Aadhar breach reports false, system is secure: UIDAI

Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times                                                                                                  UIDAI, while dismissing the allegations, said that claims of bypassing or duping the Aadhaar enrolment system are totally unfounded as it has appropriate checks in place.




New Delhi, January 05: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), on Thursday, dismissed reports of alleged sharing of Aadhaar details and claimed complete security of its system. Recently, news reports revealed that anonymous sellers were in the process of offering unrestricted access to Aadhaar details over WhatsApp, upon payment of Rs. 500, reported Livemint.

The UIDAI, in an official statement, also ascertained that any misuse of details is traceable as it maintains complete log of numerous functions. For any such violation of data security, it added, legal action inclusive of FIR against the entities initialising the malpractices, is being undertaken.

According to the Livemint, the agency claims of providing “search facility” for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel as well as state government officials in order to help residents, strictly only upon entering their Aadhaar number.

According to the Aadhaar-issuing agency, its grievance redressal search facility offers solely restricted access to name and other details; it has no access to biometric ones.

At the same time, Aadhaar number is not a secretive, and is meant to be legitimately shared with authorised agencies whenever an Aadhaar holder wishes to avail services and benefits offered through the medium of government welfare schemes.

“Also, mere availability of Aadhaar number will not be a security threat or will not lead to financial/other fraud, as for a successful authentication, fingerprint or iris scan of individual is also required,” it added.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to quit company by November

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton will be leaving the messaging service firm to work on his own organization. Acton took to Facebook on Tuesday to announce his exit and wrote: “I’ve decided to start a nonprofit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications.” Sharing insights on his forthcoming non-profit entity, Acton stated that he has been thinking about this for a while, and has now finally decided to focus and make it a reality.

Brian co-founded the company in 2009 with Jan Koum, and has since dedicated 8 years of his service to it. As per the report in Recode, Acton has been in charge of the company’s engineering team until now.

Acton’s decision has come a week after WhatsApp launched monetization efforts that had been in the pipeline for quite some time. Moreover, the news of his departure has come at a time when the service messaging firm is trying to make money by setting up multiple enterprise products that will help in interacting with customers; and is also hiring vital business positions.

Brian Acton will be officially leaving the firm by November, this year.

Source: Business Insider, Firstpost

Whatsapp comes up with status story version copying Snapchat

WhatsApp came up with with its own version of 24-hour story copying the trend set by Snapchat in the form of Status.  Facebook recently owned WhatsApp and now it has and updated feature for the status. Instead of posting a short status, like “in the gym, at school”, one can post a picture or video that will be up for 24 hours on your profile. This feature was recently added in Instagram.

A unique elements added to this WhatsApp’s version of Stories is GIFs. Also all the status updates are end-to-end encrypted which gives a security stability to the updates. Another improves feature is of the videos which can be of 45 seconds, overpowering the 10 seconds videos on other platforms.

To remind, Whatsapp works on address book, therefore your status is visible to your Whatsapp contacts and there aren’t any followers. But undoubtedly the concept remains the same.

In  the past six months, Whatsapp has added features of almost all social media applications like video call of Skype, voice call like Viber, sending documents like Xender and many more features from Facebook.

The 24 hour status story update feature is available from Monday to the WhatsApp users of Netherlands and France. Later in the week it will begin in U.K., Spain, Italy, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Indian ‘WhatsAppers’ still need to wait for the updated version.

Source: India Today, DNA

Image Source: Representational image from Yourstory.com

Skype and WhatsApp set to come under the new EU security rules

User security and data confidentiality is one of the major concerns in the online space today. In view of this, European Union is all set to propose stricter rules for the widely used messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype pertaining to how they handle user data.

The EU is aiming to extend these rules even to web companies and not just telecom operators. For this the web services will have to guarantee the confidentiality of user data and obtain consent before accessing user location and similar information.

The phone companies want these EU rules which are specific to only Telecom firms, either extend to all or be repealed, “This creates a void of protection of confidentiality for the users of these services,” the draft said, referring to web companies or OTT (Over-the-Top) services.

According to this draft telecom companies that were earlier barred from using customer data, will now have access to consumer data with their consent.

In addition to this, the draft also said that it would remove the obligation for websites to seek permission from users to place cookies on their browsers through a banner, if the user has already consented through the privacy settings of their browser.

A spokesperson from the European Union refused to comment on this matter, but confirmed that the aim of the review is to regulate and revise data protection and simplify the provisions for cookies with effect from 2018.

Sources: Reuters, IB Times

Image Source: Snopes.com

Google launches AI-integrated instant messaging app- ‘Allo’

The internet search engine giant, Google has launched an instant messaging app, Allo with an integration of Google Assistance and has packed in a lot of features like smart reply and various options to enable sharing of photos, emojis as well as stickers. Allo is available for both Android and iOS platforms. The app uses phone numbers as a method to identify the users. Users who have downloaded Allo can also link their Google accounts through the app.

