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Indian govt developing Citizen App, a common app for all things related to COVID-19

You’re reading it here first: The Indian government has created a committee of experts to work on a Citizen App that will onboard all citizens to “combat the COVID-19 pandemic” and “evaluate and converge related technology solutions and suggestions” through a public-private partnership (PPP). The committee has to complete its work within 3 months. The […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, India, PPP, Citizen App, Coronavirus

Tamil Nadu Police using facial recognition app to track people in quarantine

Police in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district is using an app that uses facial recognition and geo fencing to keep track of people placed under quarantine, Superintendent of Police for Tiruvallur district, P. Aravindhan, told MediaNama. Called CoBuddy, the Android-only app validates a person’s location using GPS coordinates, and as an added layer of authentication, uses […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Surveillance, Facial Recognition, Tamil Nadu, Medianama, Tiruvallur, Coronavirus, Surveillance and COVID-19, CoBuddy, FaceTagr, Tamil Nadu Police, Aravindhan

Twitter removes 20,000 accounts linked to Saudi, Serbia, Honduras, Indonesia governments

Twitter has deleted 20,000 fake accounts linked to the governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras and Indonesia, saying that they violated company policy and were a “targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation”. Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth said the operation was part of Twitter’s ongoing work to “detect and investigate state-backed information […] ...
Tags: Travel, Twitter, News, Indonesia, Social Media, Misinformation, Fake News, Yoel Roth, Serbia Saudi Arabia Egypt Honduras, Saudi Serbia Honduras Indonesia

Oyo suspends minimum guarantee payments to hotels: Report

SoftBank-backed Oyo has invoked the force majeure clause in its agreements with hotel owners given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, the Economic Times reported. This allows Oyo to effectively suspend minimum guarantee payments to the hotels. Under the minimum guarantee model, hotel owners have to be paid a minimum amount regardless […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Hotels, Softbank, Economic Times, Oyo, Coronavirus

After growing 20x and facing privacy missteps, Zoom freezes feature updates for 6 months

After a series of security missteps, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan announced a six month feature update freeze, saying the company would make privacy and security its priority. This comes as Zoom claimed its user base ballooned from 10 million to 200 million in a matter of months due to lockdowns around the world, following […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Privacy, Zoom, Eric S Yuan

After growing 20x and facing privacy missteps, Zoom freezes feature updates for 3 months

After a series of security missteps, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan announced a six month feature update freeze, saying the company would make privacy and security its priority. This comes as Zoom claimed its user base ballooned from 10 million to 200 million in a matter of months due to lockdowns around the world, following […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Privacy, Zoom, Eric S Yuan

Apple allows subscription video companies to skip App Store fee: Report

Apple is allowing Amazon Prime Video and Canal+ to skip the 30% fee on in-app transactions by letting those companies bill users with non-Apple payment methods, Bloomberg reported. This is a potentially significant concession. Apple’s iTunes rents and sells movies, like Amazon Prime Video does in some markets outside India. Apple has received pushback for […] ...
Tags: Travel, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, News, Bloomberg, App Store, Amazon Prime Video, India Apple

Delhi government launches COVID-19 chatbot on WhatsApp

After the government of India, the Delhi government has now launched a COVID-19 chatbot on WhatsApp. Users just have to send the message “Hi” to the “Delhi Govt – Corona Helpline” at +918800007722. Apart from giving information and updates about the pandemic, the bot also allows users to apply for an e-pass for movement during […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, India, Whatsapp, Delhi, Delhi Government, COVID, Cotonavirus

FIRs against The Wire’s editor an ‘overreaction’ and ‘intimidation’: Editors Guild of India

The FIRs filed against The Wire’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan are “an overreaction and an act of intimidation,” the Editors Guild of India said in a statement on April 2. The guild also called Supreme Court’s recent direction to the media to publish news about the COVID-19 pandemic from official government sources as “gratuitous and unnecessary”. […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Supreme Court, India, The Wire, Uttar Pradesh, Supreme Court of India, Siddharth Varadarajan, Yogi Adityanath, Coronavirus

Biometric authentication to withdraw cash sees only a minor drop despite nationwide lockdown

Even though India was essentially under a lockdown for an entire week in March to combat COVID-19, it seems to have done little to hamper biometric transactions to withdraw cash: In March 2020, 181.81 million biometric transactions were done on Aadhaar enabled Payments Services, data released by the National Payments Corporation of India show. For comparison, […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, India, Payments, Biometrics, NPCI, National Payments Corporation of India, AEPS, Coronavirus, Payments Services

