Facebook confirms data sharing with Chinese companies, including Huawei and Oppo

Agencies
June 6, 2018

Washington, Jun 6: Facebook Inc said Tuesday it has data sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese companies including Huawei, the world`s third largest smartphone maker, which has come under scrutiny from US intelligence agencies on security concerns.

The social media company said Huawei, computer maker Lenovo Group, and smartphone makers OPPO and TCL Corp were among about 60 companies worldwide that received access to some user data after they signed contracts to re-create Facebook-like experiences for their users.

Members of Congress raised concerns after The New York Times reported on the practice on Sunday, saying that data of users` friends could have been accessed without their explicit consent. Facebook denied that and said the data access was to allow its users to access account features on mobile devices.

More than half of the partnerships have already been wound down, Facebook said. It said on Tuesday it would end the Huawei agreement later this week. It is ending the other three partnerships with Chinese firms as well.

Chinese telecommunications companies have come under scrutiny from US intelligence officials who argue they provide an opportunity for foreign espionage and threaten critical US infrastructure, something the Chinese have consistently denied.

Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who asked Facebook if Huawei was among the companies that received user data, said in a statement that the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee had raised concerns about Huawei dating back in 2012.

"The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook’s API to Chinese device makers like Huawei and TCL raises legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers," Warner said.

API, or application program interface, essentially specifies how software components should interact.

A Facebook executive said the company had carefully managed the access it gave to the Chinese companies.

"Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones," Francisco Varela, vice president of mobile partnerships for Facebook, said in a statement. "Facebook`s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get-go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built."

Varela added that "given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei`s servers."

RESPONSE DEMANDED FROM ZUCKERBERG

Earlier on Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee demanded that Facebook`s chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, respond to a report that user data was shared with at least 60 device manufacturers, weeks after the social media company said it would change its practices after a political firm got access to data from millions of users.

Senators John Thune, the committee`s Republican chairman, and Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat, on Tuesday wrote to Zuckerberg after The New York Times reported that manufacturers were able to access data of users` friends even if the friends denied permission to share the information with third parties.

In April, the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules that would bar purchases by government programs from companies that it says pose a security threat to U.S. telecoms networks, a move aimed at Huawei and ZTE Corp, China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker.

The Pentagon in May ordered retail outlets on U.S. military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE phones, citing potential security risks.

ZTE was not among the firms that received access to Facebook data, but it has been the subject of U.S. national security concerns.

The letter asks if Facebook audited partnerships with the device manufacturers under a 2011 consent order with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It also asked if Zuckerberg wanted to revise his testimony before the Senate in April.

Facebook said it looks forward to addressing any questions the Commerce Committee has.

Facebook still has not answered hundreds of written questions submitted from members of Congress after Zuckerberg`s testimony in April, according to congressional staff.

The data sharing mentioned in the Times story was used over the last decade by about 60 companies, including Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Blackberry Ltd, HTC Corp, Microsoft Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president of product partnerships, wrote in a blog post on June 3.

The FTC confirmed in March that it was investigating Facebook`s privacy practices.

Facebook allowed Apple and other device makers to have "deep" access to users` personal data without their consent, according to the Times.

The Times said Facebook allowed companies access to the data of users` friends without their explicit consent, even after it had declared it would no longer share the information with outsiders.

Archibong said the data was only shared with device makers in order to improve Facebook users` access to the information. "These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences."

Regulators and authorities in several countries have increased scrutiny of Facebook after it failed to protect the data of some 87 million users that was shared with now-defunct political data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Two Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee, Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal, on Monday also wrote to Zuckerberg.

Archibong said the cases were "very different" from the use of data by third-party developers in the Cambridge row.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said on Monday the "data-sharing partnerships with other corporations" is part of the ongoing investigation into the reported misuse of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica.

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News Network
September 9,2021

Kabul, Sept 9: Cricket Australia said Thursday it would have "no alternative" but to cancel hosting a historic Test match against Afghanistan unless the Taliban backtracks on a reported ban on women playing sport.

The governing body said the first ever men's Test between the two nations was under serious threat after the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, reportedly said women would not play cricket or any other sport under the new regime.

"I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket," Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS on Wednesday.

"In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.

"It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed."

The Taliban said shortly after taking power that the schedule for the Afghanistan men's team would not be interrupted, leading Cricket Australia to announce earlier this month it still hoped to host the landmark match on November 27.

On Thursday, Cricket Australia said driving the growth of women's cricket globally was "incredibly important" to the organisation.

"Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level," it said.

"If recent media reports that women's cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart."

During their first stint in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment -- including many sports -- and stadiums doubled as public execution venues.

Despite promising to enforce a less strict version of Islamic law this time, the United Nations says women in Afghanistan are being prohibited from leaving home without a male family member and in some areas stopped from working. 

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News Network
September 12,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 12: Karnataka logged 803 new Covid-19 cases and 17 deaths on Sunday, taking the total number of infections to 29,61,735 and the toll to 37,504.

The day also saw 802 discharges, taking the total number of recoveries in the state so far to 29,07,548.

Out of the 803 new cases reported on Sunday, 255 were from Bengaluru Urban, as the city saw 107 discharges and six deaths. The total number of active cases in the state stood at 16,656.

While the positivity rate for the day was 0.80 per cent, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was 2.11 per cent.

Coming behind Bengaluru Urban in number of deaths was Dakshina Kannada, Belagavi, Hassan and Mysuru (2 each), followed by others.

Among the districts where the new cases were reported, Bengaluru Urban accounted for 255, Dakshina Kannada 153, Udupi 90, Kodagu 63, followed by others. Bengaluru Urban district topped the list of positive cases, with a total of 12,41,425, followed by Mysuru 1,76,873 and Tumakuru 1,19,656. Among discharges too, Bengaluru Urban was on top with 12,18,000, followed by Mysuru 1,73,798 and Tumakuru 1,17,911.

A total of 4,52,94,928 samples have been tested in the state so far, out of which 1,00,176 were on Sunday alone.

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News Network
September 15,2021

CFI.jpg

Bengaluru, Sept 15: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said the state government is ready to have a debate on NEP 2020 with an open mind and nobody should get anxious about it.

"The government is ready to deliberate on the New Education Policy (NEP) with an open mind. We will make students understand that NEP is a revolutionary step and good for the future of the youth. Therefore, nobody should be anxious about NEP," he told reporters after paying tributes to Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya's statue on the occasion of Engineers's Day celebrations.

He was replying to a query on police lathicharge on students protesting against NEP on Tuesday. Campus Front of India (CFI) had spearheaded the protest.

The police lathicharge the students after they started to march onto the middle of the road that resulted in heavy traffic jam at ever-busy road leading to Majestic.

The students were carrying placards conveying the message that the NEP breaks the unity in diversity and encourages commercialisation of education.

Taking to Twitter today, former chief minister Siddaramaiah condemned the lathicharge on students and demanded an apology from Bommai.

"I condemn the lathicharge on students in Bengaluru for protesting against the implementation of New National Education Policy. Basavaraj Bommai should immediately withdraw NEP and apologise to the students," he tweeted.

The NEP was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi government last August.

According to the PM, the NEP promises to provide students various avenues to upskill and train themselves for jobs and vocations in India.

It also promises to teach students coding in schools from Class 6 onwards to equip them with the skills required to succeed in the 21st century.

The new policy also gives students the flexibility to choose subjects from both Science and Humanities, which will bring the Indian education system on par with the rest of the world.

It also ensures that students grasp at least one vocational skill by the end of their education so that they are job ready in the market.

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