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WhatsApp and Facebook will be regulated, Centre tells Supreme Court

The petitioners had claimed that the privacy of more than 157 million Indians had been compromised by the commercial use of their personal communication.

The Department of Telecommunications on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it had plans to set up a framework to monitor over-the-top services, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and WeChat, The Times of India reported. The apex court was hearing a case about the privacy policy of instant messaging service WhatsApp.

The government said the over-the-top communication services did not have a regulatory mechanism yet as they use the network of telecom service providers. WhatsApp dismissed petitioner Karmanya Singh Sareen’s doubts about its privacy policy, and said “over-the-top communication services are governed in some respect by the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000, and are not subject to the same regulatory mechanism that is enforced on conventional voice and messaging services provided by telecom service providers”.

WhatsApp’s legal representatives refuted concerns about the application’s privacy policy and said messages on the service had end-to-end encryption preventing even the company from gaining access to them.

The apex court had referred the matter for hearing to April 18 before a five-judge Constitution bench.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which was unveiled in August last year, allows the company to share some user data, including phone numbers, with its parent company Facebook. A petition was filed by two users, alleging that the privacy of more than 157 million Indians had been compromised by the commercial use of their personal communication. On January 16, the Supreme Court had sought responses from the Centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had asked WhatsApp not to share user information with Facebook. In a ruling in September, the court had said that WhatsApp must delete the information of people who had opted out of its new privacy policy before September 25 last year.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.