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Toronto mayor retracts claims city is collecting cellphone location data in COVID-19 fight

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Toronto Mayor John Tory has walked back public claims he made Monday that the city was gathering cellphone data from telecommunications companies to spot places where residents continue to gather despite social-distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As first reported by The Logic, Tory told thousands of attendees of an online event hosted by TechTO that the city had “cellphone companies give us all the data on the pinging off their network on the weekend so we could see, ‘Where were people still congregating?’” He called such gatherings “the biggest enemy of fighting” COVID-19.

But on Tuesday, Tory said he had spoken incorrectly. “I made it sound like it was happening, not knowing it wasn’t happening,” he told the Toronto Star. The Star reported Tory had “raised the idea casually, but hadn’t spent time considering it deeply or putting it in use.”

Tory’s claims at the TechTO event came in response to a question about what those watching could do to assist the city’s efforts to fight the outbreak. Shortly after, The Logic contacted Don Peat, the mayor’s executive director of communications, with a transcript of the relevant section of Tory’s comments and questions including about to which companies he had been referring, what data the city had received and how it was using the information.

“The Mayor was referencing an offer to share totally anonymous cellphone location information with the City to help explain where people were congregating together in large groups over the weekend to help Toronto Public Health as it works to further encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Peat said in response. “The Mayor passed along the offer of anonymous data this morning to Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre to see if it could help in our efforts to confront the pandemic and save lives.”

Asked to clarify whether the city had already received any data, Peat directed The Logic to city staff, and copied Brad Ross, Toronto’s chief communications officer. The Logic followed up with Ross, but did not receive a response until after publication.

“The City of Toronto is not collecting cell phone location data, nor has it received any such data,” Ross said in an email early Tuesday. Asked to explain the contradiction with Tory’s comments on Monday night — in which the mayor called the data collection “something we’re doing now” and said he had “asked for it” and was “getting it” — Ross directed the inquiry back to Peat. “The City of Toronto statement stands: the City is not in possession of such data, nor will it acquire such data,” he said.

Neither Peat nor Ross have responded to The Logic’s repeated requests to provide further clarification.

On Monday night, Tory also asked TechTO event attendees to consider whether their own products produced data that could aid the city in its antiviral efforts. “You may not think it’s useful, but let us figure that out, because we just need more and more data about people’s habits, and about things and other applications you may think of that relate to everything from the shortage of personal protective equipment we have, through to compliance … with the orders that we’ve got to shut down and a host of other things,” he said.

It remains unclear who extended what Peat characterized as an “offer” to share cell data. Telus told The Logic it has not been contacted by the City of Toronto, while Rogers said it was not among the companies to which Tory was referring. Bell told the Star that no government had requested subscriber data, but the company “would consider it if it helps in the fight against COVID-19 while respecting privacy laws.” Shaw told Yahoo Finance Canada it had not been contacted by the city.

Other countries have used cellphone location data to track and enforce social distancing measures. South Korean health authorities and district offices have sent text messages to residents with links to websites detailing the movements of COVID-19 patients. Israel’s cabinet has given a domestic intelligence agency permission to use data it already gets from wireless carriers to identify and contact people who have been in close physical proximity to infected individuals.

Other officials engaged in the response to the outbreak were asked about cellphone location data tracking on Tuesday, following The Logic’s reporting.

“There has been, and continues to be, a wide variety of suggestions that come in to the city and into our [emergency operations centre] process with respect to opportunities to assist in potentially dealing with this issue,” said Matthew Pegg, the city’s fire chief and general manager of its Office of Emergency Management, during an afternoon press conference. “That’s an example of one of the suggestions that’s been made.”