Allo has special features specially designed for Indian users in order to take on other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Hike messenger. Google has enabled smart replies in ‘Hinglish’ and included 200 stickers made by independent artists specially designed for Indian users. The smart reply feature allows users to respond to messages with just one tap. Along with that, the app adjusts to the responses of the user over time by learning from their behavioural pattern.

Allo has Google Assistance integrated on the software which helps in simplifying everyday tasks for users without interrupting their conversations and provides them convenience while chatting or sharing files with friends. One of the foremost important features is the built-in search which helps the user to search anything on Google by just typing @google followed by their search query.  This allows users to continue the conversation in the chat window while running an online search of relevant information.

Google’s late entry into the instant messaging market in the presence of hoards of messaging app like Facebook messenger, Hike, WhatApp, etc. might prove to be a tough competition but Google has earned a name and has proven its worth and credibility in the market, in spite of late entry in a number of previous cases such as Google Chrome and Google search. All of which were introduced later that its competitors but managed to become key players in the market, slowly overtaking incumbents.

Allo has interesting features which the users may be psyched to try out but they also lack few other features which their competitors offer like voice calling and options to share large documents. By rolling out the new instant messaging app in the market, Google has tried to move away from the previous errors of merging Hangouts and Gchat. Instead, Google has introduced a separate slow-networks adaptable video chat application named Duo a month before Allo.

Allo’s mobile focus consumer-centric feature is an attempt to take over the mobile app based market and drive the users to use the app for personal purposes. Whereas apps like Gchat and Hangout are specifically designed for more professional, business usage.

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WhatsApp AndroidBeta gets drawing tools and Snapchat-like features; iOS will connect with Siri

A takeover from Facebook seems to have done some real good to Whatsapp which is the world’s most popular chat app. WhatsApp has consistently been adding new features to its iOS and Android apps. You will now be able to scribble on pictures, make video calls, click pictures in the dark and make voice calls.

Now, the latest beta version of its Android app (2.16.264)  has been updated with two new features – the selfie flash for capturing better photos in low light or in the dark, and Snapchat-like feature to doodle on top of photos where one can add emoticons too.

The messaging platform is reportedly looking to add a host of new features to iOS as well. The iOS 10 users will soon be able to make voice calls and send messages using Siri. iOS 2.16.10 will also have video calls and GIF support. A host of new features are in the pipeline including one-finger video zoom, which will be available only while taking pictures via WhatsApp’s camera and also a front facing flash.

Let us have a look at the features in detail.


WhatsApp’s new editing tool is similar to that of Snapchat which will allow users to crop, add stickers and scribble on pictures after clicking them from the app’s camera and also add stickers. Spotted on the Android Beta version of the app, there’s a whole new bunch of stickers including arrow sign, balloons and some of the most popular emojis. These features come with an undo option to reverse changes along with a a colour palette to choose colours from while drawing with the pencil or scribbling.

Front-facing flash

Clicking pictures with WhatsApp’s  front camera is supposedly going to get better with its screen flash which enables the user to get better pictures in low-light conditions. The feature, lights up the screen while taking pictures in the dark or low light conditions.

Another feature is that of a one-finger video zoom which would make it easier for the users to zoom in and out while recording videos. This feature enables the users to simply slide their finger up for zooming-in and down for zooming-out. First seen on Snapchat and Instagram these features only work with WhatsApp’s camera.

Siri, Video Calls and GIF support

WhatsApp’s video call feature was first spotted on Android beta version some time ago, but was later taken down by the company.

Looking to integrate Siri to its platform for iOS 10, Whatsapp users will now be able to send out messages and make voice calls directly via Apple’s virtual voice-assistant. A WhatsApp button will show in contacts to make the call or send a message and users will able to reply to WhatsApp calls directly in the lock screen.

Among the host of updates, WhatsApp has also recently added the voicemail feature that lets the user send a voice mail to recipient if the call is unanswered or rejected. The company also added a quote feature which is similar to that of Twitter, allowing users to reply to messages with a quoted text.

With all these new changes rolling out WhatsApp is just getting better with every new update.

WhatsApp rolls out voicemail update for Android

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp, used by over one billion people, has rolled out an update with voicemail and call back option exclusively for its android users, reported The Times of India. The update is yet to be rolled out on Google Play but will be available on the beta version of the android application. Users can also manually download and install the app’s apk file from APKMirror website.

According to The Indian Express, when the recipient fails to attend the call,a new screen featuring cancel,call back, and record voice messages will be opened. The voicemail option allows the  users to record voice message that will be sent across as a voicemail.

The platform, owned by Facebook,  is presently testing these updates only with beta users .It is unclear when the messaging app plans to bring the features to more stable builds.

Earlier this week,WhatsApp introduced a new font option,users can access the new font by typing the grave accent symbol.