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Microsoft Contractors in China Listen to Skype Calls: Report

Microsoft contractors in China listened to Skype chats too

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Microsoft contractors in China reportedly listened to calls made on Skype and digital assistant Cortana. Pixabay

Microsoft contractors in China reportedly listened to calls made on Skype and digital assistant Cortana as they reviewed thousands of audio recordings from Skype and Cortana without cybersecurity protection.

A Guardian report on Friday quoted an unidentified former Microsoft contractor as saying that he reviewed thousands of audio recordings from Skype and Cortana on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over a two-year period.

The contractor said that he heard “all kinds of unusual conversations” while performing the transcription.

“It sounds a bit crazy now, after educating myself on computer security, that they gave me the URL, username and password sent over email,” he was quoted as saying.

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Microsoft in August last year admitted that third-party contractors listen to voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana. Pixabay

Microsoft said in a statement given to CNET that calls are now transcribed in “secure facilities in a small number of countries.

Microsoft has also made changes, including moving its review program to “secure facilities,” none of which are in China.

“This past summer we carefully reviewed both the process we use and the communications with customers,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

“As a result we updated our privacy statement to be even more clear about this work, and since then we’ve significantly enhanced the process including by moving these reviews to secure facilities in a small number of countries”.

Microsoft in August last year admitted that third-party contractors listen to voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana.

The revelation came after Motherboard found contractors were listening to audio from both Skype and Cortana, including sensitive and personal conversations of Microsoft customers.

Microsoft’s human review contractors were paid between $12 and $14 an hour for the job, and transcribe up to 200 audio clips every hour.

Also Read- Company Can Start Mass Production of Mi Mix Alpha Smartphones: Xiaomi Executives

Apple, Google and Amazon recently suspended human review of user audio recordings after reports said the companies used third-party contractors to listen to users’ voice recordings.

While Apple suspended the programme that let its virtual assistant Siri listen to users’ recordings for “quality control”, Google stopped listening and transcribing Google Assistant recordings in Europe. (IANS)

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Digital Transactions in Delhi-NCR Grew by 235% Last Year: Razorpay

Online transactions in Delhi-NCR grew 235% in 2019

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Online transactions in Delhi-NCR grew by 235 per cent in 2019 and it was the third most digitized region in 2019. Pixabay

Digital transactions in Delhi-NCR grew by 235 per cent from 2018 (January-December) to 2019 (January-December) and the region was the third most digitised state in 2019, thus, contributing 13.05 per cent in 2019 (up from 10.9 per cent in 2018), said a new report by full-stack financial services company Razorpay on Tuesday.

“The last year has been buzzing for the fintech sector in Delhi, with the adoption of new digital payment modes and bringing the digital currency to the mainstream. The last six months saw a tremendous shift in the consumption patterns of businesses and consumer preferences of digital payments in the region.

“With UPI growing by a whopping 442 per cent in Delhi, I am certain that this payment method will overtake cards by at least 20 per cent in the next 12 months,” Harshil Mathur, CEO and co-founder of Razorpay, said in a statement.

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Credit and Debit cards contributed 46 per cent in digital transactions. Pixabay

In 2019, Karnataka saw the highest adoption of digital payments (26.64 per cent) followed by Maharashtra (15.92 per cent) and Delhi NCR (13.01 per cent).

While the usage of cards (46 per cent) and netbanking (11 per cent) saw a decline in 2019, down from 56 per cent and 23 per cent for cards and netbanking, respectively in 2018, UPI (38 per cent) went up from 17 per cent in 2018.

Amazon Pay was the most preferred wallet among consumers (33 per cent), followed by Ola Money (17 per cent) in 2019.

Also Read- India Witnesses Fall in the Number of Cyber Threats in 2019: Kaspersky

The top three sectors in digital payment adoption for 2019 were food and beverage (26 per cent), financial services (12.5 per cent) and transportation (8 per cent).

Among UPI, Google Pay contributed 59 per cent, PhonePe contributed 26 per cent, followed by Paytm (7 per cent) and BHIM (6 per cent) in digital transactions in 2019. (IANS)