Aadhaar Vendor, Recently Linked With CIA, Says It Does Not Store or Capture Customers’ Biometric Information

Cross Match Technologies, a US-based company that offers biometric products and services to a range of customers including India’s Aadhaar authority (UIDAI), told Gadgets 360 that it has not captured, or stored, or processed any personal private information of its customers. The clarification comes days after WikiLeaks reported that US federal agency CIA had the capability to hijack Cross Match’s software and use it to spy on Cross Match clients, theoretically giving it access to biometric data of over 1 billion Indians, if UIDAI were to be one of the organisations targeted. But Cross Match has clarified that its software does not have such capabilities.

John Hinmon, vice president of global marketing at Cross Match Technologies, told Gadgets 360 that the US-based company takes personal privacy very seriously. He added that Cross Match “does not capture, store or process in any manner personal private information, such as fingerprint images, collected by any of its customers,” adding that the company doesn’t have the “technical ability” to “covertly ‘remote into’ databases and systems that do store such personal data, nor have we ever been involved in developing or supporting such capability for any government or private entity.”

“Crossmatch’s fingerprint scanners and software allow end users to capture, store and process those images in their own systems, under security protocols defined by that end user. Typically, these systems are accessible only by trusted ‘administrative users.’ To be clear, this is the case with India UID. All software utilised with our scanners was developed, tested and certified under the direction of India UID,” Hinmon told Gadgets 360. “We value our partnership with India to support the historic and progressive Aadhaar program that widens social and economic inclusion and channels welfare payments more effectively.”

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks published secret CIA documents detailing a biometric collection system that the US agency ran, for which it worked with its intel partners including the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The intel partners were “expected” to “voluntarily” share the biometric information they collected, WikiLeaks reported.

The CIA, however, didn’t find the arrangement for the biometric collection system sufficient so it reportedly created a secret program called ExpressLane, using which it installed a trojan — disguised as software update — that would covertly collect the biometric information, according to WikiLeaks. Citing CIA’s internal documents, WikiLeaks alleged that the agency was also using Cross Match’s technologies for its biometric collection system, and ExpressLane program could compromise Cross Match’s services.

In the aftermath of the WikiLeaks’ revelation, reports claimed that the CIA could have managed to access and collect the biometric information — Aadhaar data — of Indians, since the UIDAI has also worked with Cross Match Technologies. It needs to be stressed that there is no evidence in WikiLeaks’ report that explicitly states that the Aadhaar infrastructure is impacted, too. It is also not known whether Cross Match still provides its services to UIDAI.

More than 1.17 billion people have enrolled in the Aadhaar system — for which a person’s print of all fingers, iris data, and other private information such as name, data of birth, address, and phone number — are collected. Originally conceptualised to help a portion of Indians avail social welfare programs, the central government has made Aadhaar identity mandatory for availing several other services including filing income tax returns and getting a new phone number.

Aadhaar Vendor, Recently Linked With CIA, Says It Does Not Store or Capture Customers' Biometric InformationAccording to a press release issued by Cross Match in 2011, it had received a three-year certification to supply biometric authentication solutions to UIDAI. “Today’s milestone demonstrates that Cross Match, as a global leader in image quality and performance, and its Indian partner for the UID program, Smart Identity Devices Pvt. Ltd. (Smart ID), are ideally suited to help make this historic project a reality,” Cross Match CEO David Buckley had said then.

The issue, as reported by WikiLeaks, however is that the CIA’s ExpressLane program could gather biometric information from systems without knowledge — and presumably consent — of its intel partners. In a brief conversation with Gadgets 360, Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of non-profit organisation WikiLeaks said CIA, through its ExpressLane program, installs “trojaned versions of the Cross Match under the cover of a “[software] update.”

A CIA-assigned officer would visit offices and install ExpressLane program — disguised as software update — which would set wheels in motion to covertly collect the biometric information, according to CIA’s confidential documents published by WikiLeaks. Several documents detail how the authorised officer would install the program, and the technical details of how the program had been created.

Over the years WikiLeaks, founded in 2006, has published several confidential documents detailing various controversial programs run by governments. “Wikileaks has a solid history of producing legitimate material, but they’ve also been known to over-inflate the significance of it,” top security analyst Troy Hunt told Gadgets 360. “Especially in more recent times, there’s growing concern that the material they’re publishing is less in the best interests of the people, and more to further their own agendas. In reality, it’s probably a bit of both.”

Netflix to Add UPI Support With Auto Recurring Billing Option Soon

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will soon find another international backer. Netflix plans to roll out support for UPI payments in the country, a source familiar with the matter told Gadgets 360.

