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Google’s Dragonfly prototype links user’s phone number to search history

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Google has developed a prototype of the censored search engine for China codenamed “Dragonfly” that links users’ search history to their personal phone numbers, the media reported.

This means if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google, individual people could easily be tracked and users seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention, The Intercept reported on Saturday.

The search-engine giant is reportedly developing the “Dragonfly” browser especially for China, that would remove content deemed sensitive by the country’s ruling Communist Party regime, including information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights and peaceful protest.

According to sources familiar with the project, “Dragonfly” would be operated as part of a “joint venture” partnership with a company based in mainland China and people working for this venture would have the capability to update the blacklists of the search-terms, the report added.However, citing lack of corporate transparency on the project, seven Google employees, including former Google Senior Scientist Jack Poulson have resigned so far.

“I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe,” the report quoted Poulson as saying in his resignation letter.

Nearly 1,000 employees also signed an open letter asking the company to be transparent about the project and to create an ethical review process for it that includes rank-and-file employees, not just high-level executives.Last week, 16 US lawmakers addressed Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressing “serious concerns” about “Dragonfly” demanding information about the company’s China plans, the report noted.

“Dragonfly” has also come under heavy criticism from a former Asia-Pacific head of the tech giant, who called it a “stupid move”.Google had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the service out of the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech and block websites. The company has so far declined to publicly address concerns about this project.)IANS)

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MTNL plans to sell assets in Mumbai through DIPAM

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MTNL chairman Purwar

New Delhi, Sep 19 : State-run telecom operator MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the framework of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which comes under the Finance Ministry.

The assets proposed for sale include land, staff quarters and telephone exchange in Mumbai, said Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

“MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the DIPAM Framework…. No property in Delhi is presently under monetisation through the DIPAM Framework,” he said.

He informed the Lok Sabha that international property consultants have been appointed for end-to-end transaction advice on monetisation of these properties.

Noting that the asset monetisation process is a complex one involving multiple stakeholders and agencies, he said that a specific time frame for the completion of these monetisation transactions cannot be defined at present.

The value at which the assets would be monetised would depend on the feasibility of monetisation of the asset, the monetisation model and the market conditions prevailing at the time of monetisation, Thakur said, adding that it would be difficult to anticipate the sale proceeds presently.

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Mozilla bug may let hackers target Firefox for Android browsers

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Mozilla has fixed a vulnerability in the popular Firefox browser that can be exploited by hackers to hijack Firefox for Android browsers on the same WiFi network and send users to malicious sites, urging the people to install the latest browser update.

The bug was found in Firefox SSDP component by Chris Moberly, an Australian security researcher working for GitLab, reports ZDNet.

The Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) is a simple protocol designed to solve the problem of service discovery over a local network.

“Any Android owner using a Firefox browser to navigate the web during this kind of attack would have his mobile browser hijacked and taken to a malicious site, or forced to install a malicious Firefox extension,” the report mentioned.

The bug has been fixed in Firefox 79. Mozilla said users should update as soon as possible to Firefox v79 for Android to remain safe.

Attackers could leverage exploits to take over outdated routers, and then spam a company’s internal network and force employees to re-authenticate on phishing pages.

The new Firefox for Android now offers Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), providing a better web experience.

“The revamped browsing app comes with our highest privacy protections ever – on by default. ETP keeps numerous ad trackers at bay and out of the users’ business,” the company said last month.

The Enhanced Tracking Protection automatically blocks many known third-party trackers, by default, in order to improve user privacy online. Private Mode adds another layer for better privacy on device level, it added.


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OnePlus 8T likely to launch on October 14

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 Smartphone brand OnePlus is reportedly planning to unveil OnePlus 8T on October 14 with OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 and 120Hz refresh rate.

OnePlus generally launches its a T series in the month of September but there is a slight change in the launch timeline due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports MySmartPrice.

The OnePlus 8T will succeed the OnePlus 7T that launched in India in September 2019. Rumours suggest that the OnePlus 8T will be much more powerful when compared to the OnePlus 8.

The device is codenamed ‘Kebab’ and will feature a 6.55-inch AMOLED display just like the regular OnePlus 8 but with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The smartphone is expected to come with four cameras at the back, with a 48MP primary lens joined by a 16MP wide-angle module, 5MP macro, and 2MP portrait lens, according to the report.

In terms of processor, the smartphone is likely to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chip with 8GB RAM, 128GB internal storage.

In addition, OnePlus is also planning to unveil another device with Snapdragon 662 or 665 chip for a price tag between Rs. 16,000-Rs 18,000.

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