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The firms issued an open letter to US President Barack Obama and Congress to reform surveillance activities after leaks from the National Security Agency’s former contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency gained access to private accounts of technology companies to conduct spying.
“Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress, We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide,” the letter reads, in part, according to the Inquirer.
"The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual - rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for a change."
According to reports published in beginning in June in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other tabloids, the spy agency NSA collected credentials of millions of customers far more extensively without the companies' knowledge. The agency scooped up streams of data from fiber-optic cables that carry communications.
The technology companies have responded by boosting encryption and pushing back on government requests for user information, such as e-mail, address books and video chats.
Now the coalition calls for reductions in user data demands and more judicial oversight, including at the secret federal court, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also called the FISA court.
“We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight,” the letter urges further.
The companies say that they do all that they can do to better safeguard the personal information of Internet users as well as secure and encrypt communications, and they add that they expect the government to follow their leads.
"For our part, we are focused on keeping users' data secure - deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope," the Inquirer cited the letter as saying.
Apple’s latest sleek and light devices were announced on October 22 and were released on November 1 in United States. The iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display hit the Indian market on Saturday with a starting price tag of Rs. 35,900 and Rs. 28,900 respectively.
Ingram Micro, the wholesale distributor of electronics and mobile phones and authorized distribution partner of Apple in India, has started making the new tablets available across the country.
Touted as the thinnest iPad ever, the new iPad Air is precisely engineered to weigh just 453 grams. The thinner and lighter tab, which is 20 percent thinner and nearly 30 percent lighter than the 4G iPad, features a 9.7-inch Retina display.
“iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is,” TelecomTiger quoted Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Philip Schiller, as saying at the launch of the device in October.
“iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.”
The 7.5 millimeters thick iPad Air is available in four capacities- 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB- which are all Wi-Fi versions and priced at Rs. 35,900, Rs. 42,900, Rs. 49,900 and Rs. 56,900 respectively. The all four models with cellular connectivity are available at Rs. 44,900, Rs. 51,900, Rs. 58,900 and Rs. 65,900 respectively.
The new iPad Mini with 7.9-inch razor sharp Retina display quality is the company’s only small tablet that will deliver full iPad experience. It features the retina display and 64-bit Apple A7 processor of its bigger sibling.
The 16 GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB iPad mini Wi-Fi only models with with Retina display are priced at Rs 28,900, Rs. 35,900, Rs. 42,900 and Rs. 49,900 respectively. These models with Retina display and cellular connectivity are available for Rs. 37,900, Rs. 44,900, Rs. 51,900 and Rs. 58,900 respectively.
The earlier Apple iPad versions will continue to sell alongside the new devices.
The new pads offer optimized surfaces for both high-DPI gaming and low DPI game play. A gaming enthusiast knows how crucial it is to have a right pad under their mouse to have their preferences executed correctly.
Apprehending the hard-core gamers’ needs, Logitech introduced the pads that devoid of patterns and designs. The three-layer surface texture of the pads is consistent and clean. The entirely flat polyethylene surface lets gamers move their mice freely with minimum force. Both optical or laser mice can be used on these pads.
"We are very thrilled to bring our gamers the new gaming mouse pads with stimulating features. Gamers always require convenient range of peripherals that offer a competitive edge,” Subrotah Biswas, Director, Logitech India and South West Asia, said on the launch.
Boasting of features like heat-treated at 200° C and black textile surface, the pad offers accuracy to mice sensors and is verified to stop rapid movements of the mouse during the game. Just like its sibling, the G240 lies flat on the hard surface. The pad weighs merely 90 grams and measures 340 x 280 x 1 millimeters. The accessory is available for Rs. 1595.
If you are a video game freak and looking for an easy to use accessory, then this latest Logitech device would surely catch your attention.
The device targeted at youth is launched at an inaugural price of Rs 18,490 and is expected to be a great addition to mid-range smartphone market in India.
"With the Karbonn Titanium X we are taking the Indian smartphone market to a different level altogether - the level X. Our endeavour is to set a benchmark in the Indian smartphone market, and establish Karbonn Titanium X at the pinnacle of research innovation. Unlike any other smartphone in the market, the Karbonn Titanium X enables the Generation X to live life in the fast lane and discover more into their social interactions," Karbonn Mobiles’ Executive Director, Shashin Devsare, said in a release.
On its promotional banner, the new Karbonn smartphone sports a tagline that reads- "A chance to enhance."
