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Reliance Jio adds Telegram and SoundCloud to the list of porn websites blocked in India

Reliance Jio adds Telegram and SoundCloud to the list

Other than porn sites, Reliance Jio is also blocking Telegram and SoundCloud

In October 2018, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in India had issued directions to internet service providers (ISPs) asking them to ban 827 pornographic websites, following an order by Uttarakhand High Court.

The ban on pornographic websites in India came after an underage student was raped by four of her seniors in Dehradun. The rape accused later told Police that they did so after watching pornographic content on the web.

Following the order, Reliance Jio, the Ambani-owned cellular operator, was the first ISP to block several porn sites that were specified in the list. However, the ban did not stop Indian users from flocking to VPNs (virtual private networks), DNS server change, proxies, torrents, and other ways to access the blocked websites.

As a result, Jio went ahead and blocked access to VPN and proxy sites in India. However, the telecom operator has also ended up adding sites like Telegram and Soundcloud to the list of blocked websites.

The issue was brought to light by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an activist group that advocates the right to privacy on the internet. IFF has received 134 reports from across the country informing about blocks on VPN services, proxies, torrent sites, Telegram, Sound Cloud, and more.

“A total of 134 reports have been provided to us from the different cities and states spread across evenly over a 2 week reporting period. These include reports from major metropolitan cities and as well as smaller towns such as Siliguri, Udupi, and Mindapur. We can reasonably infer this is a pan India problem,” the IFF notes on its website.

Majority of the complaints are against India’s most popular and widely used ISPs, Reliance Jio and Airtel. While the majority (85) of plaintiffs reported the ban on Reliance Jio network, 41 users using Airtel network too reported inaccessibility to VPN and proxy sites. The remaining few complaints belonged to telcos including BSNL and Vodafone, and ISPs such as Hathway and ACT Fibernet.

Soundcloud, an audio-streaming site, was blocked as reported by nine users. “Many websites include SoundCloud audio clips as part of their webpages like a YouTube video,” said one respondent from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. “This censorship affects such websites and is against [the] right to information.”

IFF remarked that blocking sites for messaging and entertainment is a violation of net neutrality rules in India, which requires ISPs to provide equal access to all internet content.

It could be possible that the VPNs or proxy websites in India have been blocked in response to a request from the government. However, no information or proper communication has been provided on the issue. The IFF notes, “Users are generally not aware of the reasons for network interference with websites and internet services in India. There are no clear statements or information available on the reason which may emerge from any legal order that is made available to them. They also are left wondering if this fault may be caused due to a technical error or may have commercial or regulatory interest attached to it.”

As a remedy, the IFF has asked users who are facing ban, especially with sites like Soundcloud and Telegram to come forward and report them, since the small number of complaints regarding the issue were rendered unheard. The group has also raised the issue with India’s telecom regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and the DoT.

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Indiana teenager arrested after jokingly telling Siri he wanted to shoot up a school

American teen tells Siri he wants to shoot up a school

A 13-year-old boy jokingly tells Siri he wants to shoot up a school, gets arrested

A shooting joke went wrong for a 13-year-old Indiana teenager when he told Apple’s AI assistant, Siri that he was planning a school shooting.

For those unaware, Apple’s Siri is a voice-activated virtual assistant that uses voice queries to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services.

The Chesterton Middle School student is believed to have told Siri: “I am going to shoot up a school”. To which, Siri replied by listing the names of multiple schools in the vicinity, according to police investigating the case. He allegedly posted a screenshot of the response on his social media account as an apparent joke. However, the contacts of the school kid took the joke seriously and informed the Chesterton police about the incident, who then contacted authorities in Valparaiso, Indiana.

“The male made no direct threat to a specific person, school, or school system. It has since been discovered the male has no access to weapons and posted the picture on social media as a joke. The threat is not believed to be credible at this time; however, these types of communications are taken very seriously by the Valparaiso Police Department and our community. We continue to work with the Valparaiso Community Schools to ensure the safety of the students and staff,” the Valparaiso Police was quoted as saying.

The Indiana teenager has been charged with intimidation and is being held at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center in Indiana’s Valparaiso. The Valparaiso Police believe that the teenager had no access to weapons. The incident is being investigated by the Valparaiso and Chesterton Police Departments.

