Cambridge Analytica used by BJP in ‘Mission 272 plus’, says Cong; 10 points

Cambridge Analytica

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The BJP and the Congress on Wednesday accused each other of using the services of embattled data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica (CA), which along with Facebook is at the centre of a global row over the alleged unauthorised use of personal data from the social media giant.

As the firestorm over the issue hit India, the government warned Facebook, which is being probed by US and British lawmakers over a potential breach of user confidentiality, of stringent action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through “undesirable means”.

However, the company’s India partner Oveleno Business Intelligence (OBI) lists the BJP, the Congress and the JD-U as its clients. The India partner is run by Amrish Tyagi, son of senior JD-U leader K C Tyagi. In media interviews, the junior Tyagi admitted that the Youth Congress in Jharkhand, the BJP and the JD-U had used its services to conduct research.

BJP leader and Union Law and IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad cited media reports to allege that the Congress was using the services of the London-based political data analytics firm for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and to boost its President Rahul Gandhi’s social media profile and its outreach.

“The Congress must explain if it has engaged in data trade with Cambridge Analytica,” the minister said.

He said the number of Gandhi’s followers on Twitter had risen recently and wondered if the Congress had used the services of Cambridge Analytica for this “fake popularity”.

“Will the Congress now depend on data manipulation and theft to woo voters,” Prasad asked.

“These days, there is a lot of news about CA and how it has been involved in data theft, psychometric analysis, data manipulation and subversion of democratic processes. Can the Congress deny that?” he asked.

The Congress returned fire and accused the BJP of having availed of the firm’s services in 2010.

“The Congress or its President have never used or hired the services of Cambridge Analytica,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

“This is fake agenda, a white lie being dished out on fake facts by the Law Minister. And this has become a daily order with Prasad,” added Surjewala.

Surjewala alleged it was the BJP and its ally Janata Dal-United which used the services of Cambridge Analytica.

“I think the BJP and Ravi Shankar Prasadji have the maximum experience of Cambridge Analytica, the company they say has indulged in manipulation,” added Surjewala.

Here are the top 10 developments in the Congress vs BJP row over the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal



Apple’s 2018 iPhone with 5.85-inch OLED to cost much lower than iPhone X

iPhone X

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The Apple iPhone X was the first smartphone that crossed the $1,000 price mark — the smartphone was launched at $999 and $1149 for 64GB and $256, respectively. Now, according to Digitimes research analyst Luke Lin, the company would launch a new 5.85-inch iPhone this year with OLED screen that would cost much lower than the iPhone X.

According to Lin, who cited information from Apple’s upstream supply chain, the next-generation iPhone’s manufacturing bill for materials will be over 10 per cent lower than that for the iPhone X. He added, that the MBOM of the iPhone X was more than US$400 in 2017.

In the past, Lin also alleged that Apple was preparing for a new inexpensive smartphone similar to the iPhone SE for 2018, featuring the wireless charging functionality, but without 3D-sensing technology.

ALSO READ: Apple plans giant high-end iPhone, lower-priced model, aims to boost sales

In 2018, Apple is expected to launch three iPhone models, according to Taiwan-based KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The smartphones are reported to sport screens of sizes between 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches, and different display technologies – OLED and IPS LCD.

ALSO READ: It’s a secret: How Apple is planning to design and build its own screens

Recently, a leak had emerged showcasing a smaller 4-inch iPhone SE-based design with all-screen display, similar to the one found in iPhone X. Touted as the iPhone SE 2, the smartphone’s design sketches were first reported by a technology portal BGR, which claimed to have received them from a reliable industry source.

Purported iPhone SE 2 Photo:BGRPurported iPhone SE 2 Photo:BGR Also, a video that recently surfaced on the web showcased a working prototype of the product.

The purported iPhone SE 2 shows an aluminium chassis, similar to the one seen in the original iPhone SE. However, the front showed an all-screen design with an iPhone X-inspired notch. On the back, the leak video also showed a dual-camera set-up placed in a style similar to the iPhone X’s.

Zuckerberg accepts Facebook ‘made mistakes’ in Cambridge Analytica issue

Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the social media company made mistakes that allowed data about users to end up with the analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and said the company would make changes.

Zuckerberg, in his first comments since the company disclosed on Friday the misuse of personal data, said in a post on Facebook that the company “made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”

In his Facebook post, he also narrated the timeline of events as it happened and how Cambridge Analytica managed to obtain this data.

In 2013 a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app which was installed by around 300,000 people who had shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data with Kogan’s app.

In 2015, Facebook learned from The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. Post this, Facebook banned the app and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica deleted the data which they have acquired illegitimately. Facebook demanded a certificate for the same which the two parties concerned furnished.

Last week Facebook came to know about the Cambridge Analytica using that data (which they had certified that it has been deleted) was used to sway the voters opinion during 2016 US presidential elections in favour of Donald Trump.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerburg in his Facebook post also mentioned some of the ways in which the company will review their data usage policy.

He further said that “We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in a Facebook post of her own said that “You deserve to have your information protected – and we’ll keep working to make sure you feel safe on Facebook. Your trust is at the core of our service.

