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Court matches digital rights with registered post

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Two judgements in the Randburg Magistrates Court have afforded digital registered communication the same status as conventional registered post in cases that tested provisions in the Magistrates Court Amendment Act 19 of 2010 and the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (the ECT Act).

Both judgements related to Section 129 final demands for payment on defaulted personal loans, which were sent to the defaulter’s mobile phone number via Registered SMS. The Registered SMSs were made possible by Registered Communication, South Africa’s leading registered electronic communications provider.

Registered Communication’s digital Registered SMSs and Emails comply with Section 19(4) of the ECT Act, which has specific requirements relating to the legality of electronic registered post. They also comply with Section 12 of the Act, which deems a data message to be ‘in writing’.

The Registered SMSs in question was confirmed by a registration certificate, included proof of content, proof of delivery, and proof of receipt at the location chosen by the addressee, which is deemed sufficient in the serving of legal documentation in terms of Section 129 of the National Credit Act (NCA).

The magistrates overseeing the cases accepted that the digital letters of demand complied with all requirements outlined in the NCA, confirming that they provided an efficient alternative for any person or business seeking a quick, efficient, cost-effective way of delivering registered messages.

“Sending registered communication digitally saves the sender time and money, as the cost of a Registered SMS or Email is nearly half the cost of a traditional registered letter,” explains Norman Colling, a Partner at Registered Communication.

“Delivering a digital registered communication is instantaneous, meaning that the sender can receive an audited report confirming that the addressee has received the document within seconds, rather than waiting for the somewhat slower traditional registered mail delivery,” he adds.

Furthermore, large financial services providers have noted a 17% increase in payments received in response to a digitally delivered final letter of demand, noting that South Africans seem to respond more positively to communication delivered to their mobile phone than traditional messaging channels.

This could be because addressees must still go to the post office to collect a traditional registered letter to sign documentation as proof of receipt, while digital registered letters’ proof of receipt is generated without the addressee having to take any action.

Addressees in remote locations may struggle to get to their local post office to collect registered mail, which may further negatively impact on sender’s success in communicating with the addressee. South Africa has the highest mobile penetration rate in Africa, with 37.5 million unique mobile subscribers with 80 million connections, highlighting the significant potential reach of registered digital communication.

Registered Communication’s internationally recognised services replace traditional registered post with digital options, providing its clients with an auditable digital communication service across all channels. The service produces an instant and detailed audit report confirming that the addressee received the communication to the mobile number or email address they supplied when signing a contract.

The service can be integrated into businesses’ various communication platforms, and can generate validation certificates for conversations in email, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter direct messages, Facebook direct messages, and various other platforms where brands engage with their customers.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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