Pegg repeated Ross’s comment that the city was not in possession of nor was it using any such data. Asked whether such information would be useful, if privacy considerations were dealt with, he said he “wouldn’t speculate at this point.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, the federal chief public health officer, said, “There’s lots of innovative approaches, and they should all be examined, obviously with respect, due respect to privacy, ethics, and all of those considerations.” But she noted that self-isolation and social distancing remain Canada’s “primary strategy” for dealing with the spread of COVID-19.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked Tuesday morning whether the federal government was using data from telecom firms to monitor people who should be self-isolating. “As far as I know, that is not a situation we’re looking at right now,” he said. “But as I’ve said, all options are on the table to do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe in these exceptional times.”

The Logic

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Robots in the Workplace: How Employees Can Work Safely With Them

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As businesses look for ways to remain in operation safely and minimize human contact in the workplace,  robots have emerged as a viable solution, taking over some of the roles previously carried out by human workers and, in some cases, working together with them. Walmart, America’s largest retailer, is already using robots to scrub floors, while the Royal Palace restaurant in the Netherlands has replaced human waiters with robots that greet customers, serve food, and clear the tables. There’s no doubt that  robots are the future of the workplace, but just like any other technology, they present a safety risk especially when working alongside human workers. While employers bear most of the responsibility of keeping the workplace safe when introducing robots, employees have a role to play as well. 
Knowing the risks 
There are various risks that employees must always be aware of  when working with robots. For example, impact or collision accidents may result from component malfunctions, unpredicted movements, or unpredicted changes to the robot’s arms or peripheral equipment. Crushing and trapping accidents may also happen when an employee’s body part is caught between the robot’s arm and other peripheral equipment. Mechanical part accidents can also lead to the release of robot parts, failure of end-effector tools, or failure of gripper mechanisms, all of which may lead to employee injuries. Accidents from arc flash, metal spatter, leaking high-pressure lines, and dust are also a possibility depending on the type of robot. 
How employees can stay safe 
Working with robots can be intimidating for employees, but by following safety guidelines to the letter, employees can ensure that there are no incidents. For starters, employees who operate, program, maintain, or repair robots and robot systems must get adequate safety training to ensure that they’re competent enough to perform their jobs safely. During the training, they can pinpoint any foreseeable hazards that may arise during operation and determine the appropriate functional safety controls to eliminate such hazards. When necessary, employees must also wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, face shields, respirators, hard hats, hearing protection, and safety glasses to provide a final layer of defense against injuries. 
What to do when injured 
Even after learning the risks and taking strong measures to mitigate them, employees may still get injured when working with robots. In fact, a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the  rate of employee injuries in Amazon’s robotic warehouses is higher than those warehouses in which robots are not yet in use. As such, employees must have a plan in the event of robot-related injury. Following an injury, the first thing an employee can do is make a worker’s compensation claim. However, in some cases, the employee may also need to hire a  personal injury lawyer after an accident, for instance, if the employer does not provide worker’s compensation insurance. A personal injury lawyer may also be necessary if the employee has a reason to believe that the employer did not take adequate measures to ensure that the robot is safe during installation. 
While robots are expected to deliver great efficiencies to the workplace in the near future, their complexities introduce serious workplace hazards; crushing, collisions, electrical shocks, and unexpected restarts, to name a few. It is up to employers and employees to work together to ensure robots operate safely whether they’re working alone or alongside their human colleagues.

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Top Technologies That Are Making Driving Safer

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he most  common causes of accidents in the U.S. are distracted driving, DUI, breaking speed limits, driving in poor weather, not stopping when the red light is on, and driving at night – as found in research conducted by insurance company, Cheap Quotes Auto Insurance. What many of these risk factors have in common is that  they can be avoided with the help of cutting-edge safety technology. If your job or personal life involves spending numerous hours on the road, what safety features should you be looking at when buying your next vehicle?

