‘Unfair surveillance’? Online exam software sparks global student revolt

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When U.S. law student Areeb Khan tried to sign into the online portal to take his practice bar exam, he was met with a strange message: “Due to poor lighting we are unable to identify your face.”

Additional lighting did not solve the issue. The 27-year-old even tried to sign in from the brightest room in his New York apartment – the bathroom.

Khan began to suspect that it was his dark skin tone that rattled Examplify, a test proctoring platform adopted by New York state’s law exams board during the COVID-19 pandemic. It took days of back and forth with customer service before he could sign in.

“There are so many systematic barriers preventing people like me from obtaining these degrees – and this is just another example of that,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

As COVID-19 restrictions force students to take remote exams,

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Virtual gold? Bitcoin’s rise sparks new debate amid pandemic

Bitcoin’s rally above $15,000 has reignited debate over whether the cryptocurrency is so-called digital gold or a perilously risky bet as investors grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

The world’s most popular virtual unit has gained over 30 percent in value in almost three weeks up to Friday, taking it close to its December 2017 peak when it reached nearly $20,000.

After a rollercoaster ride on markets since then, it began its latest meteoric rise on October 21, after US online payments provider PayPal announced that it would enable account holders to use cryptocurrency.

“It is the validation of a market which was still relatively uncertain a few years ago,” said Simon Polrot, president of Paris-based crypto-assets association ADAN.

Bitcoin was created in 2008 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, and marketed as an alternative to traditional currencies.

Unregulated by any central bank, it was sold as an attractive option for investors

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Singapore’s World-first Face Scan Plan Sparks Privacy Fears

Singapore will become the world’s first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy advocates are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse.

From next year, millions of people living in the city-state will be able to access government agencies, banking services and other amenities with a quick face scan.

This biometric check will do away with the need to remember a password or security dongle when performing many everyday tasks, its creators say.

It is part of the financial hub’s drive to harness technology, from ramping up the use of electronic payments to research on driverless transport.

Singapore will become the world's first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme Singapore will become the world’s first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme Photo: AFP / MARTIN ABBUGAO

“We want to be innovative in applying technology for the benefit of our citizens and businesses,” Kwok Quek Sin, who works on

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