PayPal is obviously trying to rejuvenate the battered image it now has in the eyes of the world after the entire Wikileaks debacle. PayPal had earlier suspended the accounts of customers who had donated to whistleblower website Wikileaks right after Cablegate. Their feeble reasons as to why the accounts were suspended were overshadowed by the rumors that the United States Government had wrung PayPal’s arm to perform this action. Some of these accounts were also involved in working for Pfc. Bradley Manning the inside man who, many claim, was responsible for the leak of the top secret cables.
One such organization called Courage to Resist also had its account recently suspended by PayPal. Branding PayPal as Evil, the press release by Bradley Manning Support Network claimed that it was and internal policy decision by PayPalto shut down Courage to Resist’s PayPal account, and that the company by their own admissionsaid that there was no legal obligation for them to close down the account.
PayPal, facing severe backlash, retracted their suspension instead saying that Courage to Resist did not comply with their stated policy for non-profits require that the organization have an associated bank account. This is part of the Know Your Customerobligation. In their blog post, PayPal said that they lifted the ban because now they sufficiently know their customer:-
Upon review, and as part of our normal business procedures, we have decided to lift the temporary restriction placed on their account because we have sufficient information to meet our statutory Know Your Customer’ obligations. The Courage to Resist PayPal account is now fully operational.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it will be allowing only a select list of advertising networks on Apps on Facebook.com. Only those advertisers who agree to not use user data and have signed the platform terms for ad providers will be allowed to advertise on Facebook.
Here’s the list of approved ad networks. Unsurprisingly, Google Adsense is not to be found on it. Google and Facebook have been at loggerheads over user data sharing, with Google often calling Facebook a walled garden. With these platform policies, Facebook has ensured that no ad provider is able to access user data through any application.
The official statement says that “We will begin enforcing this policy on 2/28, which should provide you and other developers the time required to switch ad providers or to help us sign terms with the ad providers you may be using. We will continue to add other ad providers in the coming weeks. If your ad provider is not on this list, we encourage you to contact them to determine if they are planning on signing our terms.”
Somehow I doubt that Google Adsense is going to make it on the list. Unless, of course, Google agrees to those policies, which I don’t suppose it will.
After months of persuasion and talks between esteemed officials of the Indian Govt. and the BlackBerry makers, RIM – the Govt. is now satisfied with the solution which RIM has proposed to monitor BlackBerry services by the Govt. However, RIM is still not setting up a server in India, instead they are offering a cloud based solution. But this cloud based monitoring solution is only for BlackBerry messenger, and RIM has not yet told anything about monitoring the corporate e-mail services.
As per the current agreement reached between RIM and the Govt., RIM’s infrastructure is all set to ready to receive and process lawfully intercepted BlackBerry messenger data via the cloud computing-based system, from Indian service providers. However the system is not yet real-time. This solution comes well within the deadline time of December 2010, which was set by the Indian Govt.
RIM has already allowed the security agencies to monitor voice calls, SMS, chat conversation but the Govt. wanted same access to the corporate BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry e-mails. Earlier, Nokia had setup a server in India to let the Govt. agencies monitor data generated from Nokia devices. Not only this, a Rajasthan based company has already launched BharatBerryto counter BlackBerry services in India.
Looks like the Canadian telecom major, Blackberry has lost the war against Indian authorities already. Earlier we told told you about the deadline which the Indian Govt. had set for Blackberry to allow the Govt. to access consumer data. Now we have reports that the chief of the United Nation’s telecommunications agency has urged the Blackberry manufacturer to allow law enforcement agencies access customer data
The chief of UN Telecom Agency said that governments have legitimate security concerns and all governments which are engaged in the fight against terrorism (countries like India and a few more) has the right to access customer data from BlackBerry.
RIM has already agreed to provide the Saudi government access consumer data. If it now complies with India’s demands, Blackberry may end up receiving similar demands from other countries too. And if it does not, the Indian government might disable messaging support in Blackberry devices across the country.
After playing a few rounds of “Who Blinks First” with the Indian Government, RIM has finally given in and has agreed to allow access to its encrypted email and messenger data to the Indian security agencies. It will set up local servers in India to manage the encrypted email data of its Indian users.
Indian authorities had threatened to ban Blackberry services in India on August 31, if they didn’t allow them access to the encrypted data passing through its servers located in Canada. It had requested that RIM set up local servers in India which could be monitored at will by the security agencies for security reasons. Now, with RIM agreeing to meet their demands, they have granted them 60 more days to address their concerns and install email routing servers locally.
Blackberry has more than a million users in India. Airtel, Vodafone and other operators had already been ordered to shut down Blackberry services tomorrow, on August 31, if the security issues weren’t resolved.
Indian Blackberry users, rejoice!
Research in Motion has been under pressure from many governments including India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to allow them access to the encrypted email and messenger information of the Blackberry users in the country.
Saudi Arabia had threatened RIM with a ban but RIM apparently worked out a deal allowing them access to the data.
Soon after that, India also threatened RIM with a nationwide ban by August 31 if it failed to provide them access to the encrypted Blackberry communication data. Reuters reported today that RIM has promised to provide a solution for the Indian government and will enable easy access of the encrypted data to law enforcement agencies. RIM’s Vice President, Robert Crow, seemed optimistic that the issue would be resolved soon.
RIM has more than 1 million Blackberry users in India. If the ban comes into effect, the Blackberry users won’t be able to use email and messenger services on their devices and will only be able to use them for calls, messaging and browsing.
After Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and probably India, it is Indonesia’s turn to seek a ban on Blackberry‘s services.
Indonesia is making demands similar to those made by Saudi Arabia, UAE and India; it wants RIM (Research in Motion) to install local servers through which the user data is routed so that it can have access to all the encrypted emails.
RIM is in a very tight spot right now, if it acquiesces to the request of any one country, it will have to comply with every country’s request. It has stated that it won’t compromise on its security features. It has agreed to provide user codes to the Saudi authorities that will allow them to access the encrypted information.
Indonesia has more than 1.2 million subscribers. Blackberry is facing fire from all quarters — Android and Apple are gaining marketshare while it is busy trying to pacify multiple governments. Even its stock has been hammered down by about 5%.
It seems like nothing is going right for Facebook at this time. In addition to the privacy havoc, user complaints and a movie ridiculing its founder, Facebook is now facing a complete country-wide ban in Pakistan. The order to ban Facebook came from a Pakistani Highcourt when Facebook failed to take an initiative in acting against a controversial group that invited people to draw Mohammad’s cartoons.
Interestingly, the group inviting people to draw cartoons only has 42,000 members while the group that is asking Facebook to take action against this has 58,000 members. This however, has failed to get Facebook’s attention. After lots of protests and boycott-Facebook campaigns online, people also gathered on the streets of Pakistan to push Facebook for an action. When disappointed, users appealed the Government to intervene and as a result the ban was issued.
Right now when somebody in Pakistan logs on to Facebook.com, they see a blank page with the message “This site is restricted”. Facebook currently has over 1.8 million users in Pakistan, which may not sound that large of a number but given the tremendous growth Facebook is experiencing in that region, Facebook cannot afford to loose that userbase.
However, it is very probable that the ban will not be permanent. Lot of users in Pakistan are already angry and think that this will only create more hype of the issue. Previously, Pakistan has placed similar bans on YouTube and Blogger.com which were soon revoked.
[Image Credit Dawn]