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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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Whatsapp messaging platform
Image: IANS

San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)

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Google Will Now Update You About Political Ad-Spend In India

Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms, the company said in a statement. 

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Google
Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms, the company said in a statement.

 

As India gears up for the Lok Sabha elections, Google on Tuesday announced an updated election ads that will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing these on Google platforms and how much money is being spent.

The updated election ads policy will require advertisers to provide a “pre-certificate” issued by the Election Commision of India (ECI) or anyone authorised by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run.

Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting.
Election Commission of India, IANS

Google said it will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms.

The advertiser verification process will begin on February 14 and begin enforcing the policy from February 20.

The company would also introduce an India-specific “Political Advertising Transparency” report and searchable “Political Ads Library” in March.

“The ads that will be covered in the Political Advertising Transparency Report and Ads Library are ads for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 that feature a political party, political candidate or current member of the Lok Sabha, or any ads that are run by a political party, political candidate or current member of the Lok Sabha,” Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director-Public Policy, Google India, told IANS.

In 2019, over 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government.

“We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world,” Krishnaswamy said in a seperate statement.

For the elections, Google will make electoral information from the ECI and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on Search.

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Google to verify political ads in India ahead of 2019 polls

“We are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process,” Krishnaswamy added.

Google became the second tech giant after Facebook in December announced fresh steps to increase ad transparency and defend against foreign interference ahead of the 2019 polls.

Now anyone who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to first confirm their identity and location, and give more details about who placed the ad, the social networking giant said.

Also Read: Google Opens New Office,Plans To Expand Itself In Berlin

Facebook would also start to show a disclaimer on all political ads that provides more information about who’s placing the ad, and an online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in November said it is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of general election. /9IANS0