Tapering, Chinese hard landing biggest threats; Fake CVs flood India job market; What secrets your phone reveals of you

1 Tapering, Chinese hard landing biggest threats (Issac John in Khaleej Times) The tapering of the Federal Reserve’s monetary easing is the single largest threat to global economic growth in 2014, according to business leaders and economists attending the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong. Some 32 per cent of delegates opined that “tapering” of the US quantitative easing programme would be the biggest global economic risk this year while 29 per cent were of the view that a “hard landing” for the Chinese economy would be at the top of their risk list.

Structural issues in emerging markets were identified by 23 per cent of the delegates as the biggest risk this year at the annual global gathering of a record 2,300 business leaders and senior government officials. About 16 per cent delegates considered other risk factors as serious challenges to the global economy. The US Federal Reserve has decided to taper its quantitative easing policy by $10 billion per month, to $75 billion.


2 Fake CVS flood India job market (Dawn) Forging qualifications, faking experience, and inventing companies, desperate candidates are resorting to all sorts of fraud to land jobs in a tough Indian employment market. Low business confidence and high interest rates have led economic growth to plunge to the lowest in a decade, making private sector job opportunities harder to come by.

A survey by AuthBridge, which has screened millions of candidates, showed that nearly one in five had fudged some information on their CV in 2012-13. As many as 51 per cent submitted fake education documents. Background screening was hardly heard of in India until the turn of the millennium, and has been largely driven by the outsourcing and IT industry, one of India’s biggest economic success stories.

Foreign companies taking their back office operations to India wanted assurances that employees were reliable, while intense competition led to high staff turnover and huge recruitment needs. The Indian Association of Professional Background Screeners pegs the size of the industry at about $32 million annually and growing fast. Figures from the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) show the number of qualified workers in the IT sector has risen 17 per cent year on year, more than double the rate of growth in new jobs.


3 What secrets your phone reveals of you (Elizabeth Dwoskin in The Wall Street Journal) Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood. And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city. The sensors, each about the size of a deck of cards, follow signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones. That allows them to create portraits of roughly 2 million people’s habits as they have gone about their daily lives, traveling from yoga studios to restaurants, to coffee shops, sports stadiums, hotels, and nightclubs.

Turnstyle is at the forefront of a movement to track consumers who are continuously broadcasting their location from phones. Other startups, such as San Francisco-based Euclid Analytics Inc., use sensors to analyze foot-traffic patterns, largely within an individual retailer’s properties to glean insight about customer behavior.

Their success speaks to the growing value of location data. Verizon Wireless last year began crunching its own location information from customers to help retailers see which neighborhoods shoppers arrived from or limited information about their habits, such as restaurants they drive. Apple recently released its iBeacon technology, which can be integrated into sensors to read customer’s smartphone signals in brick-and-mortar stores.

But Turnstyle is among the few that have begun using the technology more broadly to follow people where they live, work and shop. The company’s dense network of sensors can track any phone that has Wi-Fi turned on, enabling the company to build profiles of consumers lifestyles. As the industry grows in prominence, location trackers are bound to ignite privacy concerns. A company could, for example, track people’s visits to specialist doctors or hospitals and sell that data to marketers.

Right now, the only way to opt-out of geolocation is to either switch off the Wi-Fi on a cellphone, or make a request through a website of one the data companies like Turnstyle that has an opt-out option.



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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