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WhatsApp takes EU flak over sharing user data with Facebook

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London, Oct 27: The European Union’s data regulator group has rapped WhatsApp for the “take it or leave it approach” it has taken regarding sharing of user data with the parent company Facebook.

The EU data regulator has launched a taskforce to implement “a clear, comprehensive resolution” to comply with EU law, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

The taskforce has been set up by the pan-European data regulator, the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), a year after it first issued a warning to the chat app over its sharing of user data with the wider group of Facebook companies, forcing it to pause data transfer.

WhatsApp changed its privacy policy last year to start sharing users’ phone numbers and other information with Facebook.

The change drew widespread regulatory scrutiny across Europe.

The scrutiny focused on the requirement for users to consent to the sharing of data and the level of information provided for them to make an informed choice.

In a letter sent to WhatsApp this week, WP29 said the company had still not resolved its concerns about getting user consent for the data sharing.

The regulators said that the information given to users about the privacy policy update was “seriously deficient as a means to inform their consent”.

The group said the “take it or leave it approach”, which mandated users who disagreed should simply stop using the service did not constitute freely given consent, while pre-ticked boxes did not constitute unambiguous consent, the Guardian report said.

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Facebook launches free version of ‘Workplace’ for NGOs

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San Francisco, June 21: Making inroads into the non-profit segment, Facebook has launched a free version of its enterprise communications app ‘Workplace’ to make work better, smarter and faster for charities and non-governmental organisations.

Named “Workplace for Good”, the app would donate work-essential mobile, video, communication and collaboration tools free of charge to organisations like World Wildlife Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and more.

“We’re giving ‘Workplace for free’ to non-profits and staff at educational institutions globally, so they can build meaningful communities and create change around the world,” Annette Gevaert, Head, Workplace For Good, Facebook, wrote in a blog post late on Wednesday.

Additionally, the app also comes integrated with tools like “OxBot” which is a jargon-busting bot that provides a link to internal sources of information, increasing accessibility options.

“We’re also renewing our commitment to #ImpactCloud, a coalition of technology companies including Workplace, Salesforce, Box, Okta and Microsoft, working together to help accelerate digital transformation and impact for humanitarian and disaster relief organisations,” Gevaert added.

IANS

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‘Twitter Media’, a new home for publishers, is here

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San Francisco, June 20: In an apparent attempt to get close to publishers, Twitter has launched “Twitter Media” — a website dedicated to helping small publishers get the most from its platform.

Kay Madati, Global Vice President and Head of Content Partnerships officially introduced the new site.

“With Facebook disappointing publishers for the last few years Twitter saw an opportunity, and now it’s launching ‘Twitter Media’, a website dedicated to helping small publishers get the most from its platform,” tech website WeRSM reported late on Tuesday.

“Twitter Media” would feature best practices from content publishers across Twitter, curated by Twitter’s news, sports and entertainment partnerships teams.

The micro-blogging site said that “Twitter Media” will be updated regularly with case studies and success stories and will also feature a blog to help publishers stay up-to-date with tools for publishers.

The website would also include information about new products and features designed specifically for content publishers and there would be an easy-to-navigate help section curating answers to the most common questions Twitter gets from content publishers.

IANS

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Just 25% adults use Internet in India: Pew survey

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San Francisco, June 20: Despite talk of Digital India, only one-in-four in the country reported using the Internet in 2017, which is among the lowest in the world, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

South Korea stands out as the most heavily connected society, with 96 per cent of adults reporting Internet use, showed the survey conducted in 37 countries.

While majorities use the Internet in much of the world, sub-Saharan Africa and India has much to catch up with, according to the results released on Tuesday.

Samrtphone ownership among adults in India went up from 12 per cent in 2013 to 22 per cent in 2017, while social media use went up from eight to 20 per cent during the same period.

That means 78 per cent of adults in India do not own a smartphone and a whopping 80 per cent of the population in the country have no clues about Facebook or Twitter.

While the gap in Internet use between emerging and advanced economies has narrowed in recent years, there are still large swaths of the world where significant numbers of citizens do not use the Internet, the study said.

Internet penetration rates — as measured by Internet use or smartphone ownership — remain high in North America and much of Europe, as well as in parts of the Asia-Pacific.

Yet, others are not far behind. In Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, the US, Israel, the UK, Germany, France and Spain, roughly nine-in-ten report Internet use.

Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the least wired parts of the globe.

However, among people who use the Internet, those in developing countries often turn out to be more likely than their counterparts in advanced economies to network via platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In 2015-16, roughly four-in-ten adults across the emerging nations surveyed said they used social networking sites.

As of 2017, 53 per cent use social media. Over the same period, social media use has been generally level in many of the advanced economies surveyed.

The report also showed that there has been a steady increase in Internet use over the past five years among the 19 emerging and developing economies surveyed.

In 2013, only 16 per cent adults in India reported using the Internet. The percentage of adults using the Internet in India went up to 25 per cent in 2017.

Between 2013 and 2014, a median of 42 per cent across the emerging and developing economies said they accessed the Internet at least occasionally or owned a smartphone.

By 2017, a median of 64 per cent were online. Meanwhile, Internet use among the 17 advanced economies surveyed has remained relatively flat, with a median of 87 per cent across these nations using the internet at least occasionally in 2017, similar to the 86 per cent who said this in 2015 or 2016.

Similarly, in 2013-14, about a quarter of people in emerging and developing economies reported owning a smartphone.

By 2017, that share had risen to 42 per cent. Among the advanced economies, 72 per cent report owning a smartphone in 2017, the same rate as in 2015-16.

IANS

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