Thursday April 26, 2018
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Google Street View Services Denied Permission Again

The government seems to show a blind eye towards WoNoBo which does the same thing as Street View .

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Google Street View Image Source- MapAnything
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  • Google Street View services stalled in India over “security concerns”.
  • Issues said to be sorted out once the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, comes into force.
  • The government shows double standards by giving permission to WoNoBo.

The government first denied permission to the Google Street View service in May 2011 when the search giant first started recording 360-degree images of the southern city, Bangalore. The government gave its permission for a relaunch, and even tied up with Google, by allowing it to cover many monuments like the Qutub Minar and the Taj Mahal. Now, Google has been denied permission to bring Street View to India.

Google Street View Car Image Source:Wikipedia Commons

Google hasn’t really had an easy drive with Google Street View. It shot primarily using a car equipped with a 360-degree camera, but the concerns governments have raised have primarily been over privacy as the camera captures everything in its path even children playing in front of their homes .

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However, there is a bit of hypocrisy behind how the government has handled Google Street View. While the service now covers most of the world, it has been stalled in India over “security concerns”. That is perfectly understandable .

The problem, however, is a service called WoNoBo. Launched in October 2013, this Mumbai-based service does the same thing as Street View and with permission from the government. When it was launched in New Delhi one of the attendees was then Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan who said the service “will add immense value to the Incredible India campaign”.

WoNoBo is still live on apps and show 360-degree videos of many cities, including strategic locations like government buildings, which are all searchable. Everything from faces to number plates of cars are visible on WoNoBo, available only on its apps now. The government seems to show a blind eye towards WoNoBo which also clearly compromises security.

WoNoBo app shows Marine Drive ,Image source:Google Play

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The company site says the web service will be back soon. It is hard
to understand why the government has double standards in this case unless we consider that the government trusts the Indian companies from misusing the d
ata collected.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has said the issues will be sorted out once the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, comes into effect.

 

-by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.(with inputs from The Indian Express) Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Google’s ‘Chat’ service a gift to cybercriminals: Amnesty

RCS is a communication protocol between mobile-telephone carriers and between phone and carrier

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The logo of Google.
Google Chat is gift cybercriminals. Pixabay

Google’s decision to launch a new messaging service called “Chat” without end-to-end encryption shows utter contempt for the privacy of Android users and has handed a precious gift to cybercriminals and government spies alike, Amnesty International has said.

Communications on the new “Chat” service will not be sent over the Internet but through mobile phone carriers, like SMS text messages, according to reports.

Google Chat is becoming more famous.

In a statement to The Verge this week, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the new service will not use end-to-end encryption and that Google is “pausing investment” in its existing mobile messaging app “Allo” which has an option for end-to-end encryption.

“Not only does this shockingly retrograde step leave Google lagging behind its closest competitors — Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s WhatsApp both have end-to-end encryption in place by default — it is also a step backwards from the company’s previous attempts at online messaging,” Joe Westby, a technology and human rights researcher at Amnesty International, said on Friday.

Also Read: Google Will Take Action If Apps Violate Its Policies

Amnesty International considers end-to-end encryption a minimum requirement for technology companies to ensure that private information in messaging apps stays private. End-to-end encryption is a way of scrambling digital data so that only the sender and recipient can see it.

When it is in place, even the company providing the service is unable to access the content of communications. “Following the revelations by CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, end-to-end encryption has become recognised as an essential safeguard for protecting people’s privacy when using messaging apps. With this new Chat service, Google shows a staggering failure to respect the human rights of its customers,” Westby said in a statement.

A Google picture.
The Chat is a security threat. VOA

In the wake of the recent Facebook data scandal, Westby said that Google’s decision is not only dangerous but also out of step with current attitudes to data privacy. “Google should immediately scrap it in its current form and instead give its customers a product that protects their privacy,” Westby suggested.

Google is going all in on building the Rich Communication Services (RCS). RCS is a communication protocol between mobile-telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is more rich, provide phonebook polling and transmit in-call multimedia. IANS