Dhaka, Apr 17 (UNB) - The Indian government has ordered Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned Tiktok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material.
The app, which claims to have 500 million users worldwide including more than 120 million in India, has been fighting the effort to shut it down after a high court in Chennai called for the ban on 3 April, reports the Guardian.
India's top court on Tuesday refused an appeal by its owner, Chinese company ByteDance, to suspend the order.
Hugely popular with teenagers, it allows people to post short videos of themselves lip-syncing and dancing to their favourite songs, performing short comedy skits or completing challenges.
TikTok has been fined in the US for illegally collecting information on children.
The Madras High Court order asked the federal government to ban TikTok on the grounds that it encouraged pornography and made young users vulnerable to sexual predators. It is due to hear the case again on 22 April.
In its court filing, ByteDance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.
The company says it has more than 500 million monthly active users around the world.
San Francisco, Apr 17 (AP/UNB) — Apple and mobile chip maker Qualcomm have settled a bitter financial dispute centered on some of the technology that enables iPhones to connect to the internet.
The surprise truce announced Tuesday came just as the former allies turned antagonists were facing off in a federal court trial that was supposed to unfold over the next month in San Diego. The resolution abruptly ended that trial, which also involved Apple's key iPhone suppliers.
The deal requires Apple to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount. It also includes a six-year licensing agreement that likely involves recurring payments to the mobile chip maker.
Investors reacted as if it were a resounding victory for Qualcomm. The San Diego company's stock soared 23% to close Tuesday at $70.45. Apple shares edged up 2 cents to $199.25.
Neither Apple nor Qualcomm would comment beyond a brief statement announcing they had resolved their differences. Details about how much Apple and its iPhone suppliers will be paying Qualcomm could emerge in court documents or when the companies announce their latest financial results. Apple is due to report its quarterly results on April 30 while Qualcomm is scheduled to release its numbers on May 1.
Apple had been seeking at least $1 billion for money that Qualcomm was supposed to rebate as part of an earlier licensing agreement. Apple had begun to have misgivings about that deal as it added more features to its increasingly popular line-up of iPhones.
Qualcomm was seeking $7 billion for unpaid royalties it contended it was owed for its patented technology in the iPhone. Apple's iPhone suppliers, including Foxconn and Pegatron, wanted another $27 billion from Qualcomm.
The dispute was clearly beginning to hurt all parties involved, motivating them to settle, said technology industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
"Both Apple and Qualcomm got deeper into this than they wanted to," Moorhead said.
Qualcomm also held another bargaining chip: It makes the modem chips needed for future smartphones to work with the next generation of high-speed wireless networks known as "5G." Two of Apple's biggest rivals, Samsung and Huawei, are already getting ready to introduce 5G models. The iPhone would have been at a disadvantage if it didn't have a pipeline to Qualcomm's chips.
Falling behind the competition isn't something Apple can afford with its iPhone sales already falling .
"Ultimately, Apple realized this was more about two kids fighting in the sandbox and they have bigger issues ahead with 5G and iPhone softness versus battling Qualcomm in court," Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in Tuesday research note.
Apple had already lost an earlier battle with Qualcomm last month when a federal court jury in San Diego decided the iPhone maker owed Qualcomm $31 million for infringing on three of its patents.
Qualcomm still faces other potential fallout from its demands to be paid royalties in addition to the fees it charges for its mobile chips. The Federal Trade Commission has accused the company of using its royalty system to stifle competition in the mobile chip market in another case in which Apple played a central role.
A trial about the FTC's lawsuit wrapped up in a San Jose, California, court in January, but the judge still hasn't issued a ruling.
Dhaka, Apr 14 (UNB) - Search engine giant Google is celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla new year, by replacing its regular home page graphic with a special doodle for the Bangladeshi surfers.
Google‘s new Doodle featured a parade of colorful banners in the shape of Mangal Shobhajatra and Royal Bengal tiger.
Pahela Baishakhis the first day of Bengali Calendar. It is celebrated on 14 April as a national holiday in Bangladesh, and on 14 or 15 April in the Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha , Tripura and part of Assam by people of Bengali heritage, irrespective of their religious faith.
A time of hope and joy, Pohela Boishakh is marked by traditional song and dance, reciting of poems, and festive processions through the streets. In the capital city of Dhaka, thousands of students wearing masks participate in a festival known as Mangal Shobhajatra.
