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Rohingya crisis: Finding out the truth about Arsa militants

Rohingya crisis: Finding out the truth about Arsa militants

  • 11 October 2017
  • From the section Asia
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Screengrab of Arsa video on 25 August 2017Image copyright
Youtube

Image caption

Arsa has released videos featuring its leader Ata Ullah (centre)

If there was one thing almost everyone who has monitored Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State agreed on, it was that sooner or later their plight would breed militant resistance to the authority of the state.

The attacks that started in the early hours of 25 August on around 30 police and army posts, triggering a ruthless military counter-attack which has driven more than half a million Rohingya into Bangladesh, showed that militancy, now led by a shadowy group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), has taken root.

But conversations with refugees and militants in Bangladesh also show that the group’s strategy is still poorly-formed, and that it is not supported by all Rohingya.

Even the accounts given by the Myanmar security forces suggest that the 25 August attacks were mostly simple, almost suicidal charges by groups of men, most armed only with machetes and sharpened bamboo sticks.

One of the earliest and biggest attacks was on the police post in Alel Than Kyaw, a town on the coast south of Maungdaw.

Police Lt Aung Kyaw Moe later told a group of visiting journalists that they had advance warning of the attack and sheltered all local officials inside the barracks the night before.

At 04:00, he said two groups of around 500 men each stormed up from the beach.

They killed an immigration officer, whose house was close to the beach, but were easily driven off by police officers firing automatic weapons. Seventeen bodies were left behind.

Image caption

The village of Alel Than Kyaw was burnt down after the attack

This tallies with an account given to me by a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh.

In a conversation about how he had been driven out of Rakhine state, he complained about the way the militants had tried to co-opt his village into joining the attacks in the days after 25 August.

They had helped themselves to cattle and goats, he said, telling the villagers they would be paid back when there was an independent Rohingya homeland.

And they gave new machetes to the young men, and told them to attack a nearby police station.

Arsa has plenty of weapons, he remembers them saying, and would be back to back them. Around 25 men from his community did as they were told, and a number of them were killed, he said.

There was no backup from armed militants.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWatch: Who are the Rohingya?

I was able to meet a young man in his 20s, now in Bangladesh, who had joined Arsa four years before.

He described how the Arsa leader, Ata Ullah, had come to his village in 2013, telling them it was time to fight against the mistreatment of Rohingya.

He asked for five to 10 men from every community. A group was taken from his village to the forested hills, where they were trained in making crude bombs, using old car engine pistons.

Our informant said his village was encouraged by this, and began taking up food and other supplies to support the trainees. He eventually joined them.

They started patrolling the village, armed with sharpened bamboo sticks, and making sure everyone attended mosque. He says he never saw any guns.

‘Getting the world’s attention’

On 25 August he described hearing shooting, and seeing burning in the distance. The local Arsa commander – his “amir”, he called him – arrived and told the men that the military was on its way and would attack them.

The men were told to launch their attack first – you are going to die anyway, he said, so die as martyrs for the cause.

Our informant said men of all ages armed themselves with knives and bamboo sticks, and charged the advancing soldiers, suffering many casualties – he named some of the dead.

After that they ran into the rice fields with their families, trying to make their way to Bangladesh. He said they were also harassed by Rakhine Buddhist men as they fled.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

More than half a million Rohingya, many of them women and children, have fled to Bangladesh

What was the point of such futile attacks, I asked him?

We wanted to get the world’s attention, he said. We had been suffering so much, we thought it did not matter if we died.

He denied any links with international jihadist groups – we are fighting for our rights, and to try to get guns and ammunition from the Myanmar military, that’s all, he said.

His and other accounts describe a movement with a small core of several hundred full-time militants, with perhaps a handful of foreigners among them, and many thousands of untrained and unarmed followers who joined the attacks only at the last minute.

On 25 August Ata Ullah, the Pakistan-born Rohingya man who started Arsa after an earlier wave of communal violence in Rakhine state in 2012, issued a video, flanked by hooded armed fighters.

He described the attacks that day as a defensive action, against what he called a genocide against the Rohingya.

He said his fighters had no choice but to launch the attacks against a Burmese army which had “surrounded and besieged us”.

He appealed for international support. He described Arakan, another name for Rakhine state, as rightfully Rohingya land.

But he has insisted in subsequent statements that Arsa has no quarrel with other ethnic groups in Rakhine state.

