Governments are using the pandemic to crack down on digital rights, report finds

The Freedom on the Net 2020 report, an assessment of 65 countries released Wednesday, found that the pandemic has accelerated a decline in free speech and privacy on the internet for the tenth consecutive year, and accused some governments of using the virus as a pretext to crack down on critical speech.

“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which is funded by the US government. “Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”

Amid the pandemic, internet connectivity has become a lifeline to essential information and services — from education platforms, to health care portals, employment opportunities and social interactions. But state and nonstate actors are also exploiting the crisis to erode freedoms online.
Nowhere has that approach been more apparent than in China, according to Freedom House, which rated the country worst for internet freedom for a sixth year in a row.
Since the coronavirus outbreak emerged in Wuhan last December, China has deployed every tool in its internet control arsenal — from digital surveillance, to automated censorship, and systematic arrests — to stem the spread, not only of Covid-19, but of unofficial information and criticism of the government, researchers found.

These practices are not unique to China, the report details.

Censoring the coronavirus outbreak

Intent on downplaying unfavorable Covid-19 coverage, authorities censored independent reporting in at least 28 countries and arrested online critics in 45 countries, per the report.

Following China’s lead, governments from Bangladesh to Belarus blocked reporting and websites that contradicted official sources, revoking credentials and detaining journalists who challenged their statistics. In Venezuela, for example, the government barred a website with

Many things to many people: Panasonic launches DC-BGH1 modular ‘box’ camera: Digital Photography Review

Panasonic has announced a new Micro Four Thirds video camera, the Lumix DC-BGH1. This box-style camera is built around a 10.2MP Live MOS sensor. Based on specs, the BGH1 might appear to be essentially a Panasonic GH5S minus the screen and controls, and to some degree, it is. Still, Panasonic has included several features that are rather interesting.

The aluminum and magnesium alloy body is relatively small, at 93mm per side and 78mm deep (3.66 x 3.07 inches). Notably, the camera lacks both a viewfinder and a screen but includes eleven 1/4″-20 sockets for mounting accessories or a tripod. An integrated fan and internal heat dispersion system allow for unlimited record times, and a hot shoe mount on top of the camera can be used to mount a microphone or Panasonic’s DMW-XLR1 XLR adapter.

Camera controls include a dial with a four-way controller on top, several dedicated function buttons and three custom function buttons.

The BGH1 also has very different ports than your typical Micro Four Thirds camera. For example, there’s an ethernet port that can utilize Power over Ethernet+ to power the camera over ethernet in addition to transmitting video signal and camera control.

The BGH1 can be controlled entirely over ethernet using Panasonic’s Lumix Tether app. Additionally, Panasonic’s Lumix Tether for Multicam app will allow a single computer to control up to 12 BGH1 cameras simultaneously, all with Power over Ethernet if the network supports it. Panasonic says a future firmware update will add support for IP streaming over ethernet.

On the back of the camera, you’ll find three BNC connectors that support 3G SDI-out, timecode in/out, and genlock, which is useful for syncing cameras on multi-cam setups. There are also full-sized HDMI-out and USB-C (USB 3.1) connections. The USB-C, SDI and HDMI ports can all provide video

Canon Announces Powerful New EL-1 Speedlite with Rechargeable Battery and EOS M50 Mark II Mirrorless Digital Camera; More Info at B&H

Photography News: Canon has released a powerful new Speedlite with a rechargeable battery, an LED modeling light and new Xenon bulb and EOS M50 Mark II mirrorless digital camera

B&H Photo is pleased to share that Canon has announced a new powerful on-camera flash unit with a Xenon bulb for consistent output and a rechargeable Li-ion battery that will enable up to 335 flashes per charge. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs, the Canon Speedlite EL-1 provides a Guide Number of 197′ at ISO 100 and 200mm, which is comparable to that of the 600EX II-RT Speedlite.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201013006173/en/

Canon EL1 Speedlite (Photo: Business Wire)

The new EL-1 has a range of 24-200mm with a fast recycling time of 0.1-0.9 seconds. It also features an LED Modeling Lamp with adjustable brightness and color temperature controls. With a fully charged battery, the modeling light will run for three hours and can be turned on and off by double-tapping the camera’s shutter button.

Canon Speedlite EL-1

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1598395- REG/canon_4571c002_speedlite_el_1.html

Key Features

  • 2.4 GHz Wireless Radio Transmission

  • Compatible with Canon E-TTL / E-TTL II

  • Guide Number: 197′ at ISO 100 and 200mm

  • Zoom Range: 24-200mm

This impressive flash unit brings with it an improved user interface with a new LCD panel, a menu system with simplified options and control layout, as well as a new joystick controller. Efficiency features such as an Active Cooling System and improved thermal management enable longer operation times and its power-output range, from 1/8192 to 1/1, provides versatile and power-saving settings when needed.

Built to be strong, the EL-1 offers the same dust and water resistance as Canon EOS-1D series cameras and features new high-durability glass flash tube. The flash head can swivel a full 180° with bounce up to

Twilio’s acquisition of Segment will support collection of digital data

Twilio’s acquisition of Segment will support collection of digital data










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Virginia Approves STEMscopes Digital STEM Curriculum in State Science Textbook Adoption

Accelerate Learning today announced that the STEMscopes digital STEM curriculum has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education as part of the state textbook adoption for science. The adoption of STEMscopes Virginia includes grades K-6 and Physical Science, Life Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

STEMscopes Virginia is a comprehensive, hands-on STEM curriculum that is built from the ground up to the 2018 Virginia Science Standards of Learning and Curriculum Framework. STEMscopes is centered on phenomena-based instruction to drive student inquiry and a passion for STEM. Through the research-based 5E plus intervention and acceleration learning model, students explore scientific concepts through dynamic phenomena found in everyday life.

“We’re pleased that STEMscopes will be an integral part of student inquiry in science in Virginia schools and districts,” said Dr. Vernon Johnson, president and CEO of Accelerate Learning. “With STEMscopes, students actually do science, instead of simply reading about it in a textbook. STEMscopes takes a constructivist approach where students investigate real-world phenomena through hands-on, collaborative experiences, while teachers receive embedded support and the flexibility to teach in whatever style they like.”

STEMscopes combines a comprehensive digital curriculum, supplemental print materials, and ready-made exploration kits with embedded professional development to support student and teacher success. It provides easy access from any device at any time, and can be used in traditional classrooms, hybrid learning, and distance learning. It also includes a number of new features to better support distance learning and hands-on learning at home.

For information or to request a full-district or full-school access trial, visit https://www.stemscopes.com/state/va/.

About STEMscopes
STEMscopes, created by Accelerate Learning Inc., is an award-winning, research-based national leader in PreK-12 STEM curriculum. Used by over 5 million students across all 50 states, STEMscopes provides comprehensive digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that drive engagement and academic