SoftBank Invests $4.4 Billion in Shared Offices Firm WeWork

Office sharing startup WeWork on Thursday announced that Japan’s SoftBank Group has made a $4.4 billion (roughly Rs. 28,192 crores) investment in the company.

Since launching in New York seven years ago, WeWork says it has grown into a network with more than 150,000 members at some 160 locations around the world.

WeWork – which offers warehouse-style shared workspace to smaller companies, primarily tech startups – expected to use the massive investment by SoftBank to expand its global presence.

“WeWork is leveraging the latest technologies and its own proprietary data systems to radically transform the way people work,” SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son said in a release.

“We are thrilled to support WeWork as they expand across markets and geographies and unleash a new wave of productivity around the world.”

SoftBank Invests $4.4 Billion in Shared Offices Firm WeWorkThe investment being made by SoftBank and its Vision Fund will include $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,222 crores) pumped into WeWork’s core operation through new shares and purchases of existing shares.

The remaining $1.4 billion (roughly Rs. 8,970 crores) will go to buy shares in freshly created WeWork companies focused on China, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, according to the US firm.

The funding also will get SoftBank some seats on the WeWork board of directors.

With this latest investment, privately operated WeWork has raised nearly $10 billion (roughly Rs. 64,070 crores) in funding since it was started, according to the website Crunchbase, which tracks financial backing of young technology companies.

SoftBank accounts for more than half the money invested in WeWork.

“Masayoshi Son is a visionary business leader and we are humbled by this strong endorsement of our mission and purpose,” said WeWork co-founder and chief executive Adam Neumann.

Apple to Build Iowa Data Centre, Get $207.8 Million in Incentives

Apple Inc will build a $1.375 billion (roughly Rs. 8,813 crores) data centre in Waukee, Iowa, Apple and state officials said on Thursday, with $207.8 million (roughly Rs. 1,332 crores) in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Waukee city council.

Apple will purchase 2,000 acres (8.09 square km) of land in Waukee, about 20 miles (32km) west of Des Moines, to build two data centres. The company will receive a $19.65 million (roughly Rs. 126 crores) investment tax credit for creating 50 jobs.

Apple said the project will generate more than 550 jobs in construction and operations, but did not specify how many of those jobs would be long-term positions.

Speaking alongside Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the facility “will create hundreds of jobs for people in Iowa from construction to engineering.”

Cook said Apple will contribute up to $100 million (roughly Rs. 641 crores) towards a “public improvement fund” for the city of Waukee, adding the first project supported by the fund will be a youth sports complex that “will be open to all.”

The bulk of the subsidy is a planned $188.2 million (roughly Rs. 1,206 crores) property tax abatement of 71 percent over 20 years provided by the city of Waukee, according to economic development officials.

Apple to Build Iowa Data Centre, Get $207.8 Million in IncentivesState subsidies to technology employers have become a key issue in Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, where Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is seeking $3 billion in subsidies for a $10 billion (roughly Rs. 64,090 crores) LCD panel plant. The incentive package passed Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled state Assembly last week by a 59-30 margin.

Foxconn is a major Apple supplier, but is not expected to make any Apple products at its proposed US plant.

The Iowa data centre will join Apple facilities in California, Nevada, Oregon and North Carolina, which also host services such as iCloud, Apple Music and the App Store.

“This new data centre will play a very important role in the App Store’s continued success,” Cook said. “As the App Store grows, we look forward to growing in Iowa.”

Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp also maintain data centres in Iowa.

Apple will spend $110 million (roughly Rs. 705 crores) to acquire and prepare the land for its data centres in Iowa, according to economic development officials.

The bulk of the costs, $620 million (roughly Rs. 39,74 crores), will go towards construction. Apple will spend $600 million (roughly Rs. 3,845 crores) on computer equipment, with $45 million (roughly Rs. 288 crores) going towards other equipment.

Aadhaar Card: How to Verify Your Phone Number Using UIDAI Website

Are you sure that the contact information registered with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for your Aadhaar Card is correct? If not, we would advise you to head to the UIDAI website and check it out for yourself. Aadhaar card is increasingly becoming the most important proof of identification and considering that the government has made it mandatory to link your Aadhaar cards with PAN card for filing income tax returns, its importance has grown further. UIDAI has now provided an online tool for you to verify that the contact information provided in Aadhaar card is correct.