Powered by a full HD display coupled with IPS touchscreen (1920x1080 pixel resolution), the Karbonn Titanium X comes equipped with a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor with 1 gigabyte RAM, 16 gigabyte internal memory. The phone’s 2300 mAh battery offers up to 6 hours of talk time. The inbuilt 16GB storage can be further expanded up to 32GB via integrated microSD card.
The device features Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system and bears a 13 megapixel rear camera, and a 5 megapixel front camera. Both the cameras have flash.
Quick run through the KEY Karbonn Titanium X specifications:
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
How do you like the new Karbonn smartphone in Indian market? Share your opinions with us in comments.
In the latest spate of online data breaches, more than 2 million Facebook, Google, Twitter and other web services have been stolen and circulated online. This massive online data theft has prompted both the social media companies and security experts to take actions.
According to a report on The Times of India, researchers at Trustwave's SpiderLabs discovered the login credentials while investigating a server in the Netherlands that cybercriminals use to collect sensitive information from users in as many as 102 countries. The report states that the server was a part of a botnet known as the "Pony."
The compromised data includes more than 3,26,000 Facebook user accounts, more than 59,000 Yahoo user accounts, some 60,000 Google user accounts, and nearly 22,000 Twitter user accounts, said the cybersecurity firm adding that it has reported its findings to the affected websites and internet service providers, and has asked Netherlands authorities to take down the Pony botnet server.
In the wake of massive data hack, the affcetde companies including Facebook, Twitter and ADP have started resetting the passwords of users that have been impacted by the phishing campaign.
In an email to BBC, a Facebook spokesman said that all of the clients found in the database will have their passwords reset. "They will be notified when anyone tries to access their account from an unrecognized browser and new logins will require a unique passcode generated on their mobile phone," he said.
On the other hand, Trustwave has suggested some important tips to help you secure your online accounts and to minimize further threats. In its blog post, the company showed that people use very simple passwords like "123456," "123456789," "1234," and "password," and even re-use them on their multiple accounts.
Such simple passwords are extremely easy to crack, said security expert Graham Cluley. "People are using very dumb passwords. They are totally useless," he said.
"We don't know how many of these details still work," Cluley told the BBC. "But we know that 30-40% of people use the same passwords on different websites.”
“That's certainly something people shouldn't do," he cautioned.
Apprehending WhatsApp's massive popularity in the Indian IM segment, Tata Docomo has entered into a partnership with Smartphone messenger platform, wherein the leading Indian telecom service provider will offer a special package which will let users access the chat application at just Rs 1 per day.
On Wednesday, the telecom company Tata Docomo launched two data packs priced at Rs 15 and Rs. 30. According to the deal, the Tata Docomo prepaid customers will be able to subscribe for Rs 15 for 15 days validity and Rs 30 for 30 days validity with unlimited access to the application.
To sign up, the Tata Docomo pre-paid GSM customers will have to dial *123# from their Smartphones.
"These data packs will enable Tata Docomo prepay GSM customers to enjoy the hugely popular WhatsApp with specially customised value for money data plans and with unlimited use," the Financial Express quoted the company as saying in a statement.
"Standing tall on the fundamental tenet of simplifying consumer's life, dedicated WhatsApp data packs serves up a hassle-free experience for our consumers with a clear focus on enriching the data experience," the tabloid cited Tata Docomo Head VAS Marketing Rishimohan Malhotra as saying.
The deal will likely help WhatsApp, which is currently enjoying enormous success with 30 million monthly active users in India, further cement their active user base in the country.
"This partnership allows us to tap into Tata's market presence in India and continue WhatsApp's significant growth as the global leader in the mobile communication space," WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton said, according to the Financial Express.
WhatsApp is currently competing with other instant messaging apps such as Line, Hike, ChatOn and BlackBerry's BBM in the Indian market. Japan-based Line recently crossed 10 million users in India, while Samsung's ChatOn surpassed 100 million-milestone in September.
Newly launched Viber is also growing steadily to compete with WhatsApp with its 15 million users in India, followed by Hike with $7 million investment boost.
Social networking giant Facebook is reportedly in early stage discussions to acquire an Indian app monitoring solutions startup. As per the sources, Facebook is ready to make a splash in the country with the acquisition of Bengaluru-based Little Eye Software Labs Pvt Ltd.
The online sources related to the matter revealed that the deal is anticipated to be completed in next few weeks.
Co-founded in May 2012 by a group of five programme analysis experts, namely Giridhar Murthy, Kumar Rangarajan, Aditya Kulkarni, Satyam Kandula, and Lakshman Kakkirala, the Little Eye Labs offers a performance analysis tool for Android developers, enabling them to measure, analyze and optimize apps.
