Citizens' Issues
Saradha Scam: CBI says quizzing Mukul Roy is key to framing charge sheets

According to CBI, quizzing Roy, the former Railway Minister, would help in framing chargesheets against Minister Madan Mitra, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Srinjoy Bose and others in the Saradha scam


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday said that interrogating Trinamool Congress' all-India General Secretary Mukul Roy was critical for framing of charge sheets against the key accused who are now under arrest.
“We do not want to delay the case inordinately since the probe is in an advanced stage. So we want to interrogate Roy at the earliest so that charge sheets can be framed against the key accused in Saradha Realty case on time,” a CBI official told media.
Roy, a former railway minister, was served summons on Monday to appear before the investigating agency by this week but had sought for a 15-day extension for appearance.
He would be interrogated for his role in alleged criminal conspiracy for diversion of funds in the Saradha ponzi scam.
The source said that after much negotiation with Roy, he had been asked to appear before the CBI by 21 January 2015. “We also told him that we cannot delay,” the source said.
He said that quizzing Roy would help in framing charge sheets against Minister Madan Mitra, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Srinjoy Bose and others in the Saradha Realty case.
“If we are not able to file the charge sheet within the stipulated time after their arrests, then these persons will get default bail and we will be blamed unnecessarily,” the source said.
“Some things are time bound,” he added.


Zombie Cookie: The Tracking Cookie That You Can't Kill
An online ad company called Turn is using tracking cookies that come back to life after Verizon users have deleted them. Turn's services are used by everyone from Google to Facebook
An online advertising clearinghouse relied on by Google, Yahoo and Facebook is using controversial cookies that come back from the dead to track the web surfing of Verizon customers.
The company, called Turn, is taking advantage of a hidden undeletable number that Verizon uses to monitor customers' habits on their smartphones and tablets. Turn uses the Verizon number to respawn tracking cookies that users have deleted.

Does Your Phone Company Track You?




Click from your smartphone or tablet (with Wi-Fi turned off) to see if your telecom provider is adding a tracking number. We don't save any information.

Al Shaw and Jonathan Stray, ProPublica

"We are trying to use the most persistent identifier that we can in order to do what we do," Max Ochoa, Turn's chief privacy officer, told ProPublica.
Turn's zombie cookie comes amid a controversy about a new form of tracking the telecom industry has deployed to shadow mobile phone users. Last year, Verizon and AT&T users noticed their carriers were inserting a tracking number into all the Web traffic that transmits from a users' phone – even if the user has tried to opt out.
Users complained that the tracking number could be used by any website they visited from their phone to build a dossier about their behavior – what sites they went to, what apps they used.
In November, AT&T stopped using the number. But Verizon did not, instead assuring users on its website that "it is unlikely that sites and ad entities will attempt to build customer profiles" using its identifiers.
When asked about Turn's use of the Verizon number to respawn tracking cookies, a Verizon spokeswoman said, "We're reviewing the information you shared and will evaluate and take appropriate measures to address."
Turn privacy officer Ochoa said that his company had conversations with Verizon about Turn's use of the Verizon tracking number and said "they were quite satisfied."
Turn's actions were spotted by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer, and confirmed by ProPublica's testing.
Turn and Verizon also have a separate marketing partnership that allows Verizon to share anonymized information about its mobile customers. In April, Verizon sponsored a Turn event in New York City called " Bringing Sexy Back to Measurement."
Turn, which calls itself a "Digital Hub," may not be a household name but it is a huge back-end processor of ads on websites.
It works like this: When a user visits a website that contains Turn tracking code, the company holds an auction within milliseconds for advertisers to target that user. The highest bidder's ad instantly appears on the user's screen as the web page loads. Turn says it receives 2 million requests for online advertising placements per second.
For its auctions to work, Turn needs to identify web users by cookies, which are small text files that are stored on their computers. The cookies allow Turn to identify a user's web browsing habits, such as an interest in sports or shopping, which it uses to lure advertisers to the auction.
Some users try to block such tracking by turning off or deleting cookies. But Turn says that when users clear their cookies, it does not consider that a signal that users want to opt out from being tracked.
"There are definitely people who feel that if they clear their cookies, they won't be tracked, and that is not strictly accurate," said Joshua Koran, senior vice president of product management at Turn.
Turn executives said the only way users can opt out is to install a Turn opt-out cookie on their machine. That cookie is not designed to prevent Turn from collecting data about a user - only to prevent Turn from showing targeted ads to that user.
ProPublica's tests showed that even Verizon users who installed the Turn opt-out cookie continued to receive the Turn tracking cookie as well. Turn said despite the appearance of the tracking cookie, it continues to honor the opt-out cookie.
Initially, Turn officials also told ProPublica that its zombie cookie had a benefit for users: They said they were using the Verizon number to keep track of people who installed the Turn opt-out cookie, so that if they mistakenly deleted it, Turn could continue to honor their decisions to opt out.
(Julia Angwin, Mike Tigas and Terry Parris Jr., ProPublica)
But when ProPublica tested that claim on the industry's opt-out system, we found that it did not show Verizon users as opted out. Turn subsequently contacted us to say it had fixed what it said was a glitch, but our tests did not show it had been fixed.
Either way, this fix does not address the respawning of cookies that have been deleted– since Turn says it does not consider that an expression of user intent.
"It is our absolute desire to honor people's choices," said Ochoa, Turn's chief privacy officer.
For more coverage, read ProPublica's previous reporting on Verizon's indestructible tracking and AT&T's decision to stop using the technique.


