Facebook sues 2 developers for scraping users’ data

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
February 24,2021

Sensex zooms 1,030 points, Nifty tops 14,950 at closing | Deccan Herald

Mumbai, Feb 24: Equity benchmark indices jumped by nearly 2 per cent on Wednesday with banking and financial stocks gaining substantial ground.

The BSE S&P Sensex closed 1,030 points or 2.07 per cent higher at 50,782 while the Nifty 50 advanced by 274 points or 1.86 per cent to 14,982.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), trading in all segments remained halted for several hours due to a technical problem. As a result, trading at both the stock exchanges was extended.

Except for Nifty IT, which slipped marginally, all sectoral indices were in the green zone with Nifty private bank gaining by 3.8 per cent, financial services by 3.4 per cent and PSU bank by 2.8 per cent.

Private banks gained substantially after the Finance Ministry allowed private sector banks for government related transactions.

Among stocks, HDFC Bank advanced by 5.3 per cent to Rs 1,611.05 per share. Axis Bank was up by 5.1 per cent, ICICI Bank by 3.8 per cent and Kotak Mahindra Bank by 2.4 per cent.

State Bank of India ticked up by 3 per cent and Bajaj Finance by 3.3 per cent. Coal India gained by 5.2 per cent to Rs 144.10 per share while infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro gained by 2.5 per cent.

The other major gainers were HDFC and UltraTech Cement. However, those which lost were UPL, Dr Reddy's, Sun Pharma, Cipla, JSW Steel, Tata Motors and Asian Paints.

Meanwhile, Asian equities opened lower on concerns about rising interest rates and rich equity valuations.

South Korea's Kospi shed 2.45 per cent on valuation nerves while Japan's Nikkei 225 was down by 1.61 per cent on profit booking in tech shares.

Hong Kong shares slumped by 2.99 per cent, the most in nine months, on stamp duty hike.

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Agencies
February 27,2021

Facebook launches TikTok-like app for creating, sharing raps – Mysuru Today

Washington, Feb 27: Facebook has doubled down on its efforts to take on the growing Chinese short-video making platform TikTok, this time by launching a new app for creating and sharing raps.

Called BARS, the app is now available in the Apple App Store in the US and makes it easy to create and share raps so that rappers can focus on and experiment with the content, "rather than investing heavily in equipment and production".

"Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars," Facebook said in a statement on Friday.

"BARS auto-suggests rhymes as you're writing to keep your flow going. You can also jump into Challenge mode and freestyle with auto-suggested word cues. Choose from a variety of audio and visual filters to take your creations to the next level," the company added.

Facebook's internal R&D group, the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, is behind the new experimental app.

BARS is NPE Team's second launch in the music space, following its public debut of music video app Collab last year.

Collab brings together creators and fans to create, watch, and mix and match original videos, starting with music.

For BARS, no formal rap experience is required.

"You can create something great whether you've just thought of a dope couplet or have been freestyling for years," Facebook said.

A rapper Erica aka @Bliss posted on Facebook: "The final product on the BARS app sounds like you went to a studio and recorded it. I just create for myself, but hearing my creations sound good, and the positive feedback from other people makes me feel like, "Hey maybe I can really create a good song and put it out there and people will like it!"

The company said it will open up invites in batches for the app, starting in the US.

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Agencies
February 25,2021

New Delhi, Feb 25: The four-hour long trading halt on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has raised several questions among the investors and brokers who may have to face huge losses as a result of the glitch. One major question is why did the disaster recovery site not come to the rescue when it was needed the most.

Even capital market regulator SEBI has sought explanation from the NSE regarding the reasons for not migrating to the disaster recovery site. In a statement, the regulator has directed the NSE to come up with a root cause analysis report.

"There is another portal of NSE which takes care of the trading when this kind of disturbance happen in the main platform. They have got the backup... then why that backup was not ready or started at the moment when they were facing the problem," asked Rahul Sharma, Market Strategist and Research Head at Equity 99.

NSE attributed the issue to the telecom service providers' front. An spokesperson with the bourse said that NSE has multiple telecom links with two service providers to ensure redundancy and it had received communication from both the telecom service providers that there are issues with their links due to which there is an impact on the NSE system.

Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications are the concerned service providers to NSE. Telco sources, however, said that they would be able to respond on the matter only after the NSE comes out with its root cause analysis report.

The trading halt also caused frenzy and panic among the investors and brokers.

Noting that there is a need for an alternate mechanism, Kaushlendra Singh Sengar, Founder and CEO at INVEST19, said: "Being the world biggest derivative exchange in terms of volume, we cannot afford such issues. Very-small-aperture terminal (V-sat) can be an alternative mechanism to provide the feeds in the absence of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)."

This is not the first time that the NSE has faced such a closure. In July 2017, both the cash and derivatives segments were halted on the bourse due to technical issues, with traders unable to execute trades at its venue and prices not updating.

Brokers said that those investors who have put in cover orders could be hit if the prices on resumption were below the stop loss, for traders with long trades or above the stop loss, and for traders with short trades.

Terming such instances as "scary", Sharma told IANS that it was a major concern for the brokers as during such instances, many a times the investors are not inclined towards paying up for the losses and the brokers have to fill in.

He, however, added that on Wednesday, the invsetors largely got sufficient amount of time to settle out the trades for the day.

NSE has been hit by controversies in the past, the 'co-location' case being a major issue.

Recently, SEBI imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on the bourse in the co-location case for failing to ensure a level playing field for the trading members subscribing to its TBT (Tick-by-Tick) data feed system.

The capital market regulator also penalised former MDs and CEOs of NSE, Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramakrishna, with a fine of Rs 25 lakh each.

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