Newsletter: Facebook’s Shameless Data Sharing Exposed & Uganda Imposes Tax on Whatsapp, FB Users

Newsletter: Facebook’s Shameless Data Sharing Exposed & Uganda Imposes Tax on Whatsapp, FB Users

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Once you have an innovation culture, even those who are not scientists or engineers – poets, actors, journalists – they, as communities, embrace the meaning of what it is to be scientifically literate. They embrace the concept of an innovation culture. They vote in ways that promote it. They don’t fight science and they don’t fight technology.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

FACEBOOK GIVES USER DATA ACCESS TO APPLE, SAMSUNG, AND MORE COMPANIES

THE STORY:

As per a report by the New York Times, Facebook has signed an agreement with dozens of device manufacturing organizations including Apple, Samsung, and Blackberry to provide them the access to a large amount of user data.

WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

Agreeing to provide access to its user data to other companies, Facebook seems to raise a compliance issue with Federal Trade Commission. (FTC). The step sure seems contradictory to the settlement made in 2011 with FTC, where Facebook agreed to keep its promise of providing privacy. The agreement had a term emphasizing that Facebook would have to clearly give prominent notice to its consumers and obtain their explicit consent before sharing any of their information beyond the privacy policy.  Although, this time the shared information hasn’t been categorized in the reports but it is expected that Facebook would let go of its user database in the hands of the other tech giants.

IS FACEBOOK ENDANGERING YOUR PRIVACY?

According to reports, Facebook has data sharing agreements with almost 60 organizations that include big shots like Apple, Amazon, BB and more. Although, many of these agreements are still in effect, Facebook has started to call-off them in April. This happened when the social-media giant came under aggravating inspection by the lawmakers and several regulating authorities after the news broke that a popular political consulting agency, Cambridge Analytica exploited user information of millions of people with who were Facebook users.

Where this access-granting of user data to device makers helped Facebook to expand its availability to more customers, makers also got the opportunity to cater more features of social networking.

Amid all the blames of compromising its user data, Facebook recently responded to The New York Times that “the data sharing through device-integrated APIs adhered to its privacy policies and the 2011 FTC agreement”. Ime Archibong , VP of product partnership writes on Facebook blog, “Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,”. He adds, “Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

UGANDA TO IMPOSE TAX ON FACEBOOK AND WHATSAPP USERS

THE STORY:

Uganda has recently been into news after a controversial tax imposing over the users of social networking platforms. like Twitter, Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp. The decision is taken in order to control “gossip” and increase revenue.

WHAT IS UGANDA UP TO?

Recently, Uganda, the landlocked country in East Africa, has recently became the talk of the town when it decided to impose tax on the social media users. According to which, all the users of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp, would have to pay a certain amount to the government as tax from July 1. This tax collection would be charged according to the new Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill that talks about a fine to be calculated on daily basis of 200 shilling ($0.05) to be imposed on users of these portals. The reports of tax imposing were confirmed by the BBC late on Thursday.

HOW IS IT GOING TO HELP UGANDA?

According to President Yoweri Museveni, the uncontrolled use of social media has encouraged “gossip”., which influenced him to make changes in the social media law in the month or March. When writing a letter to Matia Kasaija, Finance Minister of Uganda, the President insisted that all the money collected in the form of social media tax would help the country “cope with consequences of olugambo (gossiping).” Also, the generated revenue would help the country’s increasing national debts, as the reports said.

Now that David Bahati. the State Minister for Finance, convinced the Parliament for the requirement of tax increase to fight-off the expanding national debts, experts are still confused and doubt about how a daily tax on social media can be implemented. Although, the Uganda Government is battling towards registering every mobile SIM card to help implement the tax collection, the President, also spoke against the tax, basis on the internet, as according to him it is a required source for “educational, research or reference purposes”.

Rishi Sharma is a technical writer at Systweak Software. Being a software developer, he inclines to write about modern technology and progressive security for computers. One staunch admirer of Cricket, Rishi is also an active social worker and a gourmand.

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