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Mulling law for online data protection, Centre tells SC

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Data protection

New Delhi, April 18 : The Centre told the Supreme Court that it was actively considering to put in place a law to protect data and curb sharing of individual data on social networking sites and online messaging services.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a Constitution Bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice Amitava Roy, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagouda that the government is mulling a framework for data protection like the one existing in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Telling the court that data protection applies to a host of online platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Paytm, and Twitter, Rohatgi sought adjournment in the case till Diwali by which time, he said, something would emerge.

The court was hearing a plea by Karmanya Singh Sareen and others who have challenged a Delhi High Court September 23 order by which it allowed WhatsApp to roll out its new privacy policy but said it cannot share the data of its users collected up to September 25, 2016, with Facebook or any other related company.

Appearing for Sareen, senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court that if a regulatory framework is put in place it would be good and they can then focus on the specifics and argue the case.

He said he hoped both the petitioner and the social networking site Facebook and online messaging service WhatsApp may agree to the regulatory framework that the government is considering.

“If law comes and provide for regulation, then it is OK,” the court was told.

Even though the Centre sought an adjournment of the hearing so that it could undertake the exercise of putting in place the law for data protection, the court asked Salve to frame the questions that would be addressed to the court in the course of hearing by the Constitution Bench.

As Salve said that they would frame the questions, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, raised objection to the case’s hearing by the Constitution Bench, questioning what constitutional issues were involved.

He said any hearing by the Constitution Bench is preceded by framing of questions that would be addressed by it.

Sibal told the bench that whatever has been told to it by the petitioners does not apply to his client as they were not sharing messages, contents, data, and voice messages with any third party and everything was encrypted.

Sibal told the court that WhatsApp is compliant with the Information Technology Act and the 2011 privacy law and so no part of the content exchanged between two individuals is ever revealed to the third party.

The court directed for next hearing on April 27.

Health

Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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Pregnant woman, smartphone

New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

IANS
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Samsung likely to lose ground in smartphone market in 2018

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Seoul, Dec 14: Tech major Samsung Electronics Co may lose ground in the smartphone segment in 2018 due to surge of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, an industry tracker said on Thursday.

“Strategy Analytics said the company is expected to post a market share of 19.2 per cent in the global smartphone industry in 2018 by shipping 315 million units, down from 20.5 per cent estimated for this year”, IANS quoted citing Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the experts, the weaker outlook comes as rival Apple Inc is anticipated to expand its presence in the high-end segment, while Chinese companies are quickly making inroads to the industry with affordable devices.

“While the iOS-powered smartphones do not have competitors, Samsung will face tougher challenges in the Android segment,” said Park Nam-gyoo, a professor of business at Seoul National University.

With this, for the very first time Samsung will post a decline in smartphone shipments on-year, excluding 2016, when the company suspended the production of Galaxy Note 7 because of safety issues.

However, Samsung Electronics did not reacted on the outlook yet.

In the meantime, Apple is predicted to take up 14.3 per cent of the market in 2018 by shipping 234 million units, up from 14 per cent posted this year.

China-based Huawei Technologies Co and OPPO Electronics Corp are also expected to expand their shares to account for 10 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively in 2018, the data revealed.

WeForNews 

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Twitter launches live stream of Gujarat assembly elections

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New Delhi, Dec 14: Social media giant Twitter on Wednesday announced that it will live stream the conversations related to the high stakes Gujarat assembly elections on its platform as the political interest and discourse on the polls generated over 800,000 tweets in the last week on the microblogging website.

The live stream of elections will be available in English and Hindi, and will take place on Thursday when the second phase of polling is being held, and on counting day December 18, news agency IANS quoted citing the company said in a statement.

“We are excited to launch the first live stream of elections in India providing people with the opportunity to follow all the election-related action in real-time, with the best analysis and commentary in the business,” said Amrita Tripathi, Acting Head for News Partnerships, Twitter India.

The live stream is available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on the microblogging website and connected devices globally.

Each stream will be accompanied by a Twitter timeline depicting in real time Gujarat Election-related conversation.

In November, Twitter observed a growing interest in Gujarat politics as conversations related to the Assembly election climbed to 20 per cent.

The social media titan also introduced initiatives like real-time updates on the campaign trail and connect electors to politicians on key issues.

The company also revealed an emoji, available till December 22, which can be activated using hashtags such as #GujaratElection2017, #GujaratElection, #BattleforGujarat or #ElectionCaravan.

WeForNews 

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