CALIFORNIA: American multinational technology company Google’s recent move regarding the policy change has now resulted it in being branded as a ‘serial privacy violator’, said a report by The Washington Post.
“Consumer Watchdog and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have now filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stating that Google had made changes in its policy in the said month in order to gain more data from its users,” the report added.
The recent move by the US search engine company has been branded as “highly deceptive” by the same consumer advocacy groups. The groups claimed that Google did not make it clear as to what had changed, which may have lead to plenty of its users blindly accepting those policy changes.
“Google has said that the changes were made after global testing hinting that a few users did know about the change,” they said.
The report further revealed that the company was also involved in a similar privacy-related incident back in 2011 that resulted in a consent decree with the FTC.
“Google was fined $22.5 million in 2012 after allegations that the search giant was discovered tracking users using Apple’s Safari browser,” it said.
Will television survive the Digital Revolution?
KARACHI: Ever since its advent till now TV maintained its position as a major source of entertainment. However, digital revolution seems to have successfully turned the tables when it comes to change the watching habits of the audience.
The drastic changes in technological and lifestyle trends over the past decades loom over the TV industry. As to access the content sans any time limitations and at comparatively low expenditure; consumers switch to online streaming, which is swiftly gaining esteem as a means of watching TV.
The shared accessibility of streaming services such as YouTube and multiple devices have enabled consumers to choose what they want to watch.
As the time goes by, everyone seems to be hooked up with their devices exploring online globe 24/7, resulting into transforming consumers’ screening patterns. As a matter of fact, *over-the-top (OTT) videos are potentially posing serious threats to traditional means of screening such as Television.
As per the estimates, over 500 OTT service providers are competing around the world at the moment. Of which, the top most global players are Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube.
Regarding this, experts are of the view that in the forthcoming years, they can potentially capture the viewership of linear TV broadcast. As of now, innumerable consumers particularly youngsters prefer watching streaming videos rather than traditional TV.
On July 16, 2015, Google’s chief business officer Omid Kordestani maintained that the video-sharing platform i.e. YouTube had surpassed all cable networks to the demographic of 18 to 49-years old. Since most of what we watch is on demand, opening YouTube or Netflix on iPhone is much more convenient as compare to turning on TV and surfing through hundreds of different channels just to find your favorite shows.
Online world, which is sweeping like a wildfire, enables the spectators to ogle every sort of entertainment while bifurcating the TV viewership. This change exposes the viewers to novel kinds and ways of viewing while eliminating the limitations of time and location base screening.
Now people tend to do binge consumption* of their favorite programs. As per the study conducted by Harris Interactive in 2015, approx 61 percent of Americans binge-watch TV shows on a regular basis.
Humans of the current century tend to embrace the change whole heartedly. Therefore, in order to meet the requirements of fast pacing and up-to-the-minute world, they are getting robotic.
They have no time to sit through the whole of the lords in front of the TV waiting for their favorite soaps or programs, news etc; and thus, they end up being connected to the online world.
Considering that the number of online viewers are surging, connoisseurs reckon that there can be three reasons as to why people are attracting towards the online streaming: People want to be digitalized, they are running out of time and that’s why they prefer watching online content sans unwanted advertising and the availability of more and different sort of content available online.
Keeping this in the view, a Pew Research Center survey conducted an interesting research as to know the current trend of streaming online content among US young adults somewhere in August, 2017.
Their ramifications revealed that around 61 percent individuals in between the ages of 18 to 29 years have been reported watching online content when compared to TV. This insinuates that if the situation persists, the online streaming outpaces the TV viewership on the whole eventually.
In countries like Pakistan, it takes time to embrace any new change due to cultural and traditional values. However, the digital consumer study carried out by Google revealed that approx 93 percent Pakistanis, own a PC at homes, 45 percent own smart phones or tabs and 12 percent people have mobiles as prime devices.
As to access the internet, 90 percent people use PC, 73 percent use feature phones, 77 percent use smart phones and 66 percent use tablets.