How to tackle misleading advertisements

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has started public forums seeking inputs from public on various consumer related issues, including action to be taken against misleading advertisement. Visit the forums and post your views, opinions on misleading advertisement


In what is possibly the first ever exercise by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to actually involve consumers to voice their opinions and suggestions, a public forum has been opened seeking inputs on various issues, including those related to actions against misleading advertisements. These forums were created in December 2014, and are open for public participation till 23 January 2015. Suggestions for steps that can be taken by state governments and police, voluntary consumer organisations as well as individual consumers in tackling misleading advertisements are being sought. Perhaps, another sign of changing tides in the political sphere, consumer feedback is being encouraged in policy formulation.
Misleading advertisements include exaggerated and overstated effects or attributes of a product without substantiating evidence, citing fake licenses or warranties and use of misleading graphics among other things. Many of the concerns and suggestions that have been raised in these forums include issues related to advertisements in the healthcare category (hospitals and medicines) and the need for a central authority that is responsible for monitoring advertisements in the media that is accessible to the public. 
This brings to light that there is little awareness amongst the common people regarding ASCI, the Advertising Standards Council of India, a self-regulatory organisation that regulates advertising content and provides guidelines and a code of conduct to be adhered to by all advertisements. It is accessible to all consumers as well as advertisers. Anyone can file a complaint with the ASCI against advertisements they find misleading, harmful or unethical. In 2007, the union government amended the Cable TV Network Rules' Advertising Code, according to which any advertisements that violate the ASCI code will not be permitted to be aired on television. ASCI have been very active in monitoring and taking prompt and strict action against advertisements that do not meet the prescribed codes and guidelines. In December 2014 alone, ASCI upheld 113 out of the 144 complaints registered. 
Some of the complaints upheld by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the ASCI include those against advertisements for Good Knight (Godrej Consumer Products Ltd), which showed a child standing too close to the vaporising machine, Livon Hair Gain (Marico Ltd) that claims to stop hair fall within 90 days. Maruti Swift (Maruti Suzuki India Ltd), which shows the driver performing dangerous stunts, while a child is inside the car, several educational institutes that claim to offer 100% placements and many “miracle” drugs, tonics and treatments that boast of being able to cure ailments and diseases like cancer, infertility, diabetes and hair fall were also banned. The ASCI Code also dictates guidelines for use of results from 'independent research' to promote products, depiction of women and advertisements for discounts or sale offers in advertisements. 
A large number of the complaints filed under ASCI as well as in the above-mentioned public forums created by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs are related to advertisements in the healthcare category – these include concerns regarding aggressive marketing strategies employed by hospitals and other healthcare units and false claims made in advertisements for various drugs and cosmetic products. 
There are several legislations in place that deal with these issues – specifically, the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1955 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, both under the Department of Health and Family Welfare. However, considering the large number of misleading and even outrageous advertisements for “miracle” drugs and low cost treatments that one comes across, it is clear that there is a lot to be done to ensure implementation of these legislations. 
It is imperative that efforts are taken to keep in check the authenticity and the ethical standards of advertisements. Encouraging consumer participation is a step forward in this direction. Increasing awareness about organisations such as ASCI as well as relevant legislatures and stringent norms to ensure credibility of the claims made by advertisements are also important. 
Click to visit the forums opened by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs 




2 years ago

sir, first the celebrity who to be part of advertisement and without using such product , inducing others to use product to be penalised heavily and second the expenditure on advertisement to be disallowed and profit of that product to be transfered to consumer welfare schemes regards kc singhal

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