28 April 2017

The govt. argues against WhatsApp data sharing, seeks 'regulatory regime' for data protection

The govt. argues against WhatsApp data sharing, seeks 'regulatory regime' for data protection

A "regulatory regime" for data protection is in the offing, the government today told the Supreme Court, asserting that an individual's freedom of choice needs to be protected.

“We are coming out with a regulatory regime on data protection. Freedom of choice needs to be protected and there cannot be any doubt over it,” Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

The bench, which is hearing the WhatsApp privacy policy matter, was informed that the government was also committed to protecting the freedom of choice of citizens.
The bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, An M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, had asked the government to clarify its stand on the issue.
The apex court also noted Mehta’s submission that “the Government of India is placed or stands dedicated to see that individual’s freedom of choice is not scuttled”.
During the hearing, senior advocate Harish Salve, who was appearing for petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, placed before the bench the questions of law which were required to be dealt with in the matter.
Referring to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, he said that someone could snoop into the messages, videos, and photos which a user shares or circulates on the instant messaging platform.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, countered the submissions saying they were protecting the privacy of users as they have an end-to-end encryption technology which cannot be looked into by a third person.
Senior counsel K K Venugopal, representing Facebook, told the bench that they have filed application in which they have raised preliminary issues on the maintainability of the plea.
He also argued that when the government has already said it would come out with a regulatory regime, “what is the purpose of deciding this now”.
The bench, which fixed the matter for hearing during the summer vacation on May 15, said the maintainability issue would be dealt with at the time of hearing arguments.
However, Salve questioned the end-to-end encryption method and said: “I am objecting to someone looking into my messages”.
At the fag end of the hearing, he said, “privacy has multiple dimensions. Here, I am saying that I am entrusting something to you. Confidentiality has to be protected.”
During the hearing, the bench allowed the application of a body, Internet Freedom Foundation, which has sought to be impleaded as a party in the matter.
The counsel representing the foundation said “the State has the duty to regulate this. All the other countries have data protection Act”.
The bench, however, observed that if somebody would say that his or her freedom has been curtailed, it would be the duty of the court to protect it.
During the hearing, Salve read out the questions of law submitted by him, which included “whether Article 21 read with Articles 14, 19 and 25 of the Constitution, confers upon all persons the right to privacy in respect of communications which are private in nature, irrespective of the medium of communication”.
“Whether Article 19, read with Article 14, 19 and 25 confer upon all persons the right to privacy in respect of all personal communications as well as personal data – financial and otherwise,” he also asked.
Salve said if the answer to these two questions were in the affirmative, the court would have to deliberate on whether any unauthorized access to such communications or personal matters or particulars by any agency without the legal authority is violative of Article 21 read with Article 14, 19 and 25.
While Article 14 relates to equality before the law, Article 19 pertains to freedom of speech and expression. Similarly, Article 21 and 25 relates to the right to life and freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion respectively.
The other questions given by Salve are “Whether the right to privacy, in Article 21 read with Articles 14, 19 and 25 extends not merely to the state and its agencies, but also to private agencies who in the course of their business, have access to such information made available to them on condition of secrecy and confidentiality.”
“Whether service providers, particularly monopolies and quasi-monopolies, who operate services incidental and ancillary to telecommunications and in the course of which they carry messages of private persons, or have access to particulars of private persons, are under a constitutional duty to protect and preserve the privacy of private persons”.
He also said if the answer to these two questions were in the affirmative, the court has to deal with the issue “whether the state is under an obligation, to protect the constitutional rights of persons, to frame appropriate rules and regulations to ensure that those agencies who operate telecommunications and allied services function in a manner that sufficiently protects and safeguards the constitutional rights to privacy of private persons”.
The apex court is hearing the appeal assailing the high court verdict on the ground that no relief was granted for data shared by users after September 25, 2016, which amounted to an infringement of fundamental rights under Article 19 and 21.
The apex court had on January 16 sought the responses from the Centre and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites – WhatsApp and Facebook – for alleged commercial use of personal communication.


27 April 2017

Limited edition Volkswagen Polo GT Sport launched in India

Limited edition Volkswagen Polo GT Sport launched in India

European car maker Volkswagen has introduced a new variant of its hot hatch Polo in India. The new Polo GT Sport is a limited edition model which will be available in India for Rs 20,000 more than the ex-showroom price of the regular version which means it will cost somewhere around Rs 8.7 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).

There are no mechanical changes so you get the same engine options, a 1.2-litre TSI and 1.5-litre TDI.

