Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Facebook moots 'prospective' solution on WhatsApp issue; govt stands firm on traceability
Facebook global executive Nick Clegg has proposed a "prospective" mechanism for WhatsApp to act on cases flagged by law enforcement agencies

Facebook moots 'prospective' solution on WhatsApp issue; govt stands firm on traceability

15 Sep 2019 | 6:17 PM

NEW DELHI: Facebook global executive Nick Clegg has proposed a "prospective" mechanism for WhatsApp to act on cases flagged by law enforcement agencies.

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New Delhi, September 15 
 
Facebook global executive Nick Clegg has proposed a "prospective" mechanism for WhatsApp to act on cases flagged by law enforcement agencies, but the government has refused to budge on its demand for traceability of messages.
 
The issue of traceability has been a flashpoint between the government and WhatsApp, and the Facebook-owned messaging platform has so far resisted India's demand for identification of message originators, arguing that doing so would undermine its policy on privacy and end-to-end encryption.
 
A senior government official told PTI that Facebook Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, during his meeting with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week mooted alternatives to absolute traceability of messages, including use of 'meta data' and machine intelligence for dealing with the issue, even offering to harness WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook linkages to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies.
 
When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson said: "Facebook cares deeply about the safety of people in India and Nick's meetings this week provided opportunities to discuss our commitment to supporting privacy and security in every app we provide and how we can continue to work productively with the Government of India towards these shared goals." 
 
A person aware of WhatsApps's position on the matter emphasised that the platform cannot read messages exchanged as they are encrypted.
 
It is learnt that Clegg in meetings with top authorities, including Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as well as IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 12, reiterated the US tech giant's stance that it will abide by any lawful request for information by the Indian government, but it cannot read messages exchanged on its platforms.
 
Clegg told the officials that the company can provide 'signals' and meta data such as who calls were made to and duration, among others, of lawfully identified users, a source said.
 
The US social media giant has agreed to provide India with 'meta data' of any user of its platforms, including WhatsApp, that the government lawfully identifies but has insisted it cannot look into messages exchanged as they are encrypted.
 
India is home to 400 million WhatsApp users and more than 328 million Facebook users.
 
Social media companies in India have drawn flak from the government in recent past over instances of circulation of fake news, breach of user confidentiality, unauthorised data sharing by the apps and concerns over privacy and data security.
 
WhatsApp in particular has been under fire over users misusing the platform for circulation of fake news that have incited mob fury. The Indian government has made it clear that it intends to strengthen the legal framework and make social media platforms more accountable under law. —PTI 
 
Indian researcher discovers Uber bug; bags Rs 4.6 lakh reward

Indian researcher discovers Uber bug; bags Rs 4.6 lakh reward

16 Sep 2019 | 1:11 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: Global ride-hailing giant Uber has recently fixed a hacking bug found by Indian cybersecurity researcher Anand Prakash which allowed hackers to log into anyone’s Uber account.

Gravitational waves detected for first time from newly born Blackhole: Study

Gravitational waves detected for first time from newly born Blackhole: Study

13 Sep 2019 | 1:34 PM

BOSTON: Researchers have, for the first time, detected the gravitational waves from a newly born blackhole, and found that the ringing pattern of the waves predicts the cosmic body's mass and spin, providing more evidence for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

Newly spotted comet may be interstellar visitor

Newly spotted comet may be interstellar visitor

13 Sep 2019 | 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON: A newly discovered comet could only be the second intersteller object scientists have found after 'Oumuamua’.

Exposure to certain smells may make you feel slimmer: Study

Exposure to certain smells may make you feel slimmer: Study

12 Sep 2019 | 5:15 PM

LONDON: Exposure to certain smells and sounds may make us feel slimmer or more corpulent, claims a study which found that the image we have of our own body changes depending on the stimuli we encounter.

Astronauts mix cement in space for the first time: NASA

Astronauts mix cement in space for the first time: NASA

12 Sep 2019 | 2:58 PM

WASHINGTON: Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) have for the first time mixed cement in microgravity, an advance that may help protect humans in space from radiation and extreme temperatures in the future, NASA said.