We know that and we will work to earn it”

Delhi girl commits suicide over alleged molestation by teachers: Updates

Noida suicide case

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In a tragic incident, a 15-year-old girl student allegedly committed suicide here in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area on Tuesday. The teenage girl had reportedly failed in her Class 9 examinations. The deceased’s father said that she had also accused her social sciences teachers of sexually harassing her and “touching her inappropriately”. A case has been registered in the matter under Sections 306 and 506 of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

The deceased student belonged to the Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar Phase-I. She reportedly hanged herself on Tuesday evening when she was alone at her home.

The father of the victim has blamed the school for her daughter’s suicide. “She told me her SST teachers touched her inappropriately. I said since I am also a teacher, I can say they cannot do it, might be a mistake but she said, ‘I am scared of them, no matter how well I write they will fail me. Ultimately they failed her in SST. School killed her,” he said.

The father of the victim also alleged that earlier, one of the Ahlcon school’s teachers had fractured his son’s hand, after which he had put the child in another school. NOIDA STUDENT COMMITS SUICIDE

Here are the top developments in the tragic incident and unfortunate loss of life:


Xiaomi rolls out MIUI 9.5 update; know timeline, list of supported devices

Xiaomi MIUI 9.5

Technology News

Chinese technology product maker Xiaomi on March 20 announced the rollout of its next iteration of Android-based operating system MIUI. Dubbed the MIUI 9.5, the Android-based OS global stable ROM would roll out to 30 of Xiaomi’s smartphones, including the recently launched Redmi 5, Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro.

The rollout would take place in three batches, the first of which would get the over-the-air (OTA) update starting from the last week of March.

The supported devices in the first batch include the Redmi Note 3 Special Edition, Redmi Note 3 Qualcomm, Redmi Note 4 Qualcomm/Redmi Note 4X, Mi Max, Mi Max Prime, Redmi 3S, Redmi 4 Prime, Redmi 4A and Redmi Note 4 MTK.

The second batch of devices would get the update in early April and the supported devices are the Redmi Note 5A Prime/Redmi Y1, Redmi Note 5A/Redmi Y1 Lite, Redmi 5A, Redmi 5 Plus, Redmi Note 5, Redmi 5, Mi Max 2, Mi 5, Redmi 4X, Mi 6 and Mi MIX 2.

The last batch of smartphones would get the update in mid-April. The supported devices in the last batch include the Mi Note 2, Mi 5s, Mi MIX, Mi Note 3, Mi 5s Plus, Redmi Note 2, Redmi 3, Redmi 4, Mi 3, Mi 4.

Though the company has charted out a plan for the update, it has so far stated that the dates are estimated and likely to change.

OnePlus 6 may take design hints from notch screen-based Oppo R15, Vivo X21

Oppo R15

Technology News

China-based smartphone manufacturer OnePlus is a sister company of BKK Electronics, which also owns the Oppo and Vivo smartphone brands. The history of OnePlus shows how the company has often taken cues, especially from Oppo, while designing its flagship devices powered by top-of-the-line innards.

In 2017, OnePlus 6 was quick to adopt the modern 18:9 aspect ratio screen design in the OnePlus 5T. The company’s decision to launch an updated version soon after the launch of the OnePlus 5 got a lot of dissension from loyal consumers – especially because the OnePlus 5T was launched at the same price tag. However, maintaining its stand to launch the updated version, the company said, “we do not want to stick with one flagship launch every year. We’d rather deliver the latest technological innovations as soon as possible to maintain our motto – Never Settle.”This year, the modern 18:9 aspect ratio screen trend has evolved into all-screen notch-based display.

First, Asus unveiled at the Mobile World Congress the Zenfone 5-series showcasing the notch, albeit smaller than iPhone X. The trend gained the momentum and most of the new smartphones being launched are expected to follow.


Google files patent application for smart solar tile networks in India


Technology News

Global technology major Google has filed a patent application in the country for Google Smart Solar Tile Networks, in which the tiles dynamically their alter operating states and transmit information between them and objects in close proximity to a solar tile within the network.

The California-based company’s patent application, published recently, explains a technology in which one solar tile in a set is designated as the control tile and has a bearing on the functioning of the other tiles in the system. Essentially, the control tile acts as a network that receives status information from each of the other tiles in the system.

This would help it determine the operational state of each tile and dictate switching over to a another operational state, if required.

The control tile can also ‘ping’ the controlled tiles to communicate its status. The invention is also compatible with communication protocols such as Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), Ethernet, 3G and 4G.

Google officials were not immediately available for offering further details on the invention.

The internet giant had earlier launched a new Google Earth-powered feature, Project Sunroof, that could be used to personalise solar savings estimator. This invention is particularly useful for residential solar users, as it helps them determine whether they can save by using solar by capturing data on sun exposure (how much sun hits the roof), power consumption figures, among others.

The project uses Google Earth imagery to analyse the shape of the user’s roof and local weather patterns to create a personalised solar plan. It also compares finance options for the home user.