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  • Is it possible to extract "journalistic" as opposed to "general" commentary from social media? Writing in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing, a team from Portugal describes an approach to human and automatic extraction of updates and reports one might describe as coming from citizen journalists. Their algorithm is trained on automatically annotated and human-annotated data sets and shows that the wholly automated approach homes in on "ground truth" data much more efficiently and effectively than when the data has had the human touch.

    Nuno Guimarães, Filipe Miranda, and Álvaro Figueira of the University of Porto explain how social networks and social media have provided the means for constant connectivity and fast information dissemination. Eyewitnesses to events and happenings the world over can share information and insight in real-time from a sports event or other entertainment, from the scene of a disaster, crime, or other happening, in a way that is impossible for members of the conventional media unless they happen to be at the scene themselves. Moreover, citizen journalists can add a personal perspective that is precluded from independent journalist inquiry.

    The automated algorithm builds up an internal trust that is not possible when human, subjective, classification is carried out. After a sufficient number of training data points, the system can unambiguously discern which updates are based on personal beliefs and which are ground truth.

    Guimarães, N., Miranda, F. and Figueira, Á. (2020) 'Identifying journalistically relevant social media texts using human and automatic methodologies', Int. J. Grid and Utility Computing, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.72–83.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGUC.2020.103971

  • The concept of the smart home has been around for many decades, but it is only in recent years with the advent of the so-called "internet of things", IoT, that meters and monitoring, cameras, locking systems, heating systems, and entertainment and information devices, have led to many homes having some degree of genuine smartness. Of course, with connectivity and utility come security problems. For instance, a malicious third party might find access to the home's wireless network, reprogram the smart TV, turn up the heating, disable the air conditioning, or even open the front door and allow them to remove all your smart devices and redeploy them elsewhere.

    Now, Utkarsh Saxena, J.S. Sodhi, and Rajneesh Tanwar of Amity University, in Noida, India, have discussed the options surrounding smart home security in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics. Their survey suggests that security and privacy of the smart home network might best be augmented using the blockchain concept, borrowed from the realm of cryptocurrencies.

    A blockchain is a list of records held in digital form, these records or blocks, are linked sequentially and encrypted so that each block is linked to the cryptographic hash of the previous block in the chain. The blockchain carries a timestamp and transaction data for each block and because of the way they are connected the blockchain as a whole cannot be altered in any way without destroying it completely, hence its validity in cryptocurrency and now potentially for other kinds of security, specifically that of the smart home network. The team suggests that adding IoT devices, which are often utilizing distributed resources and services, using a blockchain means that malicious third parties cannot access or interfere with any part of the system without disrupting the system as a whole and thence triggering a security lockdown.

    Saxena, U., Sodhi, J.S. and Tanwar, R. (2020) 'Augmenting smart home network security using blockchain technology', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.99–117.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2020.103881

  • Every day, tens of millions of electronic devices are connected to the internet – mobile phones, tablets, PCs, web cams, smart TVs, smart refrigerators, home thermostats, industrial and environmental sensors, medical equipment. The list goes on.

    Now, writing in the International Journal of Cloud Computing a research team from India and Vietnam has surveyed the state of the art in terms of the so-called internet-of-things (IoT) and its counterpart the cloud-of-things (CoT). R. Mohanasundaram of the School of Computer Science and Engineering, at VIT, in Vellore, India, and colleagues Navin Kumar and Rishikesh Mule, working with Kathirvel Brindhadevi at Ton Duc Thang University, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam discuss the growth an interconnectivity and explain how the disparate devices hooked up to the internet, the IoT has a relatively new counterpart the CoT where those devices utilize the remote and distributed computing and data storage resources we loosely refer to as the cloud.

    Their main conclusion is that the integration of IoT devices with the benefits of CoT could improve efficiency and efficacy for the whole. The team also points out a few limitations of this evolving paradigm and explains how a novel "fog computing" framework might circumvent the problems particularly in the realm of smart monitoring.

    Mohanasundaram, R., Brindhadevi, K., Kumar, N. and Mule, R.Y. (2019) 'A survey: comparative study on internet of things and cloud of things', Int. J. Cloud Computing, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp.237-248.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCC.2019.103920

  • Twitter has become the main micro-blogging hub around the world where opinions are shared at an incredible rate. How to extract useful information in different languages from the vast repositories of data? That is the question answered by research published in the International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining.

    Bidhan Sarkar, Manob Roy, Pijush Kanti Dutta Pramanik, and Prasenjit Choudhury of the National Institute of Technology of West Bengal, in Durgapur, India and colleague Nilanjan Sinhababu of the Sanaka Educational Trust's Group of Institutions, also in Durgapur, suggest that interpreting, comprehending, and analyzing this emotion-rich information can unearth many valuable insights. They add that the job is trivial if the tweets are in English given the ubiquity of that language on the internet and the nature of tools and software available for data mining.