'Water found for first time on potentially habitable exoplanet'

'Water found for first time on potentially habitable exoplanet'

12 Sep 2019 | 2:59 PM

LONDON: Astronomers have for the first time discovered water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with Earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it.

Here's why private Instagram posts aren't private

Here's why private Instagram posts aren't private

11 Sep 2019 | 7:07 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: A security flaw makes it extremely easy for anybody to view posts of private accounts on Facebook-owned Instagram.

Facebook tightens policies to prevent suicide, self-harm

Facebook tightens policies to prevent suicide, self-harm

11 Sep 2019 | 1:28 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: On World Suicide Prevention Day, Facebook is tightening its policies around self-harm, suicide and eating disorder and has announced its plan to hire a health and well-being expert to join its safety policy team.

Buy iPhone 11 for Rs 64,900 in India on Sept 27

Buy iPhone 11 for Rs 64,900 in India on Sept 27

11 Sep 2019 | 10:41 AM

CUPERTINO (CALIFORNIA): Apple has announced India pricing of newly-launched iPhones - available in the country from September 27 - and the starting iPhone 11 model (64GB) with dual camera rear setup will cost you Rs 64,900.

Apple unveils 3 iPhone 11 models, starts from $699

Apple unveils 3 iPhone 11 models, starts from $699

11 Sep 2019 | 6:45 AM

CUPERTINO (CALIFORNIA):Packing some interesting top-of-the-line features including a long-lasting battery, Apple on Tuesday launched 3 iPhone 11 models, two of them with triple rear camera setup, housing stunning specifications to make you a near-perfect photographer.

Period tracking apps found sharing sensitive user data with Facebook

Period tracking apps found sharing sensitive user data with Facebook

10 Sep 2019 | 1:15 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: From personal information to contraception use, period tracking apps such as MIA Fem and Maya have been found sharing sensitive data with Facebook.

Blood test can predict gut microbes diversity

Blood test can predict gut microbes diversity

08 Sep 2019 | 3:33 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle, USA, have developed a way to predict the diversity of microbes in an individual's gut by examining certain chemicals in the blood.

New method can offer unique insights into composition of  cells, tissues

New method can offer unique insights into composition of cells, tissues

07 Sep 2019 | 6:32 PM

LONDON: A new method for understanding the chemical composition of cells and tissues has been developed, which can help better understand disease and inflammation processes, a study says.

Google will stop running ads for ‘unproved medical techniques’

Google will stop running ads for ‘unproved medical techniques’

07 Sep 2019 | 4:54 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: Under a new health care and medicines policy, Google has announced to ban online ads for 'unproven or experimental medical techniques,' such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy and gene therapy.

Climate crisis is changing grasslands across world: Study

Climate crisis is changing grasslands across world: Study

07 Sep 2019 | 4:01 PM

WASHINGTON: Grasslands across the world are transforming due to the climate crisis factors such as rising carbon dioxide levels, hotter temperatures, extra nutrient pollution, or drought, a study says.

26-foot-long dinosaur roamed the earth 72 million years ago, ‘nearly complete’ skeleton found

26-foot-long dinosaur roamed the earth 72 million years ago, ‘nearly complete’ skeleton found

07 Sep 2019 | 5:26 PM

TOKYO: Japanese scientists have identified a new species of dinosaur from a nearly complete skeleton that was the largest ever discovered in the country, measuring eight metres (26 feet) long.

How embryo develops at molecular level decoded

How embryo develops at molecular level decoded

06 Sep 2019 | 4:49 PM

WASHINGTON: Researchers in the US have created the first detailed map of the changes at the molecular level in cells that lead to embryonic development.

Sex, height may influence how you see phones: Study

Sex, height may influence how you see phones: Study

06 Sep 2019 | 4:04 PM

NEW YORK: Sex and height appear to influence how people flex their neck when viewing handheld devices, according to a new study.