The on-demand streaming service will introduce the new payment option after the rollout of UPI 2.0, the source said, requesting anonymity. UPI 2.0, expected to roll out later this year, is the upgraded version of UPI protocol which will offer a range of new capabilities, including programmable electronic mandates that can enable auto-renewable billing option.

Earlier this year, Netflix had held advance talks with One97 Communications for introducing support for recurring billing option with mobile wallet Paytm, three sources told Gadgets 360. But in the past three months, those talks have hit a wall, a source said. Music service Gaana accepts Paytm as an option, but it requires users to punch in their credit/ debit card number for approval. Netflix couldn’t get over this limitation.

“We already have credit card billing so introducing a wallet provider as a middleman makes no sense,” the source told Gadgets 360 recently. There was one more limitation that emerged as a deal breaker. “On top of that, Paytm money cannot be used to pay cross-border,” the source told Gadgets 360. Netflix had internally built the tech back-end and user interface and design flows for Paytm payments option, but then it put it in “cold storage,” the person said. A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment, as did Paytm’s.

At a point, Netflix also considered opening its own “accounting and legal liabilities if we use our Mumbai subsidiary to accept subscription payments,” the source said. “While that’s not too difficult to work around, I don’t think it’s worth it. Paytm is simply not worth hiring more accountants in India.”

The move would help Netflix extend its reach in India. At present, the company only supports credit cards — and select debit cards with international purchases enabled — for payments. Penetration of both remains low in the country.

Netflix to Add UPI Support With Auto Recurring Billing Option SoonThe arrival of Netflix will lend further credibility to UPI, which in the recent months has attracted several international players. Earlier this week, Uber introduced support for UPI payments on its platform. Facebook, Amazon, and Google have also been working with NPCI to introduce UPI-based payments solutions in their apps, multiple people familiar with the matter said.

And many more Indian and international companies may jump ship too. At present, several services rely on wallet apps to allow their customers to make payments seamlessly, without resorting to passwords and OTPs associated with card usage in India. They will soon have little reason to not support UPI on their platforms.

Introduced just last year, UPI is already raking in big numbers. Even as the volume of transactions via UPI-powered apps is much lower than that of Prepaid Instrument (PPI; mostly wallet apps), it is already being used to exchange more money. According to figure provided by RBI for the month of July, UPI-powered apps were used to do 11.4 million transactions and exchange Rs. 33.8 billion. In comparison, PPI had seen 88.7 million transactions, but only Rs. 25.1 billion changed hands.

Aadhaar Addresses All of Supreme Court’s Design Principles: Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and non-Executive Chairman of Infosys, who is also the architect of the UIDAI, on Friday expressed confidence that Aadhaar “addresses all design principles laid down by the Supreme Court”.

Nilekani said this during an investors’ call held on Friday, where he was asked about the apex court’s landmark judgment on right to privacy as a fundamental right and its implications on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Aadhaar Addresses All of Supreme Court's Design Principles: NilekaniNilekani said: “There is a very good group to look at the data protection policy under Justice Srikrishna. The Aadhaar card will go to a smaller bench which I assume they will constitute.

“I am very confident Aadhaar will come out with flying colours because it addresses all the design principles laid down by the Supreme Court.”

“I think it’s a superb decision (by the Supreme Court). While it has upheld privacy as a fundamental right, it also acknowledges that in the interest of larger societal reasons, you may have some constraints on it.

“The court has formally said that right to privacy is a fundamental right but not an absolute right,” he added.

Nilekani, 62, who was the CEO of Infosys from March 2002 till April 2007 and its Vice-Chairman, quit the company in 2009 to head the UIDAI as its first Chairman till May 2014.

Chinese National Arrested for Using Malware Linked to OPM Hack

A Chinese national was arrested in Los Angeles earlier this week on charges he used a rare type of computer malware that was also deployed to access millions of sensitive US records from the Office of Personnel Management.

Court papers filed against Yu Pingan do not mention OPM, but they do suggest a connection between the two. The OPM hack is considered one of the worst-ever computer breaches of US government computer systems, because the hackers were able to access a huge volume of information from security clearance forms filed by federal workers and contractors.

The suspect, along with other conspirators in China “would acquire and use malicious software tools, some of which were rare variants previously unidentified by the FBI and information security community, including a malicious software tool known as ‘Sakula’,” the criminal complaint states.

Chinese National Arrested for Using Malware Linked to OPM HackThe Sakula malware has previously been linked to the OPM hack, as well as other suspected computer system penetrations in the United States.