There was no call for solidarity from other Muslims. He did not frame his struggle in terms of jihad, or as part of a global Islamist struggle.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Officials have accused Arsa militants of burning the Hindu village of Yebawkyaw and killing many of its inhabitants

Ata Ullah is known to be suspicious of other Islamist groups, and does not at this stage appear to be asking them for help.

“Ata Ullah and his spokesmen have made it clear that they see themselves as an ethno-nationalist movement,” says Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based security analyst.

“They do not have any substantive links with international jihadism, IS [Islamic State group] or al- Qaeda. They see their struggle as regaining rights for Rohingya inside Rakhine State. They are neither separatists, nor jihadists.”

However the military has successfully portrayed them as a foreign-backed conspiracy to the population of Myanmar, where the media has reported little of the massive Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.

Ata Ullah’s comment about Rakhine belonging to Rohingya was picked up by armed forces commander Gen Min Aung Hlaing early last month, when he warned that the military would never allow the country to lose any territory to what he called “extremist Bengali terrorists”.

He described the military operation in Rakhine as addressing “unfinished business from 1942” – a reference to the time when it was a shifting frontline in the battles between British and Japanese forces.

‘Rebalancing’ population?

Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists largely supported opposing sides in that war, and there were a number of massacres by militias on both sides, and large population movements.

This is when many Burmese and Rakhine nationalists believe the Rohingya population in Rakhine was artificially boosted by Bengali immigrants.

By driving half the Rohingya population out of Rakhine in just four weeks, the military “clearance operations” would appear to have rebalanced the population firmly back in favour of the non-Muslims.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionRohingya families face a desperate choice between violence in Myanmar and danger at sea

That leaves questions over how Arsa will function, now that it has few or no bases left inside Rakhine State.

Launching attacks over the border will be much harder, and probably will not be tolerated by Bangladesh, which, though furious with the refugee crisis dumped on it by its neighbour, has always taken care to avoid conflict along its long, porous borders.

Our informant says he is still in regular contact with his “amir” and other Arsa leaders in Bangladesh, although he has had no contact with Ata Ullah.

He says he has no idea what the movement will do next. Most people we spoke to in the camps were aware of Arsa’s presence. Some were clearly nervous even speaking quietly about the movement.

There are credible reports of numbers of informers being killed by Arsa in the months leading up to the August attacks.

But there is also widespread admiration among Rohingya for the only organisation to have fought back against the Myanmar military since the 1950s.

“A great deal now will depend on the attitude of Bangladesh,” says Anthony Davis.

“They may choose to keep the border sealed. Or they may wish to exert some control over Arsa by supplying them with rudimentary assistance, rather than have radical Islamist groups, Bangladeshi or foreign, move in and fill a vacuum.

“There are examples elsewhere of military intelligence services using insurgent movements to exert cross-border pressure on a neighbour.”

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Apps

Truepic raises $8M to expose Deepfakes, verify photos for Reddit

How can you be sure an image wasn’t Photoshopped? Make sure it was shot with Truepic. This startup makes a camera feature that shoots photos and adds a watermark URL leading to a copy of the image it saves, so viewers can compare them to ensure the version they’re seeing hasn’t been altered.

Now Truepic’s technology is getting its most important deployment yet as the way Reddit will verify that Ask Me Anything Q&As are being conducted live by the actual person advertised — oftentimes a celebrity.

But beyond its utility for verifying AMAs, dating profiles and peer-to-peer e-commerce listings, Truepic is tackling its biggest challenge yet: identifying artificial intelligence-generated Deepfakes. These are where AI convincingly replaces the face of a person in a video with someone else’s. Right now the technology is being used to create fake pornography combining an adult film star’s body with an innocent celebrity’s face without their consent. But the big concern is that it could be used to impersonate politicians and make them appear to say or do things they haven’t.

The need for ways to weed out Deepfakes has attracted a new $8 million round for Truepic. The cash comes from untraditional startup investors, including Dowling Capital Partners, former Thomson Financial (which become Reuters) CEO Jeffrey Parker, Harvard Business school professor William Sahlman and more. The Series A brings Truepic to $10.5 million in funding.

“We started Truepic long before manipulated images impacted democratic elections across the globe, digital evidence of atrocities and human rights abuses were regularly undermined, or online identities were fabricated to advance political agendas — but now we fully recognize its impact on society,” says Truepic founder and COO Craig Stack. “The world needs the Truepic technology to help right the wrongs that have been created by the abuse of digital imagery.”

