Targeted Surveillance Attack on Whatsapp





The Facebook owned entity was recently a target of the hackers who had the option to remotely install surveillance softwares on phones and different devices utilizing a rather major vulnerability in the messaging app.

The attack incorporated of attackers utilizing WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device and regardless of whether the call was not received or not, the surveillance software could be installed. As per the Financial Times report which also speculates that the surveillance software included was created by an Israeli firm NSO Group, the call would frequently disappear from the device’s call log.

WhatsApp told the BBC its security team was the first to recognize the flaw. It imparted that info with human rights groups, chose the security vendors and the US Department of Justice prior this month.

"The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” the company said on Monday in a briefing document note for journalists.

WhatsApp said it was too soon to realize what number of users had been affected by the vulnerability, in spite of the fact that it included that the suspected attacks were exceptionally focused on. As indicated by the New York Times, one of the general populations targeted on was a London-based lawyer associated with a claim against the NSO Group.

Although a fix was “rolled out “on Friday, on Monday, WhatsApp requested the majority of its 1.5 billion users to update their applications as an additional precautionary measure.

How to update WhatsApp?

Android
  1. Open the Google Play store
  2. Tap the menu at the top left of the screen
  3. Tap My Apps & Games
  4. If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  5. If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  6. The latest version of WhatsApp on Android is 2.19.134

iOS
  1. Open the App Store
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap Updates
  3. If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  4. If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  5. The latest version of WhatsApp on iOS is 2.19.51



Facebook to redesign Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram



Facebook is coming up with a series of changes to all its social media networks including Instagram and Whatsapp.

According to its boss Mark Zuckerberg the new designs and features will focus on privacy first. The company decided to change its apps after facing widespread criticism for handling users data.

"We don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly," Zuckerberg said.

Here is list of changes in the app:

  • All the messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp
  • Instagram will hide like counts, but not the account owner
  • A WhatsApp secure payment service would be introduced in other countries later this year.
  • The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the newsfeed - and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.
  • Users will be able to post text, stickers or drawings on their Instagram post rather than starting it with a photo or a video. 

Other than this, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Secret Crush, which is a part of Facebook Dating. This feature will let Facebook members to tag up to nine of their crushes. 

If the recipient of the crush is also using the feature and nominates them as well, then both parties will receive a message to say they have matched.

Facebook Dating will roll out in 14 new countries, but will not be available in Europe or the US.



Facebook Now Cracking Down On Third-Party Apps in the Wake of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal




Almost a year after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, last March, wherein the data of around 87 million users' was gathered and imparted to the Trump-affiliated campaign research firm without their assent Facebook is taking action against certain third-party applications that gulp up enormous amounts of user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said in a blog post that it will never again permit applications with 'minimal utility,' like personality quizzes, to operate on the platform.

Eddie O'Neil, head of platform at Facebook, said in the post, 'As part of our ongoing commitments to privacy and security, we are making updates to our platform...our Facebook Platform Policies are being updated to include provisions that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform.

'The update also clarifies that apps may not ask for data that doesn't enrich the in-app, user experience,' he added later.

Be that as it may, as The Verge called attention to the fact that the issue didn't exactly originate from quiz applications, but instead Facebook's lax policies around user data management and how developers had the capacity to collect data from "friends of friends".

It comes as Facebook on Wednesday revealed that it hopes to take on a one-time charge between $3 billion and $5 billion identified with a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. As last March, the FTC opened an investigation concerning Facebook's data dealings after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first came into light.

While O'Neill stated, 'Going forward, we will periodically review, audit and remove permissions that your app has not sued, developers can submit for App Review to re-gain access to expired permissions.'

What's more, presently, Facebook expects to keep developer from getting to user information on the off chance that it identifies that a user hasn't opened the app in the previous 90 days.


Canadian Investigation Found Facebook to be Violating Privacy Laws



On Thursday, Canadian officials said that owing to its assailable security algorithms, Facebook exposed sensitive information of millions of its users. It has been counted as a critical failure on the company’s part which it did admit to letting happen but denied to fix.

Facebook has violated local as well as national laws when it gave access to private data of millions of its users to third parties, according to an investigation conducted by the information and privacy commissioner of British Columbia and the privacy commissioner for Canada.

The company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg put forth an apology for the major breach of trust that happened in the political scandal associated with Cambridge Analytica, however, they did not take into consideration the issued recommendations regarding the prevention of further exploitation of user data.

