Microsoft Bing team launches website for tracking COVID-19 infections globally

Agencies
March 16, 2020

While Google is still working on a coronavirus screening and tracking website, Microsoft Bing team has already launched a web portal for tracking COVID-19 infections worldwide.

The website, accessible at bing.com/covid, provides up-to-date infection statistics for each country.

The COVID-19 Tracker currently lists 168,835 as total confirmed cases, 84,558 active cases, 77,761 recovered cases and 6,516 deaths.

There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the US and at least 61 deaths.

"Lots of Bing folks worked (from home) this past week to create a mapping and authoritative news resource for COVID19 info," Michael Schechter, General Manager for Bing Growth and Distribution at Microsoft, was quoted as saying in a ZDNet report on Sunday.

An interactive map allows site visitors to click on the country to see the specific number of cases and related articles from a variety of publishers.

Data is being aggregated from sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Microsoft announced the website two days after US President Donald Trump said Google has begun working on COVID-19-related portal for US citizens.

Google's website is being built by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet focused on healthcare services.

"More than 1,700 engineers are currently working on the site", Trump said during a press briefing last week.

The tool will triage people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk into testing sites based on guidance from public health officials and test availability.

Initially, there was some confusion on Google's coronavirus portal but the company later announced that it is "partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk, and testing information."

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Agencies
January 9,2021

New Delhi, Jan 9: The Department of Revenue (DoR), Ministry of Finance has clarified that any purchase of gold, silver, jewellery, or precious gems and stones below Rs 2 lakh does not require PAN or Aadhaar of a customer as mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) document.

Sources said that the notification issued under PML Act, 2002, on December 28, 2020, is a requirement of FATF Dealers in Precious Metals and Precious Stones (DPMS) to carry out KYC and Customer Due Diligence only when they conduct cash transactions above Rs 10 lakh.

"This is a requirement of FATF (Financial Action Task Force) - the global money laundering and terrorist financing overseer which as the inter-governmental body sets international standards aimed to prevent illegal activities on terror funding and money laundering," they added.

According to sources, one of the recommendations requires the DPMS sector to fulfil obligations of Customer Due Diligence (CDD) when they conduct cash transactions above a certain limit (USD/EUR 15,000). India is a member of FATF since 2010.

"The misinformation being circulated in certain section of media that any purchase, even if below Rs 2 lakh, of gold, silver, jewellery or precious gems and stones in cash require KYC are baseless," sources added.

Since in India, cash transactions above Rs 2 lakh are not allowed under section 269ST of Income-tax Act, 1961, dealers not receiving cash more than Rs 2 lakh in compliance with the existing provisions of the Income-tax Act will not be covered under this notification, they said further.

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Agencies
January 15,2021

California, Jan 15: Facebook has sued two developers in Portugal for scraping user-profiles and other data from its website.

Using the business name "Oink and Stuff," the defendants developed browser extensions and made them available on the Chrome store.

"They misled users into installing the extensions with a privacy policy that claimed they did not collect any personal information," said Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook.

Four of their extensions -- Web for Instagram plus DM, Blue Messenger, Emoji keyboard and Green Messenger -- were malicious and contained hidden computer code that functioned like spyware.

When people installed these extensions on their browsers, they were installing concealed code designed to scrape their information from the Facebook website, but also information from the users' browsers unrelated to Facebook -- all without their knowledge.

"If the user visited the Facebook website, the browser extensions were programmed to scrape their name, user ID, gender, relationship status, age group and other information related to their account," Romero said in a statement on Thursday.

The defendants did not compromise Facebook's security systems. Instead, they used the extensions on the users' devices to collect information.

"We are seeking a permanent injunction against defendants and demanding that they delete all Facebook data in their possession," she mentioned.

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Agencies
January 9,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 9: As WhatsApp teases users to either give their consent to sharing data with Facebook or lose their accounts after February 8, rival Telegram's Founder and CEO Pavel Durov on Saturday slammed the social media giant, saying it is no surprise that the flight of users from WhatsApp to Telegram, already ongoing for a few years, has accelerated.

According to Durov, Facebook has an entire department devoted to figuring out why Telegram is so popular.

"Imagine dozens of employees working on just that full-time. I am happy to save Facebook tens of millions of dollars and give away our secret for free: respect your users," he said in a statement.

At about 500 million users and growing, Telegram has become a major problem for the Facebook corporation.

"Unable to compete with Telegram in quality and privacy, Facebook's WhatsApp seems to have switched to covert marketing: Wikipedia editors have recently exposed multiple paid bots adding biased information into the WhatsApp Wikipedia article," Durov claimed.

"We have also detected bots which spread inaccurate information about Telegram on social media".

Millions of people are outraged by the latest change in WhatsApp Terms, which now say users must feed all their private data to Facebook's ad engine.

In 2019 alone, Facebook spent almost $10 billion on marketing.

Durov said that unlike Facebook, Telegram doesn't spend any money, let alone billions of dollars, on marketing.

"We believe that people are smart enough to choose what is best for them. And, judging by the half a billion people using Telegram, this belief is justified," he said.

Not just Telegram but another encrypted messaging app Signal has seen a surge in new sign ins after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk vouched for it.

"Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there," Signal tweeted.

"Everyone should be able to register without delay again. Thanks to all of the carriers who flipped the right switches so that people can keep switching," the company further said.

Over 400 million Indian WhatsApp users this week received an in-app notification from WhatsApp as part of an upcoming global roll-out for over 2 billion users, asking them to either accept the changes in its Terms of Service and privacy policy by February 8 or their accounts will be deleted.

The in-app notification did not elicit much details but clicking on the links clearly mentioned the key changes in how WhatsApp will collect and process users' information going forward, and the partnership with Facebook, its parent company, as part of a larger unification drive between the family of apps.

To recall, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in October said that the company is working hard to merge Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp so that they can start to function a little bit more like one connected interoperable system.

In a bid to allow cross-messaging among its family of apps, Facebook has reportedly started merging Instagram and Messenger chats. The social network has already integrated Messenger rooms with WhatsApp on the Web.

Comments

Fred
 - 
Sunday, 10 Jan 2021

People are now becoming interested in their privacy and it is a good signal for what comes into other sectors especially the world of finance. The surge in the use of Bitcoin and crypto of late could be also attributed to the taste people are developing for privacy. Even in Bitcoin, tools like Bitcoinmix and others are also recording spiking usage, all for privacy. Many people are now becoming woke.

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