World
Google's Sundar Pichai backs Apple over cracking shooter's phone
Washington : Google's Indian-American chief executive Sundar Pichai sided with rival Apple in its battle over a court order to help the FBI access information on the encrypted iPhone used by a Pakistani-American shooter in San Bernardino.
 
Pichai Wedenesday directed followers to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's open letter Tuesday night arguing that helping the FBI try to get into the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook would sabotage the security of "tens of millions of American citizens."
 
Farook and his Pakistani origin wife, Tashfeen Malik, gunned down 14 people at a social services agency Dec 2 in San Bernardino, California, before being killed in a shootout with police.
 
FBI Director James Comey said last week that investigators still haven't been able to get at the information on Farook's iPhone 5c.
 
A Riverside, California court Tuesday directed Apple to help FBI crack the phone by developing software to hack into one of its own devices.
 
In a series of tweets Wednesday evening, Pichai argued that even that would essentially put tech companies in the position of hacking their own customers:
 
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy.
 
2/5 We know that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face significant
 
challenges in protecting the public against crime and terrorism 3/5 We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders 4/5 But that's wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent 5/5 Looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue
 
The government, Cook contends, is asking Apple to create a "backdoor" to its own security systems.
 
"Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them," Cook wrote in a letter published on the company's website.
 
"But now the US government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create."
 
Reacting to Cook's stand, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he was floored that Apple had not volunteered to aid the FBI. "Who do they think they are?" he asked on Fox News.
 
Speaking to reporters in South Carolina, Senator Marco Rubio said he hoped the tech giant would voluntarily comply with the government's request, but acknowledged the court order is far from a simple issue.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Will seek Nana's help in water cup: Aamir
Mumbai : Actor Aamir Khan, who on Wednesday announced the "Satyamev Jayate Water Cup" to solve the water problem of Maharashtra, will also seek support from industry colleague Nana Patekar, who is actively involved in helping the state's drought-hit farmers.
 
"I will meet Nana. I happened to see his film 'Natsamrat' which I found to be brilliant. I will talk to him. He is doing some great work. All of us have seen what he has done. 
 
"Like Nana, more and more people need to come forward for this cause. Nana has started this act which is wonderful. He is doing great work and showing his sensitivity to such an important issue. We would only like to add to that," he said to a query if he is planning to involve Nana for this project.
 
Aamir announced that the next season of his popular television show "Satyamev Jayate", which focuses on social issues, will have an episode on the water crisis in Maharashtra and other areas.
 
"The topic of water problems will be tackled in this season of 'Satyamev Jayate', especially the problems related to Maharashtra," he said at a press conference held to announce the 'Satyamev Jayate Water Cup" or a competition between villages will be involved in water conservation activities, with the winning village bagging prize money of Rs.50 lakh. The contest will be held between April 15 and May 31.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Tobacco products cheaper than essential food items: Study
New Delhi : Tobacco products were cheaper than essential food items in India, says a new study.
 
"The current excise and Value Added Tax (VAT) rates are insufficient to increase the prices of tobacco products, therefore making these products easily affordable," said the study conducted by the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
 
Highlighting that tobacco taxation as a fiscal policy was an advantage for both public health as well as revenue generation, Henk Bekedam, WHO representative to India, said: "A comprehensive tax policy leads to reduction in tobacco use especially among young people and at the same time provides increased revenues to the government.
 
"It has also been seen that affordability, in relation to income, of tobacco products is increasing at the national level, except for recent years," he said, adding that this was true even for the poorest households in the country.
 
The tax burden on tobacco products was not in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recommendations, which says excise taxes should account for at least 70 percent of retail prices of tobacco products.
 
In recent times, the share of tax burden has also declined -- for cigarettes it declined from 55.3 percent in 2008 to 36.8 percent in 2013, and for bidis, it declined from 7.2 percent in 2011 to 5.3 percent in 2013.
 
The study corroborates the recent WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2015, which indicated that cigarettes have become more affordable in India during 2008-14.
 
According to Article 6 of WHO FCTC to which India is a party, the prices of tobacco products must be increased periodically to make them inflation-adjusted and there should be a uniform increase in tax rates across products.
 
"Tobacco taxation policy is the most cost effective strategy for tobacco control and has the ability to affect consumption, prevalence and affordability. Higher prices of tobacco products can promote cessation and prevent initiation among young people," said PHFI president K. Srinath Reddy. 
 
The study recommended that tax on all types of tobacco products should be increased substantially and further the tobacco tax regime should be broadened to include the unorganised manufacturing sector under the tax net. 
 
It also recommended that the tax exemptions on production of less than two million bidis should be eliminated and tax slabs on cigarettes based on length should be eliminated in a phased manner.
 
These findings come on the heels of another health ministry report, which estimated that the total economic cost attributable to tobacco use from all diseases in 2011 amounted to a staggering Rs.1,04,500 crore ($22.4 billion) in India, equivalent to 1.04 percent of India's GDP.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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