Indian government releases COVID-19 contact tracing app

Update (6:31 pm): The government of India issued a press release, announcing the launch of Aarogya Setu. Arnab Kumar, the Program Director of Frontier Technologies at NITI Aayog, confirmed its authenticity to MediaNama. As per the press release, the app has been developed through a public private partnership (PPP) under the guidance of National Informatics […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, India, PPP, Niti Aayog, Frontier Technologies, Coronavirus, Aarogya Setu, Aarogya Setu Arnab Kumar, National Informatics

YouTube to launch short video app ‘Shorts’ to compete with TikTok: Report

After Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels, YouTube is now working on its own short-form, user-generated video app — Shorts — to take on the massive phenomenon that is TikTok. The app will release by the end of year and users will be able to upload short-form videos into a feed within the YouTube app, the […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Youtube, Social Media, Tiktok, Facebook Lasso, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels YouTube

Privacy, in the time of coronavirus, should not be compromised

To what extent should one be bothered by privacy violations while much of the world seems to be under an existential threat? The answer is quite a lot, actually — same as at any other time. Why fundamental rights remain immutable There are two reasons for being extra mindful of your rights in “interesting times”, […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Privacy, Surveillance, Views, Coronavirus, Privacy and COVID-19, Surveillance and COVID-19

How Wikipedia in indic languages is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a small group of editors under Project SWASTHA has been working to make sure that Wikipedia articles in Indian languages are updated with accurate and up-to-date information on the pandemic. Abhishek Suryawanshi, director of SWASTHA and Wikipedia Ambassador, spoke to us from Miami on how the team is facing […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Wikipedia, Miami, Indic Languages, Coronavirus, Project SWASTHA, Abhishek Suryawanshi, SWASTHA

UP Police files FIRs against editor of The Wire for allegedly spreading fake news against CM Adityanath

The Uttar Pradesh Police on April 1 lodged two FIRs against Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding editor of news portal The Wire, for allegedly attributing an incorrect statement to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. One of the FIRs was filed by the SHO of Kotwali Nagar police station. The FIRs come after Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to Adityanath […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, The Wire, Uttar Pradesh, Siddharth Varadarajan, Yogi Adityanath, UTTAR Pradesh Police, Adityanath, Coronavirus, Kotwali Nagar

Delhi government, Delhi Police track phones of those under COVID-19 quarantine: Kejriwal

The Delhi government has handed 25,429 phone numbers to the Delhi Police in the last two days to ensure that people ordered to quarantine by the government actually did so. “Action will be taken against people who are found to have violated the quarantine orders on the basis of the police report,” Delhi Chief Minister […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Delhi, Delhi Police, Arvind Kejriwal, Kejriwal, Coronavirus, Surveillance and COVID-19

After long delay, Spotify inks deal with Warner Music, Saregama in India

Spotify has signed a deal with Warner Music Group, the last of the big three international music labels, the two companies announced on April 1. This means that significant holdouts in the Spotify catalogue in India, such as Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Linkin Park and a slew of other artists under WMG, will now be […] ...
Tags: Travel, Spotify, News, India, Warner, Warner Music Group, WMG, Warner Music Saregama, Katy Perry Ed Sheeran Linkin Park

Center directs states to set up portal for information on COVID-19

The Central government yesterday directed all state governments to create a portal with information about COVID-19 “where people can verify facts and unverified news promptly”. A similar portal is being created by the Central government, as per Supreme Court directions. States have to submit an action taken report to the Home Ministry before the next […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Supreme Court, States, Ministry of Home Affairs

COAI: Telcos don’t need additional spectrum, can deal with bandwidth surge already

The Cellular Operators Association of India said in a statement that it doesn’t need additional spectrum to deal with added strain on mobile networks. In a statement, COAI Director-General Rajan Mathews said: Over the past few days, the industry, in concert with actions coordinated with the DoT, has seen a flattening of traffic demand on […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Telecom, COAI, Cellular Operators Association of India, Rajan Mathews, Coronavirus

SC directs media to publish government version of developments around COVID-19

The Supreme Court yesterday directed the media to refer to and publish the official government version of developments around COVID-19. “We do not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic, but direct the media refer to and publish the official version about the developments,” a two-judge bench led by Chief Justice SA […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Supreme Court, Coronavirus

