H-1B visa row an attempt to portray Indian IT negatively: Nasscom

H-1B visa row an attempt to portray Indian IT negatively: Nasscom

NEW DELHI: With TCS and Infosys being probed in the US for alleged visa rule violations, industry body Nasscom said attempts were being made to portray the Indian IT sector negatively without paying attention to “facts and logic.”

Asserting that Indian IT firms have always remained compliant with the US visa regulations, Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said its members continue to cooperate with the US authorities in respect of any requests for information.

Asked whether he feels the issue could be a political rhetoric ahead of the presidential elections in the US, Chandrashekhar said it is “unfortunate” that attempts are being made in some quarters to portray the contribution of Indian IT companies in a negative light and “to create negative sentiments about them by appeal to emotion rather than to facts and logic.”

Such efforts would have “serious detrimental impact” on the strategic and mutually beneficial economic and trade relationship that the two countries are striving to nurture, Chandrashekhar told PTI.

The US, which is preparing for presidential elections in 2016, is the largest market for the $140+ billion Indian IT services industry. Exports account for over $98 billion.

Nasscom, which has been traditionally acting as a lobby group in the US on behalf of the Indian IT sector including on visa-related issues, said it is “stepping up” efforts to engage with the American government and lawmakers to highlight contribution of Indian outsourcers to the economy.

“It has been brought to our attention that there are unconfirmed media reports of US government opening investigation against two Indian IT companies… We believe that Indian IT companies have been and will remain compliant with all US visa regulations,” said Chandrashekhar, who has earlier served as secretary in the Departments of Telecom and Information Technology.

According to the US media reports, the Labour Department has opened an investigation against Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys for “possible violations of rules for visas for foreign technology workers under contracts they held with an electric utility Southern California Edison.”

When contacted, a TCS spokesperson said, “TCS maintains rigorous internal controls to ensure we are fully compliant with all regulatory requirements related to US immigration laws including those related to H-1B visas.”

Infosys did not respond to an emailed query.

Chandrashekhar said Indian IT firms have made significant contributions in the US in terms of job creation, social security and CSR activities.

“It is important that the people across the board are made more aware. We are stepping up efforts to engage with US government and lawmakers,” he added.

Besides, Indian IT firms have contributed hugely to maintaining global competitiveness of US companies, in turn helping them to create jobs for Americans in the US and this is well documented and supported by published data, he said.

Uber plans $1 billion China investment: Report

Uber plans $1 billion China investment: Report

BEIJING: Taxi hailing app Uber plans to invest seven billion yuan ($ 1.1 billion) in China, media reported on Friday.

The Financial Times reported that it obtained the message sent to Uber investors this week by its CEO Travis Kalanick.

The FT posted a copy of the email file in a hyperlink within the article.

“Given our recent success in the region and substantial market share gains, we are planning to invest over 7 billion RMB (over $1 billion) in China in 2015 alone,” the email said, referring to renminbi, another name for the Chinese currency.

Uber riders were making almost 1 million trips per day with business doubling in the last month, the email added.

It also said that Uber is operating in 11 cities in China, and over the next year plans to begin operations in 50 of the more than 80 Chinese cities that have populations of more than five million people.

Uber launched operations in China in February last year. The company in China refused to comment.

“We don’t comment on this article/topic,” Huang Xue, an Uber media official in China, told AFP in an e-mail.

The US-based company helps put customers in touch with private drivers as an alternative to traditional taxis.

It has become the focus of global controversy and is facing legal challenges and limits on its activities.

Taxi companies claim Uber drivers should be regulated in the same way as normal cabs and are leading the campaign against the service, which has a small but growing market share in China.

The popularity of private-car booking enterprises such as Uber and China’s dominant taxi-hailing apps Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache has soared in the country, where traditional taxis are criticised for poor service with rude drivers who routinely ignore customers on the street.

Uber has drawn the attention of authorities in China. Police have paid visits to Uber offices in at least two Chinese cities, reports and officials said, including one last month in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

An official at the city’s transport commission said the aim of the visit was “to get some information”.

Wipro to implement help-desk management solution for Nexenta

Wipro to implement help-desk management solution for Nexenta

BENGALURU: Wipro has announced that it will implement a next generation customer help-desk management solution for Nexenta, a global firm in Open Source-driven Software-Defined Storage (OpenSDS).

Wipro said it will also implement a Service Bot Workbench for Nexenta’s internal Technical Team.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) platform – Wipro HOLMES, the solution will automate the creation of service tickets using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, the company said in a statement.

The IT company will auto categorize tickets using intelligent algorithms and help Nexenta resolve issues using intelligent virtual bots and scripts. This will enable faster resolution of service tickets, enhance the overall user experience and improve productivity, it added.

Wipro HOLMES, built on open source technologies, addresses key domains in cognitive computing. Software bots built on Wipro HOLMES platform can be used to automate industry specific business processes, the statement said.

Twitter to forgo 140-character restriction for direct messages

Twitter to forgo 140-character restriction for direct messages

NEW YORK: In a piece of good news for Twitteratti, Twitter has decided to increase the word limit for direct messages (DMs) to 10,000 characters from the present 140.

Twitter’s product designer Sachin Agarwal informed developers of the news ahead of the change, which will be rolled out to users in July, Venturebeat.com reported.

