Tag: tracker

Source: Business Insider SA

Though Gauteng remains the country’s hijacking capital, more hijackings are now taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Gauteng has been the epicentre of vehicle crimes since Tracker started tracking hijacking and theft data 25 years ago. During the period, the province’s incidents accounted for 64% of South Africa’s total vehicle crimes.

However, in the past three years, Gauteng has had fewer incidents, with its average dropping to 56%, according to data released by vehicle tracking company Tracker on Tuesday shows.

More car crimes are now occurring in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, whose average increased to 19% from 16%, and the Western Cape, which has risen to 9% from 6%.

Cars are also increasingly more likely to be hijacked than stolen, Tracker said.

This is due to “opportunistic tactics,” Duma Ngcobo, Tracker’s chief operating officer, said, citing a noticeable increase in vehicles such as those ferrying fast-moving consumable goods being targeted for their loads.

In 2021 vehicle crime activities or hijackings rose to 54%, while car theft decreased to 46%, from 50% previously, higher than in 1999, when it had increased to 52%, overtaking theft at 48%.

“Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted. South Africans should be wary and remain vigilant at all times, especially when returning home from shopping or when goods bought online are delivered to their homes. Hijackings are often violent and there are instances where a hostage is taken,” Ngcobo said.

“Further techniques include criminals impersonating law enforcement officials in order to commit hijackings, a method otherwise known as blue light robberies. Criminals also commit vehicle theft using online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment,” Ngcobo said.

“Sometimes, criminals pretend there is something wrong with your vehicle, a method known as flagging down. They also take advantage of drivers stopped on the side of the road or those picking up hitchhikers,” he said.

The data shows that six provinces are more likely to experience hijacking than theft, with the Western Cape being the province with the highest hijacking incidents compared against car theft. Of the vehicle crimes it encounters, 72% are hijackings, and 22% are stolen cars, most taking place in the metropolitan area.

In Mpumalanga 70% of vehicle crimes are hijackings and 30% being car theft; Limpopo also experiences a higher number of hijackings at 62% against car theft at 38%, while the Eastern Cape sees 60% hijackings and 40% stolen cars.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have the same split between car theft, 49%, and hijacking at 51%.

Spy pixels in e-mails have become endemic

By Leo Kelion for BBC

The use of “invisible” tracking tech in e-mails is now “endemic”, according to a messaging service that analysed its traffic at the BBC’s request.

Hey’s review indicated that two-thirds of emails sent to its users’ personal accounts contained a “spy pixel”, even after excluding for spam.

Its makers said that many of the largest brands used email pixels, with the exception of the “big tech” firms.

Defenders of the trackers say they are a commonplace marketing tactic.

And several of the companies involved noted their use of such tech was mentioned within their wider privacy policies.

Emails pixels can be used to log:

  • If and when an email is opened
  • How many times it is opened
  • What device or devices are involved
  • The user’s rough physical location, deduced from their internet protocol (IP) address – in some cases making it possible to see the street the recipient is on
  • This information can then be used to determine the impact of a specific email campaign, as well as to feed into more detailed customer profiles.

Hey’s co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson says they amount to a “grotesque invasion of privacy”.

Without special software, it is not easy to spot which emails contain a tracking pixel.
And other experts have also questioned whether companies are being as transparent as required under law about their use.

Invisible beacons
Tracking pixels are typically a .GIF or .PNG file that is as small as 1×1 pixels, which is inserted into the header, footer or body of an email.

Since they often show the colour of the content below, they can be impossible to spot with the naked eye even if you know where to look.

Recipients do not need to click on a link or do anything to activate them beyond open an email they are embedded in.

British Airways, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, Asos and Unilever are among UK brands Hey detected to be using them.

But their use was much more widespread despite many members of the public being unaware of it, said Hansson.

“It’s not like there’s a flag saying ‘this email includes a spy pixel’ in most email software,” he added.

Microsoft launches coronavirus tracker

Source: Economic Times

As the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads like wildfire across countries, Microsoft’s Bing team has launched a web portal to track its progress worldwide.

The website provides up-to-date infection statistics for each country. An interactive map allows users to click on the country to see the specific number of cases and related articles from a variety of publishers.

You can view the interactive map here.

According to sources, data is being aggregated from sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Microsoft announced the website two days after US President Donald Trump said Google had begun working on COVID-19-related portal for US citizens.

Google’s website is being built by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet focused on healthcare services.

“More than 1 700 engineers are currently working on the site,” Trump said during a press briefing last week.

The tool will triage people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk into testing sites based on guidance from public health officials and test availability.

Globally, the virus has now affected 216 030 people, and has caused 8 891 deaths.

Uber is tracking you

Uber has discussed collaborating with companies which collect driving and travel data for its analysis tool, Uber Movement.

This is according to Uber Movement product manager Jordan Gilbertson.

Uber Movement is a collection of data and software that analyses travel times between points in cities, and is available for free online.

The tool is aimed at urban planners, and Uber recently announced the addition of Johannesburg and Pretoria to Uber Movement.

While the service is currently limited to anonymised aggregate data that Uber collects, Gilbertson said they plan to add to the capabilities of the service.

He said there is an opportunity to incorporate telematics data such as sudden slow-downs caused by bumps and poor road surfaces.

They may also attach sensors to vehicles, and eventually use sensors on autonomous vehicles in a city.

These may include more advanced detectors such as LIDAR, which could help do pedestrian counts.

Partner companies

Gilbertson said Uber has discussed partnering with companies which collect travel data – such as Tracker and Discovery Insure.

“There are several international markets where we’re looking at this,” said Gilbertson.

Uber is also interested in partnerships with companies like Google and TomTom, which also collect data on travel times and traffic.

Open data like this is an incredibly powerful tool for city planning and it would be great if everyone would share information that could be used to improve cities, said Gilbertson.

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

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