Youth clubs to promote inventions

Updated 19 October 2014

Youth clubs to promote inventions

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is to set up 100 clubs to promote scientific inventions.
“This is a new project undertaken by KACST to help young Saudi men and women to develop their skills to promote scientific inventions,” Mansour Al-Ghamdi, director of the scientific awareness program at KACST, told Arab News on Thursday.
The project, which is fully funded by the Abdul Rahman Al-Rajhi Foundation and Isterlab, the training center at Badir program for Technology Incubators, will conduct the training programs for youth to take up leadership in the proposed clubs.
The tripartite agreement was signed by Saad Abdul Rahman Al-Rajhi, member of the board of trustees of the Abdul Rahman Al-Rajhi Foundation, Al-Ghamdi and Muhannad Abudiyyah, chief executive officer of Isterlab.
Al-Ghamdi said that the idea is to create awareness among Saudi youth about the prospects of creating scientific inventions.
He pointed out that the project is part of the KACST program for the National Science,Technology and Innovation Plan (NSTIP).
Al-Rajhi said his foundation is geared to assisting charity work, which would help the people of the Kingdom. He said the foundation is happy to participate in this project, which would help the younger generation.
Abudiyyah said that his institution will be in charge of training the youth to prepare themselves to carry out the objectives of the club.
He said that the first group of 25 men and 25 women would be trained in the Saudi capital in early November.
He pointed out that most of the training programs would be conducted online.
“This will make it easier for participants to get regular updates on the program,” he said.
Abudiyyah, who is also a distinguished inventor, said the participants of the training program will be from universities and schools.
“We will give them practical training to identify new areas for invention and help them develop their innovative skills,” he said.
He said that there are some invention clubs in some parts of the Kingdom and the new project would help the members of such clubs improve their existing projects.
Abudiyyah won the Arab Youth Council for Integrated Development Award earlier this year from among 200 other participants that came from all over the Arab world.
The award was presented at a ceremony in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Abudiyyah is considered a prominent Saudi inventor. He has registered nine inventions despite his inability to see or to use his right leg after a horrific accident.
The most important of his inventions is a Saudi submarine.
In addition, he was able to establish Isterlab training center, which is also considered a scientific and cultural project that deals with nurturing, preparing and coaching inventors while providing all they require in terms of products and services.
Abudiyyah composed a book about inventions in Arabic titled “The World of Inventions.” The book explains everything that an inventor might need or face in order to overcome hindrances and accomplish success.

Tech firms react to netizens’ digital privacy concerns

Updated 08 November 2019

Tech firms react to netizens’ digital privacy concerns

  • Tech entrepreneurs are bidding to turn growing consciousness of privacy into a money-making industry
  • Brittany Kaiser: “I believe there is an entire new industry around digital identity, data ownership, data management and data monetisation for yourself”

LISBON: Whistleblowers and digital pioneers have long been sounding the alarm about abuses of our privacy online.

Now, a slew of tech entrepreneurs are bidding to turn growing consciousness about the problem into a money-making industry and many showcased their skills at this week’s Web Summit in Lisbon.

“Undeniably, with the new tensions that exist, obviously there is a movement among people to regain their right to privacy,” organiser Paddy Cosgrave told AFP.

“Providing personalised encryption at the level of the device, so that any key stroke on your device is unreadable by a third party ... is booming. There are many companies trying to make progress in this space,” Cosgrave said.

“I believe there is an entire new industry around digital identity, data ownership, data management and data monetisation for yourself,” said American Brittany Kaiser who helped lift the lid on data abuses at Cambridge Analytica which last year found itself embroiled in a scandal involving the misuse of Facebook data.

Kaiser’s work at Cambridge Analytica is also a subject of a Netflix documentary, “The Great Hack”.

Kaiser co-created a foundation “Own your data” in order to “blow the whistle on the whole industry” and denounce abuses of companies harvesting data without web users’ explicit knowledge.

She warned that “it’s going to be hard to get to the point of mass adoption” of products and services designed to allay privacy fears but sees a “wave of momentum” after a year-and-a-half of campaigning.

Brendan Eich, founder of the Brave browser, as well as Mozilla and Firefox and the man behind JavaScript, observed “small minorities can move markets, and that’s happening”.

The way ahead is “privacy by default,” said Eich, touting data protection and adblock capabilities as key Brave attributes.

Eich hopes Brave will have 10 million users by year’s end, although he said that would have to double or even triple before it could generate revenues from opt-in online ads.

US “godfather of crypto” currencies, David Chaum, meanwhile said he believed the digital world has reached a key juncture.

“This is like a kind of a historic moment. I think if you look at smartphones, the killer app is clearly messaging integrated with payments.

Chaum is behind Elixxir, which seeks to offer digital privacy by deploying a mobile messaging app partnered with a virtual payment vehicle along the lines of Chinese behemoth Tencent’s We Chat platform, securing communications through blockchain protection.

Briton David Chance also wants to take digital privacy to another level having left Google to launch a startup,, offering retrieval of data which has remained in the public sphere without user consent.

“The most shocking thing is the scale of the problem,” says Chance. “We find personal data for about 80 percent of the people that sign up for our service. That could be a phone number, an email address or a date of birth.

“Companies are gathering up information that we kind of left as our online footprints and are using this to determine whether somebody gets a job, credit or a mortgage.”

Following criticism for not doing enough to secure user data, Facebook recently promised to bring end-to-end encryption to its Messenger platform, as is already the case with WhatsApp.

Jay Sullivan, whom Facebook recruited earlier this year as Messenger’s director of product management and privacy and integrity issues, says data protection is now a basic reqirement, a decade after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg suggested privacy was no longer a “social norm” or indeed to be expected.

Eich said consent is key.

“People don’t like (being tracked). They think, ‘I feel like some creeper is stalking me. I feel abused’,” he said.