Displaying items by tag: Policy

Security researcher Victor Gevers has uncovered a database of 1.8 million women in China who have their names, addresses, marital status, education levels, and phone numbers listed however the most troubling part of this database is the fact that women of a certain age group were also categorized as “breed ready”.

Gevers has said that anyone with an IP address has access to this database. This comes after his discovery of the Chinese database that leaked 300 million private messages last week.

“We don’t know who is behind this database and what the intention was… that is the part that worries us the most,” said Gevers. Most of the women in the database were located in Beijing.

Gevers reported the database on Twitter and had it closed down by 4am ET on Monday. 

Some of the women are linked to their Facebook profiles and as Facebook is banned in China, they must have accessed it through the use of a VPN.

“In China, they have a shortage of women. So an organization started to build a database to start registering over 1.8 million women with all kinds of details like phone numbers, addresses, education, location, ID number, marital status, and a “BreedReady” status?” he tweeted.

Also, around 90 per cent of the women on that list were listed as single and were between the ages of 15 and 95. The “BreedReady” women were categorized,  the youngest status was given to 18 year olds and the oldest with the status was 39.

The purpose of this database still remains uncertain however, many internet users said that it may have been the Chinese government’s effort to track the fertility of Chinese women as China’s birth rate has hit an all-time low.

China’s National Statistics Bureau found that only 15 million children were born in 2018 which was 2 million less than the previous year.

Published in Government

New York regulators are investigating Facebook’s gathering of intimate data about consumers’ menstrual cycles and body weight through smartphone applications.

Facebook has confirmed that New York’s Department of Financial Services set them a letter about the data sharing issue.

The New York based regulator asked the social media giant to provide a list of all the companies that were involved in sending them the data over the past three years.

According to the source, requests to provide information on agreements with Facebook were sent to a number of application developers.

A Wall Street Journal report from February 22 showed that after testing over 70 smartphone apps, approximately 11 were disclosing ‘highly sensitive’ information to Facebook to use for target ads. These ads would be able to reach users who are not Facebook members.

The intimate data that was collected by the apps showed personal information with regards to body weight, height, ovulation cycles, heart rate, pregnancy status and home shopping.

It was found that around 6 of the 15 most popular health and fitness apps shared personal information with Facebook.

A Facebook spokesperson stated:  

"It's common for developers to share information with a wide range of platforms for advertising and analytics.

"We require the other app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us."

The investigation comes at the peak of the debate over online privacy and at a time when Facebook is still attempting to regain the trust of the masses following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to the Journal, the ‘highly sensitive information’ is sent to Facebook immediately after it is entered into the app.

Facebook is able to collect data through the Software Development Kit (SDK), which is a set of programs used to create apps and it often includes a set of open software tools.

These apps have used Facebook’s SDK to build their software in exchange for data which Facebook uses for advertising purposes.

A Facebook spokesperson has said that the data transmission does violate the company’s business agreement and that Facebook has taken measures to stop the apps from disclosing such personal information.

Published in Apps

Uber’s new CEO has jetted into London for negotiations with the city’s transport regulator following the TFL’s (Transport for London) decision to suspend the license of the global ride-hailing service. The TFL deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and refused to renew its license.

The decision by the TFL left Uber reeling, as the UK, and in particular London is a massive market for the US firm. It was the latest setback in a long line of controversies and blows endured by Uber who have in recent months had allegations of sexual harassment within its work environment labelled at them.

In addition to this, Uber has faced countless legal battles in different markets all over the world – and pressure from stakeholders forced former CEO and founder Travis Kalanick to resign. TFL stated that it didn’t renew Uber’s license due to the firm’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences – and also highlighted safety issues in relation to Uber’s vetting process on its drivers.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of the TFL, told Uber that it would serve the organization better to actually attempt to address the concerns raised by the transport regulator, instead of hiring a team of PR experts and lawyers.

However, it has emerged that Uber’s new CEO, former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi has arranged a face-to-face meeting with TFL commissioner Mike Brown who is tasked with the responsibility of running TFL’s day-to-day operations. It was further disclosed that Khan, a member of the Labor Party had sanctioned the meeting.

While Uber’s license was suspended with immediate effect on September 30th, its 40,000 drivers can still pick up fares until an appeal process has been exhausted, and that is likely to take up to several months.

Uber’s CEO facing a tough task to restore order to a firm which has been battered by a host of controversies, and his job hasn’t been helped by the calling of a board meeting in San Francisco which will look at curbing the influence of former CEO Kalanick.

Many expect Uber to resolve the issue with the TFL and claimed that Khosrowshahi made a good start by penning an open letter to Londoners in which he acknowledged that the company had made mistakes, before vowing to adopt a new approach to penetrate new markets globally.

It has been reported that Uber will learn its fate when a judge will rule on its appeal when it is officially submitted on October 13th. Uber’s competitors have wasted no time in attempting to gain its business. London’s second-biggest private hire firm Addison Lee said on Friday it was planning to increase its driver numbers in London by up to a quarter.

Published in Apps

Indian officials have resisted advances from US technology giant Apple to move some of its production to the country – but they did state that they are in the process of reviewing its overall manufacturing policy.

According to reports, Apple sent a letter to the Indian government in which it expressed its desire to assemble iPhone devices and move production to India –and subsequently requested financial incentives from the authorities in order to do so.

However, Indian officials rejected their advances and refused to give in to Apple’s demands for special concessions. The government recently launched a ‘Made in India’ initiative in an effort to attract foreign investors.

Indian Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he and his colleagues would keep an ‘open mind’ ahead of negotiations next week with Apple executives. It is believed an official told Reuters that the government intends to make policies for the industry and not individual companies.

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said yesterday India would keep an “open mind” in negotiations next week at a meeting with Apple executives. An official told Reuters the government should make policies for the industry, not individual companies.

The smart-phone giant sought a number of concessions, including a 15-year wavier of customs duties on imported iPhone components, and new and second-hand manufacturing equipment.

It has also been reported that three government departments, revenue, industry and IT are reviewing Apple’s requests for concessions to assemble iPhone’s in India. Officials have conceded that due to the country’s high import duties – it severely impacts the competitiveness of manufacturers looking to export.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited India last May and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and the issued of Apple assembling iPhone’s and moving production to the country were raised.

Complicating a move to local production is the country’s local sourcing rules, which require foreign firms with single-brand retail outlets to source 30% of the sales value of their components from India within five years of starting operations.

In June 2016 the government reversed a decision not to ease local sourcing rules for Apple and granted the iPhone maker a three year waive on the requirement, which clears the way for it to open Apple Stores in the country.

The reversal is part of a major reform package of the country’s foreign direct investment policies announced by the head of the country’s central bank.

India is the world’s second largest smart-phone market, where growth outpaced the global market in Q3 as demand for mobile broadband connectivity soars and operators rapidly expand their 4G network coverage.

Published in Government