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Science/Tech / Medianama

Indian govt developing Citizen App, a common app for all things related to COVID-19

You’re reading it here first: The Indian government has created a committee of experts to work on a Citizen App that will onboard all citizens to “combat the COVID-19 pandemic” and “evaluate and converge related technology solutions and suggestions” through a public-private partnership (PPP). The committee has to complete its work within 3 months. The […] ...

4 Apr 2020 10:07 am
Twitter removes 20,000 accounts linked to Saudi, Serbia, Honduras, Indonesia governments

Twitter has deleted 20,000 fake accounts linked to the governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras and Indonesia, saying that they violated company policy and were a targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation.Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth said the operation was part of Twitter’s ongoing work to “detect and investigate state-backed information […] ...

3 Apr 2020 3:37 pm
Visits to shops reduced by 77%, to parks by 57% during COVID-19 lockdown in India: Google

Since the Janata Curfew was imposed on March 22 and the country was subsequently locked down on March 25, visits to restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, etc. have reduced by 77%, Googles COVID-19 Community Mobility Report for India reveals. Released as part of Googles new project announced earlier today, these country-specific mobility reports track how peoples […] ...

3 Apr 2020 2:14 pm
Oyo suspends minimum guarantee payments to hotels: Report

SoftBank-backed Oyo has invoked the force majeure clause in its agreements with hotel owners given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, the Economic Times reported. This allows Oyo to effectively suspend minimum guarantee payments to the hotels. Under the minimum guarantee model, hotel owners have to be paid a minimum amount regardless […] ...

3 Apr 2020 1:41 pm
After growing 20x and facing privacy missteps, Zoom freezes feature updates for 6 months

After a series of security missteps, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan announced a six month feature update freeze, saying the company would make privacy and security its priority. This comes as Zoom claimed its user base ballooned from 10 million to 200 million in a matter of months due to lockdowns around the world, following […] ...

3 Apr 2020 1:21 pm
Apple allows subscription video companies to skip App Store fee: Report

Apple is allowing Amazon Prime Video and Canal+ to skip the 30% fee on in-app transactions by letting those companies bill users with non-Apple payment methods, Bloomberg reported. This is a potentially significant concession. Apple’s iTunes rents and sells movies, like Amazon Prime Video does in some markets outside India. Apple has received pushback for […] ...

3 Apr 2020 12:03 pm
Delhi government launches COVID-19 chatbot on WhatsApp

After the government of India, the Delhi government has now launched a COVID-19 chatbot on WhatsApp. Users just have to send the message “Hi” to the “Delhi Govt – Corona Helpline” at +918800007722. Apart from giving information and updates about the pandemic, the bot also allows users to apply for an e-pass for movement during […] ...

3 Apr 2020 12:02 pm
FIRs against The Wires editor overreaction and intimidation: Editors Guild of India

The FIRs filed against The Wire’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan are an overreaction and an act of intimidation, the Editors Guild of India said in a statementon April 2. The guild also called Supreme Courts recent direction to the media to publish news about the COVID-19 pandemic from official government sources as gratuitous and unnecessary. […] ...

3 Apr 2020 10:51 am
Google to shut down Neigbourly, its local Q&A app for India

Google is shutting down Neighbourly, an app it released in 2018 in India to help neighbours ask Q&As about wait for it their neighbourhood. This was first reported by TechCrunch. The app helped people find facilities in their locality: you ask a question, it goes around to people living around you (since you share your […] ...

2 Apr 2020 5:36 pm
Biometric authentication to withdraw cash sees only a minor drop despite nationwide lockdown

Even though India was essentially under a lockdown for an entire week in March to combat COVID-19, it seems to have done little to hamper biometric transactions to withdraw cash: In March 2020, 181.81 million biometric transactions were done on Aadhaar enabled Payments Services, data released by the National Payments Corporation of India show.For comparison, […] ...

2 Apr 2020 4:20 pm
Indian government releases COVID-19 contact tracing app; 1mg a developer

As the number of positive cases soar in the country, the Indian government today quietly released a COVID-19 contact tracing app for Android and iOS devices. The Aarogya Setu app meaning“bridge of health”uses Bluetooth and location services to track if a user came into contactwith a person who could have tested COVID-19 positive.If a user […] ...

2 Apr 2020 3:09 pm
YouTube to launch short video app Shorts to compete with TikTok: Report

After Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels, YouTube is now working on its own short-form, user-generated video app Shorts to take on the massive phenomenon that is TikTok. The app will release by the end of year and users will be able to upload short-form videos into a feed within the YouTube app, the […] ...

2 Apr 2020 3:00 pm
Privacy, in the time of coronavirus, should not be compromised

By Rahul Narayan To what extent should one be bothered by privacy violations while much of the world seems to be under an existential threat? The answer is quite a lot, actually same as at any other time. Fundamental rights and freedoms are not the icing on the cake to be unceremoniously discarded when […] ...

2 Apr 2020 2:24 pm
How Wikipedia in indic languages is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a small group of editors under Project SWASTHA has been working to make sure that Wikipedia articles in Indian languages are updated with accurate and up-to-date information on the pandemic. Abhishek Suryawanshi, director of SWASTHA and Wikipedia Ambassador, spoke to us from Miami on how the team is facing […] ...

2 Apr 2020 1:05 pm
UP Police files FIRs against editor of The Wire for allegedly spreading fake news against CM Adityanath

The Uttar Pradesh Police on April 1 lodged two FIRs against Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding editor of news portalThe Wire,for allegedly attributing an incorrect statement to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. One of the FIRs was filed by the SHO of Kotwali Nagar police station. The FIRs come after Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to Adityanath […] ...

2 Apr 2020 12:38 pm
Delhi government, Delhi Police track phones of those under COVID-19 quarantine: Kejriwal

The Delhi government has handed 25,429 phone numbers to the Delhi Police in the last two days to ensure that people ordered to quarantine by the government actually did so. “Action will be taken against people who are found to have violated the quarantine orders on the basis of the police report,” Delhi Chief Minister […] ...

2 Apr 2020 12:05 pm
After long delay, Spotify inks deal with Warner Music, Saregama in India

Spotify has signed a deal with Warner Music Group, the last of the big three international music labels, the two companies announced on April 1. This means that significant holdouts in the Spotify catalogue in India, such as Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Linkin Park and a slew of other artists under WMG, will now be […] ...

2 Apr 2020 11:04 am
Center directs states to set up portal for information on COVID-19

The Central government yesterday directed all state governments to create a portal with information about COVID-19 “where people can verify facts and unverified news promptly”. A similar portal is being created by the Central government, as per Supreme Court directions. States have to submit an action taken report to the Home Ministry before the next […] ...

2 Apr 2020 10:57 am