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Binayak Dasgupta

Binayak reports on information security, privacy and scientific research in health and environment with explanatory pieces. He also edits the news sections of the newspaper.

Articles by Binayak Dasgupta

Study highlights threat of spread in public transport

The finding, submitted to American nonprofit research agency National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), underscores the threat of infection in public transport where people are prone to being in close proximity and touching several surfaces through which an infection could spread.

People sharing space in a confined setting – such as a bus or a metro train – over a particular period of time during when they will be exposed to the virus.
Updated on Apr 22, 2020 03:31 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

AC air flow spread Covid-19 in China restaurant

The infections, according to an analysis by Center for Disease Control (CDC) experts in China, took place because the three families were in the draught of the same air conditioner as the index patient, although they were on different tables.

The lack of infection in others at two tables close by (but not in the line of the air flow), and in other floors of the restaurant appeared to suggest the virus did not spread through “aerosol transmission”.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Updated on Apr 21, 2020 09:22 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Your voice may be able to tell if you have Covid

Currently, most of these efforts are at a stage in which the researchers are gathering data – speech and coughing recordings paired with information whether someone has an infection.

At the core of the tool is a computer programme patented by Singh and used extensively in voice profiling work by law enforcement in United States, according to a homeland security research agency.(AP file photo)
Updated on Apr 17, 2020 05:19 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Your voice may be able to tell if you have Covid

Doctors wearing protective gear seal a vial after taking a swab from a woman to test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a residential area in Ahmedabad, India, April 9, 2020.(REUTERS)
Updated on Apr 16, 2020 11:44 PM IST
By, New Delhi

Could virus have silently infected far more than reported, asks study

The projection by researchers underscores how Covid-19 multiplies silently among populations, complicating efforts to cut off its spread especially at a time when authorities need a clear picture to be able to relax lockdowns.

In the seven days starting March 22, the country is estimated to have had 16,800-23,600 true infections as opposed to the 2,395 that were reported, according to the short-term forecast.(HT Photo/ Vipin Kumar)
Updated on Apr 16, 2020 06:21 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Covid-19: Phones may hold key to catching up with the pandemic

Technology lawyer Rahul Matthan, who advised the Indian government in the development of the Aarogya Setu app, said the features in the application need to be looked at in the context of the circumstances of the epidemic.

Tracing contacts through conventional methods, therefore, may be ineffective, require too much manpower, and take too much time for effective containment.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Updated on Apr 14, 2020 03:07 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Coronavirus crisis: 100,000 dead in 101 days, half of them in just a week

Coronavirus update: In India, national capital Delhi recorded 183 new cases on Friday – the largest single-day jump. Most of these (154), however, were related to the Nizamuddin cluster from where roughly 2,300 have been taken to hospitals and quarantine centres.

Covid-19 in India: A civic worker sprays disinfectant on beds at a special temporary hospital facility for COVID-19 patients in Mumbai, India.(AP)
Updated on Apr 11, 2020 05:36 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Covid-19 update: Florida spring breakers’ phones show vast spread

Coronavirus update: On Sunday, the total number of cases in the United States rose beyond 124,000 — 62 times the 2,000 confirmed infections in the country on March 13, when US President Donald Trump announced the epidemic is a national emergency.

Coronavirus update: In the weeks leading up to March 13, thousands of college-goers from across the country’s central and eastern parts, descended upon the sunny beaches of Florida for the annual spring break revelry.(Reuters File Photo)
Updated on Mar 30, 2020 04:53 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Study explores what worst case looks like

The findings present what is the first significant global projection, taking into account population demography, social contact patterns and health care infrastructure as well as the infection and mortality rates seen in the Covid-19 pandemic till now.

The virus, Sars-Cov-2, has infected close to 500,000 people and caused at least 22,000 fatalities till Thursday.(Reuters file photo)
Updated on Mar 27, 2020 10:02 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Coronavirus update: Near-total lockdown may let normalcy resume within weeks, shows analysis

Covid-19: The findings of the study lend weight to the strategy adopted in India, where virtually all of the country’s 1.3 billion people are now confined to their homes for a three-week period in what is the strongest counter measure adopted by any country in the world in terms of scale and duration.