Here’s how Truepic works:

  1. Snap a photo in Truepic’s iOS and Android app, or an app that’s paid to embed its SDK in their own app
  2. Truepic verifies the image hasn’t been altered already, and watermarks it with a time stamp, geocode, URL and other metadata
  3. Truepic’s secure servers store a version of the photo, assigned with a six-digit code and its URL, plus a spot on an immutable blockchain
  4. Users can post their Truepic in apps to prove they’re not catfishing someone on a dating site, selling something broken on an e-commerce site, or elsewhere
  5. Viewers can visit the URL watermarked onto the photo to compare it to the vault-saved version to ensure it hasn’t been modified after the fact

For example, Reddit’s own Wiki recommends that AMA creators use the Truepic app to snap a photo of them holding a handwritten sign with their name and the date on it. “Truepic’s technology allows us to quickly and safely verify the identity and claims for some of our most eccentric guests,” says Reddit AMA moderator and Lynch LLP intellectual property attorney Brian Lynch. “Truepic is a perfect tool for the ever-evolving geography of privacy laws and social constructs across the internet.”

The abuses of image manipulation are evolving, too. Deepfakes could embarrass celebrities… or start a war. “We will be investing in offline image and video analysis and already have identified some subtle forensic techniques we can use to detect forgeries like deepfakes,” Truepic CEO Jeff McGregor tells me. “In particular, one can analyze hair, ears, reflectivity of eyes and other details that are nearly impossible to render true-to-life across the thousands of frames of a typical video. Identifying even a few frames that are fake is enough to declare a video fake.”

This will always be a cat and mouse game, but from newsrooms to video platforms, Truepic’s technology could keep content creators honest. The startup has also begun partnering with NGOs like the Syrian American Medical Society to help it deliver verified documentation of atrocities in the country’s conflict zone. The Human Rights Foundation also trained humanitarian leaders on how to use Truepic at the 2018 Freedom Forum in Oslo.

Throwing shade at Facebook, McGregor concludes that “The internet has quickly become a dumpster fire of disinformation. Fraudsters have taken full advantage of unsuspecting consumers and social platforms facilitate the swift spread of false narratives, leaving over 3.2 billion people on the internet to make self-determinations over what’s trustworthy vs. fake online… we intend to fix that by bringing a layer of trust back to the internet.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

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bag week 2018

Bag Week 2018: Waxed canvas bags from Filson, Ona, Croots and more

If you’re looking for a good jacket or bag, you have your choice of materials: leather, heavy nylon, waterproof synthetic weaves like Gore-Tex… but for my money (and not a little of it either) the king of them all is waxed canvas. Pliant yet protective, wind and water–resistant but breathable, handsome to start but grows a character of its own, waxed canvas strikes, for me, the perfect balance of attributes. I drape myself in it, and in the case of bags, drape it from myself.

The main caveat is that it is not is cheap — sure, you can get a bag for $30 or $40 on Amazon, but if you want something that will live for years and years and get better with age, you’re going to be spending quite a bit more than that.

The bags here are expensive, but like leather the craftsmanship and material quality matter a great deal in whether you end up with an item that deteriorates steadily or comes into its own. Like so many things, you get what you pay for — up to a certain point, of course.

I’ve collected bags from a variety of producers and tried them all for the last few months during everyday use and trips out of town. I focused on the “fits a medium-size laptop with room for a couple books and a camera” size, but many of these makers have plenty of variety to choose from.

Check the galleries under each bag to see examples of anything I pick out as nice or irritating. (The galleries are all really tall because of a bug in our system. Don’t worry about it.)

ONA Union Street ($299) and Brixton ($289)

Pros: Rigidity and padding, customizable dividers, nice snaps

Cons: Cheap-feeling interior, bulky, could be waxier

Ona’s bags, at least these, are aimed more at the laptop-camera combo than others, with extra padding and internal dividers for bodies and extra lenses.

I reviewed the Union Street years and years ago during a previous bag week and liked it so much that I decided to buy one. It’s the larger of these two bags, fitting a 15-inch laptop and a DSLR with an extra lens or two small ones.