Putting the same into perspective, at a news conference, Daniel Therrien, head at federal privacy watchdog, said, “There’s a significant gap between what they say and what they do,”

As the regulators decided to push Facebook to a Canadian federal court which is likely to impose fines on the company, Mr. Therrien told that, “historically there have been very small penalties — in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

Facebook told the investigators that it does not agree with their findings, in response, Mr. Therrien said, “I find that absolutely untenable that a company can tell a regulator that it does not respect its findings.”

Furthermore, he asserted the need to have more authorities for the inspection of companies and even strict privacy laws in the North American country, Canada.

Reportedly, Facebook has denied audits of its privacy procedures and said that it has taken necessary measures against the problems raised by the investigators.

Referenced from the statements given by Facebook on the account, “there’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, and we’ve made dramatic improvements to our platform to protect people’s personal information.”

“After many months of good-faith cooperation and lengthy negotiations, we are disappointed” that regulators consider the issues raised in this report unresolved,” the company added.




Facebook expecting fine of $5 billion over privacy issues







Facebook said that they are keeping $5 billion aside as it is expected to be fined by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. 

The social media website disclosed the amount in its first quarter earnings for 2019, stating that it is estimating a one-time fine of $3 billion to $5 billion, but the matter is unresolved and the negotiation is ongoing. 

“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3.0 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet,” the company writes in its earnings statement. 

“We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3 billion to $5 billion. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”

Facebook is negotiating with the regulator for months over a violation of 2011 privacy consent decree. 

According to the decree, the company promised a series of measures to protect its users’ privacy after an investigation found that its handling of data had harmed consumers.

However, the company came under fire once again last year, and F.T.C opened the case after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in which personal information of nearly 50 million users were breached. 


Meanwhile, the F.T.C. declined to comment.


Facebook leaks millions of Instagram passwords

2018 – What a year was it for Facebook! Data scandals and security leaks, issues from Cambridge Analytica and trails by authorities, Facebook have gone under every shit it’s connected with.

And the problems just keep coming in 2019. And in this year, it seemed to have enough already by internal probs, where is announced in a blog post last month saying, “Millions of users passwords were stored in a readable format in their databases!”

Just a day after the social networking giant admitted that it "unintentionally" uploaded email contacts of nearly 1.5 million of new users, Facebook has now revealed that it exposed millions of Instagram users' passwords in a data-security lapse. The password exposure is part of the security breach that was first reported last month by Krebs on Security. Admitting the security blunder, Facebook has said that the company it stored passwords of millions of users in plain text on its internal servers.

However, at that time Facebook claimed that “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users” and “tens of millions of other Facebook users” have been affected. Incidentally, the company has chosen just to update the old blog post while making the new revelation. "This is an issue that has already been widely reported, but we want to be clear that we simply learned there were more passwords stored in this way," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Here's all you need to know about this latest 'password leak' from Facebook ...

The process was unintentional – according to Facebook – and happened when users were prompted for their password as part of a security verification process. It's been going on since May 2016 but Facebook says its now deleting all the scraped data.

In the updated post Facebook says: We will be notifying these users as we did the others.

Facebook 'unintentionally' uploaded the email addresses of 1.5 million users without their knowledge


On Wednesday, Facebook admitted that it happened to upload email addresses of 1.5 million users without their consent. However, the contacts were not distributed to anyone and the company said that all the users whose email addresses were uploaded will be sent a notification stating the same.

While the company is in the process of deleting the imported contacts, it said that it had no intentions of uploading these user contacts and will delete them soon.
In the recent years, Facebook fall prey to various security-related problems, including the major Cambridge Analytica political scandal which revealed that the personal data of millions of users has been harvested from their Facebook profiles by Cambridge Analytica to be used for political purposes; another major hit that the company took was a glitch which put to risk the passwords of millions of people.
Facebook has been battling public relation issues for the management of its users’ personal data which it shared with app developers who paid handsomely for advertisements and those who were friends with the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
This month, sensitive documents dealing with internal deliberations over personal data of users were leaked. The documents, which comprised of presentations, emails, meeting summaries and spreadsheets, were shared by a British journalist to various media outlets, as per by NBC News.
Reportedly, the documents indicated deliberations over the selling of users’ data to third-party app developers and seemingly, Facebook decided against it. However, they opt to share the data with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s friends who in-turn provided their valuable data or spend a huge amount of money on Facebook advertisements.  
A report indicated that Facebook finalized deals of sharing their user data with developers of Sony, Microsoft, Tinder, and Amazon, whereas access to the same information to others was restricted by Facebook.
Referencing from the statements given by Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewald, 'The documents were selectively leaked as part of what the court found was evidence of a crime or fraud to publish some, but not all, of the internal discussions at Facebook at the time of our platform changes. But the facts are clear: we've never sold people's data,
'The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context,' he added.  