Views on casual sex may put your marriage at risk: Report

Views on casual sex may put your marriage at risk: Report

06 Sep 2019 | 1:30 PM

NEW YORK: An individual's premarital views about uncommitted sex, such as one-night stands or casual sex, may make it more difficult to remain blissfully married, suggests a new study.

Video-based 'threat appeals' may lead to less texting while driving: Study

Video-based 'threat appeals' may lead to less texting while driving: Study

06 Sep 2019 | 12:20 PM

WASHINGTON: Video-based "threat appeals" may help reduce impulsive decision-making associated with texting while driving, and could prove to be a good strategy to cut motor vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving, according to a study.

Most Indian viewers consume online content during office hours

Most Indian viewers consume online content during office hours

05 Sep 2019 | 7:39 PM

MUMBAI: With the online content on mobile phones increasing, most Indian viewers consume the content during the traditional office hours of 10 am-6 pm, a recent survey said.

Our ability to tell colours apart may not depend on language: Study

Our ability to tell colours apart may not depend on language: Study

05 Sep 2019 | 5:00 PM

LONDON: The human ability to categorise colours may be independent of language, according to a case study on a 54-year-old French-Portuguese man who specifically lost his ability to correctly name colours after suffering a stroke.

400 million Facebook users' phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: Reports

400 million Facebook users' phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: Reports

05 Sep 2019 | 4:05 PM

WASHINGTON: Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media reported on Wednesday.

Drinking coffee linked to lower risk of gallstones: Study

Drinking coffee linked to lower risk of gallstones: Study

05 Sep 2019 | 3:02 PM

LONDON: Among 104,493 individuals, those who drank more than six cups of coffee per day had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing symptomatic gallstones.

Teens who do not date have low depression

Teens who do not date have low depression

05 Sep 2019 | 12:55 PM

NEW YORK: Researchers have found that teenagers who were not in a romantic relationship have good social skills, low depression and fared better than those who dated.

Truecaller crosses 500mn downloads, 150mn daily active users

Truecaller crosses 500mn downloads, 150mn daily active users

04 Sep 2019 | 2:06 PM

STOCKHOLM: Swedish caller identification app Truecaller on Wednesday announced it has crossed the 500 million mark in terms of downloads and now has 150 million daily active users globally.

Twitter CEO hack highlights dangers of ‘SIM swap’ fraud

Twitter CEO hack highlights dangers of ‘SIM swap’ fraud

04 Sep 2019 | 11:43 AM

WASHINGTON: Even with considerable security precautions in place, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey became the victim of an embarrassing compromise when attackers took control of his account on the platform by hijacking his phone number.

Facebook rolls out face recognition, kills tagging option

Facebook rolls out face recognition, kills tagging option

04 Sep 2019 | 10:45 AM

SAN FRANCISCO: In a much-needed relief for 2.41 billion users, Facebook is rolling out Face recognition feature to all which will replace the earlier "Tag Suggestions" settings that notified you if someone uploaded a photo and automatically tagged you in it.

Selective breeding for traits altered dogs' brains: Study

Selective breeding for traits altered dogs' brains: Study

03 Sep 2019 | 1:38 PM

BOSTON: Humans have systematically altered the brains of dogs through selective breeding for favoured behavioural traits over hundreds of years, according to a study.

'Big jump' in women giving TED talks: Study

'Big jump' in women giving TED talks: Study

03 Sep 2019 | 12:33 PM

BERLIN: Women gave more than half of TED talks—influential speeches from experts on a range of issues—in the first half of 2017, up from less than one-third in 2006, according to a study.

iPhone bug also accessed WhatsApp, Telegram chats: Google

iPhone bug also accessed WhatsApp, Telegram chats: Google

03 Sep 2019 | 11:05 AM

SAN FRANCISCO: Google researchers have identified a vulnerability that accessed all the database files on the victim's iPhone used by end-to-end encryption apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage.

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