Apps

TikTok, Mobile Legends, 57 more Chinese apps banned in India

ByteDance IPO going down the drain?

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The government of India has decided to ban 59 apps of Chinese origin and released a list of all the blacklisted apps. This includes ByteDance’s TikTok, Alibaba’s UC Browser, and other popular apps like CamScanner, ShareIt, and Mobile Legends.

India’s Ministry of Information Technology said it was banning the 59 Chinese apps after receiving “many complaints from various sources” about apps that were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner”.

TikTok was in the news recently for “snooping” on users’ clipboards, which was uncovered by the latest iOS 14 update that is currently a beta for developers. TikTok had nearly 120 million active users in India and was among the top 10 apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The list of apps banned by India also includes the microblogging platform Weibo, strategy game Clash of Kings, and e-commerce apps Club Factory and Shein.

Numerous local rip-offs of TikTok are already online and users are migrating in hordes. TikTok users too have tried to migrate their audience over a period of time to Instagram, but the conversion rate has been lower than expected.

Tarun Pathak, an analyst at research firm Counterpoint, estimated that the order will impact one in three smartphone users in India.

CamScanner and ShareIt are utilitarian apps with a very rotten reputation of data collection. Furthermore, UC Browser and UC News push too many ads and have near-zero advertising moderation. These genuinely pose a serious threat in terms of data collection.

The relations between India and China continue to head downhill amid a huge border standoff. The skirmish has already amassed casualties on both sides but neither has any intention of backing down. Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the anti-China sentiment is at an all-time high and Indians are actively trying to avoid anything that finds its roots in China.

Apps

Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Apps

Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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Apps

The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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