Technology

Today’s cache | Facebook’s new digital wallet, and more

Fle photo.

Fle photo.  

Today's cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology.

Facebook has launched its new wallet to hold and transact Libra, the social network’s payment system.

India said it is making Aarogya Setu’s source code public for Android phones, a move that will fortify data security in the app.

Google has outlined plans on reopening its offices.

In the world of social media, Twitter has refuted President Trump’s tweet on mail-in ballot frauds. At YouTube, two specific Chinese phrases that are insulting to China’s Communist Party are automatically erased from the comment section.

Facebook launches its digital wallet for Libra

Facebook on Tuesday introduced its digital wallet to help users send and keep the social networks’ digital currencies.

Called Novi, the e-wallet can be used to transact Facebook’s Libra currencies. The wallet will be a stand-alone app, and can also be used within Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook said that it would not add any hidden charge to add, send, receive or withdraw using Novi. The company also claims the fund transfers will be instant.

Novi users must register themselves using a government-issued ID to start transacting. The service has a built-in fraud protection to ensure that the money kept in the wallet and transacted across borders is safe and secure.

Novi is designed to hold Facebook’s Libra digital currency, which means the money added to the wallet becomes a hybrid of a country’s local currency and Libra. It has an in-app fraud reporting, and a dedicated customer care support to raise a complaint. In the event of a fraud, the customer is eligible to receive a full refund.

Novi’s data privacy policy is limited. The wallet app said it will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent. It will not use the data to improve ad targeting on Facebook and its family of apps or products.

However, in the event of a fraud or non-compliance with law, Novi will release data to regulators and government officials in response to a valid legal request.

Apart from this, Novi may also share aggregated data to Facebook or third parties to know about the performance of their product or services.

The interactive-style visual design of the wallet app shows a country’s local currency (for example., USD) next to Libra’s logo. And in another visual, a user is seen making a transfer from USD to GBP. The app calculates the exchange rate, and then effects the transfer.

Facebook said that the app is built on blockchain technology, and that the money in it is backed by Libra Reserve of assets made up of cash or cash equivalents and short-term government securities.

Novi did not reveal any details on how money can be added to the wallet; whether it will allow users to link their bank accounts to the app or customers can directly deposit cash into the app.

For now, it looks like Novi would be a great option for people making cross-border payments given that the service effects the transfer instantly. One has to wait to know about the charges though.

Google announces plan to reopen its offices

Google’s idea of ‘casual collision’ to enable collaboration between employees has been an important driving force for the search giant to experiment and build new products.

That is why the company’s offices have open floor plans, allowing Googlers to meet and cross pollinate ideas.

The COVID-19 induced shelter-at-home restriction has been a counter-cultural measure for an organisation that innovates through in-person collaboration.

While pandemic situation hasn’t changed much, the search giant plans to open more offices in various cities starting from June 6th. This decision will allow about 10% of its employees to return on a limited, rotating basis.

With social distancing, and rigorous health and safety measures in place, Google offices will look vastly different from the earlier version of campuses teeming with people meeting and discussing.

And after September, the company plans to scale up the rotation programme to 30% capacity.

“Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work,” CEO Sundar Pichai said an email to Google employees.

“Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community—in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office—and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose.”

The search giant also sees most of its employees to be largely working from home for the rest of this year.

Comments insulting China’s Communist Party vanishes from YouTube

Comments with two phrases insulting the Chinese Communist Party are deleted from YouTube, TheVerge reported.

The video-streaming service is automatically deleting comments that contain certain Chinese-language phrases, which criticise the CCP.

YouTube confirmed that this was happening in error to TheVerge, and that the company is working on fixing the issue.

The Google-owned company did not give any additional details on the issue. It did clarify that the deletion was not due to its moderation policy.

“Upon review by our teams, we have confirmed this was an error in our enforcement systems and we are working to fix it as quickly as possible,” a YouTube spokesperson said.

The two-word phrase comments written in Chinese language are automatically deleted in about 15 seconds of posting. Translated into English as “communist bandit” or “50-cent party” have been getting removed automatically since October 2019, and YouTube did not know about this.

Those same phrases in English have not been removed from the video streaming platform.

The former phrase is an old one used to insult China’s Nationalist government, and the latter is disrespectful comment aimed at paid internet users who deflect criticism against the CCP.

YouTube’s auto filters remove these two phrases as it sees them as spam and offensive text. Given it takes about 15 seconds to delete, human moderation of these phrases is very unlikely.

These deletions were highlighted by a former Oculus founder Palmer Luckey in a tweet.

Twitter refutes President Trump’s inaccuracies

In a first, Twitter refuted two of President Donald Trump’s tweets, which falsely claimed mail-in ballot boxes will be robbed, and ballots forged.

“There is NO Way (ZERO!) that Mail-in Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…” President Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

In a reply thread, he added that even unregistered voters can vote, which will lead to a ‘rigged election.’

For both these tweets, Twitter has added a blue line under the tweet, which is a link to getting facts about mail-in ballots.

The link then opens a brief note that Trump’s claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. It added that experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.

And right under this, Twitter has listed out three points clarifying where the president has gone wrong.

The new warning labels added by Twitter marks a big shift in the way the short-messaging company deals with the president, New York Times said.

Aarogya Setu’s source code made public

India’s contact tracing app Aarogya Setu’s source code is now made public, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, the Indian government said it making its coronavirus contact tracing app’s source code public for Google’s Android smartphones.

The app’s iOS version source code will be released in the next two weeks, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology said in a statement.

“Transparency, privacy and security have been the core design principles of Aarogya Setu since its inception,” CEO Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog, told a news conference.

“And opening the source code up to the developer community signifies the government of India’s continuing commitment to these principles.”

Aarogya Setu app uses Bluetooth and GPS to track people coming in close contact with others to ensure that they can be quickly notified when one of their contacts is diagnosed COVID-19 positive.

An ethical French hacker, who goes by the name Elliot Alderson, had asked the government to make the health tracking app’s source code public, so that security experts can identify any flaw in the application.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 4:50:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/todays-cache-facebooks-new-digital-wallet-and-more/article31689744.ece

Next Story