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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

EU Counter-Anti-Semitism Czar: Our Goal to Allow Jews Fear-Free Life in Europe

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The EU’s coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, this week told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs about the European Union’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. “The goal of all this activity is that Jews will be able to live in Europe without fear,” she said. “The fact that we have reached a situation whereby Jews send their children to schools behind barbed wire fences or send them to public schools without knowing whether they will be exposed to incitement there – this situation is unacceptable. The fact that we see security guards outside synagogues – and we have grown used to this – this is also unacceptable. But it doesn’t end there. There are security guards outside government buildings. The security situation is no longer limited to Jewish communities. We are convinced that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to combat anti-Semitism.”

Von Schnurbein said the general increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and the “atmosphere of hatred,” particularly online, are very worrying. She said that since her appointment in December, the EU’s activity against anti-Semitism has included dialogue with the major Internet companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — which brought about the formation of the Code of Conduct. Under the code, the online giants pledged to fund organizations that would help them monitor the situation and train people who will report any inciting content online.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) thanked von Schnurbein for the Code of Conduct legislation, which he said would allow social media companies to “remove hate speech inciting to violence within 24 hours,” which is “a correct and important step, the fruits of which I hope we will see immediately.”

Neguise told the meeting, which was also attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, of a survey conducted ahead of the meeting among rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Europe. The survey, commissioned by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, indicates that anti-Semitism is intensifying in Western European countries, but pointed out that the involvement of Muslim refugees in anti-Semitic incidents is marginal. The same survey showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe is decreasing.

“We are currently monitoring the process to see if there really is a change. We want to see a real change on the ground,” von Schnurbein said. “Today, only 13 of the 28 member states properly apply the [Code of Conduct] law . . . We are pressuring them to implement it.”

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said, “You cannot on the one hand constantly try to undermine the foundations of Judaism – be it brit milah (male circumcision ritual) or kosher shechitah (slaughtering of animals for food in accordance with Jewish law) – and on the other hand talk all the time about wanting to eradicate anti-Semitism.”

Yogev Karasenty, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry’s Director for Combating Anti-Semitism, said “It is not at all certain that the legislation trickles down to the ground level. There are Internet companies which declare a policy [of removing inciting content] but do not implement it.”

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, mentioned an EU survey conducted a few years ago which revealed that 74% of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks do not report them to the authorities. This indicates, he said, that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is significantly higher than what the official figures show.

Addressing von Schnurbein and Faaborg-Andersen, Haguel said, “These Jews are your citizens, they are European citizens, proud citizens who want to live in Europe, who want to raise their children in Europe, who pay taxes. Before legislation and enforcement and education – what kind of atmosphere is being created for your citizens there? For us, the Jewish people, it is very concerning, but you, who represent the sovereign governments of each country, are responsible for the Jewish citizens, just as you are responsible for all the other citizens.”

NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg spoke of the “new anti-Semitism” and said the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions “is directly linked to the incitement we hear about every day in Europe and the world. It is obvious that phrases such as ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘violation of international law,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ — which are said repeatedly in reference to Israel — feed this anti-Semitism.”

Ido Daniel, Program Director at Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, mentioned that in 2014 the organization filed some 14,000 complaints with new media companies regarding anti-Semitic content online, and in 2015 the number of complaints to Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram rose to about 29,000. The trend is continuing in 2016, and the organization expects to file over 30,000 complaints by the end of the year, he told the committee.

“The social networks allow many people to disseminate inciting messages which are then translated into physical acts against Jews,” said Daniel, who noted that Jewish students from Brussels told him that they conceal their real last names on Facebook to avoid receiving hateful and insulting messages.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said, “History has already shown us what happens when displays of hatred and violence are not dealt with. There is terror all over the world now, and the social networks serve as a [broad platform] for this activity. This is not only Israel’s — it is the problem of entire world. Terror strikes in Brussels, Paris, Turkey and the United States. It’s a global problem.”

Rut Zach of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Antisemitism said that since von Schnurbein’s appointment “we can see concrete action against anti-Semitism in Europe,” adding that the left in Europe must take the lead on this issue. “The left is supposed to protect human rights,” she said.