MEITY extends National Open Digital Ecosystems consultation to 31 May

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has extended its call for comments for its consultation whitepaper on National Open Digital Ecosystems (NODEs) by two months to May 31, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NODEs are a set of protocols and digital systems that MEITY hopes can be used by government departments and private […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Regulation, MeitY, National Open Digital Ecosystems

5.2 million guests records stolen in another breach at Marriott International

Hotel chain Marriott International was hit by a second data breach in three years — this time involving the personal information of 5.2 million guests. Marriott said it discovered the breach of an unspecified property system at franchise hotel at the end of February. The hackers had obtained the login details of two employees, and had broken into […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Privacy, Hotels, Data Breach, Marriott, Personal Data, Marriott International

Pakistan government creates WhatsApp chatbot to offer information about COVID-19

The Pakistan government has created a WhatsApp chatbot to offer its citizens information about the COVID-19 pandemic and details about testing facilities in their vicinity. The chatbot offers information in 7 languages, including English, Urdu, Punjabi and Kashmiri. The chatbot, called PK Gov Corona Helpline, can be joined by adding +923001111166 to your contacts, and […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Whatsapp, Pakistan, Coronavirus

After brief delay, Disney+ to launch in India on Hotstar on April 3

Disney+ will finally launch in India on April 3, the company announced in a press release, after it had postponed a March 29 launch citing the Indian Premier League’s delay. This comes almost two weeks ahead of the IPL’s (scheduled) debut on April 15. Hotstar will premiere two Disney titles on April 2 before the […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, India, Disney, Ipl, Hotstar, Disney+ Hotstar

IAMAI to seek a consensus position on Content Regulation from its Digital Entertainment committee, following a Governing Council meeting

The rush to put together an independent body for online content regulation is turning out to be quite a challenge for the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Its Governing Council, which convened on 23rd March 2020, has asked the IAMAI to go back to its Digital Entertainment committee, and finalise an online content regulation […] ...
Tags: Travel, Video, News, Media, Censorship, IAMAI, Digital Entertainment, Online content regulation, OTT Regulations, Mobile Association of India Its Governing Council

COVID-19: Swiggy sets up Rs 10 crore fund for its delivery persons

Swiggy has launched a Rs 10 crore fund to support delivery personnel who test positive for COVID-19. The delivery personnel’s will get income of upto 2 weeks, essential goods including food and groceries; their parents and families’ medical expenses related to COVID-19 will also be covered. Swiggy has so far raised Rs 4 crore, from founders, […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, E-commerce, Swiggy, Coronavirus, Ecommerce and COVID-19

Houseparty denies hack, puts out bounty for ‘smear’ proof

Over the last twenty-four hours, social media has been rife with rumours that users who installed video calling app Houseparty, often billed as Zoom for millennials, got their financial information or accounts on other apps hacked. However, those posts have been low on evidence, Naked Security points out, with a lot of this information being […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Privacy, Zoom, Houseparty, Coronavirus

Delhi Police ‘hired’ drones to record assembly elections and Delhi riots: RTI

The Delhi Police has admitted to using drones during the legislative assembly elections and the riots that took place in Delhi in February. In response to an RTI filed by MediaNama (given below), the Delhi Police’s North East Division said that the department “hired” drones from the “open market” under the competency of HOO (Head […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Surveillance, Drones, Delhi, Delhi Police, RTI, Medianama

Personal details of all Georgians published online: Report

Personal information — including names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers and mobile phone numbers — of more than 4.9 million Georgians, including deceased citizens, was published on a hacking forum over the weekend, ZDNet reported. For context, Georgia’s population is about 3.72 million. It is unclear where the leak originated. Initially, ZDNet had reported […] ...
Tags: Travel, News, Georgia, Zdnet, Data Leak

Practo-Thyrocare to provide bookings for COVID-19 home tests

Online consultation and e-pharmacy platform Practo has partnered with private laboratory Thyrocare to provide COVID-19 home tests in Mumbai. Navi Mumbai company Thyrocare — among 49 private laboratories approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for COVID-19 testing — is authorised to conduct tests in Maharashtra. Practo declined to disclose to MediaNama the number of tests done […] ...
Tags: Travel, Health, News, Practo, Mumbai Navi Mumbai, Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR, Coronavirus, COVID, Thyrocare, Maharashtra Practo

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