Safety Shield Systems
Over the past few years,  car safety features to attract buyers and lower road accident statistics have abounded in different models of cars. For instance,  automatic emergency stop assistance envisions a situation in which the driver suddenly feels so ill they cannot steer and brake the car. This system is far more complex than simple emergency braking. It works in various steps. First, it tries to warn the driver through visual and audible signs. It then sharply applies the brakes, then decelerates, turning on the hazard flashers and coming to a safe stop. This, combined with other technologies, such as driving assistance, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, and even rear cross traffic warnings, are now part of safety shield systems or safety ‘packs’ that feature various systems working synergistically to reduce accident risks.

Low Light Pedestrian Detection
Pre-collision and pedestrian detection are excellent aids in avoiding crashes, but it is vital that  vehicles are able to detect pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on the road,  even in low light conditions. One system developed by researchers at the Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain, enables vehicles to detect pedestrians up to 40 meters away, thanks to images captured via far infrared technology. Two thermal cameras identify the presence of individuals, even if it is too dark for the drivers to do so. Other light-related features include intelligent high beam systems, which ensure clear night vision but dim lights to lower beams if the head or tail lights of another vehicle are detected.

New Speed Limit Technology
Cruise control (and adaptive cruise control, which allows the driver to set both a specific speed and the following distance from the vehicle in front) has been in existence for various years, but car manufacturers such as Volvo are taking things a bit further in two ways. The first is  through a special ‘care key’ that allows extra limits to be placed on speed before an inexperienced driver (e.g. a teen driver) is allowed behind the wheel. The second is the introduction of a 112mph speed cap for all its cars as part of a thorough safety plan to bring road deaths down to zero.

Car manufacturers are making driving safer every year, offering safety packages that include a medley of features – including cruise control, automatic braking, and declaration in emergency situations. They are also avoiding collisions through innovative lighting technology, which enables vehicles to avoid pedestrians and cyclists in poor lighting conditions. Finally, limiting speed enables manufacturers to eliminate one of the biggest risks for accidents: driving above the speed limit. The quest for safety is never-ending, however, and it will hopefully continue at this frenetic pace until deaths on the road are completely eliminated.

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The Benefits Of Being A Cam Girl

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When it comes to becoming a webcam model, many look at the potential to earn money and that alone. Would you be surprised however to learn that there are actually a plethora of benefits when it comes to being a webcam model?

Being a webcam model has never been more popular however with the right marketing and a strict business attitude toward your work, we guarantee you’ll start to see numerous benefits over time. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading…

The Potential To Earn Good Money

While competition is stiff, there’s huge potential to start earning some serious cash as a cam girl. All it takes is a little research. There are numerous niches and markets to aim for. Once you’ve established your demographic, it’s simply down to researching what they want to see and giving them exactly that. Throw in a little marketing on your own website, some social media posts and hey presto, you’ve got the perfect recipe to start earning more than you ever dreamed possible.

Expand Your Social Circle & Work With A Great Bunch

It’s always advisable to join social media communities within your industry. Not only will you gain a lot of support but you’ll actually get to meet some pretty great people. While webcam models do often work on their own, guest appearances are a common occurrence and help create incredible buzz. You’ll get to work with a great bunch and increase your social circle at the same time which is so important for people who spend their time working alone.

Gain A Lucrative Following

Work on your social media following. It won’t just lead to more traffic on your videos. It will lead to some pretty lucrative opportunities if you can increase your following into the thousands. This invites cash payments for posts or in the very least, some great freebies.

Gain Confidence

Ask any webcam model who’s made a successful career for themselves and we guarantee they’ll say one thing, ‘it’s increased my confidence massively’’. How can you not feel more confident as people tell you day in and day out how attractive you are?

Enjoy A Flexible Lifestyle

While your viewers will come to expect you at certain times, you will enjoy a certain level of flexibility especially as you become more familiar with the role. You’ll learn what you can and can’t do on the go and when you need to be in the studio, as well as which days you can give yourself more flexibility.

 

Contact Camiplay Today

Think life as a webcam model sounds like the perfect career choice for you? Then we suggest you take a look at camiplay.com, one of the freshest new webcam sites out there right now. Just head to their website and click ‘become a model’ to find out more.

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