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Denied new smartphone, PUBG video game addict teenager commits suicide

PUBG Video Game Addict Teenager

Mumbai teenager ends life after his family refuses to buy a new smartphone to play PUBG

While addiction to smartphones has become a pressing issue these days, video game addiction, on the other hand, has been identified as a real mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Following the similar lines, an 18-year old teenager from India who was addicted over the popular multiplayer online battle royale game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), committed suicide after his parents refused to buy him a new, high-end smartphone to play the game.

According to police, the teenager who lived in Kurla’s Nehru Nagar area of Mumbai, India, demanded that his parents buy him a smartphone costing Rs. 37,000 to play the PUBG mobile game. However, his parents argued that they would only buy him a mobile phone costing under Rs. 20,000.

The heated argument with his parents left the teenager distraught, following which he decided to end his life by hanging himself from the ceiling fan in the kitchen of his house.

According to the police report, a case of accidental death has been registered and an investigation is underway.

For those unaware, PUBG is based on the epic 2000 movie Battle Royale. It starts with 100 players parachuting from a plane onto a large island, where they then search for weapons and gear up for a brutal fight to the death as surviving players edge closer to the center of the island. The players can choose different Mods to fight the enemy and turn out victorious. The game is extra hard and the winner of PUBG is the last man standing.

PUBG mobile has gained immense popularity among mobile gamers especially teenagers in a short span of time. However, this highly popular game has been criticized by many for its adverse effects on young minds who have become addicted to this game.

Recently, Gujarat became the first Indian state to ban the PUBG game in primary schools while an 11-year old boy from Maharashtra, who filed the public interest litigation through his mother, has written to the government to impose a ban on PUBG Mobile for promoting violence, aggression, and cyber-bullying.

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Facebook is secretly working on a new meme hub app ‘LOL’ for teens

Facebook is working on a new meme hub app

Facebook secretly testing a meme hub app called ‘LOL’ to win teens over

Facebook is trying every possible means to woo back its lost audience of teenage smartphone users from other social platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

After working on dating app, the social media giant is now developing another app dubbed as ‘LOL’. This new platform is designed as a “special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips” using content “pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook,” according to a new report from TechCrunch.

“We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.

The content will be divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails” and “Pranks”. Further, users will be able to choose from three reactions: “Funny,” “Alright,” or “Not Funny” that would appear under each meme.

Currently, around 100 high school students in the U.S. with their parents’ consent are testing the LOL app, and are apparently giving their feedback to Facebook engineers.

“‘LOL’ is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent to do focus groups and one-on-one testing with Facebook staff,” said the report.

Those testing private beta say that LOL is slightly “cringey” and that it feels like Facebook is trying unsuccessfully to stay young.

According to TechCrunch, LOL is presently being tested as a replacement for Facebook Watch. It is currently unclear if “LOL” will become a standalone app or be available in the main Facebook app.

This is not the first time that Facebook has tried to lure the younger audience with its apps. In 2014, Facebook had launched a Snapchat clone app ‘Slingshot’, which was has since been abandoned. In late 2018, the company introduced ‘Lasso’, a stand-alone music app to rival popular short-video social network, TikTok, which is apparently still working.

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Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths in the country

Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs

Microsoft to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths and upskill 10,000 Indian developers

Microsoft India on Wednesday announced its plans to set up Artificial Intelligence labs (AI) in 10 universities in the country in the next three years. The company also plans to upskill over 10,000 developers to bridge the skills gap and enhance employability, and train 5 lakh youths across the country in disrupting technologies.

Microsoft has 715 partners who are working with the company in India to help customers design and implement a comprehensive AI strategy.

“The next wave of innovation for India is being driven by the tech intensity of companies – how you combine rapid adoption of cutting edge tech with your company’s own distinctive tech and business capabilities,” Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, said at the ‘Media and Analyst Days 2019’ held in Bengaluru.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare, and agriculture. Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust, and accountability. The power of AI is just beginning to be realized and can be a game-changer for India.”

According to Microsoft, the company’s AI and cloud technologies has today digitally transformed more than 700 customers, of which 60 percent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

The Redmond giant has partnered with Indian government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog, to “combine the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas including agriculture and healthcare and the environment,” said Microsoft India in an official press release.

