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Public Concern Over Data Privacy Pushes Tech Giants to Change their Way

Apple's announcements come on the heels of user privacy scandals that have rocked tech companies over the last several years

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tech giants, privacy
Peter Stern, Apple Vice President of Services, speaks at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, California. VOA

Mounting public concern over data privacy is pushing tech giants to change their ways, industry experts said on Tuesday, a day after Apple unveiled a series of new products, stressing their privacy-friendly features.

The world’s second-most valuable technology company will now offer a credit card, a news service called Apple News+ and a TV service with original programming, all designed to keep users’ information private and secure, it said on Monday. Apple’s announcements come on the heels of user privacy scandals that have rocked tech companies over the last several years.

Such clarity is welcome in a digital environment that lacks transparency and where people are sometimes unaware of what happens to their data, said Hielke Hijmans, a law expert at the Brussels Privacy Hub, a Belgian research center.

privacy, tech giants
Mark Zuckerberg said the company plans to encrypt more of the conversations happening on its messaging services, which could limit Facebook’s ability to parse those conversations. Flickr

“This empowers the users and helps to give them a genuine choice,” he said. Earlier this month, rivals like Google and Facebook said they were making changes to boost user privacy.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company plans to encrypt more of the conversations happening on its messaging services, which could limit Facebook’s ability to parse those conversations.

Google said it is working on privacy enhancements for the Android operating system that powers most of the world’s mobile phones, such as locking down access to phone cameras and microphones. At the launch event in California, Apple executives said the company will not allow advertisers to track what users read on its news service and it will not itself have that data.

privacy, tech giants, data
Apple’s announcements come on the heels of user privacy scandals that have rocked tech companies over the last several years. Pixabay

Consumer data from its credit card will not be shared or sold to third parties for marketing, and the company will not know where a purchase was made, what was bought or how much it cost, Apple said.

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Yet, Apple’s privacy moves aren’t likely to be mimicked by everyone, said Jan Penfrat, a senior policy advisor at advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi).

Assembling profiles of consumers for the purpose of targeting advertisements is at the heart of how Google and Facebook made money, he said .Unlike those companies, Apple’s business model is not largely dependent on advertising. “Apple is rather the exception, not the norm,” Penfrat added. (VOA)

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Amazon Partners With Onida to Unveil Fire TV Edition Smart TVs in India

The TV features Dolby Digital Plus and DTS TruSurround sound for a superior sound experience

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Amazon
"Onida is excited to work with Amazon to bring the Fire TV experience to India. We have over 38 years of experience building TVs in India and the Onida Fire TV Edition brings superior picture quality and sound output to customers, at affordable prices," said Sunil Shankar, Business Head, MIRC Electronics Ltd. (Onida). VOA

Amazon has partnered with Onida to launch its Fire TV edition Smart TVs in India at a starting price of Rs 12,999.

The TV will be available in 32-inch variant for an introductory price of Rs 12,999 while the 43-inch version will be available for Rs 21,999 starting December 20.

“We are very excited to bring the complete Fire TV experience on Onida TVs in India. With Fire TV Edition’s excellent picture quality and immersive sound experience, customers can enjoy all their favourite content in one place, whether it is streaming content from popular apps like Prime Video, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Zee5 and more, or switching to DTH/cable connection for live TV,” Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices India, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Onida Fire TV Edition has Fire TV built-in, thus, enabling the users to easily find and watch their favoruite movies and TV shows from OTT platforms like Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, YouTube, Sony Liv, Zee5, and Sun Nxt among others.

Amazon
Amazon has partnered with Onida to launch its Fire TV edition Smart TVs in India at a starting price of Rs 12,999. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Onida is excited to work with Amazon to bring the Fire TV experience to India. We have over 38 years of experience building TVs in India and the Onida Fire TV Edition brings superior picture quality and sound output to customers, at affordable prices,” said Sunil Shankar, Business Head, MIRC Electronics Ltd. (Onida).

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The device comes with built-in WiFi, 3 HDMI ports, 1 USB port and 1 earphone port to enable customers connect DTH or cable set top boxes, gaming consoles, sound bars and home theatre systems.

The TV features Dolby Digital Plus and DTS TruSurround sound for a superior sound experience. (IANS)