Info-tech

Tech majors promise more action to promote internet safety

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 11, 2020 Published on February 11, 2020

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Launch initiatives to mark ‘Safer Internet Day’

Tech majors, including Google and Instagram, launched initiatives to mark ‘Safer Internet Day’ on Tuesday (February 11).

Starting as an initiative of the European Union’s SafeBorders project in 2004, the Safer Internet Day has taken the world by storm. In just a year of introducing the project, it was taken up by the EU’s network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs), Insafe, in 2005.

“From cyber bullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns,” say the website.

With the number of internet users across the globe growing and the simultaneous increase in online risks, it is evident that internet safety matters now more than ever.

State of digital civility

India alone had 687.62 million total internet subscribers by the end of Q3 2019, according to TRAI estimates.

Tech giant Microsoft recently released its ‘Digital Civility Index,’ based on a survey completed in May 2019 to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of teens aged 13 through 17 and adults aged between 18 and 74 in 25 countries to learn about the state of digital civility in current times.

According to the index, unwanted contact, unwanted sexting, hate speech and trolling were some of the biggest online risks in India.

A report by Kaspersky’s KSN (Kaspersky Security Network) said that 38.8 per cent of the overall Kaspersky users in India saw at least one Web-based attack in 2019.

Tech companies pitch in

Google India on Tuesday announced a new comprehensive public outreach campaign, #PehleSafety, to create awareness around internet safety and reiterate its efforts towards the same.

Saikat Mitra, Director, Trust & Safety, Google India, said: “We believe that education is a crucial aspect of online security. Over the course of last year we launched a far-reaching campaign to inform our users about online security, and the steps they can take to keep their internet experience safe. We worked with top YouTube influencers to spread the word on online safety, and launched powerful, step-by-step tools like the Security Checkup and Password Checkup that help you strengthen your Google Account security and address issues in minutes.”

The IT giant is also working on an extensive security campaign with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), “aimed at reaching out to millions of end-users and educating them about best practices for staying safe online,” the company said.

GoDaddy, one of the biggest online web hosting platforms, also highlighted the need for cyber security in current times.

“While the rapid growth of internet adoption and digital technologies has given wings to people to grow their ideas online like never before, there is a greater risk of getting critical business resources and customer information compromised. It has now become crucial for emerging entrepreneurs and business owners to safeguard their customers’ information, as well as their own, from external threats,” said Nikhil Arora, Vice-President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India

He further elaborated upon the safety measures that the tech company takes to ensure the safety of users.

“At GoDaddy, we have built our infrastructure to help our customers protect their digital identities by offering SSL and code signing certificates, malware scanners, two-step verification secure sign-in and website back-up, among other online security protection services,” Arora further said.

Instagram said it is introducing new ways to better update people when they report something. It announced Support Requests, a new feature that shows the status of your submitted reports, as well as your report history. To see your reports, go to “Settings” in Instagram and then tap “Support Requests.” From there you can tap any report to see more information about its status. You can also tap “More Options” for suggested actions to take, like muting, blocking, restricting or unfollowing the user whose content you’ve reported.

“And if you disagree with the action we’ve taken on the content you reported, you can now tap “Request a Review” to have us take a second look.” This new feature will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

It also announced a new option to appeal disabled accounts directly within Instagram. Previously, this option was only available through the Instagram Help Center. “Now, the in-app appeal option will automatically appear when you attempt to log into your disabled account. Your username will be pre-populated, and you will need to add your full name, e-mail and a reason why you think we may have made a mistake in disabling your account. Finally, tap “Request a Review” to have your disabled account re-reviewed and potentially restored.” This feature will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Social media platforms gear up

Social media platforms over the past year have been working extensively on complying with security regulations across the globe and bettering security measures on their platform in the light of increasing cyber threats and security breaches.

Social media giant Facebook Inc recently announced that it will strengthen security protocols amid multiple security breaches over the past few years. Most recently, thousands of usernames and passwords from Instagram, a Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform, have been leaked by Social Captain, a service that helps users grow their Instagram follower counts, TechCrunch had reported.

The social media giant had also updated a detailed action plan to counter deep-fakes on social media back in January.

Micro-blogging platform Twitter also recently updated its ‘Twitter Rules’ for users, addressing important issues including fake media and abusive posts. The platform also recently announced a range of features to curb abuse, including limiting the replies one can receive for a tweet.

According to The Verge, Twitter recently said that it had improved its technology for automated flagging and removal of abusive tweets before they are reported by the user. Its automated moderation platform can now flag more than 50 per cent of tweets identified as abusive and take them down before a user reports them.

According to a TechCrunch report, the global spending on cyber security will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021. The cyber security market in India is expected to grow to $3.05 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 15.6 per cent, according to a report published by DSCI.

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Published on February 11, 2020
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