    Recently, however, there has been an increase in the use of languages other than English and researchers would like to be able to access and analyze the output to Twitter and other platforms in those other languages too. The team's solution seems unsubtle but will probably be the most effective way forward. They have developed a system that automatically identifies and classifies tweets in a language other than English irrespective of the linguistic script or "alphabet" used and converts the tweets into English!

    The team calls their system Script Identification, Language Analysis, and Clustered Mining, which makes for a faux acronym of SILC, although strictly speaking it should be abbreviated as SILACM to be sensible albeit unpronounceable. When the framework is used with the top two languages of India other than English it performs with greater precision than current technology.

    Sarkar, B., Sinhababu, N., Roy, M., Pramanik, P.K.D. and Choudhury, P. (2020) 'Mining multilingual and multiscript Twitter data: unleashing the language and script barrier', Int. J. Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.107–127.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBIDM.2020.103847

  • Philippe Jougleux of the School of Law at the European University Cyprus investigates the notion of freedom of speech in the context of European Union law in the International Journal of Electronic Governance.

    He analyses the general legal regulation of online freedom of expression with reference to the three-part test and the specific case of hate speech. He also then shows how copyright law, as a case study, is related to the balancing of rights as applied by the courts with respect to the mechanism of blocking orders. Online freedom of expression is also considered in some detail.

    Free speech is considered a critical part of democracy. Everyone is seen as being entitled to their opinion and their right to express it provided it does not break specific laws surrounding bigotry and incitement to violence and riot, for instance. Moreover, while everyone has the right to freedom of speech, their fellow citizens have the counterpart right to ignore those opinions. Jougleux considers the relatively novel and fragile concept of "neutrality" in this context.

    In terms of what we might refer to as the online world, or digital realm, of social media, podcasts, and websites, the online intermediaries – the service and application (app) providers – are essentially protected by the freedom of expression only as a mean to an end. This means that their systems allow users within a democratic jurisdiction to be able to express their opinions and to receive information only insofar as that is not in breach of the law.

    Jougleux, P. (2019) 'Redefining freedom of speech in the digital environment from an EU law perspective', Int. J. Electronic Governance, Vol. 11, Nos. 3/4, pp.401–417.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2019.103728

  • Social media applications, such as Twitter, are becoming increasingly important modes of information dissemination especially in times of crises, where individuals can provide insight and information to those involved and those outside in a much more timely manner than traditional media. Writing in the International Journal of Applied Systemic Studies, researchers from Greece explain how they have analysed the rumour mill that is social media, with specific reference to Twitter.

    "Twitter users collectively cover the main aspects of disasters from many angles," the team found. They suggest that official agencies should recognise just how important social media can be during a crisis and see it as a potential tool not only for informal social reporting but also for providing collective intelligence at "ground zero". By bearing this in mind it could be possible to use it as a tool to help those attempting to manage a crisis, whether a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or large-scale industrial accident, to adapt to the situation to endless uncertainties and to ensure conservation of life and the environment.

    The team shows how personal anxiety, user reputation, and many other factors feed into the credibility and perceive importance of any given information disseminated on Twitter and whether or not it is considered nothing but rumour or actual fact. Such factors must also be taken into account by so-called stakeholders attempting crisis management as well as those affected by the crisis directly.

    Chondrokoukis, G. and Drakos, I. (2018) 'Emergent uses, as rumour systemic analysis, of Twitter messages during social crises', Int. J. Applied Systemic Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.353–370.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJASS.2018.103770

  • Emissions from Asian slums could be a contributory factor in changing weather patterns, according to work published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, perhaps leading to worsening windspeeds, but less rainfall.

    Sat Ghosh and Aditi Palsapure of VIT University, in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, Alan Gadian and Steve Dobbie of the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, in the School of Earth and Environment, at the University of Leeds, UK, Arkayan Samaddar of the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, at Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, in Pennsylvania, USA, Anuj Sharma of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield University, Bedford, UK, and Pranav Chandramouli of Fluminance at the Universitaire de Beaulieu, in Rennes, France, provide the details.

    The team explains that climate models have already hinted that local emissions could be affecting the formation and progress of cyclonic storms. They point out that the eastern coast of India, home to several mega cities, is routinely battered by such storms from October to December. These cities, the team explains, house millions of slum dwellers who cook their meals over unseasoned wood fires, which generates vast quantities of airborne biomass particles, which chemically age within the polluted air mass above the cities making them active as cloud condensation nuclei.

    The team has taken as a case study Hurricane Thane, which seems to have been modulated by such transient emissions, leading to devastation of the coast of Tamil Nadu on the 30th December 2011. The team's calculations show that the conversion rate of cloud water to rain was altered by up to 12% with an increase of 20.5% in the amount of water held in clouds rather than falling as rain when pollution effects were present. This could be an ongoing problem for water-scarce region of Southern India.

    Ghosh, S., Gadian, A., Dobbie, S., Samaddar, A., Sharma, A., Chandramouli, P. and Palsapure, A. (2019) 'A meteorological discourse on extreme storm events driven by Asian slum emissions', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 65, No. 4, pp.280–292.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2019.103743

  • Research published in the International Journal of Electronic Governance has investigated whether any of five "anonymous" social media applications are secure in that they do not allow a third party to see personal data or track the users.