No official date has been decided for the change though.

The move does not remove Twitter’s design choice of constraining tweets to 140 characters – only direct messages.

“It’s a beautiful constraint that has inspired a whole new form of writing,” Twitter investor Chris Sacca wrote in a blog post earlier this month about what Twitter can do to improve.

Sacca did not say he had a problem with the 140-character cap on DMs – and that is what’s changing.

Direct messages in other social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, do not have length limits.

But Twitter’s affinity for the 140-character limit goes back to Twitter’s earliest days, when Twitter sent tweets in text messages.

Now those days are long gone, and Twitter can evolve to meet the needs of its users and investors.

However, before you start fretting at the prospects of receiving unsolicited extra long messages there is some more news for you. You can stop people you do not follow from sending you these new, extra-long DMs.

You can do that by unchecking the “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” box in the Security and privacy sections in Twitter’s settings.

Asus still considering acquiring HTC: Chairman

Asus still considering acquiring HTC: Chairman

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s Asustek Computer said on Friday it has not ruled out the possibility of acquiring struggling smartphone maker HTC Corp.

Chairman Johnny Shih of Asustek, one of the world’s biggest makers of laptop personal computers and smartphones, made the comment in response to questions raised at its annual general meeting, chief financial officer David Chang told Reuters.

“Our chairman has chatted about the topic internally,” said Chang. “Still, the chances of an actual takeover are not big as Asustek is a company that has depended on organic growth.”

HTC, in a statement, said it would not comment on the remarks, and that it would continue to sell its products to global markets.

HTC shares plunged 20% on Monday and Tuesday combined after the company forecast a steep loss for the June quarter, prompting speculation that the company could be acquired.

Which phone to buy? Google’s new tool can help

 

Which phone to buy? Google’s new tool can help

NEW DELHI: With so many Android phones hitting the market everyday, it can be a little daunting to sift through the clutter in order to get your hands on the best smartphone for you. But worry not, Google is here to help.

The American tech giant has quietly launched a new tool aimed at making it becomes easier to choose the right Android phone according to your needs.

The website is pretty simple and starts by asking you “What you use your phone for?” and presents you with 12 functions, namely taking photos, watching videos, web browsing etc. For each selection, users are asked about how much time they spend on each activity per day.

Once you are done with at least three inputs, Google will ask which telecom carrier you subscribe to; users in countries like India can choose the ‘Answer Later’ option to skip this option.

The website then present you with the options that it feels suit your requirements.

After this you can filter the selection further, according to screen size, price etc for better results.

Google’s approach is a little different from what other websites follow. Instead of selecting the specifications, this website lets you choose what you use for Android device for.

Here’s proof of iPhone 6S’s major camera upgrade

Here's proof of iPhone 6S's major camera upgrade

For months, rumours and reports have suggested that the camera will be one of the biggest changes we see in the next iPhone. Now, we have more evidence that this may indeed be the case.

Developer Hazma Sood, who has posted accurate information about iOS updates in the past, just made an interesting observation regarding iOS 9.

Sood spotted some code that hints a few new features could be coming to the iPhone’s front-facing camera, including the ability to capture 1080p video, shoot in 240 frames-per-second slow motion, capture panoramic images, and a new flash.

This would be a big step up for the iPhone’s FaceTime camera — the front camera on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus only capture video in 720p, and doesn’t support shooting slow motion video or panoramic photos. There’s no flash on the front facing camera either.

Here’s the tweet from Sood, which shows a screenshot of the code that hints at these features:

French watchdog to Google: Remove ‘right to be forgotten’ results globally

French watchdog to Google: Remove 'right to be forgotten' results globally

PARIS: Google must scrub search results worldwide when it agrees to requests from users to be “forgotten,” rather than just from European versions of its website, France’s data protection regulator said on Friday.

The regulator (CNIL) said in a statement that if Google does not comply within 15 days, it can launch a process leading to sanctions, ramping up pressure on the US giant following a landmark European legal ruling.

In May last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that European residents can ask search engines to delete results that turn up under a search for their name when they are out of date, irrelevant or inflammatory — the so-called right to be forgotten.

Since then, Google and other search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo have begun to grant de-listing requests when they meet certain criteria.

But there has been much debate over the implementation, especially of Google’s decision only to scrub results from European sites, leading some to appeal to local regulators.

The company maintains it should only apply the ruling across its European domains, such as Google.fr in France and Google.de in Germany.

But EU data protection watchdogs, many legal experts and former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who has advised Google on privacy following the European ruling, think it should be global.

Some individuals have taken Google to court to try to force a change. They include Dan Shefet, a French lawyer born in Denmark, who won a defamation case in a French court recently that experts say called for the results to be scrubbed globally.

“In accordance with the (European court) judgment, the CNIL considers that in order to be effective, de-listing must be carried out on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing,” the CNIL regulator said.

France is the first country to open a potential sanctions process against Google if it does not change its position. But the powers of the CNIL remain limited, since it can only impose fines of up to 150,000 euros ($168,000).

The Mountain View, California-based Google had revenue of $66 billion last year.

A Google spokesman said the company had been cooperating closely with data protection authorities and was seeking the right balance in applying the European Court’s decision.

“The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it,” said the spokesman.