WhatsApp And AT&T Fail To Keep Our Data Safe, New Study Finds

WhatsApp And AT&T Fail To Keep Our Data Safe, New Study Finds


Concerned about NSA snooping? Better get rid of WhatsApp and AT&T. That, at least, is one takeaway from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual “Who Has Your Back?” scorecard, which tells us which tech companies are doing a reasonabl job protecting user data, and which are failing abysmally.

As Americans have become increasingly aware of (and peeved by) government spying, we’ve started judging our tech services and gadgets not only on their quality, but on whether they can safeguard our data. The EFF, a nonprofit focused on digital rights, rates companies based on transparency to consumers about government data demands and content removal requests, data retention practices, and public positions on electronic backdoors.

In addition to WhatsApp and AT&T receiving piss poor grades, Google slipped up for the first time, earning only three stars compared with a perfect five in 2014. The tech giant was penalized on two major counts: The fact that it no longer discloses the full extent of its data retention, and diminished transparency regarding government data requests.

Still, the latest report wasn’t all doom and gloom. Apple, Adobe, Yahoo, Dropbox, and Sonic.net each received high marks, and overall, scores were way up compared with the first such study conducted in 2011. On the whole, tech companies seem to be shifting their data privacy stances in the right direction-but they’ve got a long road ahead before Americans begin trusting them again.

Is There Any Link Between Birth Month And Health?

Is There Any Link Between Birth Month And Health?

A team of data scientists has found connections between birth month and health.

Columbia University scientists have developed a computational method to investigate the relationship between birth month and disease risk. The researchers used this algorithm to examine New York City medical databases and found 55 diseases that correlated with the season of birth.

Overall, the study indicated people born in May had the lowest disease risk, and those born in October the highest and as per senior author Nicholas Tatonetti, this data could help scientists uncover new disease risk factors.

The study ruled out more than 1,600 associations and confirmed 39 links previously reported in the medical literature. The researchers also uncovered 16 new associations, including nine types of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. The researchers performed statistical tests to check that the 55 diseases for which they found associations did not arise by chance.

Tatonetti added that it’s important not to get overly nervous about these results because even though we found significant associations the overall disease risk is not that great, noting that the risk related to birth month is relatively minor when compared to more influential variables like diet and exercise.

The researchers also found a relationship between birth month and nine types of heart disease, with people born in March facing the highest risk for atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve disorder. One in 40 atrial fibrillation cases may relate to seasonal effects for a March birth.

Lead author Mary Regina Boland said that faster computers and electronic health records are accelerating the pace of discovery, they are working to help doctors solve important clinical problems using this new wealth of data.

The study appears in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.

What To Expect From Google’s New Android M Operating System?

What To Expect From Google’s New Android M Operating System?


With Google officially kicking off the I/O event tomorrow, Android users have multiple reasons to be excited about. The company has already teased the arrival of Android M operating system, and is likely to be shown off tomorrow. This is something Google did during last year’s I/O developer conference as well, where Android L was first shown off, which later went onto become Android 5.0 Lollipop.

So what can we expect from Android M this year? While it’s impossible to predict what Google has in mind, there are a few things that have been rumored over the past few months.

1. Fingerprint scanning built into stock Android: It was said that Google originally wanted to use a fingerprint scanner with the Nexus 6 smartphone (located beneath the Motorola logo on the back), but backtracked at the last minute due to unknown reasons. But with Android M (or Android 6.0), Google could officially announce support for fingerprint scanning by default, making it easier for manufacturers to use the technology on their devices.

2. Android payment system (Android Pay?): With Apple and Samsung taking it on themselves to bring wireless payment services to their customers, it is expected of Google to bring this by default with stock Android. We’ve seen hints of this so far with Google shutting down its Wallet service recently. While this might decrease profit sharing for the likes of Samsung, it makes sense in the long run keeping Android users in mind.

3. Improvements to the general Android UI: It is expected that Google will make some changes and additions to the Material Design UI from Android 5.0 Lollipop. We don’t expect any radical design changes here though as Google went through an entire system revamp less than a year ago. But it goes without saying that there will be some distinctive changes to make it stand apart from Android 5.0.

It’s still early days to fully understand what’s going to be different with Android M, but we expect Google to give us a rough idea tomorrow. We also expect more features to be added onto Android M over the coming months.

Of course, there will be a range of other changes on board as well, including a bundle of security related updates, which is standard with every major Android release.

Preview builds of the OS should be available for download to certain Nexus device owners, so if all goes according to plan, users will probably be able to run the OS on their beloved Nexus device starting later this week.


GottaGo Is Very Useful App To Find A Public Restroom Near You

Gotta Go Is Very Useful App To Find A Public Restroom Near You


Aggregation apps, to use the cliche, are the hottest things on mobile at the moment. There are apps that help you find restaurants around you, book an appointment for a doctor, and of course hail a cab. GottaGo keeps it very basic and helps you when nature calls.

GottaGo is a free app that lets you find nearby public restrooms with the tap of a button. When you are out and about – whether in your own city or travelling outstation – it helps in finding you a clean and hygienic restroom. The restrooms are displayed on a map with the distance from your location and directions of how to get there.

GottaGo currently lists over 10,000 restrooms mapped across malls, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, railway stations, museums et al. The Android app is currently available on the Google Play Store. The iOS app is in the works, and should be available on the App Store soon. No luck for Windows Phone users like me though.

The service is currently available for users in five cities – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Chennai. I’ve learnt that two more cities will be going live along with their iOS launch, and there are plans to expand to other cities over time.

At the moment, the data collection for the restroom database happens via the company’s local teams in each city, including some that they call ‘common sense’ and add themselves. The next obvious step is crowdsourcing of the database – a feature that will be included in the next update of the Android app.

“With the growing risk of infectious diseases such as urinary tract infection or other infections, we wanted to only list the cleanest options available. We had a few evangelists in every city go and check out these places before we listed them. We also built user feedback into the app which allows users to rate the options provided once they use the facility. They can also let us know if a restroom isn’t working any more or is shutdown.”

– Kunal Sheth, Founder, GottaGo

Incidentally, GottaGo was born as a website – p911.in – back in 2010, which listed information of restrooms, area-wise. Of course, on the smartphone, experience is better as it detects the location of the user using GPS, and directs the user through navigation that they are already familiar with.

So, next time you’re out shopping or in a park with your kids, fire the app when there’s ‘important business’ that needs to be taken care of. It’s free, and vanilla simple. Don’t forget to rate the restroom when you’re done, so others can benefit.  www.homesearchindia.in

Who Most Likely Makes Your Sandwich, Mapped

The sandwich is a delicious and convenient way to ingest your favored form of nutrition-but where do you get them from? This maps shows the dominant sandwich store across the entire country. Guess which color represents Subway.

Nathan Yau of Flowing Data put this visualization together using information from AggData. He explains how it works:

Each circle represents an area with a 10-mile radius, colored by the nearest sandwich chain. Subway’s lead is clear with unexpectedly much more gusto than McDonald’s. There are a few other sandwich places sprinkled here and there.

If you choose to ignore Subway, however, you get the map below. Arby’s wins out here, but at nowhere near the scale of Subway. Instead, you see much more regional variation-notably in the form of Jimmy John’s, Blimpie, Charley’s,Togo’s and a few others. Where do you get yours?