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‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’ : Book Release in Kolkata brings Digital Divide under spotlight

The book outlines the influence of social media on Human lives while contrasting it with the traditional media

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Book Release of 'India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media' at Kolkata Press Club.
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Kolkata, November 5, 2016:  To create awareness about digital divide that has become the new caste system of the world, the book release of ‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’ was organized at the Kolkata Press Club on Saturday, November 5.

Edited by Dr. Sunetra Sen Narayan and Dr. Shalini Narayanan, the book outlines the influence of social media on Human lives while contrasting it with the traditional media. Not just that, it also accounts challenges that lies ahead of us and the opportunities that social media flags in the Indian setting.

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Book 'India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media'
Book ‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’

Dr. Narayanan says, digital divide is created due to factors like gender discrimination, income, differently abled people, literacy, and connectivity or speed. If we control them, we can bridge the gap.”

The book release was followed by a panel discussion on New Media and Historical Exclusions: The Challenges Ahead that focussed on the digital divide based on income, gender, and disability.

Documentary filmmaker and Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the protection of Child Rights- Ananya Chatterjee Chakroborti says,  “Digital Divide is the new caste system in the world and there is a huge gap between country’s rich and poor. But, an organisation called IndiaUnheard is doing a fabulous job in bridging the gap.”

IndiaUnheard is the first ever community news service launched by Video Volunteers. This new initiative is constituted of a network of community correspondents who are trained to tell unique stories; stories about their own communities; stories which are otherwise left untold. The website flags the stories of the plight of these people as well as their success stories.

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Dr Uma Shankar Pandey, Head of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Surendranath College for Women, Kolkata says the problem is that in India, there are 25 crore people who have access to the internet, but the rest 1 billion are deprived of it.

“There is more to this one, what makes the gap worse is that there is 27% gender inequality, which means that boys have more access to internet than girls. Also, there is 12% urban-rural gap, which means rural people are less likely to have access to mobile or internet connections than urban people. This creates a class divide,” he adds.

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“What’s striking is that new media has also brought with it, imposition of a value system,” says Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University Prof. Suranjan Das. Media can be the torchbearer of ethics, once it is separated from biases.

Among the distinguished authors who contributed to the volume of the book are Prof Stephen McDowell of Florida State University, Tallahassee; Dr B P Sanjay, Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Hyderabad; Prof J Jethwaney, IIMC and others.

– by Deepannita Das of NewsGram. Twitter: @deepweep

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?