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Google to close Google+ social networking site

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Google plus

San Francisco, Oct 9: Internet giant Google has said it is shutting down the consumer version of its own social networking site Google+ due to low usage and a bug discovered in March last year that could leak the data of about half a million of its users.

“The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” said Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View in northern California, Xinhua reported.

Google on Monday said it is going to close Google+ in the coming months seven years after it was launched as a social networking site of its own name brand.

The demise of Google+ also came as a result of a bug discovered last year but acknowledged for the first time by Google on Monday, and the flaw in one of its Google+ “People APIs” exposed some private user data to third-party developers, including such information as the occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of many users.

“We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018,” Google said, but the flaw, which has existed since 2015, could potentially affected up to 500,000 Google+ accounts.

“Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API,” Google said. However, “We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.”

The Google+ vulnerability was discovered at a time that almost coincided with the notorious privacy leakage scandal of the world’s largest social media network Facebook, which has been widely criticized for its failure to protect its users’ private data.

Facebook has been under heavy scrutiny about its privacy policy after a British data mining firm Cambridge Analytica was accused of illegally accessing the data of 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to a hearing in US Congress in April this year to explain the firm’s security measures and how it handled users’ privacy.

IANS

Business

Vodafone Wins Arbitration Against India In Rs 20K Cr Retrospective Tax Dispute Case

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vodafone

New Delhi: Vodafone has won the case against India over a retrospective tax demand of more than Rs 20,000 crore.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has ruled that the conduct of India’s tax department is in breach of “fair and equitable” treatment.

Voafone had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016 due to a lack of consensus between the parties’ arbitrators in finalising a judge for the tax dispute.

Following this, a tribunal was constituted in June 2016 after Vodafone challenged India’s use of a 2012 legislation that gave it powers to retrospectively tax deals like Vodafone’s $11 billion acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. The retrospective tax law had been enacted after the Supreme Court judgement went in Vodafone’s favour.

Vodafone had challenged the tax department’s demand of Rs 7,990 crore as capital gains taxes (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

Buoyed by the arbitration award, Vodafone Idea stock closed 12 per cent higher at Rs 10.20.

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Cities

Will Urge Neighbouring States To Use Indigenous Technology To Manage Stubble, Says Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to address the issue of stubble burning.

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Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said he would meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement a low-cost technology developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute to manage crop residue.

The technology, called Pusa Decomposer, involves a liquid formulation prepared using Pusa decomposer capsules, fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on crop residue to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble. Capsules worth Rs. 20 can effectively deal with 4-5 tonnes of raw straw per acre.

“I will meet the Union environment minister in a day or two and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement this technology,” he told reporters during a visit to the institute.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato every paddy harvesting season between October 15 and November 15. This practice is attributed to the alarming spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR during winters.

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SC directs no coercive action be taken against Facebook VP till October 15

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Supreme Court

Supreme Court issued notice on Facebook India’s VP and MD, Ajit Mohan and directed that no coercive action will be taken against him till 15 October, when it will take up the matter for further hearing in the case.

The Apex court was hearing the petition filed by Mohan against the notice issued by Delhi Legislative Assembly for deposing before it.

A 3-judge bench was headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

Moreover, the top court issued notice to Delhi Assembly, Centre on plea by Facebook VP on summons asking him to depose on Delhi riots. SC recorded that Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee will not hold a meeting, till further orders.

Earlier, Mohan moved Supreme Court against the summons of the Delhi Assembly Committee, a notice issued by Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee to appear before it for its alleged role in the Delhi violence in February.

Facebook, Mohan, and others had filed the plea in the top court against the Delhi Assembly panel. Since Facebook had refused to come on first summon, the assembly panel had to sent second summon.

The petitioners had moved the apex court challenging the two summons issued by the respondent, Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them — on September 10 and 18 — on the grounds that they violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21, guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution, the petition claimed.

The petitioners had approached the top court to quash these two summons issued by the Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them.

The petitioners said that the first summon and second summon issued by the Peace and Harmony Committee of Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others directed one of the petitioners, the Vice President and Managing Director to appear before the Committee on September 23, 2020.

Facebook provides a safe place for expression. Notably, the petitioners also provide easy-to-use tools that allow users to report objectionable content. The petitioners provide users with options to report content that violates its publicly available community standards, the petitioners claimed.

The Committee’s insistence on compelling Ajit Mohan, to speak, and its categorical threat to his non-appearance as a “breach of privilege of the Committee and [to take] necessary action as deemed fit”, gives rise to a clear and present danger to the fundamental rights and liberties of petitioners in the ultra vires proceedings before the Committee, they claimed.

Accordingly, the petitioners are compelled to approach this court to avoid imminent irreparable harm to themselves, they added.

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