Sep 3, 2020

India cites data privacy, bans Chinese apps as tensions rise

William Smith
2 min
India has announced it is banning 118 more Chinese mobile apps, which it says are contrary to Indian interests
India has announced it is banning 118 more Chinese mobile apps, which it says are contrary to Indian interests...


India has announced it is banning 118 more Chinese mobile apps, which it says are contrary to Indian interests.

The full list includes the likes of video game PUBG Mobile and WeChat Work, as well as Alibaba’s Alipay payment app and Taobao ecommerce platform.

In the press release, the Ministry of Electronics & IT gave its rationale for the ban saying: “This move will safeguard the interests of crores [tens of millions] of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”

Specific concerns included worries about data privacy, an issue also cited alongside other bans on Chinese technology, such as the ongoing TikTok saga in the US. The Ministry said: “ Information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated Apps raise serious concerns that these Apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State.”

The move is part of a broader cooling of relations between the two countries, with border skirmishes in June leading to deaths.

The ban is the third wave of previous measures taken after that battle, which initially saw 59 Chinese apps banned, including video-sharing giant TikTok. In July, a further 47 were added to the ban list. 

While China is undoubtedly a great power in terms of its technological output, as this ban demonstrates, India is no slouch either, with a number of unicorns (tech startups worth over $1bn) including ecommerce giant Paytm and education technology firm BYJU’S.

Elsewhere, Chinese technology has come under the spotlight in the West, with many countries, including the UK, banning Huawei technology from being used in 5G communications infrastructure.

More recently, TikTok has found itself at the centre of a political storm, with the United States’ threat to ban the app leading to a race to acquire its American business. Potential buyers include the likes of Microsoft and Oracle. 

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”


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