“We are also an active participant along with CII in looking at building solution frameworks for application in AI across areas such as Education, skills, health, and agriculture,” the company added.

In December last year, Microsoft had announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, which will “equip research and higher education institutions with AI infrastructure, build curriculum and help both faculty and students to build their skills and expertise in cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT.”

Source: Microsoft

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Foxconn cuts 50,000 contract workers early due to weaker iPhone demand

Foxconn cuts 50,000 contracts

Foxconn hit by iPhone sales slowdown sheds 50,000 contract workers earlier than expected

Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s biggest iPhone assembler, has cut around 50,000 of its contract jobs since October 2018 at its most important iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, reports Nikkei.

Foxconn generally hires thousands of temporary employees throughout the peak season to meet the seasonal demand of newly released iPhone models. The company typically renews workers’ contracts every month from August until January. The company then reduces the influx of temporary employees once the demand decreases. However, this time around, Foxconn has cut many of those contract jobs months earlier than expected. Weaker demand for the iPhone throughout late 2018 is believed to be the reason behind the cut.

While the size of the cuts is not an issue, it is simply significantly sooner than previous years, the report said, citing an industry source familiar with the situation.

“Normally, the contracts of these workers would be renewed every month from August until mid- to late January, when the workforce is traditionally scaled back for the slow iPhone production season,” the source told Nikkei. “It’s quite different this year to ask assembly line workers to leave before the year-end.” This year, those reductions came as much as three months early.

Foxconn isn’t the only Apple supplier making cuts. A similar story has been witnessed at Pegatron, which is Apple’s second largest iPhone assembler.

A source close to the company [Pegatron] said its normal practice was to reduce the 200,000-strong head count by tens of thousands every month until reaching about 100,000 – the minimum required for daily operation, according to one source familiar with the situation. “And for [2018], it just happened sooner than in the past because of poor demand.”

The story is no different in case of smaller suppliers either.

One key component supplier based in Shenzhen had asked 4,000 workers to take an extended “vacation” from October to March, a person with knowledge of the situation said. “The company has not actively laid off those workers yet. It will decide whether or not to lay them off after March 1,” the source said.

The slow iPhone production sales have come at a time when Foxconn is scaling down its costs by combining its Mac and iPad production lines with those of Dell and Acer. It is looking to cut 100,000 jobs out of a workforce of 1.1 million by the end of 2019 across its associates and subsidiaries.

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Apple Sending Out Promotional iPhone XR Emails To Older iPhone Owners

Apple asking to upgrade

Apple asking owners of older iPhones to upgrade to iPhone XR

Apple has chosen a unique way to market its new iPhone XR smartphones. Apparently, the tech giant is targeting owners of older iPhones with customized emails urging them to upgrade to an iPhone XR.

The emails that are specifically targeted to owners of particular iPhone models in the United States explains the advantages of upgrading to the iPhone XR. Apparently, Apple has been sending out these emails to owners of older iPhones since late last year.

According to a report from Reddit (via MacRumors), one iPhone 6 Plus owner mentioned how the email directly compared his device to the iPhone XR. The promotional email also pointed out the iPhone XR’s larger display, more durable glass, longer battery life, up to 3 times faster performance, and water resistance. It also says the iPhone XR has more storage for photos and apps, can take studio-quality photos and 4K video, and has a secure Face ID. It also included a $200 limited-time trade-in offer.

The iPhone 6 Plus owner said that he has not upgraded his iPhone model from the time it has been bought. He, however, did mention that he had opted for last year’s special $29 battery replacement offer ending December 31, which is why he could have received the email.

Apple had launched its 2018 line of iPhones – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR for $999, $1,099 and $750 respectively. However, the steep prices, particularly that of iPhone XS and XS Max, has resulted in weak sales of these smartphones. Also, the cheap battery replacement program running last year saw many customers opt for the offer, which also could have dampened the sales of the newer iPhones.

Now, with the battery replacement program ending on December 31, 2018, Apple is hoping to make some revenue from the sale of its iPhone XR units through trade-in offer and recover from the setback caused by poor sales of iPhone XS and XS Max.

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Chinese man who sold kidney to buy iPhone now bedridden for life

Chinese man who sold kidney to buy iPhone now bedridden for life

Chinese man suffers organ failure after selling his kidney to buy an iPhone

We have heard crazy stories about Chinese people going to the extent of selling their sperms to kidneys to newborn kids to own Apple’s latest gadgets. Well, this obsession to own an iPad and iPhone has now rendered this Chinese man bedridden for life!