As far as the digital consumption is concerned, some 35 percent Pakistanis (males/females) tend to stream TV shows and films. 69 percent consumers spend more time on internet; whereas only 42 percent people spend time watching TV.
It has further been learnt that this cultural shift is proved to be beneficial as far as the marketers are concerned. Considering this, the PwC’s research opined that internet advertising will be poised to surpass TV as the chief advertising sector by 2018.
It is pertinent to mention here that advertising profit is outpacing consumers’ income in the migration to digital. Not to mention that marketers understand that it is easier to more appropriately target online viewers on the internet by contrasted on cable television as they can demonstrate the ads that are more significant, approachable as well as easily accessible.
Among the challenges the cable companies are facing, one is the younger generation viewers as they grow up with the internet and regularly use it to consume news and entertainment.
Young folks are more prone to become cord cutters, as they give more priority to the internet than cable. Back in 2015, Consumer Affairs revealed that 48 percent of grown-ups and 67 percent of youngsters watch streaming or downloaded content during a week in the States.
It is pertinent to point it out here that TV is facing one of its worst years in decades. As the society started shifting towards advance technology, more and more people watch their favorite TV shows etc via streaming, resulting into saving money as well as time.
On the other hand, the cable and satellite systems are at the mercy of the programmers, who are the content creators and distributors. Therefore, once the programmers realize that there is more money online than on-air, the cable industry will become a relic of the past.
*OTT is the delivery of video content via internet connections in place of the broadcast TV continuum, cable, fiber, or satellite networks
**Binge consumption is a trend of watching at least 2to 3 episodes of one TV show in one long stretch as opposed to waiting for each new episode to be aired on cable TV.
(VIDEO AND TEXT) PAF’s state-of-the-art Weapon Test Range has been made operational!
M. M. ALAM
SOMNIANI: Venue was the Somniani firing range where top brass of the Pakistan Air Force converged to witness indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder shoot down a slow speed target with Beyond Visual Range and Infrared Missile with pin point accuracy.
Speaking on this landmark occasion Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said that the successful testing of these sophisticated weapons was a testimony of JF-17 Thunder’s multi-role capabilities.
Chief of Air Staff informed that six PAF fighter squadrons had already being equipped with JF-17 Thunder aircraft, making it the backbone of Pakistan’s aerial defense.
He also lauded the hard work put in by PAF and Chinese personnel in making this event a success.
It is pertinent to mention here that by means of today’s exercise PAF has manifested that its state-of-the-art Weapon Test Range was operational to track the complete trajectory of the aircraft and launched missiles.
(VIDEO AND TEXT) Containing Cybercrimes: Director FIA Sindh Zone Dr. Amir Shaikh launches website!
M. M. ALAM
KARACHI: Director FIA, Sindh Zone, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh, while addressing a Presser here announced the launching of FIA’s Cyber Crime Circle website for Sindh.
Revealing FIA’s plans to tackle the pressing matter, he said that pendency was a serious issue in the earlier website.
The new dedicated website, according to him, has been launched to provide a window to those who did not know where to go, to receive ever-increasing complaints apropos cybercrimes/harassment and speed-up the process.
He said that the earlier service (initiated in the Hayat time) closed-down due to paucity of funds while in the new website there was no financial implication.
Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh, pointing out that only 9 to ten percent Pakistanis use internet, informed that there were 50 million broadband subscribers in the country and the number of cellular phone subscribers might be as high as over 150 million.
Director said that people had taken their fights and rivalries to virtual world and many (who get involved in the Cybercrime in fun mode) were not even aware what the implications were.
Explaining the key features and objectives of the dedicated website Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh said that the mission of FIA’s Cyber Crime Circle in Sindh – as part of National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) – was to ensure the enforcement of cyber laws, to prevent cybercrimes, and investigate, detect and prosecute cyber criminals.
He pointed out that was the first time FIA was launching such a complaint reporting portal www.fiacybercrimesindh.com.pk, where anybody from anywhere in Sindh could report cybercrime or harassment using the online system.