Not only is the whole interior lined with padding, but the dividers are padded and the main flap itself has a sturdiness that has helped protect my gear against drops and kicks. The bottom, although it is also padded and feels soft, has lived through years of scooting around and placement on rough terrain.

I like the spring-powered self-locking snaps, though when I first got the bag I was convinced they’d be the first thing to fail. Seven years and thousands of snaps later, they’re still going strong, and when I was worried one was failing (it didn’t), Ona gladly sent me a replacement.

It was my standby for a long time, and I still have it. It has aged well in some ways, not so well in others — its waxed front has survived years of scratches and slides along the floor and is marvelously smooth and still water resistant. I don’t know how they did it. On the other hand, some areas have worn holes and the magnet that holds the back flap shut (a smart idea) eventually burrowed its way out.

The newer one feels very lightly waxed, but I know it’s in there. That said, if you want the full waxy look and feel, it could use a bit more. It’s really a matter of taste.

The inside is the weakest link. The fuzzy plush interior feels cheap to me (though it’s undeniably protective), there are no internal pockets, and repeated sticking and unsticking of the Velcro dividers wears the material down in places. Although being able to customize the interior space is invaluable for photographers specifically, a couple strong decisions inside would make it a better all-purpose bag, in my opinion.

The Brixton is the Union Street’s smaller sibling, fitting a 13-inch laptop and a bit less camera-wise. They share many qualities, including price (only a $10 difference) and ultimately the decision is one of what you need rather than which is better.

For me it’s a toss-up. I like the open, separate pockets on the exterior of the Brixton for things like filters and cables, but the zippered front pocket of the Union Street is better for pens, phones, and more valuable stuff. Personally I like the look of the Union better, with its riveted straps and uninterrupted waxed canvas flap.

If I had to choose, I’d go with the Union Street again, since it’s not so much larger that it becomes cumbrous, but the extra space may make the difference between having to pack a second bag or not.

Filson 24-Hour Tin Briefcase ($395)

Pros: Versatile, well made and guaranteed, spacious

Cons: Lighter material and wax, floppy handles, storm flap nitpick

Filson has been a Seattle standby for a century and more, with its signature waxed-canvas jackets covering the bodies of the hip, the outdoorsy, and the tourists alike. Their most practical bag is this one, the 24-Hour Tin Briefcase, which as the name indicates is a little more on the overnight bag side of things.

This bag has a large main compartment with a padded laptop area that will hold a 15-incher easily, and a couple pockets on the inside to isolate toothbrushes and pens and the like. On the outside is a pair of good-size zippered pockets that open wide to allow access from either the top or side; inside those are organizer strips and sub-pockets for pens and so on.

This is definitely the best generalist out of the bags I tried — it’s equally at home as a daily driver or at the airport. Essentially it’s the perfect “personal item” carry-on. When I’m leaving for a trip I invariably grab this bag because it’s so adaptable. Although it looks a bit bulky it flattens down well when not full, but it doesn’t look weird when it’s packed tightly.

A bonus with Filson is that should it ever rip or fail — and I mean ever — you can take it in and they’ll fix or patch it for free. I’ve done this with my jackets and it’s 100% awesome. The scars where the tears were make for even more character.

On the other hand, unlike many Filson products this one feels only lightly waxed. If you want more protection from rain you’ll want to add some wax yourself, not something everyone wants to do. You’ll eventually re-wax any of these bags, but this one just seemed to need it right off the bat. The material is a little lighter than some of the other bags, but that could be a plus or a minus. I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit more heavy-duty, like their “rugged twill.”

The handles are nicely made and thick, but tend to sort of flop around when not needed. And the storm flap that covers the top zipper, while welcome, feels like it has the snap on the wrong side — it makes attaching or detaching it a two-hand affair. When it isn’t full, the bag can be a bit shapeless — it’s not really boardroom ready. For that you want Croots or Ernest Alexander below.

Ernest Alexander Walker and Hudson – $385

Pros: Great texture and color, nice style details, low-profile

Cons: Impractical closure on Hudson, Walker has limited space, looks compromise utility a bit

Note: I tried two bags from this maker and unfortunately in the meantime both have sold out. I’ve asked when they’ll be back on the market, but for now you can take this review as a general indicator of the quality of EN bags.