Wang Shangkun, now 25, had sold his right kidney as a teenager (17 years) in 2011 to the black-market organ harvesters to buy Apple’s latest devices, as his family was too poor to afford it. Back then, he received 22,000 yuan for his kidney, which he used to purchase an iPhone 4 and iPad 2, reports News.com.au.

“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he had asked at the time.

According to CNTV, Wang who dreamt of owning Apple’s iPad 2 was approached by human organ harvesters online, who offered him hard cash for his kidney.

“At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad2, but I didn’t have any money. When I was on the internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000,” he explained.

Without informing his family, Wang secretly traveled from his home in the eastern Anhui Province to the southern Hunan Province. After the operation was carried out, Wang was sent back home.

Wang’s health started deteriorating immediately after the operation. Unsanitary conditions at the time of surgery and lack of postoperative care are believed to be the reasons behind the development of infection that eventually led to renal failure in his second kidney. Wang’s health condition also forced him to give up on his studies.

According to local China media reports, Wang now spends his days in bed and depends on the dialysis machine to clear his blood of toxins to survive his kidney failure. He is now dependent on social benefits.

In 2012, nine individuals were arrested in connection with the sale, including five surgeons, and were jailed for their involvement. Wang’s family reportedly received $225,000 in compensation the same year.

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Netflix Raises Price For Every Streaming Plan

Netflix Raises Price

Netflix is one of the most popular media consumption services that is used by millions of users. Recently, Netflix announced that it would raise prices across all of its plans. It is worth noting that, the increment in prices for every subscription plan will be only for the US residents.

So here’s everything you need to know about the increment in prices for every streaming plan on Netflix.

ALSO READ: 10 Best Horror Movies To Watch On Netflix Right Now

The New Prices-

Presently Netflix offers three different plans for streaming movies and TV shows on the platform. So, prices for all the three subscription plans will be increased. The first and the most basic Netflix plan that doesn’t offer HD content and is limited to one user only will be increased from $8 to $9.

While the price for the most popular plan that offers HD content will be increased from $11 to $13 per month. Lastly, the most premium plan that offers 4K quality content and allows up to four simultaneous streams on different devices, will increase from $14 to $16.

The hike in prices will impact on all of the new subscribers immediately. While the existing users will witness increment in prices by the next three months.


The Reason Behind Price Increase-

Netflix requires higher revenue to invest more money in original series. In addition to that, a majority of Netflix’s revenue goes into retaining the streaming rights for popular licensed content.

A Netflix spokesperson stated that “We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members.”

Do share your thoughts and opinions on the increment in pricing for every streaming plan on Netflix.

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IMDb Freedive Is Amazon’s New Free Streaming Service

IMDb Freedive Amazon's New Streaming Service

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have now become the primary sources for watching movies and TV shows. Well, Amazon-owned movie site IMDb has now introduced its free streaming service called Freedive.

So here’s everything you need to know about Freedive.

ALSO READ: Watch TV Shows Online For Free | Sites For Streaming Full Episodes

IMDb Freedive: A Free Streaming Service

IMDb is a popular movie and TV shows website that provides reviews, storyline, ratings, information about cast & crew, and much more. In addition to that, you can also watch trailers, celebrity interviews, and some TV series on IMDb.

Now with the advent of Freedive, you can enjoy a plethora of hollywood movies and TV shows on IMDb’s website. This new streaming service is completely free and it will be supported by advertisements. The old content on IMDb will also be bundled with Freedive. Presently, this ad-supported streaming service is available in the US only.

Col Needham, Founder, and CEO of IMDb stated that “Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch.”

He further stated that “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.” 


IMDb Freedive: Supported Devices

So as to enjoy the content available on Freedive you should be a registered IMDb or Amazon user. You can watch content on Freedive through the browser of your computer, Amazon fire TV & fire TV stick, fire devices, echo devices with a screen, android & iOS smartphones, and supported gaming consoles.

IMDb is actually an AVOD or the ad-supported video on demand streaming service. By providing free content Amazon can improve hardware sales and include more and more people in its ecosystem.

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