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Google said Friday it was banning online ads for unproven medical treatments including most stem cell and gene therapy.  "This new policy will prohibit ads selling treatments that have no established biomedical or scientific basis," Google policy adviser Adrienne Biddings said in a blog post. Biddings said Google will "prohibit advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy and gene therapy." Google will also ban "treatments that are rooted in basic scientific findings and preliminary clinical experience, but currently have insufficient formal clinical testing to justify widespread clinical use," she added. The online giant said it made the decision due to "a rise in bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments." The company said this was not an effort to diminish the importance of medical discoveries but maintained that "monitored, regulated clinical trials are the most reliable way to test and prove important medical advances." Google said it took the action after consulting experts in the field and that its move was endorsed by the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, Deepak Srivastava. In Google's statement, Srivastava was quoted as saying, "The premature marketing and commercialization of unproven stem cell products threatens public health, their confidence in biomedical research, and undermines the development of legitimate new therapies." Online services have struggled to filter out misleading and deceptive content, including medical hoaxes while remaining open platforms. Earlier this year Facebook and Google-owned YouTube moved to reduce the spread of misleading health care claims after a media report showed the proliferation of bogus...

The year 2019 will be  a busy and exciting year, as key new technologies begin finding their way into real, useful applications. The smartphone will still be our central tech device by the end of next year, but as augmented reality and wearables progress, we’ll sense more and more that a new paradigm in personal computing is around the corner. That will be helped along by enabling technologies such as 5G networks, which will be stretching far and wide by the end of 2020. And, artificial intelligence will become infused in all kinds of products, allowing gadgets and services to subtly begin to anticipate our wants. The smartphone will still be our central tech device by the end of next year, but as augmented reality and wearables progress, we’ll sense more and more that a new paradigm in personal computing is around the corner. Technologies like self-driving vehicles and robot assistants are under development. Soon, these and the other exciting technologies described below will go mainstream, changing the world in the process: 1) Voice Assistants: Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistants will grow increasingly helpful. Voice assistants are making a significant impact in markets across the globe, and some observers expect that in the future we will communicate with technology through voice rather than text. 2) Augmented and Virtual reality: Advances in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), all of which can be summarized in R+, will continue to be at the forefront of attention during 2019 with some fascinating new practical applications for industries 3) Blockchain Technology:  In 2019, to the delight of organizations, Blockchain is going to bring the first enterprise...

Financial Inclusion is a state where financial services are delivered by a range of providers, mostly the private sector, to reach everyone who could use them. Specifically, it means a financial system that serves as many people as possible in a country. In recent time, financial Inclusion has assumed a critical development policy priority in many countries, particularly in developing economies. (cbn.gov.ng). Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way- (worldbank.org). With the aim to “make financial services accessible at affordable costs to all individuals and businesses, irrespective of net worth and size respectively”, financial inclusion is important for the development of any economy. It means that people who have better access to financial services through traditional, bank accounts and digital payments have greater control over their money, and their savings, securing business loans, insurance and are better prepared for financial emergencies.  Also, this would provide the possibilities for the creation of a large depository of savings, investable funds, investment and therefore global wealth generation. In other words, access to financial services, that are well suited for low-income earners promote enormous capital accumulation, credit creation and investment boom. Over the years, the government and monetary authorities have introduced varying policies aimed at deepening financial inclusion within the economy. The policies ranged from various institutional involvements such as the establishment of community and microfinance banks to specific policies and programs designed to facilitate access of the financially excluded to formal financial services. The...

As customers’ financial behaviors evolve to include digital banking and financial technologies—like peer-to-peer payment, virtual currency, mobile payments and mobile wallets—tokenization is one of the most important new technologies merchants can leverage to stand in the way of cybercriminal access to customer payment information. What is Tokenization? It is recommended that consumers use a paper shredder to destroy bank account statements, checkbook registers, tax forms, payment receipts and similar documents that include sensitive data because any account number reflected on the document that wasn’t destroyed beyond recognition could be used fraudulently. Similarly, when a shopper buys something online, they are required to divulge confidential and sensitive information, such as their address and ATM card info. Giving out this information online is risky since it may be stolen and used fraudulently. Much like a paper shredder renders account information meaningless so that it’s made nearly impossible to re-assemble, repurpose or identify, the same theory applies to tokenization—through technology. Basically, tokenization is the process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that capture all the vital information about the data without compromising its security. The algorithmically generated number used to replace the sensitive data is called a token. How It Works Typical consumer credit/debit (ATM) cards come with names, 16-digit personal account numbers (PANs), expiration dates and security codes — any of which can be "tokenized." When a merchant swipes a customer's credit card, the PAN is automatically replaced with a randomly generated alphanumeric ID (“token”). The original PAN never enters the merchant's payment system; only the token ID does. The merchant can use this special token ID to keep records of the customer....

Recent technology advancements have pointed us in the direction of linking our DNA to everything we do. Biometrics technology is already working its way into our daily lives; from smartphone “touch ID” to cars that unlock with your handprint. It is no surprise then that many financial institutions and governments have already embraced biometric authentication as the standard for verifying the identity of customers opening accounts, requesting services, and making payments. There will be 770 million biometric authentication apps downloaded annually by 2019 (according to Juniper’s research).  Payment services are increasingly taking advantage of biometrics to improve security and convenience by eliminating the need for users to enter passwords or use other cumbersome manual authentication methods. Thanks to companies like Apple and Samsung, many banks are already allowing touch ID to authorize payments and money transfers, and some banks in Europe are allowing ATM withdrawals with the same fingerprint authorization (no card or PIN required). And vendors could certainly benefit from using the technology to authorize payments and cut down on fraud. Biometrics are unique human physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automated authentication. Their growing use in payment solutions is driven largely by increase of touch ID hardware in mobile phones, although they can also be incorporated into other devices such as ATMs and payment terminals. Benefits of Biometrics As Means Of Payment. They free users from having to remember and enter multiple passwords: many of us have memorized more than 5 different passwords for different platforms.  Some users may have as many as 200 online accounts, each requiring secure controls over access. Biometrics eliminates this as only...

Africa is far behind in terms of provision of financial services for its bulging population, and it needs to urgently deliver a robust financial infrastructure that enables prosperity for the people.  For almost a decade, the global community and national governments have made concerted efforts to expand financial inclusion—creating a financial system that wors for all and opens the doors to greater stability and equitable progress. The progress towards financial inclusion in East Africa is evident. In Kenya and Tanzania, it is easier than ever to access financial services with only a mobile phone. But it is far different in West Africa, where the slower pace of development of mobile money has meant limited financial inclusion for some of the poorest communities on the continent. Although the root cause of this predicament is multifaceted, new thinking and innovation in financial services, which includes the provision of appropriate financing instruments targeted at this group of the population, has become critical these past years. It is clear that the main impediments to financial inclusion in Africa are the high cost of opening and maintaining formal bank accounts, the long distances to bank branches and the daunting list of personal information that banks require to support applications to open an account. Sometimes, the erratic nature of Central Bank financial policies and regulations also discourages people from engaging with formal financial institutions. These constraints have stimulated a high level of demand for alternatives to the traditional banking and financing system.   Mobile Phones to the Rescue While mobile phones are quickly becoming more affordable, digital financial solutions that are tailored to very poor and remote communities are urgently...