    Vasileios Chatzistefanou and Konstantinos Limniotis of the Open University of Cyprus, explain how anonymization of personal data should protect user privacy from data mining and data publishing systems. However, this may well not always be the case. Indeed, removing personal identifiers does not ensure privacy as there are techniques that can easily be employed to build a unique fingerprint based on the characteristics of the data itself, which then be used to home in on the identity of a user with or without additional information.

    It has been known for a long time that three pieces of information – birth date, sex and zip code – can be used to identify 87 percent of the US population. Moreover, if such information is not available to another party wishing to de-anonymize activity on a given device or in an application, then data points such as identity mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), media access control (MAC) address, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), Android ID, Google Advertising ID (GAID), and so on, can be used to focus on what is essentially a unique fingerprint for a given device and thence perhaps the user. Anonymity cannot be guaranteed, it seems within any system or application regardless of promises and regardless of regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for citizens of the European Union (EU).

    Fundamentally, "Our analysis concludes that there is personal data processing in place even in so-called anonymous applications which in turn implies that a user's anonymity cannot be ensured, whilst the corresponding privacy policies may leave room for further improvement," the team writes.

    Chatzistefanou, V. and Limniotis, K.(2019)'Anonymity in social networks: the case of anonymous social media', Int. J. Electronic Governance, Vol. 11, Nos. 3/4, pp.361–385.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2019.103720

  • A cold-blood marine animal, such as the giant squid, Architeuthis, might be one of the few beneficiaries of global warming. Given that its axonic activity is limited by the environmental temperature at which it finds itself, even small increases can lead to a reduction in entropy making living fundamentally easier for the squid, according to research published in the International Journal of Global Warming.

    Bahar Hazal Yalçinkaya of the Department of Genetics and Bioengineering at Yeditepe University, in Istanbul, Turkey, Mustafa Özilgen of the Department of Food Engineering there, and Bayram Yilmaz of the Department of Physiology at Yeditepe University Hospital, also in Istanbul, point out that there are several types of creature that have been shown to thrive in the face of global warming. For instance, there is evidence that many pest species, weeds, and parasites fare better in the face of climate change. And, in the marine environment, it seems so do squid.

    The team has looked at why this might be the case for the latter. Their thermodynamic analysis of information transmission in the squid giant axon, or nerve cell, shows a definitely lower increase in entropy when the environmental temperature rose. The team suggests this is reflected in an easier life for the squid at a higher temperature, offering an explanation as to why they might thrive under global warming conditions.

    Yalçinkaya, B.H., Yilmaz, B. and Özilgen, M. (2019) 'Thermodynamic assessment of information transmission in squid's giant axon may explain why squid populations thrive with global warming', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp.233–250.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2019.103722

  • A statistical approach could be used to allow a communication system to carry out self-optimisation, according to research published in the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems.

    Jose Aguilar, Kristell Aguilar, and José Torres of the Universidad de Los Andes, in Mérida, Venezuela, have proposed an autonomic communication system based on a Bayesian network and an ontology, which allows the system itself to make reconfiguration decisions. The ontology provides the necessary knowledge about performance factors and the relationships within the network. The statistical system then adjusts factors within the system to optimise performance based on that knowledge, acting as a stochastic reasoning mechanism.

    The team has demonstrated in simulations how their approach improves performance significantly particularly for scenarios where there are high reconfiguration requirements. The adaptive self-optimising approach improves flow rate, reduces loss rate, and minimises delay within the system.

    Aguilar, J., Aguilar, K. and Torres, J. (2019) 'Design of an autonomic communication system', Int. J. Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.299–330.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJAACS.2019.103671

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New Editor for International Journal of Space-Based and Situated Computing

Dr. Flora Amato from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Space-Based and Situated Computing.

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies featured in World Migration Report 2020

The International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS) has been featured in International Organization for Migration's (IOM) World Migration Report 2020. This flagship comprehensive report provides the latest information on migration and an analysis of emerging migration issues. IJMBS was selected as one of the eight peer-reviewed migration-related journals presented in the chapter dedicated to Migration Research and Analysis, which includes an overview of scholarly articles published by the journals selected in 2017 and 2018. Editors were asked to provide an overview of their journals' key contributions for this two-year period. According to IOM, "this exercise allowed for deeper insights into journal contributions, highlighting their similarities as well as different interests and areas of focus, including thematically and geographically" (p. 135).

New Editor for International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management

Prof. Yu Xiong from Northumbria University in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management.

New Editor for International Journal of Electronic Healthcare

Associate Prof. James Ma from the University of Colorado in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Electronic Healthcare.

Editor in Chief of International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making becomes Honorary Doctor for University of Western Macedonia

Prof. Constantin Zopounidis, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making, has recently been appointed as Honorary Doctor at the University of Western Macedonia's School of Economics. Further details are available here.