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Twitter to open transparency centre, label political ads

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San Francisco, Oct 25: In a bid to increase transparency on its platform, Twitter has announced to publicly disclose all ads — including political and issue-based ads — and the identity of who bought them.

In the wake of Russia’s alleged use of social media platforms to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election, two Democratic senators introduced last week the “Honest Ads Act”, a bill which requires tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to disclose political ads purchased on their platforms.

“In the coming weeks, we will launch an industry-leading transparency centre that will offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads, and tools to share your feedback with us,” Twitter posted late on Tuesday.

The transparency centre will show all ads that are currently running on Twitter, including “Promoted-Only” ads, how long ads have been running and ads targeted to you as well as personalised information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting.

People can also report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback for every ad running on Twitter, whether the ad targets them or not.

“To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator,” Twitter said.

Twitter has already turned over to the US Senate 201 profile names of accounts associated with alleged Russian effort to meddle in the presidential election last year.

The move came after critics said that the tech giant was not taking the congressional probe seriously enough.

Twitter was also criticised for reportedly deleting tweets and other user data useful to investigators looking into Moscow’s suspected manipulation of the social media service during the 2016 election.

The Senate has invited Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, to a public hearing set for November 1.

“We will make new updates first in the US and then roll them out globally. We look forward to engaging with Members of Congress and other key stakeholders on these issues as the legislative process continues,” Twitter posted.

IANS

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Google still allowing third-party apps read your Gmail: Report

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Washington, Sep 21: After facing a backlash over reports in July that third-party app developers can read your Gmail, Google has once again defended its policy to allow third-party apps to access and share data from Gmail accounts.

According to a CNNMoney report on Thursday, Gmail lets third-party developers integrate services into its email platform.

“Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” said the report, quoting from a Google letter sent to the US Senators.

Google also makes “the privacy policy easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access”, said Susan Molinari, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for the Americas at Google, in the letter.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that despite assuring users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount”, the search giant is still allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts.

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally — more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

Later, Google said in a blog post that the company is continuously vetting developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before it opens them for general access.

According to Google, it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used.

“We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail — like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) systems — so that you have options around how you access and use your email,” said Suzanne Frey, Director, Security, Trust and Privacy, Google Cloud.

Before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process at the company, it said.

“It includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does,” Frey noted.

In 2017, Google had said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

IANS

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This Alibaba robot will serve in China’s hotels soon

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Robot in Hotel

Hangzhou (China), Sep 20: China’s e-tail giant Alibaba on Thursday unveiled a robot that will serve guests in the country’s hotels soon.

“The robotics industry is revolutionising the world and Alibaba Artificial Intelligence (AI) Labs is raising the stakes in this industry with the launch of service robots for hospitality sector starting October,” the company said at its annual Cloud Computing Conference 2018 being held here.

The robot was unveiled by Alibaba AI Labs, the AI product development arm, at the four-day tech summit in this scenic city where Alibaba is headquartered, about 180 km southwest of Shanghai.

“This robot will help bridge the gap between the guest needs and the response time they expect. It is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels,” said the General Manager of Alibaba AI Labs, Lijuan Chen.

Guests staying in hotels will be able to communicate with the robot via voice command, touch and hand gestures. The robot will in turn respond to them through AliGenie, the software behind Alibaba’s smart speaker, Tmall Genie.

“The robot will be the ultimate assistant for hotel guests who want everything quickly at their fingertips,” added Lijuan.

With a multi-sensor data functionality, parallel computing for quick responses, autonomous navigation system to identify obstacles, communication systems to control elevators and identity verification through facial recognition technology, the one-metre tall robot can walk at a metre per second speed.

“After trial at a hotel, Alibaba AI Labs will assess its suitability for other areas, including hospitals, restaurants and office services,” the company added.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the global market for service robots is expected to grow from 20 to 25 per cent from 2018 to 2020.

The ninth edition of the tech conference is being held from September 19-22 here in the provincial capital of Zhejiang, featuring the latest trends in cloud computing, AI, Internet of Things and blockchain.

IANS

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Samsung Galaxy A7 launched with triple rear camera

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New Delhi, Sep 20: Tech giant Samsung Electronics on Thursday launched the pocket-friendly Galaxy A7 that comes with a powerful rear triple camera system.

The Galaxy A7 — to be priced below the Rs 30,000 price segment for India — will be available in select European and Asian markets from this fall and other markets in the near future, the company said in a statement.

The triple camera system comprises 24MP AF lens, an 8MP “Ultra Wide” lens (F2.4) and a 5MP “Depth” lens.

Coupled with the 24MP lens and Depth Lens, the Galaxy A7’s “Live Focus” feature enable users to control the depth of field by allowing them to adjust the “bokeh” effect for better pictures and experience.

“Samsung is committed to delivering meaningful innovation to all consumers across the Galaxy family, no matter who they are or where they are in the world” stated DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

The Galaxy A7’s 8MP Ultra Wide Lens at the rear is placed at the same viewing angle as the human eye. The device ensures clear photos in both bright and low-light conditions.

“We’re excited to introduce innovative new features to the A series with the Galaxy A7, a practical but powerful device that is built to help make your everyday both convenient and extraordinary,” he added.

The device with 6.0-inch Super AMOLED display comes in three variants: 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage with a MicroSD Slot (up to 512GB); 4GB RAM and 128GB internal memory and 6GB RAM and 128ROM.

It runs Android 8.0 OS and houses a 3,300mAh battery.

Samsung is set to launch another “Galaxy A” series smartphone with a four rear-camera system device called A9 in Malaysia on October 11 that will be a premium device (above the Rs 30,000 price segment).

The company is refreshing its mid-price segment smartphones with flagship premium features for the rest of the year.

 

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