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Experts task countries on safe city solutions



As insurgency and other crimes continue to threaten the peace of the world, information and communication technology (ICT) experts have cautioned government, especially of African countries, to adopt and deploy smart city solutions,
According to them smart city solutions would further help to tackle cybercrime and give room for effective security policing to make countries safer.
Smart city solutions are technological innovations ranging from surveillance cameras, control room and data interpretation equipments.
The experts disclosed that collaboration is necessary between government and public-private partnership for effective policing.
One after the other, stakeholders during presentations disclosed that there must be a robust network for an effective smart city model.
However, they cautioned that not all smart city initiatives address digital security, health security, infrastructure safety and personal safety because most leaders are more concerned with road infrastructure and beautification of cities.
These and many more were the centre of discussions at the just-concluded two-day summit organised in Kenya by Huawei, an ICT solution  provider.
Tagged “Huawei Safe City Africa Summit and Kenya Showcase 2016,” the event, said former president of Interpol, Mr. Khoo Boon Hui, was timely because technology was changing everything, disrupting human lives, connecting humans and machines. Khoo, who was also Singapore’s commissioner of police, noted that there were many challenges facing governments, and citizens: “Securing public safety means addresing digital security, health security and infrastructure. Because the world is moving fast, we all need help both for the government and citizens.                                                   “There is need to leverage strategy, networks for innovation. Colloborative public safety will counter emergency threats and challenges.”
Similarly, director of safe cities and security at IHS, Thomas Lynch, said, “We trully believe in safe cities driven by technologies. What I can tell you is that in the last 18 months, safe city has been the most important issue. Safe city is a security concept.”
Former permanent secretary, Ministry of ICT, Kenya, Prof. Bitange Ndemo,  disclosed that African countries could leverage on technology to create a smarter cities as well as replicate it. While hoping that soon all cities in Africa would be smart cities.
“Our government decided to invest in smart city to have visibility of movement of vehicles, security to create a new city and hopefully to make a city that every other African city can emulate that is safer for citizens,” he said.
He, however, noted that big data was trending but Africa needed to increase capacity to analyse the data. Furthermore, he said that Huawei Safe City solutions have been deployed in Nairobi and Mombasa, the two largest cities in Kenya. The solutions have thousands of high definition cameras deployed in the streets with a command and control centre situated at the Kenya National Police Service using 4G LTE broadband technology provided by Safaricom, the local public network operator.
On his part, Huawei Kenya’s CEO, Mr. Chen Qi, disclosed that the safe city solution has become critical to Huawei because of the need to tackle disaster and in arresting criminals. He maintained that the new technology solution was the most advanced technology for a safer city.
“Almost every city in any country needs these technologies to promote a safer city, though the adoption may be slower in each country and the more reason governments need to be engaged regularly.
Meaanwhile, head of special projects, Safaricom, Shaka Kwach, reiterated that the deployment of safe city solutions has increased safety as well as security.
According to him, they have reduced crime rate by 46 per cent, increased international visitors by 14 per cent, attracted more foreign investors as well as improved Kenya’s image.

Send passwords through your body instead of wi-fi

Rather than rely on easy-to-hack Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals, researchers have developed a system that uses the human body to securely transmit passwords.
Computer scientists and electrical engineers have devised a way to relay signals from a fingerprint scanner or touchpad through the body to a receiving device that is also in contact with the user. These “on-body” transmissions offer a secure option for authentication that does not require a password, the researchers said.
“Let’s say I want to open a door using an electronic smart lock,” said study co-lead author Merhdad Hessar, an electrical engineering doctoral student at the University of Washington. “I can touch the doorknob and touch the fingerprint sensor on my phone and transmit my secret credentials through my body to open the door, without leaking that personal information over the air.”
The system uses signals that are already generated by fingerprint sensors on smartphones and laptop touchpads, which have thus far been used to receive input about the physical characteristics of a user’s finger.
“What is cool is that we’ve shown for the first time that fingerprint sensors can be re-purposed to send out information that is confined to the body,” study senior author Shyam Gollakota, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, said in a statement.
The researchers devised a way to use the signals that are generated by fingerprint sensors and touchpads as output, corresponding to data like a password or access code. Rather than transmitting sensitive data “over the air” to a receiving device, the system allows that information to travel securely through the body to a receiver that’s embedded in a device that needs authentication.
In tests so far, the system worked with iPhones, Lenovo laptop, trackpads and the Adafruit touchpad (a trackpad that can be used with computers). The tests were successful with 10 people who had different heights, weights and body types, and worked when the subjects were in different postures or in motion. The on-body transmissions reached bit rates of 50 bps for the touchpads and 25 bps for the phone sensors — fast enough for a simple password or numerical code. Bit rates measure the amount of data that can be transmitted per second, with higher rates representing more data (for instance, a small file rather than a simple password).
On-body transmissions could also be applied to medical devices, such as glucose monitors or insulin pumps, which require secure data sharing to confirm the patient’s identity, according to the researchers.
Once they have more access to the software used by fingerprint sensor manufacturers, the researchers aim to continue researching how to provide greater and faster transmission options.
The technology is described in a study that was published online September 12 in the Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.