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Top tech firms halt Hong Kong’s requests for users” data

Twitter said in an earlier statement that it has “grave concerns and is committed to protecting the people using our services and their freedom of expression”.

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San Francisco, July 7 : Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter and Telegram have said they will not process official requests from the Hong Kong authorities to hand over user data for the time being, in the wake of China imposing a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp decided to pause the review of Hong Kong government requests for user data “pending further assessment” of China”s national-security law for territory.

Facebook is “pausing” such reviews “pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts,” a WhatsApp spokeswoman was quoted as saying in the report.

Google and Twitter said they suspended their reviews of data requests from Hong Kong authorities immediately after the law went into effect.

Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

Dubai-based Telegram Group said in a statement that it doesn”t intend to process “any data requests related to its Hong Kong users until an international consensus is reached in relation to the ongoing political changes in the city.”

A company spokesperson said it “has never shared any data with the Hong Kong authorities in the past.”

The people in Hong Kong fear that the new law can send them to jail on the basis of their social media posts and messages.

After China imposed a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong, tech giants now face a free speech test in the country.

The new law requires local authorities to take steps to supervise and regulate the city”s internet.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube currently operate freely in Hong Kong, unlike China where the great Firewall has censored the US tech giants in mainland China.

Twitter said in an earlier statement that it has “grave concerns and is committed to protecting the people using our services and their freedom of expression”.

The Hong Kong government last week said the US has no right to intervene in the city”s internal affairs, after the American Senate unanimously passed a punitive sanctions bill in reaction to the controversial new National Security Law imposed by China.

The national security law, which Beijing put into effect and made public last week on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong”s handover from British to Chinese rule, criminalises a wide range of behaviour and acts under four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power.

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Twitter acts on inactive accounts, new verification soon

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Micro-blogging platform Twitter has started removing blue verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts and will begin the new verification process for its users in few weeks.

Twitter, which paused its public verification process or that elusive Blue Badge three years ago, in November announced to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

“Last call! As part of our new verification policy, we’ll remove verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts,” Twitter Safety said in a tweet.

The company is reading out directly to users who have issues with their accounts.

“We’ve reached out directly to those who need to take action to stay verified,” it added.

Twitter had said it would relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

Verified accounts on Twitter will have a blue check next to the display name throughout the app.

“When we relaunch the public application process in early 2021, there will be a link to the application in the Twitter apps and on twitter.com”.

Over three years ago, the platform paused the public verification programme after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.

A year later, the company deprioritised this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election.

The company has identified six types of accounts in its draft policy as Notable Accounts — government; companies, brands and non-profit organisations; news; entertainment; sports and activists/organisers and other influential individuals.

According to the proposed policy, “the blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.”

Twitter had admitted that there are many verified accounts on its platform that should not be there.

The new verification policy is a starting point, and “we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year”.

The draft verification policy is available in English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

“We are also working with local non-governmental organisations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible,” Twitter said.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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Microsoft brings Surface Laptop Go to India

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Microsoft on Thursday announced the Surface Laptop Go will be available in India from January 22 via commercial authorised resellers, authorised retail and online partners at a starting price of Rs 63,499.

According to the company, the Surface Laptop Go extends the Surface line-up by delivering standout design along with the features most loved by our Surface Laptop customers at a more affordable price.

“With the new Surface Laptop Go, we want to give every person in the household or organisation a laptop that’s not just something you need to use, but something you want to use. The Surface Laptop Go is our lightest and most affordable Surface laptop yet that offers the perfect balance of performance, battery life and style,” Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft said in a statement.

The Surface Laptop Go runs on Windows 10 Home in S mode. It features a 12.45-inch PixelSense Display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1,536×1,024 pixels resolution.

Under the hood, the Surface Laptop Go is powered by 10th-Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor and comes with Intel UHD graphics.

It can be equipped with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM. The base model carries 64GB of eMMC storage but comes with options for 128GB and 256GB SSDs.

Connectivity options include a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, a 3.5mm headphone hack, Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax, and Bluetooth 5.0.

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