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WhatsApp Snooping Row: Facebook Service Says Regrets Not Meeting ‘Government Expectations’

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With the government accusing WhatsApp of not informing it on time and with details that personal data of Indians was compromised by a spyware, a spokesperson for the Facebook-owned instant messaging app said it regrets that it did not meet the “Governments expectations for proactive engagement on these issues.”

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) had published a vulnerability note on May 17 advising countermeasures to users about a vulnerability in WhatsApp, according to Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

WhatsApp reported an incident to the CERT-In on May 20, the Minister said.

The Minister said that WhatsApp wrote to CERT-In again on September 5 mentioning an update to the security incident reported in May 2019, that while the full extent of this attack may never be known, WhatsApp continued to review the available information.

Prasad said WhatsApp has informed the government that the spyware Pegasus was developed by the Israel based NSO Group which had used the spyware to attempt to reach the mobile phones of a possible 1,400 users globally that includes 121 users from India.

Responding to allegations that WhatsApp did not provide adequate details clearly, the messaging platform’s spokesperson said that it would “strive to do better”.

“WhatsApp considers it a privilege to serve and carry the trust of more than 400 million people in India. We are deeply committed to protecting the privacy of our users in India by providing industry-leading security for all messages and calls and by staying ahead of advanced threats to user security,” the WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Government also plays a critical role here and we are committed to continuing to engage them in a timely manner on sensitive issues related to user privacy and security,” the statement added.

“We look forward to working with the Government to address their appropriate concerns and provide the best possible protections to all those who rely on WhatsApp to communicate.”

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Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately

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We are excited to share that, as of today, WhatsApp supports more than 2 billion users around the world.

Mothers and fathers can reach their loved ones no matter where they are. Brothers and sisters can share moments that matter. Coworkers can collaborate, and businesses can grow by easily connecting with their customers.

Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling. There are so many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp and we are humbled and honored to reach this milestone.

We know that the more we connect, the more we have to protect. As we conduct more of our lives online, protecting our conversations is more important than ever.

That is why every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default. Strong encryption acts like an unbreakable digital lock that keeps the information you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. Messages are only kept on your phone, and no one in between can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us. Your private conversations stay between you.

Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe. For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.

WhatsApp started with the goal of creating a service that is simple, reliable and private for people to use. Today we remain as committed as when we started, to help connect the world privately and to protect the personal communication of 2 billion users all over the world.

The post Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately appeared first on About Facebook.

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Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: Government forcing companies to protect you online

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Although many of the details have still to be confirmed, it’s likely the new rules will apply to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Instagram

We often talk about the risks you might find online and whether social media companies need to do more to make sure you don’t come across inappropriate content.

Well, now media regulator Ofcom is getting new powers, to make sure companies protect both adults and children from harmful content online.

The media regulator makes sure everyone in media, including the BBC, is keeping to the rules.

Harmful content refers to things like violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

The new rules will likely apply to Facebook – who also own Instagram and WhatsApp – Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, and will include things like comments, forums and video-sharing.

Platforms will need to ensure that illegal content is removed quickly, and may also have to “minimise the risks” of it appearing at all.

These plans have been talked about for a while now.

The idea of new rules to tackle ‘online harms’ was originally set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in May 2018.

The government has now decided to give Ofcom these new powers following research called the ‘Online Harms consultation’, carried out in the UK in 2019.

Plans allowing Ofcom to take control of social media were first spoken of in August last year.

The government will officially announce these new powers for Ofcom on Wednesday 12 February.

But we won’t know right away exactly what new rules will be introduced, or what will happen to tech or social media companies who break the new rules.

Children’s charity the NSPCC has welcomed the news. It says trusting companies to keep children safe online has failed.

“Too many times social media companies have said: ‘We don’t like the idea of children being abused on our sites, we’ll do something, leave it to us,'” said chief executive Peter Wanless.

“Thirteen self-regulatory attempts to keep children safe online have failed.

To enjoy the CBBC Newsround website at its best you will need to have JavaScript turned on.

Back in Feb 2018 YouTube said they were “very sorry” after Newsround found several videos not suitable for children on the YouTube Kids app

The UK government’s Digital Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan said: “There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that’s changing.”

“I think they understand now that actually regulation is coming.”

In many countries, social media platforms are allowed to regulate themselves, as long as they stick to local laws on illegal material.

But some, including Germany and Australia, have introduced strict rules to force social media platforms do more to protect users online.

In Australia, social media companies have to pay big fines and bosses can even be sent to prison if they break the rules.

For more information and tips about staying safe online, go to BBC Own It, and find out how to make the internet a better place for all of us.

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Facebook Launches Digital Literacy Programme for Women in UP

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In a bid to provide digital literacy training to 1,00,000 women across seven states, Facebook on Tuesday launched its ‘We Think Digital’ programme in partnership with the National Commission for Women (NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation on the occasion of Safer Internet Day.

“We are focusing on trying to create digital leadership amongst women and help them use technology for empowering themselves, enable them to make smart choices and secure from online risks. The training looks at transforming the learning process and bring about systemic change,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said in a statement.

Starting from the state of Uttar Pradesh, the programme will be expanded to other states including, Assam, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Bihar through the year.

“The Internet has become a driver for change in the current age. These training modules will open doors of equal opportunities for women of Uttar Pradesh and together with Facebook we want to equip and educate people and help make a positive impact,” said Uttar Pradesh Women Welfare Minister Jai Pratap Singh.

The programme has been designed with a focus on digital literacy and citizenship, addressing issues around privacy, safety, and misinformation.

It was attended by 300 women trainees from across the state and also included workshops by the NCW and Cyber Peace Foundation.

NDTV Gadgets360.com

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