Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, said last week the company had made multiple mistakes. The most serious one being the leak of 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, the firm which had provided demographical intelligence to the Trump Presidential Campaign. In a testimony clarifying the issue, Zuckerberg said he was looking into the full extent of the involvement by the Russian Government during the 2016 elections.
The release of his testimony came as Facebook was preparing to notify users whose data were harvested by Cambridge Analytica. Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge professor, created an app called This Is Your Digital Life, in order to identify the voters through research. The data downloaded by the Cambridge professor was in return sold to Cambridge Analytica. Since the last fourteen years since Facebook was founded, lawmakers and government officials have looked at one of the largest online social media platforms with favour. According to reports, Cambridge Analytica had acquired the data of around 2,70,000 people who allowed the app to access its data along with their friends on the platform.
“For the first decade, we really focused on all the good that connecting people brings. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough. We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech. … We didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement in relation to the Facebook Data Leaks.
Clearly, he isn’t the only one who thinks that way. On Tuesday evening, in a meeting with the Senate and the Cabinet members, an apologetic Zuckerberg said he was extremely sorry for the role the online social media platform played during the 2016 American elections. During the two day Senate session, Zuckerberg apologised by saying he was looking into all the details of the breach.
Furthermore, the Facebook team has said a bounty program with a reward of $ 40,000 has been announced for people who catch large data leaks. Payouts will start at $ 500 and will go up to as high as $ 40,000. Over the better part of the last month, the Cambridge Analytica issue has spiralled into one of the biggest scandals faced by the 33 year old Zuckerberg. The data abuse program is the first of its kind to come up in the industry, giving users an incentive to ensure their safety.
With Zuckerberg’s apology and attempt at making sure things are right, Facebook seems to be addressing the breach issue with renewed vigour and commitment.
Alibaba Cloud To Set Up Special Teams For Startups
Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of the well known Alibaba Group, is a cloud computing company. Alibaba Cloud provides products and services to clients in India across the e commerce, gaming, media, retail and IoT sectors via its network of distributors. Recently, Alex Li, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Asia Pacific said Alibaba Cloud has always been dedicated to empower enterprises of different sizes to tap into opportunities in the digital age. With digital transformation poised to add close to $ 154 Bn to India’s GDP, this is a great opportunity for us to do business in India.
In January this year, the company set up its first India data centre in Mumbai. The aim was to fulfill the surging demand for cloud computing services which is among one of the fastest growing numbers of Indian small and medium sized businesses in the region. Alibaba Cloud said it will build specialised teams to focus on various market segments and sectors such as startups and online business. Alongside, it wants to strengthen its network as they plan to train 1,000 sales and technology personnel in India in the next six months. According to a study conducted by the International Data Corp (IDC,) with an estimated $ 2.12 billion spent on public cloud services, India currently ranks third on the list of countries who have turned towards cloud computing in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan.
With regards to Alibaba’s interest toward startups, earlier this year, Alibaba called for startups’ ideas in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI,) internet of things, digital services, augmented and virtual reality, big data and cyber security for the latest competition. Those startups who are interested can apply online at [email protected], but entrants need to generate less than $ 500,000 annual revenue. The startup must be registered in the UK, Ireland or Nordics in the last five years and it cannot be a publicly listed company. The most successful entrants will be shortlisted to compete against each other in the next round to be held on 5 September 2018. The top five will then be selected to battle against startups in Harbin, China later that month. The best four startups from these cities will then have the opportunity to pitch in front of investors at Alibaba Group’s HQ in October 2018.
India Gives Green Signal To Net Neutrality!
The country of millennials, India just made a big announcement regarding the latest rules of net neutrality. India wants to make sure they provide an open and fair internet for nearly half a billion people!
Here’s what is in store for the Internet in India!
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved net neutrality rules that bans blocking and zero rating of internet data. The framework of net neutrality which was published last year as a recommendation from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI,) was the culmination of years long campaign for net neutrality. However, they were seeking public opinions on potential changes to internet regulations since 2015. TRAI had recommended the implementation of neutral internet rules in 2017. Now, years later, the news of approval from the government of India comes to the headlines. The new rules by the DoT prevent any internet service provider (ISP) from blocking, throttling, slowing down or granting any special treatment to any content available on the internet. However, these rules do not apply to critical IoT services or specialized services including autonomous vehicles and remote surgery operations. According to sources, TRAI head R.S. Sharma said while comparing the rules to ambulances that can legally disobey traffic rules, or in this case, get prioritized status to maintain service quality. Speaking about the Internet service providers, they need to agree to the deal when they sign license agreements with the Department of Telecommunications. Those who violate the rules could have their licenses cancelled. Internet service providers cannot perform actions involving blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content!
Here’s what the official Twitter handle of TRAI posted!
With Telecom Commission’s endorsement of TRAI’s recommendations on #NetNeutrality, India takes an unambiguous stand on this issue.
– thread –
— TRAI (@TRAI) July 12, 2018
Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, the Indian regulations stated.
Facebook To Be Fined A Fortune Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal!
In 2017, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched an inquiry into voters’ data being obtained and used by political campaigns. This was following the Observer’s early investigative reports, into Cambridge Analytica, the political research firm. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been under scrutiny, for harvesting the data of millions of Facebook users around the globe, with the total number of people affected now at 87 million. The social media giant Facebook will be fined $ 664,000 for failing to protect users’ information by the UK’s privacy watchdog. While a fine of $ 664,000 is the biggest possible punishment available to the ICO, it is the same amount of money Facebook makes in just a few minutes. At the time of the infraction, the law on processing data was set out under the Data Protection Act of 1998, which imposed a maximum penalty of £ 500,00. However, Under the new Data Protection Act 2018, companies can be fined up to 4 % of global turnover, a substantially more serious penalty. In Facebook’s case, a fine could be as high as $ 1.9 bn, based on its revenue.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner said she would penalize the social network platform as her office investigates how the data of millions of users was improperly accessed. Earlier, the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by the U.S., and the EU lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica accessed the personal data of such a huge number of Facebook users. During the EU referendum, Facebook was found to be at fault for failing to be clear about how the information had been harvested by others. According to reports, Denham said Facebook has failed to provide the kinds of protections they’re required to do under data protection laws.
However, the penalty could change as the agency would discuss the matter further with Facebook. Generally, the ICO does not reveal its initial investigations but this time, it shared the details of the amount of the penalty because of the hyped public interest toward the scandal. Also, the agency would next give an update in October, this year.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, acknowledged in a statement Facebook should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015. Apart from this, the UK privacy watchdogs said the fallout from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is only the beginning. The UK’s early efforts could inform ongoing investigations elsewhere in Europe as well as the United States, where a probe by the Federal Trade Commission could result in a penalty well into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Facebook’s ties to Cambridge Analytica.
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