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TECHNOLOGY

Snapchat Introduces New Measures to Enhance Safety for Teen Users

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Snapchat Introduces New Measures to Enhance Safety for Teen Users

Snapchat, a popular social media platform, is taking significant steps to enhance the safety of its teenage user base, aged 13 to 17.

The parent company, Snap Inc., has announced a range of features and policies aimed at safeguarding young users from various online risks, including inappropriate content, unwanted adult interactions, and illicit activities.

Growing Concerns for Teen Safety

Why Are Teenagers More Rebellious Than Young Kids

In recent times, there has been mounting pressure on social media platforms to address the safety concerns surrounding teenage users.

Lawmakers, educators, and parents have called for stricter measures to protect adolescents from exposure to harmful content and interactions.

Snapchat, in particular, has been under scrutiny and participated in a Senate committee hearing in fall 2021 alongside representatives from TikTok and YouTube, where they pledged to introduce new tools for parental control and teen safety.

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Snapchat’s latest efforts to bolster teen safety build upon the launch of the “Snapchat Family Center” last year, which provides parents with insights into their teenagers’ interactions on the platform.

Some existing safety measures for teens include the prohibition of public profiles and disabling the Snap Map location-sharing feature by default.

Key Features and Policies of Snapchat’s New Safety Features

Snapchat’s new safety features and policies include:

  • Mutual Friend Requirements: To prevent teens from adding unknown individuals, Snapchat will now require 13-to-17-year-old users to have more mutual friends in common with another account before it appears in search results or friend suggestions. This measure aims to ensure that teens primarily connect with people they know in real life.

  • Content Strike System: Snapchat will introduce a strike system for accounts sharing inappropriate content in its Stories and Spotlight sections. If such content is reported or detected, it will be promptly removed, and a strike will be issued against the account responsible. Multiple strikes within a defined period may result in the suspension of the account.

  • Educational Content: The platform will provide in-app educational content for teen users, focusing on online risks like catfishing and financial sextortion. Snapchat aims to empower teens with knowledge on how to identify and respond to such threats, including providing hotline information for seeking help.

Snapchat Aims to Promote a Safer Online Environment for Teens

Snapchat’s proactive approach to teen safety reflects the platform’s commitment to creating a secure online environment for its young users.

By implementing stricter account requirements, a content strike system, and educational resources, Snapchat aims to protect teens from potential harm and ensure that their digital experiences are positive and secure.

These efforts align with the broader industry’s ongoing initiatives to address the unique challenges faced by young individuals in the online world.

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Practical Solutions for Snapchat Users: Guidelines to Protect Your Online Safety

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Securing your online safety while using Snapchat is paramount. Here are some straightforward solutions to empower users, particularly teenagers, in creating a safer digital environment:

  1. Control Your Friend List: Be cautious when accepting friend requests. Only add people you know in real life to your friends’ list. If you receive requests from strangers, decline them promptly.

  2. Use Privacy Settings: Snapchat offers privacy settings that allow you to control who can contact you and view your content. Review and adjust these settings to your comfort level.

  3. Report Inappropriate Content: If you encounter inappropriate content, whether it’s a message, image, or video, report it immediately. Snapchat takes user reports seriously and will take appropriate action.

  4. Educate Yourself: Engage with Snapchat’s educational content about online risks such as catfishing, cyberbullying, and harassment. Knowing how to recognize and respond to these threats is crucial.

  5. Online Etiquette: Practice good online etiquette by treating others with respect and kindness. Remember that your digital actions can have real-world consequences.

  6. Secure Your Account: Use strong, unique passwords for your Snapchat account, and enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.

  7. Keep Your Location Private: Be mindful of location-sharing features. It’s generally safer to share your location only with trusted friends.

  8. Regularly Update Your App: Keep your Snapchat app updated to ensure you have the latest security features and bug fixes.

  9. Stay Informed: Stay informed about online safety trends and emerging threats. Knowledge is your best defense.

  10. Talk to Trusted Adults: If you ever feel uncomfortable or threatened online, don’t hesitate to talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or guardian, who can provide guidance and support.

By implementing these practical solutions and remaining vigilant, Snapchat users can take charge of their online safety and enjoy a more secure and enjoyable digital experience.

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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

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As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

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Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

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Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

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With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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