In a blog post they confirmed the move to share user data with Facebook to integrate businesses with messaging platform. The blog recalls notable features like WhatsApp Web, Calling and end-to-end encryption before dropping the bomb.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum claimed no changes to be made in future when Facebook acquired the company in this blog post. This is what he had to say about their new partnership with Facebook and changes for users:
Today we are announcing a partnership with Facebook that will allow us to continue on that simple mission. Doing this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
It is clear that WhatsApp has decided to make some money after offering free service for so long without any ads. The company has over 1 billion users worldwide. It seems like a right time to reap the reward. There is a great revenue prospect with such kind of active user base.
How Does It Affect A User?
There will be no change in user experience at least for now. You will not be seeing any intrusive ads like other messaging apps. WhatsApp clarifies that it will use your contact number to deliver better friends suggestions and relevant ads based on the “coordination” between two companies. You might receive notifications from business you are associated with like a bank or an airline. Your bank may send notification about a fraudulent transaction, or an airline informing you about the cancelled flight.
The blog does not go in detail about how WhatsApp data can be used to show you relevant ads in Facebook. Your experience is not going to change for sure but a lot of things will change in the background.
How To Avoid Sharing Contact Number
You have 30 days to make the decision. If you have already opted-in and want to change that now then you still have some time on your side to change your decision. You can head to this post to understand how to stop sharing your contact number with Facebook.
There is a mixed reaction about this change among WhatsApp users. I am concluding this chilly news on this note that “ads are coming”.
We have always enjoyed our freedom when it comes to accessing Internet. Perhaps, it is short lived now. We have been getting warning while visiting few torrent and blocked sites for past couple of years. The verbiage was very vague and it was not termed as incrimination back then. It seems to have changed for past couple of days. We are witnessing a clear messaging of committing an offence by just visiting a blocked site or URL.
You will see the message which reads as:
This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at email@example.com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance.
Who Blocked Sites?
Torrent sites are notorious for distributing copyright content eg. videos, music and books etc. Copyright owner of the content, for instance bollywood film studios or their lawyers approach court with a list of sites ahead of a movie release to prevent distribution of their content via these unauthorized medium. Sometimes, these lists include unnecessary URLs which are not associated with file sharing or movie downloads.
Once the order is issued by court against an unnamed entity, it is sent along with the list of blocked site URLs to DoT (Department of Telecommunication). It is further forwarded to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who block any request to these sites at their servers resulting into such warning pop ups in your browser window.
Is Punishment For Real?
These warning pop-ups are not new but the warning verbiage is definitely strict and it is clear that you will be incriminating by visiting any blocked site. As a first time offender you can be booked under Section 63 of the aforementioned act, which deals with “Offence of infringement of copyright or other rights conferred in the Act” and you may end up in jail for six months to three years, and a fine of Rs 50,000 – Rs 2 lakh. For a subsequent offense, you can be booked under Section 63-A of the Copyright Act, and it can carry a punishment of not less than one year and it might extend to three years and a fine between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh.
It is not clear how one can be prosecuted. It could be that ISPs submit the list of offenders and the “competent authority” or cops can follow through the process under the Copyright Act. In my opinion, it seems more like an education by ISPs to end users that they are trying to access a blocked site and they are committing a punishable offence. Recently Bombay High Court re-iterated to ISPs that blocking site is not the end of their responsibility, they need to inform users that it is an offense to access someone’s copyright work without permission. I suggest you all to be law abiding citizens, no matter this warning is followed through by the Government or not.
Is It Possible To Access Blocked Site?
Yes, it is possible to access blocked sites by using VPN or Proxy. There are different variants of Proxy Servers but a simple explanation is that a proxy server fetches the site or file on your behalf from a particular site (blocked site), so you do not interact with the blocked site directly rather you go to proxy and ask to fetch the web page and proxy provides the web page on your browser screen.
You may also conceal your IP address and browse internet anonymously by using VPN service. These technologies were developed to serve a greater purpose but this is the greatest.
This is the golden age for piracy cops when pirates are not finding any place to hide. The whole torrent world is falling apart. Not only pirates but subscribers of their services are also facing difficult times. Future does not look very kickass for this dark side of internet but there may be few surprises around. Please share your thoughts in comments.
Did you know that India is home to third highest number of technology driven startups across the globe? The study, done by Assocham in association with Thought Arbitrage Research Institute. So add another bullet point in your list as a proud Indian. The mirror says that expert and industry analyst feel that slow internet speed in our country is not adequate to take advantage of modern app based ecosystem.
There has been a push to connect Indian rural regions with Digital India and BharatNet. Government has announced its crucial internet outreach program to extend broadband to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optic fibre cable network under BharatNet. So far so good and it seems like we are heading in the right direction. We are witnessing a great potential in internet based services offered to us today. We are set to become an internet savvy nation which will be relying heavily on internet from getting taxi, grocery and online passport application and so on.