The one I took to from the start is the Walker; it has a pleasantly sleek, minimal look on the outside, the material a handsome chocolate color that has started to wear well. But open up the flap and you have this lovely blue fine canvas inside (there’s a reverse scheme as well). To me this was the most refined of all the bags in this roundup. I like that there are no snaps, clips, or anything visible on the outside — just a wide expanse of that beautiful material.

It’s slim bag but not restrictively so; if what you need to carry isn’t awkward or bulky, there’s room for a good amount in there. Books, a mirrorless with a pancake lens, laptop — sure. But you’re definitely not fitting a spare set of clothes or some groceries.

The small zippered exterior pocket is great for a phone or cables, while the deep interior and exterior pockets are easily accessed and relatively spacious. If you control your loadout, there’s room for lots of stuff in here.

Unfortunately, if you don’t control it, the bag gets bent out of shape easily. Because the top flap attaches to the bottom at the center, if it gets too full the whole thing bulges awkwardly and the tips flip out. And the carry strap, alas, tends to tug on the flap in a way that draws its sides up and away from the clip. And don’t even try to pick it up with the flap detached.

Placing the clip underneath the flap also makes for a fiddly procedure — you have to lift up one side to get at it, and because the loop flips down when not in use, it becomes a two-handed operation to put the two pieces together. A sturdier, more fixed loop would make this easier. But it’s all in the name of style, and the sleek exterior may make up for these fussy aspects.

The cross-body strap has a lot of extra material but I made it into a neat little knot. I think it works pretty well, actually.

The larger Hudson messenger I was prepared to like but ultimately just can’t recommend. Theoretically it’s fantastic, with magnetic pocket closures, tons of room, and a cross between the simplicity of the Walker and the versatility of the Filson bag. But the closure system is just too much of a hassle.

It’s two straps in a simple belt style, which are a huge pain to do over and over if you’re frequently opening and closing the bag. Compared to Ona closures, which combine speed with the flexibility of belt-style adjustment, it just takes forever to access the Hudson. If they make a revised version of this bag that addresses this, it will have my hearty recommendation.

Croots England Vintage Canvas Laptop – $500

Pros: Handsome, well padded, excellent craftsmanship and materials

Cons: Flappy handles, uneven wear, laptop compartment, expensive

Having encountered a Croots bag in the wild one time, I knew I had to include this long-time waxed canvas player in the roundup. Croots waxed canvas is less oily than Filson or ONA, more like a heavy sailcloth. It feels very strong and holds its shape well. It is however on the high end of the spectrum.

That said, because of its stiffness, the Vintage Canvas Laptop bag seems to want to wear prematurely in areas that stick out a bit, like corners or folds near stitching. The wear process shifts the material from the smooth, almost ballistic nylon texture to a rough fuzzy one that I’m not so sure about. The aging from just a couple weeks of use already has me a little worried but it’s also very thick canvas.

The design is a bit more busy than the Ernest Alexander bags, but very handsome and mostly practical. I love the olive color, which contrasts beautifully with the red backing for the zippers. It doesn’t look Christmas-y at all, don’t worry.

The straps are a standout feature. The thick leather handles are attached below the zipper and rear pocket to D-rings, which in turn attach to separate leather straps that go under the entire bag. First this means that the handles flip down easily out of the way, since the D-rings rotate in their loops. The riveted construction also means that there’s no stitching to worry about in the whole strap assembly. And the bottoms of the loops do a little basic protection of the canvas down there.

It also means that when you’re walking, the outside handle tends to flap rather ungracefully against the side; the inner one, up or down, will be rubbing against your flank or back. You can however stow them in the side pockets with a bit of effort, which is a thoughtful touch.

The interior is a lovely shade of red, with several large loose pockets and some stiff leather ones for notebooks and so on. Unfortunately the laptop pocket is poorly proportioned: it’s hugely spacious, enough for three or four laptops to slide in, but the button to snap it shut is so low that I can’t get it fastened over a single 13-inch MacBook Pro. The idea that it could hold a 15-inch is ludicrous.

There’s lots of padding, though, so I wasn’t worried about anything banging around. There’s also the option for a separate camera insert, though large SLR users will likely want to size up.

There isn’t a heck of a lot of room in there but this is definitely meant to be a daily driver briefcase and not an overnight bag — a “personal item” on the plane perhaps but I would take the Filson or ONA over it for space reasons. However as a bag to take to work, the cafe, or the bookstore it’s a great option and a striking one. The Flight Bag is a slightly more expansive and unique option.

