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Binayak Dasgupta

Binayak reports on information security, privacy and scientific research in health and environment with explanatory pieces. He also edits the news sections of the newspaper.

Articles by Binayak Dasgupta

Why OpenAI’s imitation of Scarlett Johansson drew actor’s ire

Scarlett Johansson expressed shock over OpenAI's chatbot voice resembling hers. Transparency and ethics in AI development are now under scrutiny.

Actor Scarlett Johansson had accused OpenAI of creating a voice for the ChatGPT system that sounded ‘eerily similar’ to her after she declined to voice the chatbot herself. (REUTERS)
Updated on May 22, 2024 01:02 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Hard Code | A gentle reminder: Nothing is unhackable

Researchers discovered a backdoor in a core piece of software utility last week. It is a reminder of how far malicious actors can go to hack their targets

 Hackers believed to be linked to Russia’s foreign intelligence service compromised versions of SolarWinds’ Orion network monitoring tool.(Getty Images/ Representational photo)
Published on Apr 01, 2024 09:21 PM IST

Hard Code | Worrying clues from a Chinese firm’s leaked data

Leaked documents from a tech company there paint a new picture of the scale and resolve of Beijing’s cyber ops

The front desk of the I-Soon office, also known as Anxun in Mandarin, is seen after office hours in Chengdu in southwestern China's Sichuan Province on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. Chinese police are investigating an unauthorized and highly unusual online dump of documents from a private security contractor linked to China’s top policing agency and other parts of its government. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)(AP)
Updated on Mar 02, 2024 09:37 PM IST

Hard Code | As Sora breaks cover, a reminder of all that’s at stake

Sure, AI video tools like Sora will upend media production, and there are more pressing concerns about today’s AI arms race

A photo shows a frame of a video generated by a new intelligence artificial tool, dubbed
Published on Feb 19, 2024 03:13 PM IST

Hard Code | Cyber mercenaries and nations playing with fire

Companies that make hacking tools are a booming industry and have triggered sanctions from several liberal democracies. But they are here to stay

A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Published on Feb 10, 2024 04:47 PM IST

Hard Code | When AI wields the brush, do we call it the artist or the tool?

The boom in generative AI may change our relationship with art, but how we receive it is a question we cannot answer yet. Exposure will determine acceptability

Cameron Butler, a digital producer, requested a description of the opposite of a perfect man and chatGPT came up with this this prompt:
Updated on Jan 28, 2024 12:36 PM IST

Hard code | Who has the most to lose with deepfakes?

A bottom-up approach enables us to think of those most likely to be impacted due to deepfakes — and those least likely to be able to defend themselves.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concern over misuse of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to create deepfakes. (File)
Updated on Jan 20, 2024 07:26 PM IST
By | Edited by Anish Yande

The year ahead in tech: Keeping an eye on AI

It won’t be a robot war. The true dangers are less cinematic, but no less severe. It will be vital to legislate and monitor, without stifling innovation.

How fast are AI-led image generators learning? Above (clockwise from top left) are results for the same cue – ‘Pope Francis in white Balen-ciaga puffer jacket’ – as rendered by Midjourney Version 1, V3, V6 (Alpha) and V5.1. (HT Imaging: Malay Karmakar)
Updated on Jan 01, 2024 06:46 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta

Review: The Third Way by Rahul Matthan

Rahul Matthan contends that India’s approach to governing technology and using technologies in its governance can be a blueprint for nation states straddling Laissez-faire capitalism and socialism

Convenience at your fingertips: Using digital wallets to pay for everything. (Burhaan Kinu / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 16, 2023 05:54 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta

A whole-of-society approach needed to tackle deepfakes: OpenAI exec

OpenAI's head of global public policy talks regulation, risks and benefits of AI in exclusive interview

Anna Makanju, head of Global Public Policy, OpenAI (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 12:47 AM IST

Google to join industry mechanism to discern AI-generated content

Google is in the process of joining a cross-industry collaboration that can identify and watermark online content generated using AI or created synthetically

Google to join industry mechanism to discern AI-generated content
Updated on Dec 10, 2023 04:20 PM IST

Google flags off Make in India with latest Pixels in 2024

Union minister for electronics and technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, said the decision was “good for Google and good for India”

Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (centre) with Sanjay Gupta (right), the vice president and country head of Google India and Rick Osterloh (left), senior vice president, devices and services, Google, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo)
Published on Oct 20, 2023 09:19 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta

Google plans new security steps to tackle online scams

Google said it will leverage its AI models, especially those around generative text, to help Indians access information and business opportunity better

The announcement on the security measures comes at a time of growing unease over a spurt in cyber crime. (REUTERS FILE)
Updated on Oct 19, 2023 09:28 PM IST

Legal framework for privacy as RS clears digital data bill

While it is unlikely to take long for the bill to receive presidential assent — at which point it becomes law — the next steps will likely pan out over at least a year’s window

HT Image
Updated on Aug 10, 2023 12:19 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Data Protection Bill 2023 tabled in Lok Sabha, here's what govt, Oppn are saying

The data protection law started its life as the personal data protection bill as drawn up in August 2018 by a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge.

In the pipeline since 2017, the law is meant to give a legal framework for privacy protections after the Supreme Court held it as a fundamental right for Indian citizens.
Updated on Aug 04, 2023 03:35 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Experts wary as data bill set to be tabled

The latest draft retains a clause that allows the government to “exempt any data fiduciary” from the obligations within five years of the law coming into force.