Carol Nuriel, Acting Director of ADL’s Israel office, presented the findings of a poll showing that one in every three Europeans holds anti-Semitic opinions. Another survey conducted by ADL after the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket Hypercacher and the Jewish Museum in Brussels indicated a 10-20% decrease in anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Belgium.

“The awareness of the danger of violence against Jews created a sort of solidarity with the Jewish communities, and it is very important to preserve this solidarity,” Nuriel stressed. “Another conclusion is that when elected officials act – and we all remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s historic speech – there are results on the ground.”

Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen said, “We are all in agreement about the urgency of the battle against anti-Semitism, which is a despicable phenomenon. The EU is committed 100 percent to this fight.”

Chairman Neguise concluded the meeting by saying that the committee calls on the EU to act against anti-Semitism through legislation and education. He also urged the organizations combating the phenomenon to work together.

JNi.Media

Major Internet Firms Join ADL, European Jewish Groups to Battle Hate Speech Online

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

European Jewish students are teaming with the New York-based Anti-Defamation League to expand the organization’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide for European Internet users.

The European Jewish Congress and European Union of Jewish Students will work together to help expand the guide, and develop translations in French and German.

The news follows an agreement between the European Commission and Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft on creation of a “Code of Conduct” addressing online hate speech.

ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement that the Code of Conduct “closely tracks ADL’s ‘Best Practices for Responding to Cyberhate” originally released in 2014.’”

The Cyber-Safety Action Guide includes tabs where visitors may access information on submitting complaints and reporting hate speech to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

It also provides quick links to each company’s cyber-bullying and harassment policies and terms of service, as well as links directly to online complaint forms. The guide is currently available in English and in Spanish.

Hana Levi Julian

Microsoft Buys 5th Israeli Company of the Year

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Microsoft really does love Israel.

The computer giant is about to buy Israeli cyber security company Secure Islands for $100-150 million, Globes reported Thursday.

The purchase will be Microsoft’s fifth this year and the third cyber security company.

Secure Island’s technology allows tracking an organization’s documents through the Internet,

Earlier this year, Microsoft bought the Israeli based Aorato, Equivio, N-trig and Adallom companies.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Microsoft Pays $39 Million for ‘FieldOne’ Headed by Satmar Hassid

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

A New a York-based high-tech company founded and headed by a member of the anti-Zionist Satmar sect has been sold to Microsoft for $39 million.

Shlomo Boim of Kiryat Joel in New York, developed for FieldOne a program that helps offices, factories and government agencies make logistics more efficient by connecting all branches with their headquarters. Among FieldOne clients are United Technologies and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems.

Boim previously developed a filter for Hareidi Internet users in order to prevent exposure to unwanted material, particularly pornography and immodest dress.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bob Stutz notes wrote on the company’s official blog:

Field service management is a specific but critically important area of customer service, providing companies with the ability to deliver end-to-end field service. This is a unique and transformational point in time for these solutions as enterprises look to improve their responsiveness to customers with service in the field – taking service directly to the customer anytime a service cannot be managed by phone or other channels.
In this critical area, FieldOne really stands out. They have the baseline functionality that organizations need to drive a more effective field service operation stands out. They have the baseline functionality that organizations need to drive a more effective field service operation

Jewish Press News Briefs

Venture Capital Fund Awards Israeli Start-Up $ 1 million

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Jerusalem Ventures Partners (JVP). Israel’s leading VC firm and the largest early-stage cyber-security investor in Israel, announced Wednesday that Titanium Core, an innovative startup that protects mission-critical infrastructure, has won JVP’s first ever “Cybertition” cyber-security startup competition.

JVP will reward Titanium with an instant $1 million Investment and a spot in JVP Cyber Labs incubator based in the growing cyber epicenter in Beer Sheva.

The company was founded by Prof. Yuval Elovici, the head of the Cyber Security Lab at Ben-Gurion University. Titanium Core utilizes a multilayered security approach to repel attacks on mission-critical systems, while simultaneously preventing the threat from moving on to other computer systems and providing real time information on the attack.

