Apps

India further bans 47 Chinese apps

PUBG Mobile could join the list

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A few weeks ago India announced a complete ban on 59 Chinese-origin apps. The list included popular apps like TikTok and UC Browser. Now, the Government of India has released a new list that extends the ban. In total, the country has raised red flags against 106 apps.

Sources in the government told The Indian Express that, “the problem is with the operational ethics of certain apps. This is an ongoing process. If apps qualify under the same grounds of operational ethics, then they will also come under the scanner.”

The government has cited data privacy and protection to curtail the operation of these apps. The new list includes TikTok Lite, Helo Lite, SHAREit Lite, BIGO LIVE Lite, and VFY Lite. TikTok is among the most popular apps to go under the bus and developers are swarming to bridge the vacuum left by its absence.

A few reports have alleged that the government has prepared a list of 275 apps that are currently under scrutiny. The list includes big names like PUBG Mobile, Resso, AliExpress, and more.

The government wants to encourage local companies to come up with alternatives to the banned apps. It further also announced an app challenge to motivate individual developers to come up with innovative solutions.

India and China were involved in a border dispute that resulted in the death of 20 Indian Army men. Anti-China sentiments are at an all-time high and authorities are trying to reduce their dependence on Chinese technology.

TikTok isn’t the only one that’s stuck in the crosshairs. Chinese telecom equipment maker, Huawei, is also barred from supplying 4G equipment to state-run telecom operators. The private telecom sector is also leaning towards alternatives like Ericcson, Nokia, and Samsung.

Apps

TikTok can detect what you type on screen

Through its in-app browser

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No one ever really thinks about in-app browsers. Though it’s one of the most unseen features of an app, the in-app browser allows for a moment of convenience when you need to open a link. However, a new cautionary tale is sharing the risks of using the feature. Particularly, TikTok and its in-app browser are reportedly capable of logging your keystrokes.

TikTok just can’t get out of its privacy-infused hole of controversy. For years, the platform has faced an unending barrage of controversies linked to whether the app leaks information to China. As a change, the latest issue isn’t exactly geopolitically charged. However, it won’t do the company any favors, either.

Recently, security researcher Felix Krause created a tool to analyze whether an app’s browser can potentially scrape data and change information for the user. The researcher also tested the tool with the world’s top apps. And, unfortunately for the platform, TikTok found itself on the top of the risky list.

According to the tool, TikTok can inject JavaScript, modify a page, and fetch metadata. It’s essentially a keylogger. To its credit, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook all have the same capabilities.

However, the video-sharing platform has one key element that puts it above the rest: It doesn’t allow users to open links using the device’s default browser. You’re forced to use TikTok’s own browser when you open a link on the app.

Of course, there are a few caveats. For one, apps can bypass the tool, blocking users from seeing what in-app browsers are capable of. Secondly, the tool’s findings don’t necessarily mean that the app itself is malicious; it only indicates what it’s capable of. To reflect that, TikTok has said that it has not used the data for any malicious purposes.

SEE ALSO: TikTok might launch TikTok Music, its own music service

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Spotify will soon sell you tickets to concerts

It’s experimental for now

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Decades into the information era, buying tickets is still a harrowing experience for the modern-day fan. If you’re not lucky enough to nab great tickets through the usual ticketing sites, you’ll have to try your luck with the ferocious gray market of scalpers. In an experimental feature, Spotify has a new way for fans to see their favorite artists live: by selling tickets directly.

Over the years, Spotify has grown beyond the scope of music streaming. The platform now has sections dedicated to podcasts and talk shows. Now, if you know where to look, there’s also a section for selling tickets.

Notably, this isn’t Spotify’s first incursion into the world of live events. If you go through the list of categories, a Live Events section will take you to a page of concerts happening near you. However, clicking an event will only take you to the normal ways to get tickets, such as through Ticketmaster.

In contrast, the new Tickets page, spotted by Chris Messina (via TechCrunch), will sell you tickets directly through Spotify. Currently, the experiment is limited to a handful of artists like Crows, TOKiMONSTA, and Annie DiRusso. Additionally, each entry will only host pre-sale tickets. After that, sales will take place in the usual sources.

Spotify’s price will also incorporate booking fees going into the company’s revenue. However, unlike other sources, Spotify’s tickets promise to be transparent about pricing.

As the page indicates, the final Tickets page will merge with the current Live Events page. However, it’s still an experiment, even if you can already buy tickets now. Spotify has yet to announce when the feature will come to the general public (and to more artists).

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new recommendation feature, Enhance

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WhatsApp will finally block screenshots for View Once photos

Update coming soon

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WhatsApp’s View Once feature was a massive step towards user privacy. The feature allows users to thaw out the fiery risk of the other person leaking sensitive information and media elsewhere. Well, sort of. Despite the feature’s disappearing nature, users can easily take a snapshot without fear of repercussions. Finally, WhatsApp is doing something about this critical flaw in an upcoming update.

WhatsApp is a constantly evolving product. Throughout the past few months, the app’s developers have experimented and shipped various updates to make everyone’s life easier. Now, compared to the previous accessibility-oriented updates, the upcoming one focuses more on privacy.

It’s not a set of brand new updates, though. At least one of the three updates — the ability to control who sees you online — was reported way back in June. Another one is relatively new: the ability to leave groups silently so as not to alert everyone that a user is leaving. Both of these are rolling out sometime this month.

Given what it fixes, the final update is more crucial. It will block users from taking screenshots of View Once messages. Once the update rolls out, WhatsApp will natively alert View Once viewers that screenshots are blocked for added privacy. Unfortunately, there is no timeline for the update. The announcement only has a “soon” placeholder for a release.

With social media the way that it is, privacy is an ever-growing concern that all users should prioritize. While platforms are still imperfect, small updates like these can surely help people protect their data.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp officially launches emoji reactions, 2GB file sharing

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