India Bans TikTok and Other Chinese Apps Amid Border Tensions | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Gadgets 360.

Popular Chinese video and music app TikTok has been banned in India, along with 58 other apps – most of which are Chinese. This comes as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
Developed by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok allows users to share short videos usually set to music. The app and its developers have long denied allegations of being involved in any way with the Chinese government, going as far as to say that its data centres are kept outside of China and therefore is not under the sovereignty of Chinese law.
India’s Reaction
The Indian government has seen fit to block the app from Indian phones, as well as 58 others. Amongst them Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat which is also alleged to be working with the government of China. Even games like the highly popular Clash of Kings has been banned.
India says that the 59 banned apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” according to the country’s Ministry of Information Technology.

It is alleged in the same government release that some of the banned apps have been found to be “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” No particular apps or examples of this behaviour were mentioned in the release, however.
The government describes this behaviour of data usage as “a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures” and that the ban itself is made possible by India’s Information Technology Act. The ministry claims that certain members of the public have also expressed concerns about how many of the apps use the data they collect, writes the Independent.
Border tensions between China and India
This mass ban comes after a skirmish on the Indian-Chinese border saw 20 Indians soldiers dead. The Indian government has made no reference to the conflict, the mounting tensions or the fact that most of the apps had been developed in China.
With India looking to become “a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space,” a looming conflict between the countries, highly-important global tech leaders in their own rights, will only sink global markets further. Presenting a difficult choice for South Africa, staunch partner of both countries.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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India bans 59 mostly Chinese apps amid border crisis – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

India has banned 59 mostly Chinese mobile apps including TikTok and WeChat in its strongest move yet targeting China in the online space since a border crisis erupted between the two countries this month.
India’s technology ministry issued an order stating the apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
Following the order, Google and Apple will have to remove these apps from the Android and iOS stores.
The move comes after a deadly border clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in a disputed Himalayan region earlier this month that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
The ban is expected to be a big stumbling block for Chinese firms such as Bytedance in India, which have placed big bets in what is one of the world’s biggest web services markets.
Beijing-headquartered Bytedance had plans to invest US$1 billion in India, open a local data centre, and had recently ramped up hiring in the country.
India is the biggest driver of TikTok app installations, accounting for 611 million lifetime downloads, or 30.3% of the total, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in April.
Among other apps that have been banned are Tencent’s WeChat, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times on Google’s Android, Alibaba’s UC Browser and two of Xiaomi’s apps.
Google said it was still waiting for government orders, while Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Bytedance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“This is the quickest and most powerful step the government could have taken to put economic pressure on Chinese companies,” said Santosh Pai, a partner at Indian law firm Link Legal, which advises several Chinese companies.
Anti-China sentiment has long simmered in India over accusations of cheap imports flooding the country, but the border clash has brought tensions to the fore with calls being made to boycott Chinese products.
Indian customs at ports have since last week held back containers coming from China, including Apple, Cisco and Dell products, Reuters reported previously.

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ACLU is demanding Homeland Security, CBP, ICE, and TSA hand over records on facial recognition at the border – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: Government agencies are notoriously slippery when it comes to any attempt at probing their use of controversial technologies, but that won’t stop the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from trying. Privacy advocates believe that facial recognition, in particular, can enable persistent, undetectable government surveillance on a massive scale that erodes everyone’s expectations of privacy.
Back in December, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Homeland Security for its ‘stingray’ phone surveillance program that has long been in use by US’ border protection and immigration offices with little transparency about the details, especially when it comes to privacy protections.
Now the ACLU is filing another lawsuit in a New York federal court, but this time it’s targeting airports’ face recognition program. The civil liberties group claims the agency is being too secretive considering the privacy implications of such a system. ACLU attorneys are demanding Homeland Security, ICE, CBP, and the TSA provide records related to the face-scanning software used and its exact purpose at US airports and along the border. They are hoping to uncover details about a technology they think raises “profound civil liberties concerns” and “can enable undetectable, persistent government surveillance on a massive scale.”

It should raise concern that it’s believed that Chinese tech giants like China Telecom, ZTE, and Dahua are shaping the United Nations’ standards for facial recognition. These companies are prominent for proposals on specifications that would unify the kind of face, video and vehicle monitoring adopted for surveillance purposes around the world. It’s also well known the Chinese government makes extensive use of the technology.
The Trump administration’s face recognition program is controversial for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s being fast-tracked despite concerns about accuracy, bias, and the possibility for false positives when trying to identify criminals. It’s also unclear how the face recognition data is shared with state and local authorities, as well as third parties like airlines and commercial vendors.