“Our patented technology can provide an unbreakable security layer around core, mission-critical systems,” said Mimram, Co-Founder and CTO of Titanium Core. “This funding along with the guidance of the Cyber Labs incubator will allow us to bring our vision to market and ensure that this technology can be utilized to protect the world’s critical IT assets.”

JVP’s first Cybertition judging committee included JVP Partners and analysts along with top executives from leading multinational corporations such as GE, Cisco, Microsoft, EMC-RSA and Lockheed Martin, as well as Israel’s Chief Scientist.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Apple Confirms It Is Paying $350 Million for Prime Sense

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Apple has made short shrift of recent denials of Israel’s PrimeSense gesture recognition company that it is being bought out and has and confirmed on Monday it is paying $359 million for the firm.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Apple in a statement following 18 months of negotiations.

PrimeSense was founded as a start-up in 2005. Its software is embedded in Microsoft’s Kinect system and is used in Xbox 360 game consoles. Its gesture recognition technology allows purchasers to use their tablets to buy clothing by scanning their bodies.

Apple will embed PrimeSense’s technology in it smart TV that is scheduled to hit the market in 2015, Globes reported. Apple might also install the technology in iPads.

The acquisition is Apple’s second in Israel. Two years ago, it paid $400 million for Anobit.

Jewish Press News Briefs

IDC Students Show Microsoft How to Do It Right

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

The setting was the annual student Design Expo at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which is one reason the project called “Clashers” stood out: It’s an Android app, developed by students from Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, that leverages YouTube to let people eavesdrop on songs being played by other Clashers users they spot on the street, the bus or anywhere else.

After their presentation yesterday at the Redmond event, a member of the panel pointed out that Microsoft itself had tried this type of thing — with proximity-based song sharing on its ill-fated Zune music player —with decidedly underwhelming results.

But the IDC students believe they have come up with a better approach. When a user clicks on the picture and name of the other Clashers user, the app pulls up a YouTube music video and starts playing at the same point in the song, for a shared music experience. The person who has been “Clashed” gets a notification that someone else is listening in.

Apart from its use of non-Microsoft technologies in a Microsoft design showcase, the app stands out because it’s actually available now in the Google Play Store. As the video above shows, it’s a potential nirvana for teens and twenty-something singles.

The students say the project was inspired not by Zune but by the popular “What Song Are You Listening To?” videos on YouTube.

What about privacy? Clashers only works if the other person is willingly using the app, and only shows the user’s name and picture, but the app highlights what can be a relatively relaxed attitude toward privacy among younger generations.

The Microsoft Research Design Expo, now in its 10th year, was started by Microsoft researcher Lili Cheng. It’s part of Microsoft’s broader attempt to include student design teams from around the world — not just computer science students — in the process of developing and imagining technology. The overall theme this year was “making data useful.”

Every school involved in the Design Expo runs a semester-long class each year, with help from Microsoft. Student projects compete at each school to present their work at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, although the expo itself isn’t a contest. Past participants have included Dennis Crowley, the Foursquare founder, who was a graduate student at NYU.

On the other end of the privacy spectrum from Clashers, a Design Expo project called “Mine,” from students at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, gives people a glimpse of what data miners know about them from their public feeds, allowing them to make adjustments as necessary to shape the way they’re viewed by potential employers and others.

The involvement of international schools can often lead to new insights for U.S.-based researchers. As an example, Cheng pointed to this year’s PoliCiti project by students from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India, which gives citizens new ways to report crime, track police progress and even see geographic clusters of bribery and police corruption through a mobile app. Another project, from UCLA grad student Refik Anadol, will project a real-time light show onto the interior and exterior of L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall next year — using real-time data from the live music and tracking the motion of L.A. Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Anadol gave a brief demo of the technology in a Microsoft conference hall yesterday, and it was impressive even at a smaller scale.

And a project called Greenery, from students at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Design Department, creates a virtual laboratory to help urban dwellers grow their own food in real time.

Check out Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Jewish Press Staff

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