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Five dead, four injured in Cochin Shipyard tanker blast; probe ordered in cause of fire at ONGC-owned vessel

Kochi: Five persons died and several others were injured in a blast inside the water ballast of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) tanker ship Sagar Bhushan at the Cochin Shipyard here in Kerala on Tuesday.

The Cochin Shipyard management announced a probe by an internal committee.

Representational image. Reuters

The blast occurred at around 9.45 am. Nine workers were engaged in welding inside the water ballast when the blast occurred, killing five of them, while four were injured. Of the four, the condition of one worker is serious with 45 percent burns and he is on ventilator support. The condition of the other three is not that serious, officials said.

Chairman and Managing Director of Cochin Shipyard Madhu S Nair announced an immediate ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the families of the deceased.

An official statement said that all treatment expenses of the injured will be met by the company as per its existing policies.

“All necessary assistance is being provided by the company to those affected, and the entire senior leadership is monitoring the process. Senior civil and police officials are on the ground and appropriate actions is being taken,” it said.

The tanker ship has dry-docked at the Cochin Shipyard for a month for repairs and maintenance. All the dead are from Kerala.

About 10 workers who were engaged in works away from the water ballast suffered small injuries when splinters from the blast hit them.

Those working on the tanker during the blast included mostly daily wagers and contract workers since Tuesday is a holiday for regular shipyard workers.

Shipyard CMD Nair told the media about the internal probe committee.

“Since we come under the Factories and Broilers Department, their officials will come, besides those from the Director General of Shipping to find out what happened. We do follow stringent safety practices and even today morning (Tuesday), as per the safety protocols, the amount of gas in the water ballast was checked,” he said.

“Since there was a loud noise, there may be a chance that gas got consolidated in the water ballast since welding is done using two different gases. Every aspect will be probed and all expenses on injured workers met by us,” he said.

In a statement, ONGC said “The cause of the incident is being ascertained.”

A ballast tank is a compartment within a ship or other floating structure that holds water to provide stability to the vessel.

Kochi City Police Commissioner MP Dinesh told the media: “The dead include some who apparently choked on smoke after the explosion.”

He also said that a probe had been ordered.

A trade union leader present at a private hospital in Kochi said nine injured workers were admitted there.

Published Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:26 PM | Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:26 PM

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Atlanta

A simple solution to end the encryption debate

Criminals and terrorists, like millions of others, rely on smartphone encryption to protect the information on their mobile devices. But unlike most of us, the data on their phones could endanger lives and pose a great threat to national security.

The challenge for law enforcement, and for us as a society, is how to reconcile the advantages of gaining access to the plans of dangerous individuals with the cost of opening a door to the lives of everyone else. It is the modern manifestation of the age-old conflict between privacy versus security, playing out in our pockets and palms.

One-size-fits all technological solutions, like a manufacturer-built universal backdoor tool for smartphones, likely create more dangers than they prevent. While no solution will be perfect, the best ways to square data access with security concerns require a more nuanced approach that rely on non-technological procedures.

The FBI has increasingly pressed the case that criminals and terrorists use smartphone security measures to avoid detection and investigation, arguing for a technological, cryptographic solution to stop these bad actors from “going dark.” In fact, there are recent reports that the Executive Branch is engaged in discussions to compel manufacturers to build technological tools so law enforcement can read otherwise-encrypted data on smartphones.

But the FBI is also tasked with protecting our nation against cyber threats. Encryption has a critical role in protecting our digital systems against compromises by hackers and thieves. And of course, a centralized data access tool would be a prime target for hackers and criminals. As recent events prove – from the 2016 elections to the recent ransomware attack against government computers in Atlanta – the problem will likely only become worse. Anything that weakens our cyber defenses will only make it more challenging for authorities to balance these “dual mandates” of cybersecurity and law enforcement access.

There is also the problem of internal threats: when they have access to customer data, service providers themselves can misuse or sell it without permission. Once someone’s data is out of their control, they have very limited means to protect it against exploitation. The current, growing scandal around the data harvesting practices on social networking platforms illustrates this risk. Indeed, our company Symphony Communications, a strongly encrypted messaging platform, was formed in the wake of a data misuse scandal by a service provider in the financial services sector.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

So how do we help law enforcement without making data privacy even thornier than it already is? A potential solution is through a non-technological method, sensitive to the needs of all parties involved, that can sometimes solve the tension between government access and data protection while preventing abuse by service providers.

Agreements between some of our clients and the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”), proved popular enough that FBI Director Wray recently pointed to them as a model of “responsible encryption” that solves the problem of “going dark” without compromising robust encryption critical to our nation’s business infrastructure.

The solution requires storage of encryption keys — the codes needed to decrypt data — with third party custodians. Those custodians would not keep these client’s encryption keys. Rather, they give the access tool to clients, and then clients can choose how to use it and to whom they wish to give access. A core component of strong digital security is that a service provider should not have access to client’s unencrypted data nor control over a client’s encryption keys.

The distinction is crucial. This solution is not technological, like backdoor access built by manufacturers or service providers, but a human solution built around customer control.  Such arrangements provide robust protection from criminals hacking the service, but they also prevent customer data harvesting by service providers.

Where clients choose their own custodians, they may subject those custodians to their own, rigorous security requirements. The clients can even split their encryption keys into multiple pieces distributed over different third parties, so that no one custodian can access a client’s data without the cooperation of the others.

This solution protects against hacking and espionage while safeguarding against the misuse of customer content by the service provider. But it is not a model that supports service provider or manufacturer built back doors; our approach keeps the encryption key control in clients’ hands, not ours or the government’s.

A custodial mechanism that utilizes customer-selected third parties is not the answer to every part of the cybersecurity and privacy dilemma. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that this dilemma will submit to a single solution, especially a purely technological one. Our experience shows that reasonable, effective solutions can exist. Technological features are core to such solutions, but just as critical are non-technological considerations. Advancing purely technical answers – no matter how inventive – without working through the checks, balances and risks of implementation would be a mistake.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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