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31st October Current Affairs

India joins UK-led fight against encrypted online messages

In News:

India joins UK-led fight against encrypted online messages.

Details:

The UK and India are joined by the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

It marks an expansion of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of nations, a global alliance on intelligence issues, to include India and Japan.

What’s the demand?

The campaign is against end-to-end encryption of messages by social media giants such as Facebook, which they say hinder law enforcement by blocking all access to them.

The countries also asked companies to not to “blind themselves” to illegal activity on their platforms, including child abuse images.

What’s the issue with end-to end encryption?

The signatories claimed that end-to-end encryption policies like those employed by the social media giant erode the public’s safety online.

When end-to-end encryption is applied with no access to content, it severely undermines the ability of companies to take action against illegal activity on their own platforms.

It also prevents law enforcement investigating and prosecuting the most serious crimes being committed on these services such as online child sexual abuse, grooming and terrorist content.

What is end-to-end encryption?

It means that the messages are visible only to the sender and the recipient, and not even to the tech company which provides it, for example, WhatsApp, or any third-party.

How it works? (Have a brief overview):

Encryption technology involves scrambling or jumbling of the data being transferred in such a way that it can be deciphered only by the sender and the receiver.

In the first step, when a sender sends a message, it is in the form of Plaintext that is ordinary readable text.

Next, as soon as the data gets onto the network, it gets encrypted that is a process of converting ordinary readable text into a code with the help of special keys.

Next, when the same data reaches its intended destination, it is decrypted that is a process of converting back the coded data to readable text with the help of special keys.

Finally, the intended receiver gets the message in the form of Cipher text that is the readable text obtained after decryption.

What are chapter proceedings?

In News:

The Mumbai police last week began “chapter proceedings” against Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

What exactly are “chapter proceedings”?

They are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to create trouble and disrupt the peace in society.

Here, the police can issue notices under sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the person is aware that creating nuisance could result in action against him, which includes paying a fine, in the absence of which, he could be put behind bars.

The procedure (Have a brief overview. No need to mug up):

A notice is issued to a person under section 111 of the CrPC whereby he is asked to present himself before the Executive Magistrate – an ACP-rank officer in a commissionerate of a deputy collector in rural areas – who has issued the notice.

The person has to explain why he should not be made to sign a bond of good behaviour.

If the Executive Magistrate is not satisfied with the answer, the person is asked to sign a bond of good behaviour and produce sureties vouching for his/her good behaviour.

A fine amount is also decided – in accordance with the crime and the person’s financial capability – which the person would have to pay if he violates the conditions set in the bond.

Legal options to appeal against the notice?

A person can appeal the notice before the courts.

Global Hunger Index, 2020 released

What is Global Hunger Index?

The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

How are Countries ranked?

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake

CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.

CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.

CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Score:

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

Key findings:

India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.

India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than her neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).

The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.

The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.

The child wasting was at 17.3 %.

The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.

What will a no-deal Brexit mean for the UK?

In News:

After six months of negotiations and a stalemate over key issues, on Friday 16 October, Boris Johnson said the UK must be prepared for a no trade deal with the EU from January, in a strong sign that negotiations with Brussels are coming to an end.

Is a no-deal Brexit really possible?

Yes. Failure to agree replacement trading arrangements will mean the UK leaving without a deal on January 1 and trading on WTO terms, which would introduce tariffs and quotas.

The Withdrawal Agreement will still be in place, so issues like the Irish border and the so-called “divorce bill” will be settled under its terms, but many other issues remain unresolved.

In other words, the original “no deal” may not be possible, but what is now known as “no deal” might better be viewed as a “no trade deal” exit.

What would no deal look like?

The European Union is adamant that there is no such thing as a “managed” no deal –  fearful that making a no deal look too comfortable risks turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That will not prevent the European Commission from making contingency plans to smooth out significant disruption but only on a temporary, unilateral basis and only if it is in the EU’s interest.

Whether or not there is a trade deal, UK financial services will only be granted access to the EU market on the basis of “equivalence”, which is the same system of regulatory recognition US firms have.

How would Trade & Customs be managed?

Without any formal trade deal, the UK would have to rely on WTO rules – in a model described by Brexiteers as an “Australia-style” relationship.

The default commission position is “all relevant” EU legislation will apply to imports and exports, including tariffs, which will mean customs checks.

Conclusion:

If a point is reached when no deal becomes inevitable, then the interests of both sides would become equally aligned in avoiding a catastrophic outcome.

Even with temporary measures in place, the fundamental question of what future relationship Britain and the EU want will remain.

No deal is not sustainable for the long term and eventually the two sides will need to return to the negotiating table.