Miscellany

Miscellany

Furore over internet privacy

The US Congress’s decision to invalidate a set of internet privacy rules from the Obama administration set off a firestorm this week. The change, which will allow service providers like AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc to collect and sell customers’ information without their permission, prompted ad campaigns from internet freedom groups shaming lawmakers and a small wave of service journalism about VPNs and other privacy tools.

Sector skill councils in for a rejig, number could be halved

The number of sector skill councils (SSCs), the industry-led agencies tasked to impart vocational training, could be halved to 20 if the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship acts on the report of an expert panel formed to give its view on the proposal.
The committee, which has already submitted its report, endorsed the idea of reducing the number of SSCs by citing overlap of functions among various councils, disputes over certification, course design and lack of coordination. So, in effect, any plan to set up more SSCs remain on hold.

Facebook copied Snapchat stories

Facebook Inc is making a dramatic change to the social network's mobile application, letting people post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
Dramatic, but unsurprising—it’s the fourth time the company has added such a feature to its apps. And it’s a tool that was invented by its smaller, newly public competitor: Snap Inc, whose Snapchat lets users annotate photos and videos by adding text, drawings, masks and filters and then post them to their “story” or send them to friends.

Truecaller gets into mobile payments in India

Swedish startup Truecaller has become the newest entrant in India’s busy digital payments space, via a tie-up with ICICI Bank Ltd to offer a local mobile-payments service.
The caller-ID service and spam-filtering startup announced on Tuesday that users can send and receive money through its smartphone app without passwords or banking codes. The service links bank accounts and sits atop Truecaller’s mobile-identity service, which was the third-most downloaded app in India last year.

Indian firms gaming H-1B visa system: US lawmaker

Indian firms, which account for the bulk of H1B visas, have “gamed” the system, an influential American lawmaker alleged on Monday and insisted his legislation introduced in the Congress will help fix the existing flaws.
Congressman Darrell Issa, who recently introduced the legislation, which calls for an increase in the salary of H-1B workers, insisted that his move would bring the best talents to the US and help fix the flaws in the existing H-1B system.

Employees stay invested, if firms stay invested in them

Deloitte is built on the foundation of ‘respect for each other’, the one that encourages and acknowledges viewpoints. Our people come up with great ideas to deliver superior value to the clients, says SV Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte India, in an interview with Ritwik Mukherjee. We encourage their viewpoints and, at times, differences of opinion as well because we all are striving towards a common goal, he added. Excerpts:

People say HR drives business profitability too. What’s your take?

Apple’s App Store gets makeover

Apple Inc’s App Store has turned countless software developers into millionaires since its launch almost a decade ago. But working with the famously controlling company has often been frustrating. Apps were rejected with little explanation, and Apple has been stingy about sharing customer data that could have helped developers improve their products.

Airtel hits back at Jio on speed ad with Ookla backing

Bharti Airtel on Tuesday lashed out at Reliance Jio’s allegations around its fastest network ad campaign, saying that the complaint is a deliberate attempt to “malign the brand” and “misguide customers”.
Further, mobile internet speed testing firm Ookla has stood by the finding that the telecom major had fastest broadband network, a claim which has been challenged by Reliance Jio.
“Ookla fully stands behind Airtel being named ‘India’s Fastest Mobile Network’,” Spe-edtest (Ookla app) COO Jamie Steven said in a statement.

Apple’s next big thing: Augmented Reality

Tim Cook has talked up a lot of technologies since becoming Apple Inc.'s chief executive in 2011. Driverless cars. Artificial intelligence. Streaming television. But no technology has fired up Cook quite like augmented reality, which overlays images, video and games on the real world. Cook has likened AR's game-changing potential to that of the smartphone. At some point, he said last year, we will all "have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you."

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