In order to verify whether your contact number is correct on the Aadhaar card, you need to head to the home page of the UIDAI website and choose the option Verify Email/Mobile Number under Aadhaar Services tab. In the new tab, you need to enter details like your Aadhaar number, email address, mobile number that you need to verify, and a security code. Notably, the UIDAI security code is case sensitive and users should keep in mind that letters in upper and lower case will be treated as different entities by the system.

How to verify email address on UIDAI website

In order to verify the email address, users need to enter the Aadhaar number, email address, and a security code on the UIDAI platform. Then they will receive the OTP on their email address, which is then required to be entered on the right side of the page in the space provided. In case of entries that are valid and match, the system responds by saying “Congratulations! The Email ID matches with our records!”

Aadhaar Card: How to Verify Your Phone Number Using UIDAI WebsiteHow to verify contact number on UIDAI website

Users need to enter their mobile number instead of email address in order to receive the OTP on the mobile number and verify it from the website. Rest of the procedure is same as the verification of the email address. In case of entries that are valid and match, the system responds by saying “Congratulations! The Mobile Number matches with our records!”

Importance

The information provided to UIDAI for the Aadhaar card needs to be authentic and any discrepancies might cause problems for you going ahead. This is precisely why you need to make sure that these details associated with your identity are correctly noted down in the records available with the UIDAI.

Blue Whale Challenge: Delhi High Court Expresses Concern Over Suicides

The Delhi High Court on Thursday expressed concern over children allegedly committing suicide while playing the ‘Blue Whale’ Challenge, an Internet suicide game, that has been allegedly linked to the deaths of several children worldwide.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also wondered why adults were getting into this game, in which dangerous tasks like self-inflicting of wounds on the body, are assigned to the player by administrators during a 50-day period.

The bench said it can understand children getting influenced, but why were adults getting involved in it.

“If an adult is told to do a task, why would he/she go and jump from a building,” it said, adding that “we are wondering why both children and adult are doing this”.

The high court, however, refrained from passing any order on the plea seeking direction to the Internet companies including Google, Facebook and Yahoo to take down the links of the Blue whale.

It wished to know whether the government has issued any prohibition order with regard to downloading of the Blue Whale game.

The court also sought to know from the petitioner, advocate Gurmeet Singh, whether any such incident has happened in Delhi. It asked the petitioner whether any prohibition order could be passed on Thursday and fixed the matter for further hearing on August 22.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT had directed the Internet majors – Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo – to immediately remove the links of the deadly Blue Whale Challenge, which has led several children in India and other countries to commit suicide.

The PIL on Wednesday was moved in the High Court seeking directions to Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo to take down the links of ‘Blue Whale’.

Citing deaths of children in India and abroad, the advocate, who filed the petition, sought immediate directions to restrain the Internet majors from uploading any material pertaining to the Blue Whale Challenge.

He also sought direction to the Delhi Police to appoint a special five-member team to oversee whether the Internet companies comply with the court’s direction.

Blue Whale Challenge: Delhi High Court Expresses Concern Over SuicidesThe sudden popularity of the lethal online game – Blue Whale Challenge, in which the final task requires the player to commit suicide, has forced the government to issue directions to the Internet giants to remove the links of the dangerous game.

The Blue Whale Challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to committing suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the challenge.

The petition said “there are so many children and people being adversely affected by this menace namely Blue Whale Challenge and they do not even know that the same will cost their life and their families will suffer heavily. All citizens of India will be benefitted if the said menace is stopped.”

More than six children across India in the age group of 12-19 years have taken their lives playing this game within a span of two weeks.

Deaths of teenagers have been reported from other countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile and Italy, the PIL had said.

Lithuanian Man Pleads Not Guilty to Defrauding Facebook and Google

A Lithuanian man accused of defrauding Facebook and Google out of more than $100 million pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in US court on Thursday.

Evaldas Rimasauskas, 48, entered his plea through an interpreter before US Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses in federal court in Manhattan, clad in a blue and white striped shirt and faded blue jeans. He arrived in New York on Wednesday night after being extradited from Lithuania, US prosecutors said.

