government

India’s ruling party accused of running deceptive Twitter campaign to gain support for a controversial law

Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party in India, has been accused of running a highly deceptive Twitter campaign to trick citizens into supporting a controversial law. First, some background: The Indian government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last month that eases the path of non-Muslim minorities from the neighboring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain Indian citizenship. But, combined with a proposed national register of citizens, critics have cautioned that it discriminates against minority Muslims in India and chips away at India’s secular traditions. Over the past few weeks, tens of thousands of people in the country — if not more — have participated in peaceful protests across the nation against the law. The Indian...

Here’s where California residents can stop companies selling their data

California’s new privacy law is now in effect, allowing state residents to take better control of the data that’s collected on them — from social networks, banks, credit agencies and more. There’s just one catch: the companies, many of which lobbied against the law, don’t make it easy. California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) allows anyone who resides in the state to access and obtain copies of the data that companies store on them, and the right to delete that data and opt-out of companies selling or monetizing their data. It’s the biggest state-level overhaul of privacy rules in a generation. State regulators can impose fines and other sanctions for companies that violate the law — although, the law’s enforcement provisions do not take effect unt...

The California Consumer Privacy Act officially takes effect today

California’s much-debated privacy law officially takes effect today, a year and a half after it was passed and signed — but it’ll be six more months before you see the hammer drop on any scofflaw tech companies that sell your personal data without your permission. The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, is a state-level law that requires, among other things, that companies notify users of the intent to monetize their data, and give them a straightforward means of opting out of said monetization. California’s Privacy Act: What you need to know now Here’s a top-level summary of some of its basic tenets: Businesses must disclose what information they collect, what business purpose they do so for and any third parties they share that data with. Businesses will be ...

TRACED Act signed into law, putting robocallers on notice

The Pallone-Thrune TRACED Act, a bipartisan bit of legislation that should make life harder for the villains behind robocalls, was signed into law today by the president. It’s still possible to get things done in D.C. after all! We’ve covered the TRACED Act several times previously, as robocalls are, in addition to being horribly annoying, a uniquely annoying high-tech threat. Using clever targeting and spoofing technology, scammers are placing millions of calls that at best irritate and at worst take advantage of the vulnerable. The new law won’t end that practice overnight, but it does add some useful tools to regulators’ toolboxes. Here’s how I summarized the bill’s provisions earlier this month: Extends FCC’s statute of limitations on robocall offens...

Huawei’s revenue hits record $122B this year despite U.S. sanctions, forecasts ‘difficult’ 2020

Huawei reported resilient revenue for 2019 on Tuesday as the embattled Chinese technology group continues to grow despite prolonged American campaign against its business, but cautioned that growth next year could prove more challenging. Eric Xu, Huawei’s rotating chairman, wrote in a New Year’s message to employees that the company’s revenue has topped 850 billion Chinese yuan ($122 billion) this year, a new record high for the Chinese group and an 18% increase over the previous year. Xu said Huawei, the second largest smartphone maker globally, sold 240 million handsets this year, up from 206 million last year. “These figures are lower than our initial projections, yet business remains solid and we stand strong in the face of adversity,” he wrote. He acknowledged ...

Wikimedia Foundation expresses deep concerns about India’s proposed intermediary liability rules

Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group that operates Wikipedia and a number of other projects, has urged the Indian government to rethink the proposed changes to the nation’s intermediary liability rules that would affect swathes of companies and the way more than half a billion people access information online. The organization has also urged the Indian government to make public the latest proposed changes to the intermediary rules so that all stakeholders have a chance to participate in a “robust and informed debate about how the internet should be governed in India.” India proposed changes to intermediary rules (PDF) in late December last year and it is expected to approve it in the coming months. Under the proposal, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT requires “intermediary” a...

Russia starts testing its own internal internet

Russia has begun testing a national internet system that would function as an alternative to the broader web, according to local news reports. Exactly what stage the country has reached is unclear, but certainly the goal of a resilient — and perhaps more easily controlled — internet is being pursued. The internet, of course, is made up of a global web of infrastructure that must interface physically, virtually and, increasingly, politically with the countries to which it connects. Some countries, like China, have opted to very carefully regulate that interface, controlling which websites, apps and services can be accessed from the local side of that interface. Russia has increasingly leaned toward that approach, with President Putin signing a law earlier this year there, Runet, which would...

TikTok’s national security scrutiny tightens as U.S. Navy reportedly bans popular social app

TikTok may be the fastest-growing social network in the history of the internet, but it is also quickly becoming the fastest-growing security threat and thorn in the side of U.S. China hawks. The latest, according to a notice published by the U.S. Navy this past week and reported on by Reuters and the South China Morning Post, is that TikTok will no longer be allowed to be installed on service members’ devices, or they may face expulsion from the military service’s intranet. It’s just the latest example of the challenges facing the extremely popular app. Recently, Congress led by Missouri senator Josh Hawley demanded a national security review of TikTok and its Sequoia-backed parent company ByteDance, along with other tech companies that may share data with foreign governments like China. ...

Vape lung is on the decline as CDC report fixes blame on oily additive

The CDC has issued a set of reports showing that the lung disease associated with vaping seems to be declining from peak rates, and that Vitamin E acetate seems — as speculated early on — to be the prime suspect for the epidemic. The affliction has cost at least 54 lives and affected 2,506 people across the nation. The condition now officially known as EVALI (E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury) appeared over the summer, with hundreds of people reporting chest pains, shortness of breath and other symptoms. When state medical authorities and the CDC began comparing notes, it became clear that vaping was the common theme between the cases — especially using THC products. Before long the CDC recommended ceasing all vape product usage and was collating reports and solici...

Robocall-crushing TRACED act passes Senate and heads to Oval Office

Somehow during all the partisan furor of the last few days, the Senate found a moment to vote some bipartisan legislation into law — presuming, of course, it survives the president’s desk. The TRACED act pushes carriers to kill robocalls before they ring, and gives the FCC some extra juice to pursue the wicked ones perpetrating them. “We’re delighted the Senate acted quickly to pass this legislation to shutdown illegal robocalls,” wrote the bill’s co-sponsors in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement. “We’re working hard to help the American people get real relief from these relentless and illegal calls. We look forward to the President signing this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation into law very soon.” The House and Sena...

India gets more aggressive with internet shutdowns to curb protests

India, the world’s largest democracy, continues to normalize shutting down internet and suspending mobile communications for tens of millions of citizens in the country to thwart protests. Days after Narendra Modi -led government shut down mobile communications in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura (yet to be restored) — home to more than 36 million people — and then parts of Uttar Pradesh (yet to be restored), the most populated state in the country with more than 200 million people, New Delhi moved on Thursday to extend the suspension in parts of the Indian capital and city of Mangalore — together home to about 22 million people. On Thursday morning, a trio of top three telecom networks — Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Airtel — began to cut ...

FBI secretly demands a ton of consumer data from credit agencies. Now lawmakers want answers

Recently released documents revealed the FBI has for years secretly demanded vast amounts of Americans’ consumer and financial information from the largest U.S. credit agencies. The FBI regularly uses these legal powers — known as national security letters — to compel credit giants to turn over non-content information, such as records of purchases and locations, that the agency deems necessary in national security investigations. But these letters have no judicial oversight and are typically filed with a gag order, preventing the recipient from disclosing the demand to anyone else — including the target of the letter. Only a few tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, have disclosed that they have ever received one or more national security letters. Since the law c...

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