Yu, 36, was arrested Monday night when he flew into Los Angeles International Airport, officials said.

US officials have previously said the Chinese government is responsible for the OPM hack, which breached major databases and exposed the sensitive information of about 22.1 million people, including not just federal employees and contractors but their families and friends.

The charges filed against Yu concern earlier alleged computer breaches of three US companies. He is accused of conspiracy to commit computer hacking for those incidents, which took place from 2012 to 2014.

Spotify, Warner Music Renew Licensing Deal

Spotify said on Thursday it has renewed its global licensing partnership with a third major label, Warner Music Inc, the last big music royalty deal it needs before pushing ahead with a US stock market listing.

The music streaming company was close to agreeing on a new licensing pact with Warner Music in July, sources had told Reuters.

“It’s taken us a while to get here, but it’s been worth it, as we’ve arrived at a balanced set of future-focused deal terms,” Warner Music Group chief digital officer Ole Obermann said in an Instagram post.

A Spotify spokesman confirmed the renewal in an email, without disclosing financial terms of the agreement.

Earlier this year, Sweden’s Spotify signed licensing deals with two for the largest labels – Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

Spotify, Warner Music Renew Licensing Deal“Even with the current pace of growth, there’s still so much potential for music subscription to reach new audiences and territories,” Obermann said.

Spotify, which hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to advise it on a stock market listing, is still aiming to go public via a direct listing towards the end of this year or the beginning of the next, a source told Reuters last month.

Spotify has fended off competition from rival Apple Music, with more than double the number of paying subscribers.

Spotify said in July it had 60 million paying subscribers, adding 10 million subscribers in less than five months. Apple reported 27 million music subscribers in June, up from 20 million in December.

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.

Amazon to Lower Whole Foods Prices as Soon as Purchase Is Finalised on Monday

Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Marketwill be finalised Monday, and shoppers will see an immediate markdown in prices on a number of items, including salmon, avocados, baby kale and almond butter, as the tech giant looks to shake up the grocery business.

Amazon and Whole Foods announced the news on Thursday.

“The two companies will together pursue the vision of making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone,” they said in a joint statement. “Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come.”

Amazon said it will continue to lower prices at Whole Food stores and will eventually offer special discounts and in-store benefits to Amazon Prime members. (Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

Other foods that will be cheaper beginning next week: Bananas, eggs, ground beef, rotisserie chicken, butter and apples.

“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement. “There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”

Analysts said the slashing of prices was an obvious move. Whole Foods – nicknamed “whole paycheck” in some circles – has long struggled to shed its reputation as a pricey alternative to other supermarket chains. The company’s prices are about 15 percent higher than at the average grocery store, according to Morgan Stanley.

“Amazon is playing to its strengths here, said Michelle Grant, head of retailing at Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm. “Obviously the low-cost approach is in Amazon’s DNA, and it’s something Whole Foods has been struggling with for a quite some time.”

For Seattle-based Amazon, the addition of Whole Foods means laying claim to more than 460 physical locations and an inroad into the competitive $600 billion grocery industry. The company will add Whole Foods’ private label products – including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws and Whole Catch – to Amazon.com, AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry. Some Whole Foods stores also will begin adding Amazon Lockers, where customers can pick up online orders or drop off returns.

“Grocery has always been the achilles heel for Amazon,” Grant said. “Amazon’s competitive advantage is its speed – and that’s what it’s bringing here, with quick turnaround and quick changes.”

Amazon announced plans to buy Whole Foods in June. The deal received regulatory approval from the Federal Trade Commission – as well as a green light from Whole Foods shareholders – on Wednesday.

“Change is coming much faster than anyone imagined,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said in an email. “Amazon is wasting no time in making the most of its newest division.”

And, he added, there is already significant overlap between the customers of the two companies. More than 70 percent of Whole Foods’ main customers are members of Amazon Prime. The loyalty program, which has an annual fee of $99, offers a number of perks, including free two-day shipping, video streaming and discounts on recurring purchases of household goods and diapers.

Amazon to Lower Whole Foods Prices as Soon as Purchase Is Finalised on MondayNews of the impending deal has rattled the grocery industry, which is already struggling to keep up with growing competition. Although Whole Foods remains a niche chain – Walmart and Sam’s Club, by comparison, have 10 times as many stores- analysts say an Amazon-backed grocer could have broad implications on pricing and profits.