Rimasauskas did not ask for bail and remains in custody.

“We’ll follow the procedural run of the case and make sure he gets a good defence,” Rimasauskas’s lawyer, Robert Peabody, told reporters after the plea.

US prosecutors charged Rimasauskas in March with engaging in an email fraud scheme in which they say he bilked Google and Facebook out of more than $100 million by posing as an Asian hardware vendor.

The prosecutors did not name the companies, but Taiwan-based Quanta Computer has confirmed it is the Asian vendor and a Lithuanian court order identified the victims as Facebook and Google. The companies could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

Lithuanian Man Pleads Not Guilty to Defrauding Facebook and GoogleRimasauskas allegedly defrauded Google out of $23 million and Facebook out of $99 million, according to Lithuania’s top court, which ordered his extradition earlier this month.

He is charged with wire fraud and money laundering, which each carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years.

The alleged scheme is an example of a growing type of fraud called “business email compromise,” in which fraudsters ask for money using emails targeted at companies that work with foreign suppliers or regularly make wire transfers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in June 2016 that since October 2013, US and foreign victims have made 22,143 complaints about business email compromise scams involving requests for almost $3.1 billion in transfers.

Facebook, Google Activate SOS Features After Barcelona Attack

Soon after the Barcelona attack that left 13 people dead, Facebook and Google activated their safety check features to let users in the vicinity inform their friends that they were safe and get nearby support.

Facebook created a page, titled “The attack in Barcelona, Spain” which users used to “check in as safe”, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.

Recently launched SOS alert feature by Google gave people up-to-date news and information about Barcelona attack.

The page also included helpful phrases for those who might be affected.

Facebook Safety Check was introduced in 2011 and was used for only natural disasters until 2015 Paris attack.

It was later widely used in terror attacks that took place in London, Nice and Berlin.

Facebook, Google Activate SOS Features After Barcelona Attack“When Safety Check is activated, users who Facebook determines to live or spend a lot of time in the affected area are sent a push notification asking if they want to check in as safe,” the report explained.

The feature sends a notification to friends of those who check in – confirming they have been marked as safe.

This also opens up ways for the people to offer help for those who are in need of help like food, shelter or medicines.

On the similar lines, Facebook introduced “Community Help” feature in February and claimed that it was inspired by the response to flooding in Chennai in which many people opened up their homes for the affected.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Slams Tech Firms for Barring Neo-Nazis

A digital rights group based in San Francisco on Thursday criticised several Internet companies for removing neo-Nazi groups from servers and services, saying the actions were “dangerous” and threatened free expression online.

GoDaddy, Alphabet’s Google, security firm Cloudflareand other technology companies moved this week to block hate groups after weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists had gathered to protest removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park.

“We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous,” Cindy Cohn, executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a blog post along with two other staffers.

The blog post reflected years-long tension in Silicon Valley, where many company executives want to distance themselves from extremists but are concerned that picking and choosing what is acceptable on their platforms could invite more regulation from governments.

“Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected,” Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote.

“We do it because the power to decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t is just too dangerous to hand to any company or any government.”

The group called on companies that manage internet domain names, including Google and GoDaddy, to “draw a hard line” and not suspend or impair domain names “based on expressive content of websites or services.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation Slams Tech Firms for Barring Neo-NazisThe blog post echoed concerns expressed by Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince, who on Wendnesday said he decided to drop coverage of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer but said that his decision was conflicted.

Prince told Reuters he “wholeheartedly agreed” with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s post and said he was hopeful it would help spark a more thoughtful debate about internet regulation.

Google and GoDaddy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the blog made outside normal business hours.

The Daily Stormer helped organise the protest in Charlottesville, at which a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a vehicle drove into counter-protesters. The website cheered the woman’s death.

WhatsApp Status Feature Now Available on Web

WhatsApp, the mostly widely used messaging app in the world which now has 1 billion daily active users, has started rolling out the Status feature to its Web interface. To recall, the WhatsApp Status feature started rolling out to users worldwide in February this year.