Instagram bug showed stories of strangers






A bug on Instagram has affected the story tray which shows stories from people the users’ follow, but this bug has violated the privacy policy for some of the users’ by displaying the stories from people whom they don’t even follow. 

The Facebook owned company confirmed the existence of the technical glitch to TechCrunch, in the meantime they claimed that the glitch was resolved in a few hours.

According to the company, the bug "caused a small number of people's Instagram Stories trays to show accounts they don't follow." 

It did not displayed the full stories if the accounts were private, but it showed the whole stories if the accounts were public. 

The company believes that only small portion of the users’ were impacted by this glitch. However, there are nearly 500 million users’, and even the small fraction of affected users’ could have a great impact. 

A Twitter @internetryan drew everyone’s attention when he first reported the problem on the social tweeting about the bug,  'Hey @Instagram/@facebook, people who I don't follow (with private accounts) are showing up in my Stories.’



Facebook cannot guarantee interference-free EU elections: Zuckerberg

Facebook Inc is much better than it was in 2016 at tackling election interference but cannot guarantee the site will not be used to undermine European Parliament elections in May, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.

Chastened since suspected Russian operatives used Facebook and other social media to influence an election that surprisingly brought Donald Trump to power in the United States, Facebook has said it has ploughed resources and staff into safeguarding the May 26 EU vote.

Zuckerberg said there had been a lot of important elections since 2016 that have been relatively clean and demonstrated the defenses it has built up to protect their integrity.

“We’ve certainly made a lot of progress ... But no, I don’t think anyone can guarantee in a world where you have nation states that are trying to interfere in elections, there’s no single thing we can do and say okay we’ve now solved the issue,” Zuckerberg told Irish national broadcaster RTE in an interview.

“This is an ongoing arms race where we’re constantly building up our defenses and these sophisticated governments are also evolving their tactics.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran a disinformation and hacking operation to undermine the American democratic process and help Republican Trump’s 2016 campaign. Moscow denies interfering in the election.

Under pressure from EU regulators to do more to guard against foreign meddling in the bloc’s upcoming legislative election, Facebook toughened its rules on political advertising in Europe last week.

It also announced plans to ramp up efforts to fight misinformation ahead of the vote and will partner with German news agency DPA to boost its fact checking. 


Hundreds of millions of Facebook users data exposed on Amazon cloud servers




Security researchers have found a large data trove exposed  to public on Amazon's cloud computing servers.

The security experts at a cybersecurity firm, UpGuard found two separate sets of Facebook user data on public Amazon cloud servers, the firm wrote a detail blogpost. 

One of the dataset that was exposed belonged to the Mexican media company Cultura Colectiva, which contained more than 540m records, including likes, comments, reactions, Facebook IDs, account names, etc. While, the other set belonged to a defunct Facebook app named ‘At the Pool’, which was significantly smaller, but contained plaintext passwords for 22,000 users.

‘’The data sets vary in when they were last updated, the data points present, and the number of unique individuals in each. What ties them together is that they both contain data about Facebook users, describing their interests, relationships, and interactions, that were available to third party developers,’’ the blogpost.

‘’Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today. Combine that plenitude of personal data with storage technologies that are often misconfigured for public access, and the result is a long tail of data about Facebook users that continues to leak,’’ it further added.

However, Facebook has launched an investigation into the matter, but they do not the nature of the data, how it was collected or why it was stored on public servers. The company said it will inform users once they will find evidence that the data was misused.




Mark Zuckerberg's Previous Facebook Posts Deleted, the Company Blames Technical Errors


The public posts made by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook profile have been deleted; it included some of the critical updates and important announcements made by the company. All the information shared by Zuckerberg in the year 2007 and 2008 has also vanished.
On being enquired, a spokesperson of Facebook said that these posts which included the major announcements like the one regarding the acquisition of Instagram were erased mistakenly because of some technical errors. Another crucial announcement which was disappeared is Zuckerberg’s promise to keep Instagram free from Facebook.
However, today Instagram is integrated more closely by Facebook than what was said to be. The matter is reported to be escalated to an extent that it led two of Instagram’s co-founders to resign last year.

The deletion of the post where Mark pledged to build and grow Instagram separately is the highlight as Zuckerberg seemingly did not abide by it. 

'Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks.’ Zuckerberg told to The Washington Post.

'These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn't ask companies to make these judgments alone,' he added.

Referencing from the statements given to Business insider by Facebook’s spokesperson, 'A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it,'

'We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom.’



Facebook leaves passwords unencrypted



Facebook said there is no evidence its employees abused access to this data. The company said the passwords were stored on internal company servers, where no outsiders could access them. However, privacy experts suggested that users change their passwords.

The security slip left the passwords readable by the social networking giant's employees.

The issue was first reported by security researcher Brian Krebs, who published a blog post-Thursday detailing that Facebook employees built applications that captured the passwords of users and stored them as plain text, meaning a password would be readable just the same as it is entered to log in.

The blunder was uncovered during a routine security review early this year, according to Canahuati.

"To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them," vice president of engineering, security, and privacy Pedro Canahuati said.

"As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems," Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering for security and privacy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. "This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable."

Most companies encrypt passwords to prevent them from being stolen in the event of a data breach or used for nefarious purposes by company employees.

The incident reveals yet another huge and basic oversight at a company that insists it is a responsible guardian for the personal data of its 2.3 billion users worldwide.

By storing passwords in readable plain text, Facebook violated fundamental computer-security practices. Those call for organizations and websites to save passwords in a scrambled form that makes it almost impossible to recover the original text. The blunder was uncovered during a routine security review early this year, according to Canahuati. 

Facebook Exposes Passwords of Hundreds of Millions of Its Users



A rather shocking vulnerability was uncovered by security researcher Brian Krebs, who reports that Facebook left the passwords of approximately 200 to 600 million users simply ‘stored’ in plain text.

A huge number of Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram users may have had their passwords exposed as the aftereffect of a disturbing oversight by the social networking company.

Facebook just previously learned of the issue this past January and has since affirmed the shocking security failure, yet persists it has fixed the issue and has not discovered any proof that the data was 'abused.'

Albeit all users whose passwords were exposed will be informed, the 'shocking flaw' comes so far another blow to the already melting away trust of numerous Facebook users in the midst of the two years of consecutive privacy scandals.

The firm is as yet attempting to decide precisely the exact number of passwords which were exposed and to what extent, assures a source at Facebook who cautioned Krebs of the issue in the first place.

 ‘It’s so far unclear what caused some users’ passwords to be left exposed. To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them, we estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.'
            - Facebook released a public statement with Krebs' report and affirms that it revealed the plain text passwords amid a standard security review in January.

In any case while Facebook says no password reset is as such required, it will caution the users if their information has been abused or will be abused in any way, the security experts still recommend the users to change their current passwords.



Facebook says outage was a result of incorrect server configuration

Facebook has said that a "server configuration change" was to blame for the worst outage in its history. Facebook and its apps Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp suffered outages for a considerable time on Thursday, affecting users for some 12 hours in most areas of the world, with the biggest impact in North America and Europe, according to the tracking website downdetector.com.

Facebook has only just offered an explanation for the problems it has experienced over the past 24 hours.

The company hasn't elaborated on what the server configuration change exactly meant nor has it said how many users were affected or why the outage took so long to fix. In a tweet, Facebook just apologised and thanked people for their patience. It said it had "triggered a cascading series of issues" for its platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

"Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services," a Facebook tweet said. "We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience."

The outage was believed to be the worst ever for the internet giant that reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications. It took the social network giant a full day from when the problems began to offer any explanation. It added that everything was now back to normal.

The outage brought fresh attention to the embattled social networking leader. It is yet another publicity problem for a company already dealing with privacy issues and regulatory probes.

The disruption isn’t likely to hurt advertisers much since they usually pay for ads per click or impression. But they lose potential customers who might have seen their ads when the site and apps were down. Longer term, Facebook’s reputation with advertisers and investors could be damaged, said Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives. It didn’t help that it took Facebook so long to explain what was going on, he said. Facebook said on Wednesday that the problem was not related to a “distributed denial of service” or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site, but didn’t provide any other details until Thursday. “In these situations, a lack of transparency is not a good look,” Ives said. “The longer something like this lasts, the more questions there are.”

Google Maps, Gmail, Drive, Facebook and Instagram Suffered Outage




Google addressed an influx of complaints it received from the users regarding the misbehavior of its popular services like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive among others. Users all across the world were troubled by the outage of the services they heavily rely upon for various day-to-day activities. 

Though the cause of the outage has not been confirmed, the issues of the users were addressed by Google.