Thierry Lespiaucq, Managing Director, Volkswagen Groups Sales India said, “Polo GT has been the first choice for buyers who seek strong power delivery and class leading efficiency both perfectly combined in a single car line. The GT badge has always instilled the pride of owing the best, and the Polo GT Sport edition takes it a notch higher further increasing the sport quotient of the vehicle. With this offering, we are providing our consumers with an option to choose a sportier variant of the most loved hatchback the Polo GT.”
volkswagen-polo-gt-sport (1)
There are mostly cosmetic changes on the GT Sport edition including a new glossy black spoiler, 16-inch Portago alloy wheels, glossy black roof foil, and a GT Sport side foil. On the inside, there is a leatherette finished GT sport embossed seat covers. It will be offered in two colors, flash red, and candy white.


Twitter posts strong user growth, 6 percent growth in monthly active users, but 7.8 percent loss in revenue

Twitter posts strong user growth, 6 percent growth in monthly active users, but 7.8 percent loss in revenue, Twitter revenue, Twitter income, Twitter monthly active users,Twitter

Twitter Inc reported its strongest growth in monthly active users in more than a year and a much better-than-expected quarterly profit, despite stiff competition from Facebook and Snapchat, sending its shares up 11 percent. The microblogging service said average monthly active users increased 6 percent to 328 million in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected 321.3 million monthly active users, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount. Revenue fell 7.8 percent to $548.3 million, its first drop since its initial public offering. Net loss narrowed to $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $79.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

Twitter’s user growth has stalled in the past few quarters and the company has been trying to convince advertisers that it will strengthen its user base. As part of its efforts, the company has updated its product offerings including live video broadcasts from its app and launched new features to attract users. Twitter’s weak performance has raised questions about CEO Jack Dorsey’s leadership and whether the company would be bought by a bigger media firm. Financial markets speculated about a sale of Twitter last year, but no concrete bids were forthcoming.
Excluding items, the company earned 11 cents per share, beating the estimate of 1 cent per share. Twitter’s advertising revenue fell 11 percent to $474 million in the quarter, above the average analyst estimate of $442.7 million, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.


26 April 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ has reached 80,000 pre-orders in India

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ has reached 80,000 pre-orders in India, galaxy s8 plus,s8,s8+,samsung galaxy s8

Coming as a sigh of relief for Samsung after the Note 7 fiasco last year, pre-orders for its new flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices have reached 80,000 units within a week of the launch in India.

“The pre-orders are expected to hit 150,000 units by the end of this month,” industry sources told IANS.
Packed with a voice assistant, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8, and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ were listed on a Flipkart banner ad for pre-orders, starting from April 19.
According to the sources, the company saw 15 times more traffic than usual on Samsung e-store that led to a temporary downtime.
The pre-booking saw more than four times the pre-booking compared to the earlier Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices.
Early delivery for pre-booking customers will start from May 2 and owing to the high demand of the black color variants, the delivery date of these devices will start from May 12.
Asim Warsi, Senior Vice-President, Mobile Business, Samsung India told IANS: “We are overwhelmed with the response we have received for our flagships Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. A special ‘thank you’ to the customers for such a magnificent response. We are confident that S8 and S8+ will further propel our growth and we will be able to sustain and strengthen our position in India”.
Set to give Apple iPhones a tough competition, Samsung released the devices with a voice assistant called Bixby.
At Rs 57,900 and Rs 64,900, respectively, the S8 and S8+ devices with significantly larger screens, have re-engineered design with rounded edges and symmetrical sides make them compact and comfortable for one-handed operation.
The “Infinity Display” and bezel-less design gives a user 18 per cent more screen with no buttons. The physical home key on the front has given way to a more intuitive soft-key with a pressure sensor that is embedded under the display.
For security, the company introduced an iris scanner, which is one of the most secure biometric identification systems on a phone.
Samsung S8 and S8+ have 12 MP rear cameras with multi-frame processing and optical image stabilization and 8 MP auto-focus front shooters. The devices run on Android 7.0 Nougat. While S8 has a 3,000 mAh battery, S8+ boasts a 3,500 mAh battery.


Maruti Suzuki Dzire unveiled in India, to go on sale from 16 May

Maruti Suzuki Dzire unveiled in India, to go on sale from 16 May, Swift, Swift Dzire, Maruti Suzuki Dzire 2017, Dzire 2017

Maruti Suzuki today unveiled the new third generation Swift Dzire in India but is just calling it Dzire. While the pricing is not yet confirmed, the new subcompact sedan will be officially launched on 16 May and bookings will begin from the first week of may.

The new Dzire comes with Suzuki’s B platform which is also called ‘Heartect’. This is the same platform that was seen on the Baleno. It is said to be lighter than the previous version and now uses high-tensile steel in its construction as well as brings new safety standards.

