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The recent screaming headlines about data security and privacy in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal have started making even the “illiterates” of the digital world aware about their personal data and the ramifications of the data being leaked or improperly shared.
People have slowly begun realising how their data is being used for purposes that are surreptitious in nature and how, most of the time, they are not even aware of it being collected in a “digital underworld”.
From India’s perspective, data security and privacy are increasingly becoming paramount — with more and more people going digital amid the rapid adoption of data services in the lower strata of society, where overall data sensitivity could be very low.
By the end of 2017, India had 83 million 4G subscribers in its rural geographies. The trends indicate that the data penetration is going wide and deep, meaning people from all strata of society are going online and there is a higher probability of data risks and frauds.
So-called digital literates and experts are surprised by the facts that reveal how and what kind of data is or could be collected by the apps that people use on a daily basis. To prove the case, let’s evaluate the top five grossing apps in India (as of March 31) as per App Annie, an app market data and insights company headquartered in the US.
On March 31, Vigo Video (formerly Hypstar), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, UC Browser and Ludo King game were the top 5 apps on the Android platform in India. Android runs on 96 per cent of smartphones in the country. (Athough, the Top 5 trending keeps changing and may not reflect the actual Top 5 most-used apps; but such apps are widely used by a huge number of smartphone users.)
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While conducting an audit of the kinds of permissions these apps should be seeking to perform the functions that they are here for, and the actual permissions they seek, some alarming facts have emerged.
For instance, under the “Device and App” history permission group of Google Play, Vigo Video and UC Browser, they can read sensitive data log. This means popular apps like these can effectively scan everything in your smartphone.
Similarly, under the “Identity Permission” group, Vigo Video, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can read, add or remove accounts on your device.
Also Read: Rise Of Digital Media Unstoppable: Experts
Likewise, Facebook Messenger and Vigo Video can download files without notification as it seeks permission under other permissions groups of Google Play. UC Browser seeks full licence to interact across users in this category of permissions.
Even for advanced app developers, it is difficult to decipher why these permissions are required — and even if they are able to establish a reason, they cannot guarantee that the permission is not abused.
For instance, permission to download files without notification by Facebook Messenger and Vigo Video could be used to install stickers and other such things seamlessly on one’s device for better user experience and friendliness. But the only things stopping them from dropping a hidden software development kit (SDK) on a smartphone are ethics and trust — both at an all-time low these days.
Google must act like a “Digitally Socially Responsible” platform that forces developers who publish apps in its Play Store to provide a full description of the permissions they seek — and what exactly the apps require the permissions for.
This ambiguity of “may” or “may not” definitely gives them legal comfort, but users cannot be experts to decipher to what extent the app may infringe on their data.
There is also a need for third-party independent app audits that could evaluate them and certify whether these are only doing what they are supposed to do.
In this digital age and time, data is bound to rest with the app makers and other value-chain players. As long as they are transparent in seeking only the requisite permissions and, at the same time, clarifying to what extent a permission group is used, they are real friends and enhance productivity of the users.
As of now, it appears that only Ludo King among the Top 5 apps is a fair one that seeks a few network and accessing storage permissions, besides preventing the device from sleeping.
There is no solution unless the entire ecosystem becomes more transparent. One may think of removing all the suspicious apps from the system but, how to decide what is suspicious and what is not is a real herculean task. IANS
Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."
Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.
The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: National hero of Barbados, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Prince Charles, Barbado, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister, Rihanna)
By Manav Bhatia
It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore. Manav Bhatia, Founder Trunkin shares some tablescapes for the season
Christmas Tablescapes: Whether it's cherry red tablecloths or plush green napkin rings, there's something for everyone. Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year.
Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year. | Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash
Finish it off with Royalty: Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. Jewelled beads in the centre of a napkin ring surrounded by metal carving can be combined in a variety of forms and sizes and gives a touch of glamour.
Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. | Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Touch of Smoke: Winter is the season when evening decor is especially important for parties, get-togethers, and bonfires. Colours in grey and ivory combine night with the day. Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening.
Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening. | Pxhere
Smearing of Wood: Nature's finish using ferns and drift wood for decor instead of flowers add to the winter feels.
Wall Hangings: Embroidered and beaded hangings add a touch of elegance and are traditional accessories for Christmas. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Wall Hangings, Wood, Winter, Smoke, Royalty, Christmas, Festivities, Perfect Setting)
Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the nerve of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye, which is known as intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve which is responsible for sending images to the brain. If the damage worsens, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even total blindness within a few years. According to WHO, there are different kinds of glaucoma, though, the two most common are, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and slow and asymptomatic onset, and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common, yet more acute. Hence, it is important for everybody over the age of 40 years to have a regular eye check-up.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. There are various options available to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. Depending upon the need of the patient, doctor may recommend combinations of eye drops, but it is of utmost importance to use the drops on a regular basis. However, consulting a specialist should be the first priority if diagnosed with glaucoma, but most of the population will first opt for home remedies then will consult chemists' shops for medicines and if the issue is still not resolved then will they think of a specialist. There is a need to modify the mindset of the people and when it comes to sensory organs zero negligence rule should be followed.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Awareness is the key to managing Glaucoma better. The need of the hour is to include eye care as part of the health check-up. Timely detection of Glaucoma will lead to proper medication and diagnosis by an Ophthalmologist. Talking about prevention, early detection will help in managing glaucoma before significant damage occurs. Glaucoma can be because of genetics as well hence knowing the family's eye history is important. Regular and moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure also eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high pressure will progress to glaucoma.
Also, there are few home remedies that anyone can follow to avoid glaucoma. Consuming healthy food, using eyewear, avoiding head-down position, keeping oral hygienic, and protecting eyes from sunlight are a few of such remedies. One should be mindful of the fact that Glaucoma is irreversible blindness and awareness can help us in fighting it. Depending on the condition an Ophthalmologist may prescribe an oral medication or may suggest therapies. In severe conditions, doctors can also recommend surgeries like Laser therapy, Filtering surgery, Drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: eye disorder, eye, India, World Health Organisation, blindness , foggy vision, eye redness, Glaucoma, Ophthalmologist