“Rivals should be under no illusion that they are now dealing with a competitor that is not afraid to damage profits and margins if it creates long-term gains,” Saunders said. “This will only add further pressure to already crimped margins in the sector.”

On Thursday, stock prices of rival grocers took a hit on the promise of lower-priced goods at Whole Foods. Shares of Kroger, which was rumored late last year to be considering its own takeover of Whole Foods, fell more than 8 percent. SuperValu, with a network of 2,000 stores across the country, was down more than 6 percent, while Costco dipped about 5 percent. (Shares of Whole Foods, meanwhile, rose about 1 percent.)

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.

Google Search Now Shows a Screening Test If You Search for Depression

Google Search users in the US will soon be able to take a screening to determine whether they are depressed. The clinically approved test is optional, and will show up when Google Search users in the US look up “depression” on the search engine. It will be placed as a box on top of the results on mobile on search result page, which Google calls Knowledge Panel. This panel includes information on what depression is, its symptoms, and possible treatments. The company has also partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to ensure the information shared in the Google Search depression questionnaire is accurate.

“Now when you search for ‘clinical depression’ on Google on mobile, you’ll see a Knowledge Panel that will give you the option to tap ‘check if you’re clinically depressed’, which will bring you to PHQ-9, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test what your likely level of depression may be. To ensure that the information shared in the PHQ-9 questionnaire is accurate and useful, we have partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness on this announcement,” Google said in a blog post.

google depression DepressionAccording to Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha, cited by The Verge, this new Google Search feature is being rolled out on mobile in the US soon and it is not meant to subvert a medical evaluation.

“The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor,” according to NAMI, which partnered with Google on the questionnaire.

According to NAMI, clinical depression is a fairly common condition with almost one in five Americans experiencing an episode in their lifetime. But only about 50 percent of people who have depression get treated for it.

“Mental health professionals often refer to major depressive disorder as clinically significant depression or clinical depression. Clinical depression is a treatable condition which can impact many aspects of a person’s life. The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis,” the NAMI statement added.

Few tips that will help you find the perfect bra

Lingerie is the most important foundation piece for putting together a great outfit you feel comfortable in and look the best in silhouette. It is important to choose the right bra that not only compliments your body shape but also offers high comfort and best fit.

Julia Mercer, Technical Manager and Bra fit expert at Marks & Spencer and Neha Kant, Founder at Clovia, have listed tips on how to buy the right bra:

The Perfect Fit. Invest time in having a professional bra fit because the size and shape of your breasts impact your choice of bra shape and size for your perfect fit. You know when you have the right bra fit, when it’s so comfortable you hardly know you are wearing one.

Try Before You Buy. Make sure to try on different bras to understand which shape makes you feel most comfortable. Your bra should be a snug fit but never dig into your sides. Also ensure the underwire doesn’t dig into your chest or pinch your skin, if this happens then try a bigger cup size.

Mind that Strap. Your bra straps shouldn’t be too loose or tight and be adjustable to your desired level of elevation.

The Fit Cup. The cups should be smooth and the edges should lay flat against your chest when you have the correct fit, without any bulges over the cup. The best way to ascertain you have the right cup size is to lift your arms and the bra should stay perfectly in place.

The Right Size. The biggest mistake most women make is not wearing the right cup size. Band sizes are measured in even numbers, when you have fastened the under-band you should only be able to pull the bra 4-5 cms away at the back, to get the best support. Cups should fully encase your breast without spillage. As a practice, get yourself measured every six to twelve months as your size can regularly change due to both weight loss and gain. It is imperative to get yourself fitted by a fully trained bra-fit expert at regular intervals to make sure that you have the right size.

Bra, lingerie, Different bra types, bra designs, perfect bra fit, wearing the wrong bra, Indian express, Indian express newsMind the Gap. If your breasts rest too close to each other then you need to find a bra with moulded cups with high centre gore. This will allow your breasts to settle in respective cups and give a fuller look. If your breasts rest wide apart then you need a bra with sturdy side wings and side boning to support breast tissues and move them into the cups. Go for a push up bra.

Coverage. If you have firm and full breasts then a full coverage bra is a good choice. It gives full support to breast tissues. If you have shallow breasts then demi-cup bra with wide straps or a push up bra will suit you the best. It will give that needed push to your breasts and give them a rounded appearance as well.

The Right Style. Women with broad shoulders, should go for a balconette bra with wide set straps for steady hold. To avoid visible bra straps you can opt for a racerback. A feminine petite body frame with narrow shoulders should go for a racerback or a bra with convertible straps. This would give full coverage to the breasts and a steady grip to the straps.