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”

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.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton wants you to delete your Facebook account

facebook, social media

Technology News

The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media company Facebook in 2014 acquired instant messaging app WhatsApp, which had been co-founded in 2009 by former Yahoo employee Jan Koum and Brian Acton. While Koum continues to lead the messaging platform, Acton has since left the company and started his own venture, Signal.

Now, Brian Acton, the estranged co-founder of WhatsApp, seems to have turned against Facebook. In a Tweet that might raise many questions, Acton wrote, “It is time”, with a hashtag, to “#deletefacebook”.

It is unclear what impelled Acton to write such a tweet. However, this is not the first time that he has voiced his concerns over Facebook. In 2009, he had applied for a job at Facebook and posted the following tweet soon after:

Recently, Facebook come under scrutiny after reports emerged that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica accessed the company’s user data for over 50 million accounts without their permission.

The firm is also alleged to have helped Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections of 2016 by more effectively providing him target voters on Facebook than to his rival Hillary Clinton.


Pakistan’s Alishba admits to meeting Shami, denies money transaction

Mohammed Shami with his wife and children

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The controversy surrounding Mohammad Shami on Monday took another turn as Pakistani woman Alishba admitted meeting him in Dubai but refuted any monetary dealings with the India pacer as claimed by his wife.

Alishba’s name surfaced in the controversy after Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan alleged that he could have a relationship with the Pakistani woman.

“Yes, I met him. I am a frequent flyer to Dubai because my sister stays in Sharjah. As a person, I really like Shami. As any fan that has idolised a celebrity, they always dream of meeting their idol. I had the desire to meet him (Shami) like any other fan would want to, which I don’t think is a big deal,” Alishba told ‘ABP’ news.

Shami had been booked under various non-bailable, including attempt to murder, and bailable sections after his wife lodged a complaint of domestic violence and infidelity against him.

Hasin then hinted that her husband may have cheated India following his alleged relationship with girlfriends from Pakistan and Dubai, which had prompted the Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai to ask BCCI’s anti-corruption body to submit a report in a week’s time.

Hasin had said in the same news channel, “Alishba is a Pakistani citizen and Shami claimed that she gave him money. I have never been told by Shami for what purpose that money was given. I don’t know but if he can fraud me he can fraud the country too.”

Alishba claimed she and Shami are just friends.

“I am one of his followers, which is how I became Shami’s friend. Just like he has lakhs of followers, I am one among those normal fans. I have sent him messages,” she said.

She has also denied knowing UK-based Mohammad bhai or entering a hotel — as alleged by Hasin — with Shami.

“No, I directly went to my sister’s house. However, I visited the hotel next morning at around 9 am and had a breakfast with him,” she said.

“I personally don’t know Mohammed Bhai and have nothing to do with him and there was no involvement of money transaction between us. The person who does not even lie to anyone, how he can be disloyal to his country,” Alishba said.

Earlier in the day, Hasin gave a confidential statement to a magistrate at Kolkata’s Alipore court in connection to the charges she brought against the cricketer.

After she emerged from the court, Hasin went to the residence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee to submit a written plea to meet her.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S may not be too different from bezel-less flagship Mi Mix 2

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Technology News

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is gearing up to announce the the Mi Mix 2S, the next iteration of its bezel-less smartphones, on March 27. Before the official launch, however, the phone’s official promo material has been leaked and it drops a few hints on what to expect from the device.

Unlike the previous leak, which showed the bezel-less smartphone with all-screen display and a minute cut-out on the top-right corner for a selfie camera, the new leak shows an altogether new design, in line with the current breed of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2.

Based on the new leak, the Mi Mix 2S would sport a Mi Mix 2-inspired design, with three-side bezel-less screen and a minimal bezel on the bottom. However, the front camera placement is not clearly visible and the phone might get a new space to host it.

As for specifications and features, the phone would boast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC); this was confirmed by the company spokesperson on social media.

Based on leaked images, the phone is expected to sport a 256GB internal storage and up to 8 GB of RAM. However, another variant with a lower storage option could be there as well.

In terms of imaging, the previous leak revealed that the upcoming device would sport a dual-camera set-up on the back. However, there is no confirmation around it and we would have to wait until the official launch on March 27 to get the final details.