Besides Google, Youtube has also received complaints by its users which it addressed on Twitter telling them that the platform is aware of the service disruption and the problems faced by its users. Alongside, YouTube assured the sufferers that it is already looking into the matter and will come up with a fix.

Notably, YouTubers and content creators were facing problems while uploading videos and viewers were unable to watch the videos smoothly.

Addressing the issues with Google Drive, the company said, “We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are able to access Google Drive, but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.”

Similarly, for Gmail, the company stated, we’re investigating reports of an issue with Gmail. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are able to access Gmail but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.

Furthermore, Google mentioned in its G Suite Status Dashboard that the issue has been rectified and the services, i.e., Gmail and Google Drive will be functioning properly soon.

“The problem with Google Drive should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

While acknowledging the disruptions faced by its Cloud Engine, Google said, “We are still seeing the increased error rate with Google App Engine Blobstore API. Our Engineering Team is investigating possible causes. Mitigation work is currently underway by our Engineering Team. We will provide another status update by Tuesday, 2019-03-12 20:45 US/Pacific with current details.”

On the other hand, Facebook was down for more than 14 hours due to which millions of users across the globe were denied access to the platform. It was on Thursday morning, Facebook along with its associated apps seemed to be regaining operational status.

While Facebook is yet to provide an explanation for the services being disrupted, it said, "We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps,"
"We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

Being fallen prey to the same crisis, the issues faced by Instagram users included not being able to refresh the feed and other glitches while accessing the content.

Commenting on the matter, Elizabeth Warren, a potential Democratic candidate in the next US presidential election, said in a statement to New York Times, "We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor."








Facebook To Develop A Technology That’d Make Brain Reading Possible?







A research by Mark Zuckerberg is underway alleging that Facebook’s all set to fabricate a technology that could make reading brain activity possible.

The asserted research is all about a ‘brain-computer-interface’ as was revealed during an interview, by the sources.

The technology would allow the users to interact with the AR (Augmented Reality) environments simply by the help of their brains.

Navigating menus, moving objects or doing any other activity would all be made possible without the use of the older methods like keyboards, touch-screen or even hand gestures.

All these possibilities would come to life in an AR environment. All the user would do is wear something like a shower cap on the head.

The shower cap like device would then analyse the wearer’s blood flow and brain activity making the impossible possible.

Analyzing neural activity of the brain could easily lead to surmising what a person’s thinking about and that’s exactly what the device would add on to.

Rather than building the new alleged device around the building blocks of apps and tasks, it would be created on how our brains work and how we actually see the world.

Augmented reality is an actual up and comer and Facebook are super excited about getting to experiment with it cited source.

Keeping in mind the ethical paradigm of the alleged “product”, Zuckerberg said the device would only be out if the users consent to it.

The system of the device would never be invasive because that may lead to people not accepting it.

The actual first-hand information about such a technology being developed escaped into the media in late 2017 during a conference.

That very year, Facebook had made known via a research that a technology subsists which could aid typing straight from the brain.

According to what Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post, our brains have ‘enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second’.

And that we’re not using our brains’ capabilities to the fullest. Speech, the only way we transmit data is like using a very old version of a modem.

Typing via the brain would be 5 times faster than the speed we type with on our phones.

But all this could be made possible only when the users trust and have faith in Facebook.

Only last year, tens of millions of users were exploited as their data was shared and harvested on the dark web.

The faith has been a matter of shaking as some scandals and movements against Facebook have emerged.

Hence Facebook had also revealed a “Privacy-focus” vision for the upcoming times’ sake.


Google Wins a Dismissal of a Lawsuit over the Biometric Privacy Act


The world's largest search engine had a lawsuit filed against it by its users, allegedly stating that Google had violated the privacy of its users by utilizing facial recognition software to examine their photos without their consent.

U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang in Chicago dismissed it referring to an absence of "concrete injuries" to the offended parties.

The original suit was known to have been documented in March 2016, a user sued Google for supposedly transferring their information to Google Photos by means of using the facial recognition software and further scanning it in order to create a template of their face without their permission, all the while crossing paths with a unique Illinois law.

In spite of the fact that Google is the first among those well-known who violated the law explicitly as Snapchat and Facebook also have had faced lawsuits for the same ,  Google emerges as the first to prevail upon a dismissal of a lawsuit over the biometric security act.

Google's triumph comes in the midst of open public backlash against the U.S. technology goliaths over misusing of user information and expanded the further examination of privacy policies.


BrahMos Engineer Arrested on Charges of Spying for Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI





Nishant Agrawal, an engineer from the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited in Nagpur was arrested in a joint operation by the Military Intelligence and the Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra police, following a tip.