Covid-19 update: A view of the Chandpole area in Jaipur, Rajasthan, on Sunday during the ‘Janata curfew’.(Himanshu Vyas / HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 27, 2020 01:55 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Coronavirus update- 97k-1.3mn stand risk of infection by May: Study

Covid-19 update: Created by a team including 13 academics from three American universities and one from the Delhi School of Economics, the projection is based on cases reported till March 22 and underscores the need for the government to immediately ramp up efforts such as building dedicated new hospitals as China did in Wuhan.

People wearing face masks visit Beijing Zoo, which has partially reopened after closing in late January due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in China on March 24, 2020.(Reuters Photo)
Updated on Mar 24, 2020 08:02 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

India may have 97k-1.3mn Covid-19 infections by mid-May, shows projection

New Delhi: India might end up with 97,000 to 1.3 million coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections by mid-May, according to a statistical analysis of current trends and the country’s demographics that raises the possibility of the country being unable to avoid widespread deaths if its frail health care system is overwhelmed by the outbreak.

HT Image
Updated on Mar 24, 2020 10:42 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

BJP’s deepfake videos trigger new worry over AI use in political campaigns

Deepfake refers to media – audio or video – created using the artificial intelligence technique of deep learning. Such media can be entirely fictional and can range from portraying a person carrying out an activity they never did or speak words that they never spoke.

A Delhi BJP representative said the party had not specifically hired any firm and that the videos were made after it was shown a sample.(HT Representative PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 21, 2020 04:43 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Credit, debit card data of half a million Indians up for sale on dark web

The data, put up for sale on Joker’s Stash, includes sensitive level of detail – expiration dates, CVV/CVC codes, cardholders’ names, and even email addresses in some cases – in addition to the 14-16 digit card numbers, according to Group IB, a Singapore-based cybersecurity firm.

Indian cybersecurity officials have alerted the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and all Indian banks that such data was being sold on the dark web, a senior official in a department handling cybersecurity said, asking not to be named.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Representative Image)
Updated on Feb 07, 2020 11:55 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

China says 2,000 infected as studies sound virus alarm

At least 56 people have now succumbed to the virus, which had been unseen anywhere in the world till about a month ago before it began spreading from the central Chinese city of Wuhan to now sicken people in countries as far away as France, the United States and Australia.

Workers from local disease control and prevention department in protective suits disinfect a residential area following the outbreak of a new coronavirus, in Ruichang, Jiangxi province.(REUTERS)
Published on Jan 26, 2020 11:35 PM IST
Hindustan Times, Beijing/New Delhi | BySutirtho Patranobis and Binayak Dasgupta

Pune-Jaipur IndiGo flight diverted in ‘full emergency’

According to flight tracking data, the plane, with 183 people on board, turned around roughly an hour into its flight and landed shortly after 4.30am at Mumbai.

Representational Photo.(PTI)
Updated on Jan 17, 2020 02:14 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySunetra Choudhury and Binayak Dasgupta

Personal Data Protection Bill may give govt a wider berth on data surveillance

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which will underpin India’s first legal framework to protect privacy after it was held as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in 2017, has been circulated among parliamentarians.

BJP Members of Parliament Ravi Shankar Prasad (C) Arjun Ram Meghwal (L) and Pralhad Joshi (R) addresses media at Parliament House, in New Delhi.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 11, 2019 04:10 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Cabinet nod to India’s first data protection bill, House test soon

The personal data protection bill, once approved by Parliament, will be the foundation for the country’s legal safeguards for individual privacy, which was held by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right in a ruling in 2017.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the media during a press conference after a cabinet meeting in the presence of Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, at PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhawan, in New Delhi on Wednesday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Published on Dec 04, 2019 11:30 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAmrita Madhukalya and Binayak Dasgupta

Air pollution can lead to violent crimes, says American research

The study uncovers a new, immediate risk factor associated with a problem that has already been linked to long-term harms such as reduced life expectancy, and indicates pollution may be triggering a more aggravated response among people.