Mobile Internet Speed
Telecom providers in India have also started offering their 4G services. 4G enabled handsets are also available at a very cheaper price which makes it mobile internet very affordable by a common man. However, fixed broadband internet speed is still lagging and far behind the average internet speed across the globe.
According to Akamai the content delivery network and cloud service provider Q4 2015 report India secured 114th rank globally for its average internet speed at 2.8 Mbps. It is also slowest in Asia region.
Internet average connection speed improved to 5.6 Mbps globally. So 4 times increase in our current 512 Kbps speed will still keep us below the global average.
It’s a good start that this issue is raised by IT Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad. As he prompted to take the matter with Ministry of Communications as told to TOI
. They are looking to mandate broadband speed of 2 Mbps from current 512 Kbps. It was last revised in August 2014 from 256 Kbps.
It is a welcome news and we all are looking forward to the announcement. I think we are also waiting for free Wi-Fi in national capital anxiously. So please don’t give up, you might see a free public hotspot one fine morning. If you have something to add to this story, please share it in comments.
What’s The Security Risk?
You don’t need to be an IT ninja to understand and fathom that your online accounts can be hacked. You can take precautions and increase the password complexity but some guys are really good and they can manage to steal your password. You need two factor authentication to safeguard your accounts.
Common Methods To Steal A Password?
- Using the same password on several online services
- Clicking on a link in email message or website
- Downloading a program from the internet
So you can’t guarantee that your password is safe if you do any of these things but not limited to these since everyday we discover new ways of stealing passwords. Are you feeling scared and edgy about the security of online accounts?
Losing access to your account and the information kept in it is one’s nightmare. These bad guys don’t settle with stealing your password, they lock you out by changing the password, delete emails, pictures, send unwanted emails to your contacts pretend to be you, reset password for online banking, shopping accounts etc. You must enable two factor authentication where a PIN is sent to you upon login with the password to your registered mobile number to increase the security even your password is compromised.
Two factor authentication (layer) authentication is an ideal solution for our problem. It enables an additional layer of security where after providing your password, it would send a text message (SMS) containing a code on your registered mobile number which you need to enter to complete the login. Even if your password is stolen the unauthorized user can not login to your account.
All major online services support two factor authentication but not everyone out there on world wide web offers this feature. However, you can find this feature adopted by all major online services including your favourite ones.
How Can You Use Two Factor Authentication?
- Apple: Apple sends 4 digit code on your registered phone number when you attempt to login to your apple account from a new machine. You can enable this feature here. If you want to learn more about this feature then check this FAQ from Apple.
- Google: Google also uses text message to send the 6 digit code to your phone when logging in from new machine. If you always use your device to always login and want to avoid two factor authentication then choose the option to don’t use two factor authentication for the machine. You can set it up here, if you have more questions then head to Google’s documentation.
- Yahoo Mail: Yahoo’s two-factor authentication sends you a 6-digit code via SMS when you log in from a new machine. You can enable it here.
- Facebook: Facebook calls its two-factor authentication “Login Approvals” which sends you a 6-digit code via text message when you attempt to log in from a new machine.You can enable it here, or check out Facebook’s blog for detailed information.
- Twitter: Twitter’s offers two-factor authentication by sending a 6-digit PIN via text message when you try to log in from a new machine. You can enable it here, or find more information available on Twitter’s blog.
- Microsoft Accounts: Microsoft’s follow the similar approach where they send you a 7-digit code via text message or email when you attempt to log in from a new machine. You can enable it here or read Microsoft’s documentation for more info.
The list does not end here but I have tried to list most popular services. You may check the documentation for a service where you intend to enable two factor authentication to secure your account and its information. Needless to say a complex password and two factor authentication is the way to secure your online life because secure is good. Let me know, if you have a story to share in the comments section and if you have not enabled two factor authentication then don’t wait.
This is a welcome change for Skype which allows users to join a Skype conversation by clicking on a URL. The conversation is not limited to messaging only but you can also join audio and video calls without installing Skype on your device.
As of now the update is available for Skype for Mac, Skype for Windows and Skype for Web in US and UK. However, it will be rolled out to rest of the world in coming few weeks.
Users who are running Skype for Mac, Skype for Windows and Skype for Web can click on “+New” from their app and share the unique link via email, Facebook, WhatsApp or whatsoever you want to use. The recipient of the unique link can join the conversation by clicking on the link. The invited guest can provide her or his name and start the conversation. Please note that no Skype account is required. The guest does not need to have Skype app installed on their device to get started. This functionality is really handy! You can check out the video to see the feature in action.
Skype also released an update for Mojis and some video clips based on TV and movies. The new update covers some cool new features and tabs for you to discover. Let me know how your first Skype conversation went with this new feature in comments section.
Skype Blog: A New Way To Start a Skype Conversation