Colorful bamboo figures of animals—like the Bengal tiger seen in today’s animated Doodle—are carried above the crowd, along with flying birds, elephants, and more. In fact, students from Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Art began this tradition in 1989, and in 2016 it was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of humanity’s Intangible Culture Heritage.
Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepage that is intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people. The doodle was introduced in 1998.
Brussels, Apr (AP/UNB) — The European Commission says Facebook has changed the fine print in its terms of service to clearly explain that it makes money by selling access to users' data.
The social media giant modified its terms after discussions with the commission and consumer protection authorities.
European Union Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova said Tuesday, "Now users will clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads."
EU authorities stepped up scrutiny of Facebook's terms after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, in which the data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.
The changes are part of broader global efforts to rein in social media companies amid concerns about privacy breaches, harmful content and other online abuses.
London, Apr 9 (AP/UNB) — Tech giants like Facebook and Google came under increasing pressure in Europe on Monday when countries proposed stricter rules to force them to block extreme material such as terrorist propaganda and child porn.
Britain called for a first-of-its-kind watchdog for social media that could fine executives and even ban companies. And a European Union parliamentary committee approved a bill giving internet companies an hour to remove terror-related material or face fines that could reach into the billions.
"We are forcing these firms to clean up their act once and for all," said British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, whose department collaborated on Britain's proposal.
Opponents warned the British and EU measures could stifle innovation and strengthen the dominance of technology giants because smaller companies won't have the money to comply. That, in turn, could turn Google and Facebook into the web's censors, they said.
The push to make the big companies responsible for the torrent of material they carry has largely been driven by Europeans. But it picked up momentum after the March 15 mosque shootings in New Zealand that killed 50 people and were livestreamed for 17 minutes. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks in the 24 hours afterward.
The U.S., where government action is constrained by the First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of the press, has taken a more hands-off approach, though on Tuesday, a House committee will press Google and Facebook executives on whether they are doing enough to curb the spread of hate crimes and white nationalism.
Australia last week made it a crime for social media platforms not to quickly remove "abhorrent violent material." The offense would be punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 10.5 million Australian dollars ($7.5 million), or 10% of the platform's annual revenue, whichever is larger. New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner wants his country to so the same.
The British plan would require social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to protect people who use their sites from "harmful content." The plan, which includes the creation of an independent regulator funded by a tax on internet companies, will be subject to public comment for three months before the government publishes draft legislation.
"No one in the world has done this before, and it's important that we get it right," Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright told the BBC.
Facebook's head of public policy in Britain, Rebecca Stimson, said the goal of the new rules should be to protect society while also supporting innovation and freedom of speech.
"These are complex issues to get right, and we look forward to working with the government and Parliament to ensure new regulations are effective," she said.
Britain will consider imposing financial penalties similar to those under the EU's online data privacy law, which permits fines of up to 4% of a company's annual worldwide revenue, Wright said. In extreme cases, the government may also seek to fine individual company directors and prevent companies from operating in Britain.
Under the EU legislation that cleared an initial hurdle in Brussels, any internet companies that fail to remove terrorist content within an hour of being notified by authorities would face similar 4% penalties. EU authorities came up with the idea last year after attacks highlighted the growing trend of online radicalization.
The bill would apply to companies providing services to EU citizens, whether or not those businesses are based in the EU's 28 member countries. It still needs further approval, including from the full European Parliament.
It faces heavy opposition from digital rights organizations, tech industry groups and some lawmakers, who said the 60-minute deadline is impractical and would lead companies to go too far and remove even lawful material.
"Instead, we call for a more pragmatic approach with removals happening 'as soon as possible,' to protect citizens' rights and competitiveness," said EDIMA, a European trade group for new media and internet companies.
Opponents said the measure also places a bigger burden on smaller internet companies than on giants like Facebook and Google, which already have automated content filters. To help smaller web companies, the bill was modified to give them an extra 12 hours for their first offense, a measure opponents said didn't go far enough.
Mark Skilton, a professor at England's Warwick Business School, urged regulators to pursue new methods such as artificial intelligence that could do a better job of tackling the problem.
"Issuing large fines and hitting companies with bigger legal threats is taking a 20th-century bullwhip approach to a problem that requires a nuanced solution," he said. "It needs machine learning tools to manage the 21st-century problems of the internet."
Wright said Britain's proposed social-media regulator would be expected to take freedom of speech into account while trying to prevent harm.
"What we're talking about here is user-generated content, what people put online, and companies that facilitate access to that kind of material," he said. "So this is not about journalism. This is about an unregulated space that we need to control better to keep people safer."