People cover their faces as Delhi continues to be covered in smog, Monday, November 4, 2019.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 05, 2019 08:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Cyber attack at Kudankulam; critical system safe

The statement came hours after reports on social media that the plant was the target of a cyber attack. The unconfirmed reports said that virus ‘DTrack RAT’ had hit the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNP) network.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant boasts of being India’s largest nuclear power station.(PTI photo)
Updated on Oct 30, 2019 12:42 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Truecaller under fire after app signs up for UPI without consent

In a statement, the developers of Truecaller — known for its crowd-sourced caller identification feature — said the fault was in “the latest update of Truecaller that affected the payments feature, which automatically triggered a registration”.

Truecaller was caught in a privacy controversy on Tuesday after several users in India reported being signed up to use the company’s UPI-based mobile payments service without opting for it(Shutterstock)
Published on Jul 30, 2019 11:57 PM IST
New Delhi | By

BHU tense, breaks early for Dussehra after police crackdown on students

The protests began on Thursday after a student of the Triveni Complex women’s hostel was allegedly molested by unidentified men on motorcycles.

Benares Hindu University students hold a protest inside the campus on Saturday.(HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 24, 2017 10:55 PM IST
Varanasi/New Delhi, Hindustan Times | BySudhir Kumar and Binayak Dasgupta

How SC's ruling on individual privacy could impact social media, moral policing

A list of possible protections that are implicit from the order by the 9-judge bench.

The ruling is an important milestone in shaping how India’s democracy treats its citizens.(AP file)
Updated on Aug 24, 2017 08:13 PM IST
New Delhi, Hindustan Times | By

Airtel network restored in Delhi-NCR after temporary outage

The company responded to several users who tweeted about facing trouble with the network.

A girl checks her mobile phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building.(Reuters File Photo)
Updated on Jul 07, 2017 11:43 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Aadhaar to be linked to PAN, but SC wants safeguards, relaxed penalties: All you need to know

Top court upholds law making Aadhaar disclosure mandatory for those who have it and file income tax returns, but says penal action should be toned down

A woman records her iris scans during enrolment to the Aadhaar programme, which creates a unique identification (UID) of a person with their biometric markers, their identity and address information.(HT FILE)
Updated on Jun 11, 2017 05:52 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

‘Tie Arundhati Roy to army jeep’: Paresh Rawal kicks up a storm on Twitter

BJP MP draws condemnation for suggesting writer Roy be treated as human shield in Kashmir, quotes tweet against journalist Sagarika Ghose as well

BJP member of Parliament and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal.(AFP File Photo)
Updated on May 26, 2017 07:18 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Punjab elections: The cycle of debts and farmer suicides blight India’s grain bowl

The cycle of debt and death began in the late 90s when the cotton crop started falling. Punjab’s average farm debt now stands at Rs 8 lakh per family.

Gurpreet Singh and his mother at their home in Hamirgarh village. Gurpreet’s father killed himself. He had a debt of Rs 4.5 lakh.(Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 13, 2017 05:51 PM IST
Hindustan Times, Hamirgarh/Dhanaula/Chandigarh | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Gurpreet Singh Nibber

‘Working for orphans helped us overcome the trauma of losing children’

“Out of the eleven of us who went, only I returned,” Parameswaran recalls of the day he lost his three children and the 7 relatives who were visiting. The day, a Sunday, was also his birthday. His wife had stayed back.

Updated on Dec 26, 2014 05:32 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By, Nagapattinam

10yrs after tsunami, India still needs to fill in disaster management gaps

Then, tsunamis were missing from the mandate of the Met department. There was no warning system. Ten years later, India looks better prepared although some serious gaps remain. Asian tsunami

A-resident-walks-past-a-neglected-Disaster-Information-Center-in-Samiyarpettai-along-the-Tamil-Nadu-coast-HT-Photo-Gurinder-Osan
Updated on Dec 26, 2014 01:28 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByZia Haq, Binayak Dasgupta, KumKum Dasgupta, New Delhi/nagapattinam/cuddalore

Ten years later, fishing no longer the same

For most of the fishermen, the trauma of the Asian Tsunami and the crippling destruction meant they could not set sail for at least 6 months. In some of the cases, recuperation took as much as two years.

A-fisherwomen-sells-her-catch-at-a-fish-market-in-Nagapattinam-s-harbour-in-Tamil-Nadu-HT-Photo-Gurinder-Osan
Updated on Dec 23, 2014 02:47 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By, Cuddalore/ Nagapattinam
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