I write tech stories I'm passionate about.

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Image Credits: Phillip Faraone / Getty Images for WIRED / Getty Images

What’s happening with WhatsApp today is exactly why Brian Acton left Facebook and started Signal, a non-profit privacy-focused messaging app.

2009: After failing to get a job at Facebook and Twitter, Brian bought an iPhone and saw the growing industry of apps. Inspired, he launched WhatsApp with his friend Jan Koum on his birthday, 24 Feb.

2014: WhatsApp was growing so fast that it started competing with Facebook. So Facebook — as it always does — hurriedly convinced its co-founders to sell the company for $19B over a weekend. And Brian agreed, with his net worth now at $3.8B.

2017: Brian left Facebook when he differed on how WhatsApp should earn. He wanted a subscription-like business: you pay to use WhatsApp. But Facebook knew it wouldn’t bring them the most money, they wanted to go the advertising way: using WhatsApp to collect data about you to show you ads. …

Trump signed an order to ban 8 Chinese apps including Alipay, CamScanner, WPS Office and SHAREit. Because the Chinese Communist Party can use data from these apps to track location and private data of federal employees and contractors.

  • China says Trump is abusing national power to suppress foreign countries. Which is ironical because China uses its own national powers to access data from China-based companies like Zoom.
  • However, President-elect Joe Biden can undo this order on his first day as the president (20th Jan).


Comments from Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella

Tim Cook tweeted:

Mark Zuckerberg (in a memo to employees):

“saddened by this mob violence. The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of our democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first,” per the New York Times.

Sundar Pichai (in a note to employees):

“Holding free and safe elections and resolving our differences peacefully are foundational to the functioning of democracy.”

“The lawlessness and violence occurring on Capitol Hill today is the antithesis of democracy and we strongly condemn it.” per CNET

Satya Nadella retweeted Microsoft’s Chief Counsels comment:

“This is a day to speak up for our Constitution and its values.”

Soon, WhatsApp will ask you to either accept its new terms and privacy policy or delete your account right now. Before you decide, know that accepting this means WhatsApp will send *all* of your data (except messages) to Facebook to show you ads. This includes:

  • Your phone number
  • Who you send money to using WhatsApp Pay
  • How you chat with your contacts (and when)
  • Which phone you use and it’s IP address.
  • And more.
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WhatsApp has this data collection since mid last year but unlike now, it was not mandatory then.

This is an extreme violation of privacy. The popular saying “When the product is free, you’re the product” applies here. …


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Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

Flying a drone and not sharing your location isn’t something you will be able to legally do in the US in 2023. The US Federal Aviation Administration issued the single biggest set of changes to the US Drone Law. And here’s a brief:

  • You’ll have to broadcast your and your drone’s location when flying a drone in the US.
  • And a private supplier company should store this location data for at least 6 months, for a monthly fee.
  • And that doesn’t mean you can fly your drone anywhere. It still needs to be in sight all the time.

Currently: To fly a drone, you just need to slap a sticker with an ID number on the drone, which isn’t even visible up there. …


Founder, Deepinder Goyal: “Team ki fati hui hai.” With 4250 orders every minute, Zomato reached its an all-time high. Failure/Complaint rate got to an all-time low. GMV of 75 crores in a single day. 100k delivery partners delivering 1.4 lakh live orders. 20k Biryanis. 16k Pizzas. 300 Salads.

What happened: Zoom is looking to expand beyond videoconferencing to email and calendar services.

Why: Zoom’s had a great year. Revenue quadrupled. Stock price up 500%. But it fears what will happen when its heydays end? After the pandemic, people wouldn’t want to WFH anymore. Revenue might be worse than before.

Why email and calendar service could be a good step forward:

  • Future-proof: No. of WFH meetings will go down but email and calendars aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
  • Useful Bundling: Meetings, email and calendar are related to each other. Zoom can make it all work together. You schedule a meeting on Zoom, it goes automatically to your Zoom calendar, and Zoom emails details to everyone else. …


Previously on Right Click: Two Apple insiders earlier revealed Apple’s plans to make an EV. They say it’s “like the first time you saw the iPhones.” (+ Elon Musk’s reaction)

When will it come: 2025–27. But might be delayed to 2028 or further.

Will Apple succeed: Although Apple does have some competitive advantages, it might also fail as it did in the smart speaker market. EV Market is a lot fiercer than smart speaker market.

How to succeed: The key success factor is big data/AI, not hardware.

Apple’s disadvantage: With Apple coming late, rivals will already have accumulated at least five years of big data and be conducive to deep…


One of the first antitrust probe on internet companies in China

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Source: Quartz

What happened: China’s antitrust watchdog, the State Administration of Market Regulation, announced a one-of-first-of-it’s-kind antitrust probe into the country’s biggest tech giant, Alibaba.

Why: This move comes because of Alibaba’s tactic of choosing which clients to promote on its online commerce platforms.

Choosing one of two: Alibaba forces business and merchants to list their products only on its online stores, Taobao and Tmall.

  • There’s no explicit penalty if they list it on rival platforms. But owners who do so see a significant drop in sales and traffic. Some even see their product removed.
  • SCMP, an Alibaba-owned publication says: “Legally, it is not well defined whether a platform such as Alibaba has the right to determine which clients it…

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