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Facebook isn’t letting Australians view or share news

Even Google is threatening to shut down its search engine

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Facebook has blocked Australian users from sharing or viewing news content on the platform. The announcement is a response to proposed legislation in Australia that would force tech platforms to pay news publishers for content.

Several government-backed health and emergency pages were also blocked, though Facebook later confirmed it was a mistake. The ban sparked an immediate backlash, with many Australians angry about their sudden loss of access to trusted and authoritative sources.

“What the proposed law introduced in Australia fails to recognize is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, wrote in a blog post. “Contrary to what some have suggested, Facebook does not steal news content. Publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook.”

Facebook firmly says that it has little to gain from third-party news links and is fine with pulling the cord, instead of paying the media companies. The company also said it helped Australian publishers earn about AU$ 407m (US$ 316m) last year through referrals, but for itself “the platform gain from the news is minimal.”

According to Facebook, news stories make up less than 4% of what people see on the site. If no deal is reached, the tech companies and media organizations will move to arbitration.

During a January hearing in Australia’s senate, Facebook had suggested it could block content in the country if the bill becomes law. Google also threatened in the same hearing to shut down its search engine in Australia altogether.

Many also suggest that Facebook’s solid stance against the Australian government is a precedent for other countries. Technology companies are increasingly under pressure from governments due to a host of issues like Apple’s 30% App Store tax, the big tech debate, and now, monetization of content.

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Singpass app now available on Huawei AppGallery

Easier access for Huawei users

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Singpass

Huawei continues to beef up the AppGallery’s library of apps. One of the latest additions is Singpass.

Singpass is an app that gives Singapore residents easy access to over 1,400 everyday services from more than 340 government agencies and private organizations. These include viewing their Central Provident Fund (CPF), filing taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), accessing bank accounts and renewing insurance policies — with a quick scan and tap on their smartphones. Users do not have to
enter their passwords.

Singpass was developed by the Government Technology Agency or GovTech. It was launched in 2003 to facilitate convenient digital transactions with Singapore government agencies.

Since then, the service has been further enhanced to include an improved user interface, mobile features and stronger security capabilities. Its latest features include Singpass Face Verification, Digital IC and digital signing.

The launch of the Singpass app on AppGallery offers local users of Huawei devices a third 2FA method when accessing services, in addition to the SMS One-Time Password (OTP) and Singpass Face Verification 2FA modes. As of March 2021, the Singpass app has garnered over 2.5 million users, with over 70 percent of all Singpass transactions conducted through the app.

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Apple’s Find My service can now locate e-bikes, earbuds

Making it easier to find your lost accessories

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Apple’s Find My iPhone helps you locate a lost iPhone by signing into your Apple ID. Similar tracking service is also available on Android. Though, Apple is now opening up the service to third-party accessories.

Find My was originally announced last summer at WWDC 2020 and builds on an existing service called Find My iPhone. Apple has initially partnered with Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof that will bring their new devices eligible for the Find My network program starting next week.

Currently, three products are supported — VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, and Chipolo ONE Spot tracker.

Any hardware company can introduce gadgets that support Apple’s service — as long as they adhere to the Made for iPhone (MFi) Program and privacy protocols of the Find My network. The user will see all the devices on a map and even control them remotely, like playing a sound, displaying a message, or erasing it completely.

If the device is offline, Find My network’s crowdsourced Bluetooth feature can show an approximate location. The company also announced a draft specification for chipmakers that will allow accessories to tap into the iPhone’s ultra Wideband chip, giving more accurate location information. The entire network uses end-to-end encryption to keep your information, and your device’s location, private.

There was initial speculation that Apple could also launch its own “AirTags” alongside the rollout, however, that announcement wasn’t made. All Find My items or devices will have a “Works with Apple Find My” badge. In case a lost gadget is found by someone, they can use their Find My app to identify and report the found item.

While the feature won’t be very useful instantly because of limited compatible devices, we expect Apple to announce more partnerships and options at WWDC 2021. As long as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is running iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, or macOS Big Sir 11.1, respectively, the

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Personal data, phone numbers of 533 million Facebook users leaked

A 2019 leak has reemerged

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Data from hundreds of millions of Facebook users was leaked online, including personal information such as phone numbers, full names, and email addresses. The data belongs to 533 million users across 106 countries.

The data is believed to be more than a year old, but security experts say the information could still be used by criminals to commit identity theft or fraud. The development was shared by the chief technology officer of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, Alon Gal, and was first reported by Business Insider.

That data included records on 32 million users in the United States, 11 million users in the United Kingdom, and six million in India. The details include names, gender, occupation, marital and relationship status, the date of joining, and workplace.

“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.” However, experts believe the data is still freely flowing on forums, the dark web, and community sites. According to Vice Motherboard, a Telegram bot lets hackers find a user’s info (provided if it is breached) by entering known credentials like username, email ID, or phone number.

Even though the leaked data is a couple of years old, it could provide valuable information to cybercriminals, Gal added. There’s isn’t much Facebook can do as the database is now freely flowing on the internet. The incident does serve as a reminder to users that their data is susceptible, and they should be careful about freely sharing it with third-party sites.

The incident also focuses on Facebook’s long-term responsibility of managing and securing collected data to ensure it isn’t weaponized easily. The Cambridge Analytics scandal was just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s getting harder and harder for Facebook to justify its ad and interests-based business model.

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