If you’re an American citizen, you should know you can opt out of the facial recognition program, and CBP’s insistence on making it mandatory has so far been met with a mountain of resistance. But even so, it’s important to make sure that there is little potential for data breaches, especially given the CBP’s poor track record with protecting the data it collects.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the EU is considering tighter rules around facial recognition tech, so that citizens can have more control over the data generated and the way it is used by governments and corporate entities.

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U.S. border officials are increasingly denying entry to travelers over others’ social media – gpgmail


Travelers are increasingly being denied entry to the United States as border officials hold them accountable for messages, images and video on their devices sent by other people.

It’s a bizarre set of circumstances that has seen countless number of foreign nationals rejected from the U.S. after friends, family, or even strangers send messages, images, or videos over social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp, which are then downloaded to the traveler’s phone.

The latest case saw a Lebanese national and would-be Harvard freshman denied entry to the U.S. just before the start of the school year.

Immigration officers at Boston Logan International Airport are said to have questioned Ismail Ajjawi, 17, for his religion and religious practices, he told the school newspaper The Harvard Crimson. The officers who searched his phone and computer reportedly took issue with his friends’ social media activity.

Ajjawi’s visa was canceled and he was summarily deported — for someone else’s views.

The United States border is a bizarre space where U.S. law exists largely to benefit the immigration officials who decide whether or not to admit or deny entry to travelers, and few protect the travelers themselves. Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals alike are subject to unwarranted searches and few rights to free speech, and many have limited access to legal counsel.

That has given U.S. border officials a far wider surface area to deny entry to travelers — sometimes for arbitrary reasons.

On a typical day, U.S. Customs & Border Protection processes 1.13 million passengers by plane, sea and land and deny entry to over 760 people. Sometimes a denial is clear, such as a past criminal conviction or the wrong documentation. But all too often, no specific reasons are given, and there are no grounds to appeal.

A U.S. immigration form describing why a traveler was denied entry to the U.S. (Image: Abed Ayoub/Twitter)

CBP also claims to have what critics say is broadly unconstitutional powers to search travelers’ phones — including those of U.S. citizens — at the border without needing a warrant. Last year, CBP searched 30,000 travelers’ devices — close to four times the number from three years prior — without any need for reasonable suspicion.

Complicating matters, the Trump administration in June began to demand that foreigners who apply for U.S. visas disclose their social media handles and profiles. Some 15 million are expected to fall under the new rule.

Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs at PEN America, a human rights nonprofit, said in a statement that the immigration policy on social media “demonstrates all too well the damage these ill-conceived policies can do.”

“That should not be the price of entrance to the U.S., let alone that one’s friends should have to censor themselves as well,” said Lopez.

But Ajjawi’s denied entry is not an isolated case.

Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said device searches and subsequent denials of entry had become the “new normal” over the past year.

“We hear about this happening to Arab students and Muslim students coming into the U.S. today,” he told gpgmail. Although all travelers are subject to having their devices searched, Ayoub said the government was “holding [the Arab and Muslim] community to a different level” than other backgrounds.

Ayoub said he’s had clients that have been turned away at the border for content found in their WhatsApp messages.

“It’s probably the most popular app in the Middle East,” he said. Because WhatsApp automatically downloads received images and videos to a user’s phone, any questionable content — even sent unsolicitedly — under a border official’s search could be enough to deny the traveler entry.

In one tweet, Ayoub posted a photo of an expedited removal form from one of his clients — also a student with U.S. visa — who was denied entry for an image he received in a WhatsApp group. The student strenuously denied any personal connection to the images and argued it had been automatically saved to his phone. The border official wrote that as a result of the device search the student was “inadmissible” to the U.S. The student was only a couple of semesters away from graduating, but a rejection meant the student can no longer return to the U.S.

“This is part of the backdoor ‘Muslim ban’,” Ayoub said, referring to a controversial executive order signed by President Trump in January 2017, which barred citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries entry to the U.S.

“We don’t hear of other other individuals being denied because of WhatsApp or because of what’s on the social media,” he said.




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