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No decision yet to bring Facebook, Twitter servers in India: Government

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Keeping the security threat in mind related to unlawful content on the internet, the central government has decided not to set up the servers of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in India, despite a large number of people using these websites.

“The government has not decided to get servers of popular social networking sites, like Hike, Facebook, Twitter, etc. established within the country,” Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

The government regularly interacts with these social media giants to resolve the issues of unlawful content surfacing from time to time on Internet, said Prasad.  He said that the security agencies are facing problem while dealing with encrypted communications administered by various service providers. World over service providers are administering services like WhatAapp, Viber, WeChat, Skype, Yahoo, Gmail  for sharing audio, video, image, data, and accessing other web services anytime and anywhere in a secure manner.

Prasad added that the security of these services is achieved through encryption technology, and the citizens from all over the world are mostly availing these services. “At times these services may also be used by anti-national and criminal elements, which pose a security threat,” the Minister said. The government had ordered all the telecom service providers to provide the lawful inception and monitoring details to the security agencies for all the services including WhatsApp, Viber etc., he added.

The lawful interception facilities provided by the telecom operators are helping the security agencies to intercept these encrypted communication services, but they are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format.

“There are multifarious aspects involved in security enforcement agencies getting such encrypted communication in readable format such as technical, international relationship, legal and regulatory policy, commercial and security requirements etc.,” Prasad added.

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Facebook Files Lawsuit Against Data Analytics Firm For Using User’s Data

Facebook sues data analytics firm for harvesting users' data

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Facebook has filed a federal lawsuit in California court against New Jersey-based data analytics firm OneAudience for secretly harvesting its users' data. Pixabay

Stung by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has filed a federal lawsuit in California court against New Jersey-based data analytics firm OneAudience for secretly harvesting its users’ data.

According to the lawsuit, OneAudience improperly accessed and collected user data from Facebook and other social media companies by paying App developers to install a malicious Software Development Kit (SDK) in their apps.

“After a user installed one of these apps on their device, the malicious SDK enabled OneAudience to collect information about the user from their device and their Facebook, Google, or Twitter accounts, in instances where the user logged into the app using those accounts,” read the lawsuit. Security researchers first flagged OneAudience’s behaviour to Facebook as part of its data abuse bounty programme.

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According to the lawsuit, OneAudience improperly accessed and collected user data from Facebook and other social media companies. Pixabay

Facebook, and other affected companies, then took enforcement measures against OneAudience.

“Facebook’s measures included disabling apps, sending the company a cease and desist letter, and requesting their participation in an audit, as required by our policies. OneAudience declined to cooperate,” said Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation. “This is the latest in our efforts to protect people and increase accountability of those who abuse the technology industry and users,” she added.

In November last year, Facebook and Twitter admitted that data of hundreds of users was improperly accessed by some third-party apps on Google Play Store as they logged into those apps.

Security researchers discovered that the One Audience and Mobiburn software development kits (SDK) provided access to users’ data, including email addresses, usernames, and recent tweets, on both the platforms.

Twitter and Facebook said they will notify those whose information was likely shared through apps.

Facebook has sued several third-party platforms in the recent past for scrapping users’ data, including Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group that sells malicious software Pegasus to government agencies.

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“Through these lawsuits, we will continue sending a message to people trying to abuse our services that Facebook is serious about enforcing our policies, including requiring developers to cooperate with us during an investigation, and advance the state of the law when it comes to data misuse and privacy,” said the company. (IANS)