Unlike the mobile app, the WhatsApp Status on Web interface is available with a circular icon next to New Message icon on top. On tapping the Status icon, the colour of the background changes to Black theme, and WhatsApp friends that have a status will appear in a list format. To view a friend’s Status, users will have to tap on a contact to view their status.

WhatsApp Status Feature Now Available on WebWhatsApp’s Status feature is the company’s new way to engage people on the messaging platform, and replaced the old text form of status. With the Status feature, WhatsApp users can change their status to a short video or photos.

Much like the mobile app, the WhatsApp Status on Web will be shared with contacts on the app. WhatsApp has already confirmed that similar to chats, the status updates are also end-to-end encrypted. The Status messages automatically disappear after 24 hours.

Much like the Last Seen option, users can tweak who can see a new WhatsApp Status, the three options are My contacts, My contacts except, and Only share with. By default, WhatsApp Status updates created by a user are visible to all contacts. You can go through our detailed post on how to create, edit, and delete WhatsApp Status updates.

Blue Whale Challenge: Haryana Advises Schools to Counsel Students

The Haryana Children Protection Commission (HCPC) has issued an advisory to all private and government schools in the state to counsel students about the risk of ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ and other similar online challenges.

The HCPC has asked schools to also keep a close tab on those students who were showing “abnormal” behaviour.

The advisory directed the management of all schools to implement to educate students from Class 5 to 12 and make them aware about the deadly, hazardous and negative impact of ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, which has reportedly claimed lives of several people worldwide.

‘Blue Whale’ is a controversial Internet challenge in which a series of tasks, mostly brutal, are given to players for a period of 50 days by the administrators with a final challenge requiring them to commit suicide. The player is asked to share photos after finishing the different levels of the challenge. The challenge is spread via links on social media platforms.

In the 17-point advisory, the HCPC has suggested deploying digital surveillance system in schools, installation of filters, firewalls, monitoring software mechanism, effective use of internet, among others as preventive measure.

Blue Whale Challenge: Haryana Advises Schools to Counsel StudentsThe initiative was taken following the directives of National Children Protection Commission (NCPC), said Ramesh Yadav, member of HCPC.

Yadav told PTI, “We have directed all Haryana government and public school’s management to spread awareness amidst all students including Gurgaon schools. The schools have also been asked to closely watch and conduct proper counseling in case of abnormal behaviour if shown in any student.”

He added, “We have directed schools to send a copy of advisory to parents with similar guidelines and instructions to keep a tab on the activities of students during home.”

The district education officers have been directed to carry out surprise inspection in various schools, including Gurgaon, on day to day basis to get feed back and maintain records if the HCPC guidelines were being followed, Yadav said.

Flipkart Global Programme Launched, Enables Its Sellers to Export Products on eBay

Flipkart on Tuesday announced the launch of ‘Flipkart Global’, a programme that enables Indian sellers to export their products to buyers around the world. The e-commerce site will use eBay India’s export capabilities to help sellers ship their products abroad. This new service ties in with Flipkart’s ‘Month of Partners’, following the company’s merger with eBay India earlier this month.

The e-commerce marketplace is leveraging eBay India to connect its 100,000 plus sellers to to over 171 million active eBay customers around the world. Some of the countries include the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia.

The launch of the new offering will mean that existing 25,000 retail export sellers on eBay India will migrate to Flipkart Global and list their products through the platform. While Flipkart customers have access to a wide array of international products available on eBay, international customers of eBay will now have access to unique Indian products from Flipkart sellers. Flipkart in a statement also said that it will be talking to sellers across India over the next 20 days to educate them about the new service and help them take advantage of the programme.

Flipkart Global Programme Launched, Enables Its Sellers to Export Products on eBay“India has immense export potential and there are many SMEs who have unique products but don’t know how to make them available to global buyers. With the launch of Flipkart Global, we’re removing traditional growth barriers and giving them a platform to reach out internationally and expand sales,” Anil Goteti, Head Marketplace at Flipkart and Head of eBay India, said.

“Besides enabling trade, Flipkart Global will also help generate both direct and indirect employment opportunities, revive the fortunes of many artisans whose products are in huge demand internationally, and bring in much needed foreign exchange for the exchequer.”