S-Zone – $30

Pros: Price, magnetic closures, leather edge details

Cons: Cheap-feeling interior and leather, little padding for laptop

To balance out the admittedly very expensive bags in this review I decided to grab a cheap one off Amazon as well. As I expected, it isn’t up to the quality level of the others, but for $30 it’s a bargain. If you want to experience how waxed canvas evolves and wears, an inexpensive bag like this is a great way to try it out.

The S-Zone’s fabric is a little thin but solid, rather stiff to begin with, but that’s fine — it’ll loosen up as you use the bag. The interior is a cheap-feeling synthetic, however — it’ll work, but you won’t feel like royalty using it.

There’s leather detailing all over, and in some places it feels solid, like the attachments for the shoulder strap and at the corners, where there are big patches that will scuff up nicely. But the handle feels like trouble waiting to happen.

Instead of a D-ring to allow it to flip down, the leather itself has been loosened up so that it’s extra bendy just above where it attaches. When it’s down, the thin rope around which the handle leather is wrapped is exposed; I can just see this getting soaked, bent, soaked again, bent, and getting weaker and weaker.

The front pockets are a little tight, but I like the little magnetic snaps — they make it easy to open and close them without looking. Just be careful not to stuff too much in there or the snaps won’t hold against the pressure. There’s a good deal of room inside, more than the Croots or Ernest Alexander, but less than the ONA or Filson.

But then there’s the curious design choice to put padding in the divider defining the laptop section, rather than on the outside. And the leather corner pieces stop just short of it! That means the only thing between the corner of your laptop and the ground is the nylon and canvas — and they don’t make for much of a cushion. Though the other bags don’t all have dedicated padding in this area, they do all seem to mitigate it better, and the S-Zone bag puts your laptop in the most danger of hitting the ground.


Hopefully the high prices of most of these items won’t turn

News Source = techcrunch.com

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bowery capital

StreetCred is building a blockchain-based marketplace for location data

While applications like Google Maps and Yelp seem to provide an inexhaustible source of information about local restaurants, stores and other points of interest, they can also come up short — moments when you arrive somewhere only to discover that the hours you had were wrong, or the store is closed for a holiday, or it’s just shut down altogether.

The team at StreetCred is trying to build a better system for gathering and selling that data. And it’s raised $1 million in seed funding from Bowery Capital and Notation Capital.

CEO Randy Meech explained that if someone wanted to build the next Uber or the next Pokémon Go, they’d need location data to make it work. And while they could buy that data now, it’s “very difficult, very expensive.”

Plus, he sees room for lots more data — while Foursquare has data about 105 million points of interest and Google has 100 million, Meech estimates that there are more than 1 billion POIs across the world, many of them in developing nations where the data is more spotty.

So StreetCred is building a marketplace where users should be rewarded for collecting this data, while interested companies should be able to buy the data more easily.

Meech has been working on mapping for years, serving as the CTO at MapQuest (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon/Oath) and then as CEO at Mapzen, an open source mapping subsidiary af Samsung. That’s where Meech met his StreetCred co-founder Diana Shkolnikov — he said StreetCred was created partly in response to the disappointment of shutting down Mapzen earlier this year.

“If we can get this protocol and data economy right, it can’t be shut down,” Meech said. That means leveraging blockchain technology: “It’s a very natural way to open up and decentralize the data and also to build a payment mechanism around that.”

StreetCred is just starting to test the system out around New Yor City. The idea is that users can download an app and then collect location data around the city, earning crypto tokens as they do. (They take photos to validate their location, and the data is also be verified by other users.) Then companies that want to buy the data can do so by purchasing tokens.

Meech drew parallels to Foursquare, which started out as a location-sharing app before building a business around its data. StreetCred, on the other hand, won’t have any social component — Meech said the app will be “completely anonymous” and focus entirely on the collection of location idea.

The team is still experimenting with the specific details of how contributions are incentivized and compensated, but Meech said users will be paid through an “anonymized wallet mechanism.” And while it’s important to make sure StreetCred’s tokens can be converted with into “fiat currency” (i.e., regular money), Meech said this approach should also mean users are more invested in StreetCred’s success: “We want to build an asset where the value of the currency is tied to the value of the data.”

“Our thesis is that if you make the data much more accessible, much cheaper to buy … you’re going to make things a lot easier and enable things that don’t exist today,” he said.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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