The bill has been six years in the making and the latest version would be its fifth. (File)
Updated on Aug 03, 2023 02:16 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Deep divides on social media, but algorithm tweaks may not help: Study on FB, Insta

The experiments showed there were no easy answers — ideological divides were deep, and just changing algorithms did not help address them

HT Image
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 12:12 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Copycat websites surge 300%; India a hunting ground: Report

According to the Digital Risks Trend 2023 report, there was a 304% year-on-year increase in the number of scam websites that impersonated legitimate businesses.

Scam pages pretending to be financial services, such as for banks, were the most prevalent, at 74% of all such fraud websites.(Getty Images/ Representational photo)
Updated on Jul 13, 2023 02:08 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Google working on tech to discern AI-made content: Company executive

Google is developing systems to identify AI-generated synthetic media and combat political misinformation.

The comments come against the backdrop of rising concerns over the use of artificial intelligence-generated text and deepfakes for misinformation.(AP)
Updated on Jul 07, 2023 12:08 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

An open letter: On wildfires and pollution

Canada is experiencing an unprecedented year of fires, with the smoke shrouding cities in the US and, over 2,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, in parts of western Europe

The smoke cloud produced by the multiple wildfires ongoing in Canada’s Quebec is seen over the city of Vigo, northwestern Spain, on Monday. (AFP)
Updated on Jun 28, 2023 05:56 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta

CoWIN ‘data leak’: How a bot reignited privacy fears

The screenshots also carried details that purported to show where these people would have had their latest Covid-19 vaccine doses

At risk may be personally identifiable information (PII) of millions of people, since the data appeared to include identity documents details of people who signed up to get Covid-19 vaccines. (File Photo)
Updated on Jun 13, 2023 10:21 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta

Centre plans to rope in private companies to help secure govt servers, websites

The government’s IT services are managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which hosts 3.3 million email accounts and maintains more than 10,000 websites and services

The government’s IT services are managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which hosts 3.3 million email accounts and maintains more than 10,000 websites and services.
Updated on Mar 17, 2023 04:10 AM IST
ByBinayak Dasgupta and Sunetra Choudhury, New Delhi

HT Interview | Paying up to ransomware attackers bad strategy…: Dmitry Volkov

Dmitry Volkov, the CEO of cyber threat intelligence firm Group-IB says, ransomware remains a threat number one for public and private companies around the world. They have a strong focus on big enterprises that can afford to pay ransom and cannot afford any downtime.

A cyber fraudster allegedly hacked the company’s mail id and sent a mobile deactivation request to the network service provider company. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)
Updated on Mar 06, 2023 12:25 PM IST
By, New Delhi

‘China’s Covid wave worse than estimated, peak of 36k deaths a day likely’

China re-opened its borders on January 8 after having abruptly ended its so-called Zero Covid policy of frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns the month before, prompted by unprecedented nationwide protests

A patient lies on a bed at the emergency department of a hospital, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday (REUTERS)
Updated on Jan 17, 2023 10:06 PM IST

The year ahead: Glimpses into 2023

India, the world’s largest democracy and one of the world’s largest consumer markets, will likely begin working to pass new laws too, with lasting implications for companies such as Meta, Google and Twitter.

The crypto revolution faced a harsh reckoning. (Agencies/Representaitve use)
Published on Dec 31, 2022 06:14 PM IST
ByBy Binayak Dasgupta and Vishal Mathur

The year ahead: Can it be tech to the rescue?

Breakthroughs in nuclear fusion and CO2 conversion could revolutionise the power sector, but this could take a few decades. New approaches to food production are welcome. As the climate crisis intensifies, now amid the Russian war in Ukraine, this will be a crucial year for talks

The year 2022 was a period of record-breaking heat, precipitation and forest fires around the world (Getty Images/Representative use)
Updated on Dec 31, 2022 06:01 PM IST

The Covid-19 shadow still looms

With the virus now sparing no one, Long Covid was a serious problem to deal with, which easily was the most important implication of how the pandemic had changed in its third year.

The Omicron variant was a version of Covid-19 that was so far removed from its predecessors that several assumptions about the virus became redundant in 2022. (AFP/Imaging by Malay Karmakar)
Updated on Dec 31, 2022 12:12 AM IST

A million infections and 5,000 deaths a day from Covid in China: Study

The new estimates were provided by London-based Airfinity, which predicted cases to continue to rise in China with two likely peaks, one in mid-January and the second in early March.

Workers unload a body from an ambulance for cremation at Gaobeidian Funeral Home in northern China’s Hebei province, on Thursday. China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official Covid-19 death toll, a health official said. (AP)
Updated on Dec 23, 2022 05:17 AM IST

A new chapter in ‘Twitter Files’

American journalist Bari Weiss posted a Twitter thread to allege the company, under its old management, created secret blacklists of users whose reach was restricted, the second instalment in what is now being called the Twitter Files.

HT Image
Published on Dec 10, 2022 12:23 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Ransomware attackers say AIIMS ‘deadline’ has ended

The warning came from an email address known to authorities and is a part of the investigation, although HT could not independently verify whether the people replying from it were indeed behind the hack.

India’s national cybersecurity coordinator, Lt Gen (retired) Rajesh Pant said no ransom money had been demanded. (HT file)
Updated on Dec 06, 2022 09:00 AM IST
By, New Delhi
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