Just like previous generations, the Dzire is a sedan version of the Swift. All the styling is pretty much similar as the next generation Swift hatchback. So you get the new LED projector headlights, the large hexagonal grille and a lot of chrome treatment.The boot has been redesigned giving the car a more sedan like the look. Wheel sizes include 14-inch as standard and 15-inch on the higher Zxi/Zdi trims. There is also a two-tone alloy wheel for the top version.
On the inside, the cabin gets a light beige and black dual-tone finish There is also an optional faux burl wood inserts available on the dash, door and steering wheel on the top trim. There are also rear AC vents, ABS (anti-lock brakes) with EBD, dual front airbags and ISOFIX child seat restraints as standard. There is a touchscreen system with navigation including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirror Link.
The engines will remain the same from last year so there will be an option for a 1.2-litre VVT petrol and a 1.3 DDiS diesel engine. Maruti will also offer an Auto Gear Shift (AMT) variant on both the engine types. As for the trims, the car will be available in Lxi/Ldi, Vxi/Vdi, Zxi/Zdi and Zxi+/Zdi+. The base variant will have a  5-speed manual and the rest will get 5-speed AMT as an option. Pricing will be announced around the launch period.


Cassini spacecraft's 'Grand Finale' takes off with a Google Doodle

Cassini spacecraft's 'Grand Finale' takes off with a Google Doodle
Image Credit: Google

The Cassini spacecraft has finally entered the last leg of its journey through the endless bounds of space. The spacecraft which is now 20 years old, had been orbiting Saturn's Moon Titan and has now entered its science-rich final act called the 'Grand Finale'. Cassini will dive between Saturn and its innermost rings for the final few orbits, before crashing into the gas giant.

Today’s Google Doodle bids goodbye to Cassini and shows the spacecraft fly by Saturn snapping photos of the planet. On a humorous note, after Cassini finishes its flyby, the spacecraft starts clicking selfies!
Cassini Google Doodle
The Cassini spacecraft has just bid farewell to Titan and thanks to the moon’s gravity has changed its path. The change in path means that instead of the usual orbit which was supposed to see it pass by just outside Saturn’s main rings, known as the ring grazing orbits, will now see Cassini do a series of 22 dives between the main rings and the planet on 26 April.
Sadly, despite the extended service, this last mission will see Cassini take a science-rich plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on 15 September. In short, that plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere will burn the spacecraft into a meteor, eventually becoming a part of the planet itself.
Image: Nasa
Image: Nasa
Cassini’s plunge is supposed to deliver plenty of important details as Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes in the bullet points below:
  • The spacecraft will make detailed maps of Saturn’s gravity and magnetic fields, revealing how the planet is arranged internally, and possibly helping to solve the irksome mystery of just how fast Saturn is rotating.
  • The final drives will vastly improve our knowledge of how much material is in the rings, bringing us closer to understanding their origins.
  • Cassini’s particle detectors will sample icy ring particles being funneled into the atmosphere by Saturn’s magnetic field.
  • Its cameras will take amazing, ultra-close images of Saturn’s rings and clouds.
Cassini Grand Finale by the numbers. Image: Nasa JPL
Cassini Grand Finale by the numbers. Image: Nasa JPL
Cassini has spent 13 years in orbit around Saturn after a 7-year journey from Earth. Nasa explains that spacecraft is running low on rocket fuel, which is used for adjusting its course. “If left unchecked, this situation would eventually prevent mission operators from controlling the course of the spacecraft,” said Nasa in the blog.
“In order to avoid the unlikely possibility of Cassini someday colliding with one of these moons, NASA has chosen to safely dispose of the spacecraft in the atmosphere of Saturn. This will ensure that Cassini cannot contaminate any future studies of habitability and potential life on those moons.”


25 April 2017

Google Play Awards: Check out the 60 app and game nominees for the second edition of Play Awards

Google Play Awards: Check out the 60 app and game nominees for the second edition of Play Awards, Android, Play store, Google play award

Google is all geared up for its annual I/O event. While the developer event is still three weeks away, Google has decided on starting the festivities a bit early by throwing up a list of nominees or finalists that stand a chance to win the Google Play Awards, by category.

 The apps are laid out on a single page on the Google Play Store, all listed by category.
And there is a long list of them indeed. Some of them are well-known titles, while other may be unheard of. Still then, there is a good chance that you may come across your favorites like Pokemon Go, Runtastic, Mars: Mars Mekorama and more.

If you do not want to check out the whole list, the Best VR section is surely worth a try. These are after all handpicked by Google, so there’s definitely something award-winning in there to explore.

Standout Indie
Mars Mars
Standout Startup
– CastBox
– Digit
– Discord
– Hooked
– Simple Habit
Best Android Wear Experience
Best TV Experience
– AbemaTV
– HaystackTV
– KKBox
– Netflix
– Red Bull TV
Best VR Experience
Best AR Experience
Crayola Colour Blaster
Best App for Kids
Hot Wheels Race Off
Best Multiplayer Game
Best App
– Citymapper
– Fabulous
– Memrise
– Money Lover
– Quik
Best Game
Transformer forged to Fight
Best Accessibility
Best Social Impact