Appealing that people must not suffer in silence and should come out to report cybercrimes, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh told that the user-friendly complaint format was in English, Urdu and Sindhi.
He said the new portal would be more useful for young girls, women and young children who are frequent victims of harassment as they do not need to physically visit FIA’s reporting center.
Amir Shaikh told that FIA would be flexible in accepting the complaints directly by victims or anybody on their behalf. The complainants will not be required to furnish an affidavit like before.
Noting that 99% people wanted their problems to be solved (e.g.: removal of objectionable pictures or videos) without going to court, Amir Shaikh said that FIA would ensure that confidentiality and privacy of victims was protected. He said that in courts too victims’ identify would be disclosed only with their consent.
Since most of the complainants do not want to reveal their names, he said that to move or not to move the court was up to victim’s choice.
He further informed that once the complaint was launched, an automatic generated message would be delivered on the given cell phone confirming the receipt of the complaint with a reference number.
Commenting on the personnel he told that FIA was deputing well-trained staff to address the issue of cybercrimes and FIA would answer within 48 hours. In urgent cases, they would respond within a few minutes. In case the complainant expresses his discontent with the inquiry officer, the said personnel would be changed.
He told that the FIA desk officers could interact in English, Urdu and Sindhi.
Director informed that during the year 2017, FIA’s Cybercrimes Circle Sindh had received 1592 complaints pertaining to blackmailing, harassment and defamation through social media, 307 related to financial fraud, 116 threatening calls and 186 in connection with mail hacking.
Answering to a question regarding breaching of privacy he said that the sensitive data would remain in Pakistan. It was insinuated by a journalist that Cloud-based information could one day be exposed like the Panama Leaks.
Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh told that ATM skimming was high-priority case and revealed that Chinese nationals were involved in it.
Commenting on the nabbing of two Chinese men* who were purportedly planting a skimming device on an ATM in Saddar’s Zainab Market area, Director FIA Sindh Zone, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh held that integrity of an entire nation could not be gauged by the act of a couple of its citizens!
Answering to a query apropos grant of visas to Chinese Jails’ inmates who are employed on various CPEC projects here, he said that one could not say anything against anybody until he (or she) has committed a crime.
Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh went on to say that such acts of some individuals could not affect projects (like CPEC) going on Govt. to Govt. basis.
Further commenting on the crime, Dr. Amir Shaikh informed that in a recent meeting with SBP and Commercial Banks, FIA had asked them to be more alert vis-à-vis ATM skimming. Dr. Shaikh also acknowledged the support of Chinese diplomatic post here apropos nabbing the culprits.
Informing that FIA was in close contact with NGOs like PILER, Aurat Foundation and other institutes like SZABIST etc., the Director said that they would train 10-15 people from these organizations.
Conceding that most of the social media services (Facebook, Twitter etc) were based in USA the Director told that he had written a letter to the Ministry and they most likely were in negotiations with their counterparts.
Stressing that FIA could not just sit idle till any agreement was signed, he repeatedly cited an example of a medical student who – being blackmailed – wanted to commit suicide. But thanks to the effective measures taken by FIA Cybercrime Circle her agony was assuaged as a result of a patch-up between the perpetrator and the victim.
Director, addressing the culprits, sternly warned that FIA (by means of cutting-edge technology) would get them any way and they would face punishment of 3 to 14 years of imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 to Rs. five million fine.
*According to details two Chinese men, identified as Zhang Qiaocheng and Zhong Showen, were arrested here Wednesday (10th of January) when they were in the process of stealing data of a bank’s customers at its Zainab Market’s ATM located on main Abdullah Haroon Road.
Personnel, monitoring the real-time surveillance feed, got suspicious when they noticed the accused acting in a strange way and informed the bank staff.
Later LEA personnel recovered a skimming device from the two accused who came to Pakistan on 2nd of January on business visas. Suspects, who are presently in the custody of FIA cybercrime cell, have visited the very ATM three days ago.