“We cannot comment anything on this as of now, as we are bound by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If any development happens, we will get back to you,” Little Eye Labs’ co-founder Kumar Rangarajan is quoted as saying in online media reports. "Currently we have 1,500 users and counting," he said.
The social networking giant boasts over 114 million active FB users in India. If the deal happens, it could be Facebook’s first ever acquisition in India. It would also be first major deal for Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable (iSpirt), which will reportedly facilitate the deal between the firms.
On the speculation of the said deal, an iSpirt member Sharad Sharma said, “Deals usually don’t happen in December. It is best to wait for the real one in January.”
Facebook is not the only one that is in talks to buy Indian product start up. If the reports making internet rounds are to be believed, Facebook’s rival social media company Twitter is all set to throng the Indian market.
A report by technology website TechCrunch states that "the two companies are still exploring ways to make it work."
Just because you are having your college friends in your Facebook friend list that doesn’t mean you want to see each and every post, message and update from those friends.
The social networking giant Facebook is adding a new feature to its service that is a relatively great way to filter your news feed and keep selected people and their posts out of your feed without them knowing about it.
Facebook users tired of hiding the posts they do not exactly like may finally find the solution to their problem in the form of an “Unfollow” button. This new 'Unfollow' button will replace the 'Hide All' option.
The world's largest social network is reportedly rolling out a more succinct button that will let FB users block, instead of merely hide, all messages and posts they do not like to see in their news feed.
Presently, Facebook has a ‘Hide All’ button that allows users to merely hide the updates that they find annoying or boring from their feed while still remaining friends with that person on Facebook.
However, the new more-to-the-point 'unfollow' feature would give users the option to remove unwanted messages and posts from certain persons. Once you hit this option, it would not only block the content and all future correspondences from the selected person but also sever your ties with that person forever on the social network, without notifying him/her about it.
A report on Reuters quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying, “The goal of this change is to help people curate their newsfeed and see more of the content that they care about.”
The Facebook users can find the ‘Unfollow’ tab next to the usual ‘Like’ button on a user profile page.
Motorola Mobility apparently faced a similar situation too. Its Moto G smartphone, the cheaper version of the Moto X handset, went up for sale on Tuesday in the US, almost a month before its scheduled January 2014 launch.
"We were always gearing up for a big first quarter, but we think we'll have success this quarter as well," Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, said.
The latest and the more-affordable version of the smartphone is now available on the company’s website Motorola.com. It is currently available without contract in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru, UK, Germany, France and Canada. However, the phone will be available in over 30 countries with 60 partners by early next year, the company officials said.
The device runs only on GSM networks and is ship completely unlocked. It is available in two variants – while the 8GB smartphone costs for $179, the 16GB variant is priced at $199.
Moto G currently runs on the Android 4.3 Jellybean technology. However, it can be advanced to KitKat starting early next year.
The device fashions a 4.5-inch HD display screen and is packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. Its design, similar to the Moto X, features a curved back and touts various back cover shades.
Moto G, which is already available in a few South American and European markets, has faced its share of criticism. While the critics feel that the phone would reasonably appeal budget-minded consumers, it might not be the best buy.
"Is the G the best phone you can buy? No, it's not," David Rigg, a critic writer wrote on the representative review in Engadget. "You won't win any National Geographic competitions with the camera, and the amount of on-board storage is a concern when there's no microSD expansion slot. The lack of LTE, too, is sure to put off customers who would've jumped at the handset otherwise. We'll have to wait and see whether any other phone makers can respond to the G and address what's missing, but for now, it stands alone."
The Marshall space flight center of NASA had taken a 5 minute video footage of this comet ISON shimmering and heading toward the sun to have a close encounter which is on Nov 28th.
Carey Lisse, Senior Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory conveyed during the news conference of NASA that the main reason behind their study about this comet ISON was that it was a relic. She called it as the dinosaur bone from the formation of the solar system and comets were essential to build the planets. The comet was in a deep freeze state while it was half way towards the next star for more than four and a half billion years. Carey also added that the comet was travelling for a few million years and it might be even around the time human kind evolved.
This comet is much smaller than the normal ones as it is less than three quarters across a mile and is expected to come across the surface of the sun within a million miles. As ISON is made with ice and dust that are loosely packed, it looks like it would not even have 70%chance of surviving on the surface of the sun as it is blazing hot. The comet is expected to hit the surface of the sun this Thursday and might offer some stunning images to be captured by telescopes and spacecrafts of NASA.
According to Jim Green, Director, Planetary Science Division, NASA, ISON is likely on its first trip on the orbit that is close to the sun. He also noted that it has become one of the most observed comet in space history.