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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Australia on Friday said it would form a dedicated department to keep check on Facebook and Google as part of reforms to protect privacy of consumers and ensure antitrust laws are respected in the country.

The measure to control the market dominance of the technology giants and police their activities was recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the antitrust watchdog for protection of consumer rights and rein in illegal anti-competitive behaviour.


It comes in the context of concerns over the power the technology companies have in the market and the influence over the people through collection of personal data of consumers, Efe news reported.

On Friday, the ACCC released 23 recommendations along with its final report on the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and digital content aggregators on the state of competition in media and advertising services markets.

The study was commissioned by the government in 2017.

Among other measure, the watchdog has recommended establishment of a special branch of the ACCC “to pro-actively monitor and investigate potentially anti-competitive conduct by digital platforms”.


Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

“Make no mistake, these companies are among the most powerful and valuable in the world,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said as he released the report on regulating of digital platforms.

Frydenberg said these multinationals needed to be “held to account and their activities need to be more transparent”.

The government also emphasized that digital platforms collect and use a large amount of personal information about consumers who need to be informed about the data collected as well as by whom and how it is being used.

Frydenberg said there was a need to develop a media regulatory framework to “ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets”.

Also Read: No Environment Immune to Cyber Attacks: Check Point

ACCC chair Rod Sims in a statement said that the recommendations were “comprehensive and forward looking and deal with the many competition, consumer, privacy and news media issues we have identified throughout the course of this inquiry”.

However, Sunita Bose, Managing Director of Digital Industry Group, which represents Google, Facebook and Twitter, urged caution to the government.

“We’re closely reviewing these recommendations to ensure they don’t bring unintended consequences to all digital businesses and the choice of digital products available to Australian consumers,” she said in a statement. (IANS)


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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)


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Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.

When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)


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Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!



Recipe:

30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Garnish:
Cinnamon powder and star anise.

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