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Protect democracy by fighting disinformation

February 27, 2022 7:56 p.m.

FILIPINOS can do their part in upholding our democracy not only by voting for the right candidates but, in this age of technology, fighting disinformation that distorts people’s ability to make sound decisions, panelists in a virtual town hall discussion said Tuesday.

During the launch of Vote Right 2022, a campaign of advocacy group Democracy Watch Philippines in partnership with the Commission on Elections, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, characterized the conscientious voter as someone who possesses an open mind, actively searches for the truth, and who puts an effort into discerning which input from social media must, and must not, be believed. 

A good and responsible citizen votes according to one’s conscience, he said. 

“This is the candidate who will preserve and strengthen democracy, follow the law, respect human dignity, defend our territory in a peaceful but firm way, and rectify the culture of corruption in government,” Bishop David said. 

Meanwhile, Stratbase ADR Institute president Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit pointed to the apparent disconnect between what voters say they want in a candidate and who are emerging as frontrunners in early surveys – a phenomenon that’s best explained by the prevalence and power of fake news.

“Today’s social media space is infected with the pandemic of disinformation, perpetrated by forces who need to distort historical facts,” he said. 

Manhit pointed out that next to television, the Internet is the second most influential source of election information. The ordinary information consumer, however, does not necessarily fact check articles he or she sees online. 

“The truth must be told. It must be told again and again so it does not drown in the well-funded deluge of lies and disinformation,” he said, as he conjured a governance scenario produced by an election decided by disinformation. 

“Voter education today must combat disinformation with untiring passion and resolve,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Myla Villanueva, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, emphasized that the work they do is critical to maintaining the credibility of elections. 

“The young people may not remember this, but in the days of manual elections, wholesale cheating was happening in the canvassing where 2000 votes become 20,000 or sometimes, they would remove from one candidate and add to another in very big fashion.”

The PPCRV is legally empowered by the Commission on Elections to perform unofficial parallel counts, conduct voter education and registration campaigns, and be part of the voters’ assistance desk. 

A big part of the PPCRV’s work is engaging the youth, especially encouraging first-time voters to take part in elections. 

Commission on Elections spokesman and director for Education and Information James Jimenez meanwhile emphasized the ultimate benefits of an automated system which eliminates structural advantages such as perceived bailiwicks and command votes.

He also spoke about how the faster counting now eliminates any window of opportunity for dagdag -bawas (vote padding and shaving), and how the prompt release of election results protects election workers and potentially defuses tensions in hotly contested areas.

“When people no longer have time to condition the minds of the public to accept a predetermined result, then you have a fair environment for the elections where the election result is easier to accept for everyone,” Jimenez said. 

While a lot of the success of the 2022 election depends on voters and their vigilance, “we cannot trivialize the contribution of the automated election system to our safe elections.”  

Other speakers at the virtual town hall were Atty. Ona Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), and Dr. Rachel Khan, associate dean of the UP College of Mass Communication and program coordinator of fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph. 

In his closing remarks, Paco Pangalangan, convenor of Democracy Watch, sounded the call for Filipinos to exert due diligence in choosing candidates, to be more conscious of the source and quality of information, adopt a fact-checking mindset, open their senses and appreciate the evidence. 

“The future of our nation is worth the effort,” he said. 

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NEWS

How to watch NSFW/NSFL content safely and discreetly

February 12, 2024 1:55 p.m.

Want to hide your guilty pleasures from prying eyes? Do it properly, suggests Kaspersky experts

You may have already heard about NSFW (not-safe-for-work) or NSFL (not-safe-for-life) and what it means to your self-preservation or at the very least, your reputation. 

If you’re still clueless, it refers to online content that is best viewed in private. Examples would be medications you take, gifts you were checking out for your loved ones and sensitive videos you watched before bed.  

“The kind and amount of information that we can now access through the internet is almost limitless. And many of us are happy to do things online. On the flipside, our research shows some prefer to keep those habits to themselves. In fact, many see the Internet as a place to hide,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky. 

In a study by Kaspersky on digital privacy, almost half of respondents (41%) said they apply additional measures when browsing the Internet to hide their information from the websites they visit. The same study revealed that family members, colleagues and the government are the top three groups of people we don’t want to know certain things about us. 

“With online content at our fingertips, people will read and watch online whatever they want to. Whichever it is, we recommend doing it safely. Remember your digital reputation is closely linked to your personal reputation. With a stroke of unfortunate luck, your online habit or personal information can accidentally become available to others, despite your wishes. Not only would it make you a target of malware but it could end up costing you your job,” added Yeo. 

This article explains who can catch sight of your online activities and how to make sure your secrets are safe.

  1. Your family

You likely share a computer and a Wifi network with your family. This means your partner, kids, or parents—anyone you share a home with—could discover traces of your online activities. Here are what could give you away:

  • Browser history It remembers the websites you visit and suggests them the next time you want to visit one of them. It can come in handy but can lead to some awkward moments like if your partner or your child types in the letter P (for Pinterest) and gets a suggestion for P(ornhub). 
  • Targeted advertising When you open a website, the browser saves cookie files on your computer, which allows the site to remember things about you (like your username, pages you viewed, contents of your shopping cart, etc). They also give ad network-partners of the website’s owner information about you for suggesting similar content. The giants of the Web, such as Google, will not show erotic banners, of course. But less-scrupulous ad networks may. 

