Basit / The Peninsula

By Sidi Mohamed | The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker announced yesterday that the airline will add 11 new planes to its fleet this year as it prepares to launch 16 new destinations in 2018 and 2019.

He said that the national carrier, which is preparing to announce its financial results in June, remains strong despite the siege imposed on Qatar. It continues to expand and invest in new markets, adds new aircraft, and employs more workers.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the 31st edition of IATA Ground Handling Services Conference yesterday, Al Baker announced that the ground handling subsidiary of Qatar Airways, Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) will begin international expansion in 2018.

Minister of Transport and Communications, H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, said hosting of IATA Ground Handling Conference, which is being organised for the first time in the Middle East, is a demonstration of confidence in Qatar Airways and Qatar.

The high-profile conference, being hosted at Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, is witnessing participation of more than 700 international delegates and guests from more than a dozen countries.

Addressing media-persons, Al Baker said expanding QAS’ operations internationally will enhance Qatar Airways’ rapid growth pans, as well as provide other airlines and airports access to QAS’ capabilities and the profit and performance improvements that it deliver to its customers.

“The decision to launch QAS internationally is a logical business decision. Our Ground Services division has contracts with ground handlers across our extensive global network of more than 150 global destinations measuring their key performance indicators, and QAS is without doubt a global leader in this area,”said Al Baker.

Qatar Airways Company achieved 99.5 percent of the ground handling accuracy in 2017, providing services to international airlines, private fleets as well as air cargo and other services, he added.

Al Baker pointed out that the company, which employs about 7,500 people from 54 countries, delivered 47 million pieces of goods to become one of the least delayed in delivery of luggage in this sector with a rate of 0.6 per thousand passengers.

More than two million tonnes of cargo were delivered last year at an annual increase rate of 25 percent through Hamad International Airport (HIA), which served 36 million passengers and handled more than 222,000 flights in 2017.

“It is significant that our plans for international expansion were announced at the IGHC, since we have a long-term relationship with IATA. The QAS management team holds key positions on the IATA technical working groups, proposing and implementing developments that improve standards across the aviation industry,” he said. “By being the best in a high-tech, high-traffic, and high-growth environment, we provide innovative solutions for our customers that they don’t have access to through other ground handling agents,” Al Baker said.

The Qatar Airways Group chief executive noted that the company, which proved successful at the level of HIA, may look to expand in other international airports, one of which could be Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, but did not specify whether a final decision has been taken in this regard so far.

He said Qatar Airways plans a host of new destination launches this year, including London Gatwick and Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum and Antalya, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece and Málaga, Spain.


Source :  The Peninsula Qatar

Qatari-American contemporary artist wins new $100,000 prize

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24 Apr 2018 – 11:10

Qatari-American contemporary artist wins new $100,000 prize

Qatari-American artist Sophia Al-Maria poses for a portrait in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain. (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago / Laura Cugusi)


CHICAGO: A 35-year-old Qatari-American artist is the inaugural winner of a prize worth $100,000 that recognizes mid-career artists from the Middle East.

Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Monday announced Sophia Al Maria as the winner of the first Dunya Contemporary Art Prize. The museum will commission a new work from her that will be presented in a major exhibition.

An international jury of contemporary Middle Eastern art experts chose Al-Maria for the honor, saying she has “pioneered a new visual language.”

The 35-year-old artist, writer and filmmaker lives and works in London. The prize aims to foster contemporary Middle Eastern artists whose work is “rigorous, challenging and unconventional.”

The prize receives support from the Shulamit Nazarian Foundation and will be given once every two years.

Source :  The Peninsula Qatar

Msheireb Downtown Doha releases first residential tower for rent

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24 Apr 2018 – 13:08

Msheireb Downtown Doha releases first residential tower for rent

The Peninsula

Doha: Residents in Doha are now able to sign up to live in one of the region’s most desirable addresses, at Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD). Msheireb Properties (MP) is presenting at this week’s Cityscape Qatar their first residential tower for leasing, Wadi One.

A subsidiary of Qatar Foundation for Education, Sciences and Social Development, MP is previewing Wadi One for potential letting opportunities on 1-4-bedroom apartments that offer unparalleled views of the West Bay, old Doha and Souq Waqif, as well as state-of-the-art smart home technology.

With one of the most magnificent views of Doha’s West Bay skyline, Wadi One will offer a combination of understated luxury and day-to-day convenience with easy access to MDD’s flagship Galleria Mall, a supermarket, children’s edutainment area and many retail and F&B options on their doorstep. Residents can also take advantage of exclusive pools, state-of-the art gyms, roof-top terraces with stunning views, private lifts, communal majlis and 24/7 concierge and facility management services. MDD will offer a new type of urban living that’s unprecedented in terms of style, amenities, location, and safety, alongside promoting a healthier, more green way of living.

Wadi One provides peace of mind with high-tech IP-based camera surveillance systems ensuring total security within the neighbourhood, and around-the-clock facilities and project management guaranteeing everything within the project works perfectly. Complementing this, the location of Wadi One is central to the city and close to Doha’s most iconic landmarks, with easy access via the Souq Waqif tunnel, as well as close to AL Wadi Hotel and Sikkat Al Wadi Square.

On completion, the new downtown district will offer residents a combination of luxurious and spacious townhouses that blend traditional Qatari heritage with modern architecture, as well as contemporary apartments with world-class fittings and finishes.

Details about Wadi One can be found at its dedicated space on the Msheireb Properties pavilion at Cityscape Qatar, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Conference Center until Wednesday (April 25).

Source :  The Peninsula Qatar