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WhatsApp working on GDPR data privacy option for users: Report

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New Delhi, Feb 13: As the European Union (EU) prepares to introduce the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May to harmonise data privacy laws, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new data privacy option in compliance with the new legislation.

The new WhatsApp feature, to be remotely enabled by “no later than May 25” for its over one billion users, will also reportedly be extended to Facebook and Instagram, WABetaInfo, a popular website that tests new WhatsApp features early, said on Tuesday.

“WhatsApp has submitted a new update through the Google Play Beta Programme, bringing the version up to 2.18.50. A new GDPR privacy option is under development that will also affect Facebook family of companies,” the website said.

The new feature will offer users more control over their data on Internet, ensuring more protection transparency and uniformity for them.

Under the “Account” settings, the users will see a new icon titled “Download my data”.

“Create a report of data from your account. This file can be ported to another service or maintained for backup,” the instructions in the Beta version read.

The process may require time and WhatsApp will notify the user when the report is ready to be downloaded.

“We will send you a notification when the data is ready. This can take as long as 20 days. Your report will be deleted from the server in 30 days,” the instructions continued.

The feature is currently under development and will be remotely enabled in next updates, the report said.

The EU GDPR, effective from May 25 this year, replaces the Data Protection Directive “95/46/EC” and has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe — to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy.

After four years of debate, the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016. Organisations that fail to comply with the new regulation may face hefty fines.

The EU data regulators are concerned over WhatsApp’s sharing of user data with parent company Facebook.

On August 25, 2016, WhatsApp released a new version of its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy where it explained that “from now on, its users’ data is transferred to Facebook for three purposes: targeted advertising, security and evaluation and improvement of services (business intelligence)”.

Concerned over data privacy of its citizens, France’s privacy watchdog in December issued formal notice to WhatsApp, asking the popular mobile messaging app to stop sharing user data with the parent company Facebook within a month.

Germany has ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users.

The Supreme Court of India has also directed WhatsApp and Facebook to specify whether they were sharing the data with any third-party entity.

IANS

Tech

Twitter outage hits India users

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Twitter Black

New Delhi: Twitter users in several parts of the world, including India, on Wednesday reported facing problems accessing the platform as the homepage refused to load.

Instead of showing a fresh feed of tweets, “Something went wrong, try again” popped up as a message.

The cause of the outage is not known as Twitter is yet to come out with an official announcement.

According to Downdetector, which offers real-time status and outage information, there was a sudden surge in users reporting problems with Twitter at around 8.12 pm.

Most of the problems have been reported by desktop users, followed by Android and iOS users.

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India

ISRO adopts new satellite naming style, RISAT-2BR2 now EOS-01

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

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Chennai, Oct 28 : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided follow a new naming policy for its earth observation satellites, it is learnt.

Henceforth, the Indian space agency will be naming its earth observation satellites as EOS tagged with a serial number.

As a result, ISRO’s radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR2 has been renamed as EOS-01, an official preferring anonymity told IANS.

The ISRO on Wednesday said its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) will launch EOS-01 as a primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

The launch is tentatively scheduled at 3.02 p.m. on November 7, subject to weather conditions.

EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, the ISRO said.

The radar imaging satellite with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.

The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.

This time around, the ISRO will be using the PSLV rocket’s DL variant that will have two strap-on booster motors.

This rocket variant was used the first time to put into orbit Microsat R satellite on January 24, 2019.

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

Owing to Covid-19 pandemic norms, ISRO has decided to close the rocket launch viewing gallery for the public during this launch and gathering of media personnel at the Sriharikota rocket port is also not on the cards.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Politics

Facebook must demonstrate neutrality, revamp its SOPs: Congress

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Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal

New Delhi: A day after the resignation of Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das, the Congress on Wednesday welcomed the change in Facebook India’s leadership team.

The Congress also said that the matter will not be resolved by just changing one individual.

“Facebook must demonstrate its neutrality through a thorough revamp of its institutional processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs), so as to ensure foolproof checks and balances that cannot be tinkered by an individual’s whims and political leanings,” said Congress General Secretary (organisation), K.C. Venugopal.

“It must also outline the steps taken to curb false, polarising and hate news/content spread rampantly on its platform, threatening India’s social harmony,” he added.

After American newspaper Wall Street Journal had on August 14 reported substantively on the blatant biases of Facebook India’s team headed by Ankhi Das, the Congress had raised the issue.

The newspaper had reported that Das and her political partisanship towards the ruling party and its leaders, by way of wilful propagation, was spreading spread fake and hate news.

Subsequently, the Congress wrote two formal letters to the CEO of Facebook Inc, Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to look into the matter seriously. Facebook responded to the letter reiterating its neutrality and promising due action.

Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das is leaving the company with immediate effect “to pursue her interest in public service”, the social networking giant announced on Tuesday.

“Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service. Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last nine years,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

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