Tip: It’s best to go into incognito mode before watching private videos, to avoid embarrassment later. Using it avoids leaving browsing traces for your family to discover. Some browsers such as Yandex.Browser will suggest it if you open a porn site. By running in incognito mode, your browser stores no cookies and no search history. Your family will see none of those treacherous suggestions in the address bar.

As for the cookies and browser history you have already accumulated, clear them. Open the browser’s settings: In Chrome, for example, the option will be visible immediately, and in Firefox, you will need to go to the Privacy & Security tab.

  1. Internet giants

Cookies are not the only way to find out about your interests, so incognito mode will not hide information about your hobbies from big Internet corporations. Facebook will still learn about the things you like if you visit websites that are integrated with its analytics and advertising modules — and you would not believe how many of those are around. 

Google will still remember what you searched for and what sites you opened in Chrome. This year, Pornhub revealed that the Philippines topped its website viewership for the fourth consecutive year. The website shared that they’ve monitored getting more female viewers than male viewers in the country through the demographics data tracking of Google Analytics.

Tip: Fortunately, not all companies want to collect all of the data they can about you. Privacy-centric browsers like Firefox and search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage.com, along with the Private Browsing feature in Kaspersky products can help prevent tracking by advertising networks and Internet giants. 

  1. Your ISP

Few will pause to think that their ISP, as well as the owner of the free Wi-Fi they are using, can monitor their traffic. We suggest you put some safety measures in place, which is not nearly as hard as it may sound, unless you like the thought of your passions becoming some mischievous ISP employee’s source of entertainment.

Tip: Use a secure connection like a VPN (virtual private network) to dodge those whose curiosity gets the better of them. Doing so will encrypt your traffic so strongly that the ISP will see nothing but gibberish.

  1. Porn scammers

Scammers who email you saying they have infected your computer with malware and used a Web camera to make a video of your naughty pleasures really have no idea if you have been watching porn or not. They are simply mass-mailing their threats in the hope that someone will bite. 

Tip: Do not fret. Never pay scammers who claim to have caught you watching adult content. If you receive an email like that, send it straight to spam.

Remember safety measures

Although the creators of well-known porn websites protect their reputations, it is not impossible to get your device infected while searching for adult videos. From time to time, cybercriminals hack networks that display ads on such websites or attempt to pass off a fake.

The malware is unlikely to hack your webcam, but it may very well block your screen with an explicit picture or start displaying gobs of explicit ads in your browser. So, remember these safety measures.

  1. Choose websites you know. Avoid opening questionable websites from search results that promise premium content free.
  2. Download apps from official sources only.
  3. Do not click on links in ads, even if they are hard to resist.
  4. Use a robust protective solution such as Kaspersky Premium. It will block a malicious program, should one attempt to infect your device. 
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NEWS

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Honolulu Cafe

February 10, 2024 5:34 p.m.

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Honolulu Cafe.

Try their best- seller Roasted Pork Belly and Egg Tarts.

Roasted Pork Belly
Egg tarts

Honolulu Cafe located at SM Aura, Robinson’s Place Manila and Greenbelt 5.

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NEWS

DITO breaking barriers with lowest postpaid plan, UNLI 5G Offers

February 1, 2024 6:21 p.m.

DITO Telecommunity, the fastest-growing telecommunications provider in the country, disrupts the postpaid market with its newest and most affordable postpaid plans- DITO Mobile Postpaid FLEXPlan 388 and UNLIMITED 5G data offering for all SIM-Only plans- both designed to provide Filipinos with data-packed plans at the most affordable prices. 

The new FLEXPlan 388 SIM-Only is DITO’s starter plan for individuals who want to start their postpaid journey. Customers can enjoy a total of 50GB of data; the usual 25GB plus an additional 25GB of 5G data, UNLI all-net calls & texts, and a bonus 12-month Prime Video subscription- all these with absolutely no lock-in period. 

In addition to all these values, DITO is also giving all new FLEXPlan 388 subscribers a special introductory offer of PHP 288 per month for the first three months, valid for a limited period.

“In time for the new year, our DITO Mobile Postpaid FLEXPlan 388 is our best and lowest postpaid deal yet since we launched our postpaid plans last year. Introducing this plan is a testament to our commitment to providing equal access to everyone, ensuring that our customers receive exceptional value-for-money plans without spending much,” said Evelyn Jimenez, DITO Chief Commercial Officer. 

Customers can apply for DITO FLEXPlan 388 SIM-Only via the DITO App, DITO Website, DITO Experience Stores, and device retail partners.

Additionally, DITO revamps its SIM-Only Plans and introduces UNLIMITED 5G data offerings for SIM-Only Plans for as low as Php 888, which comes with 40GB of 4G data per month. 

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All SIM-Only plans come with UNLI all-net calls and texts and no lock-in period. Customers can also enjoy DITO’s Advance Pay feature for SIM-Only Plans, which allows advance payments for monthly subscription fees with up to 40% discount! 

“Meanwhile, we also revamped our SIM-Only plans and added UNLIMITED 5G data offerings because we want to provide our customers with limitless browsing experience and unparalleled 5G service to elevate their digital lifestyles at very affordable costs,” Jimenez added. 

To enjoy UNLI 5G postpaid plans, customers can apply via the DITO App, DITO Website, or DITO Experience Stores nationwide. 

“At DITO, we ensure that our connectivity meets affordability. We aim to bridge the gap between our customers’ digital dreams and reality. We want to democratize the postpaid market and give every individual the chance to experience the benefits of mobile postpaid,” Jimenez concluded. 

For more updates on the latest postpaid offers, visit https://dito.ph/postpaid.  

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