Arrested on Monday on charges of spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI and various other countries, Nishant was accused of passing on classified and secret information to the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan in addition to other countries as well. Experts, in any state, clarified that he worked at the integration facility and were uncertain whether he had access to any classified information or not.

Nonetheless he will be charged under the Official Secrets Act, following which his home and office computers have already been seized. The police are still investigating whether he was "honey-trapped" by Facebook IDs in the name of women, which have been traced to Pakistan.

"Very sensitive information was found on his personal computer. We found evidence of him chatting on Facebook with Pakistan-based IDs," said Aseem Arun, the chief of the anti-terror squad of Uttar Pradesh.

Nishant has worked in the technical research section of the missile centre for four years, studied at the National Institute of Technology in Kurukshetra, and was also a gold medallist, described as a very bright engineer.

Presently there are two other scientists working in a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab in Kanpur who are being monitored for more suspicious activity and the situation is being monitored as this is occurrence is the first spy scandal to hit the Brahmos Aerospace, considered the world's fastest cruise missile.



Facebook introduces “keyword snoozing” to block specific stories on News Feed


Facebook rolled out a new feature called “Keyword Snooze” on Thursday that allows users to “snooze” certain words on their news feed for 30 days. This feature has only been introduced to a small percentage of users for now and will be gradually released to the mass if the test is successful.

The feature allows people to mute posts from people, pages, and groups that contain a specific keyword in the text.

If you’re one of the users with the access to the feature, you can snooze specific keywords by going to a post that contains the word you want to mute, clicking on the drop-down menu to reveal the window to “snooze keywords”. The window will show you a selection of words that you can mute, such as “Spoilers”, “World Cup” or “Wedding”, and you can choose the one you’d like to pause.

Image by techcrunch

The feature, however, does not allow users to block ads. So if an ad contains any of your chosen keywords, you can still see it on your news feed.

“Even though we work to show you the most relevant posts on News Feed, we don’t always get it right. That’s why we’ve designed features like See First, Hide, Unfollow, Snooze, and now, Keyword Snooze. We hope that with additional options to help tailor your News Feed experience, you’ll be able to spend more time focusing on the things that matter,” Shruthi Muraleedharan, News Feed Product Manager, said in a blog post.


Facebook Violates Illinois’ Law as it is Accused of Gathering and Storing Biometric Data of Users’ Without Their Consent.






Millions of Facebook's users would now be able to proceed as a group with claims that its, photo-scanning technology violated a law in Illinois by collecting and storing biometric information without their assent, a federal judge ruled on Monday. This was done just in view of the fact, that these damages could conceivably keep running into the billions of dollars, wasn't lost on the judge, who was unsympathetic to Facebook's arguments for constraining its legal exposure.

The case however goes back to 2015, well before Facebook wound up buried in discussion over disclosures that a large number of its users' private data fell under the control of British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

The social network has throughout recent years urged users to tag people in photos they upload in their own personal posts so as to simultaneously store the gathered information.

The social media even utilized a program called DeepFace for that matter to coordinate different photos of a person. The two companies have demanded in court that collecting data on what you look like isn't illegal, even without your authorization however under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, the companies could be fined $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person’s picture is utilized without assent.

Shawn Williams, a legal counsellor for the users, said it's not clear yet whether the claim may provoke changes in the way Facebook utilizes biometric information.

 “As more people become aware of the scope of Facebook’s data collection and as consequences begin to attach to that data collection, whether economic or regulatory, Facebook will have to take a long look at its privacy practices and make changes consistent with user expectations and regulatory requirements,” he said.

“We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina said in an emailed statement.

U.S. District Judge James Donato wrote in the ruling that,  “the company “seems to believe” that the decision that the  lawsuit should be pursued by individuals, not as a group, is legitimate as an individual user could be “aggrieved” differently, and must prove that they suffered an actual injury beyond a privacy right and all this because “damages could amount to billions of dollars…,”


When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in Congress a week ago over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin accused the company for attempting to dilute the state's biometric privacy law.

So far the courts have battled over what qualifies as an injury to seek after a privacy case in claims blaming Facebook and Google for siphoning users' personal information from messages, emails and checking their web-perusing propensities.

Donato already dismissed Facebook's contention that the case must be dismissed on the grounds that the endeavour to uphold Illinois law crosses paths with its user agreement that expects disputes to be settled under the laws of California, where it's based.

The case as of now is in re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, 15-cv-03747, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).