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Fake news, privacy in digital era
Staff Correspondent
 SHILLONG, March 16 - Irrespective of whether one is enrolled under Aadhar or otherwise, a large number of tools are available to mine data once a person steps into the digital world.

 A day-long workshop conducted by Google News for media persons and organised by Shillong Press Club showcased some of the tools in which information could be gathered about a person from the existing digital footprint they leave on the digital platforms.

In Meghalaya, the enrollment under Aadhar is one of the poorest in the country. In fact some of the Central schemes are having trouble as people are skeptical to enroll under Aadhar.

One of the causes for this poor enrolment is superstition, wherein the card has been linked to the Devil, while there are others who have been running a sustained campaign arguing it invades privacy.

Although the issue of privacy rights has been settled to an extent by the Supreme Court about Aadhar, still the fear persists. But the Google team showcased how information is already available with regards to a person, be their political, religious, social beliefs or their daily activities on the digital media. That this information can be gathered easily, many do know to some extent, but it’s an eye-opener once these are demonstrated in real time, legally. An example of one of the many tools is, in which all the tweets posted by a person can be viewed once the account ID is known.

Similarly, there are other tools through which a person’s history of likes share and other information on Facebook can be gathered with the click of a button. Some of this information is used by marketing companies to prepare content to sell their products to a targeted person.

These are some of the tools that are legal and anyone can use them with discretion. A digital thin line divides what could be termed as private or public, if one is not careful, the Google team said.

Moreover, in the workshop several tools were also shared through which a person could check the authenticity of a content on the social media, be it text, audio, video or pictures in this era of fake news and election just a few weeks ahead.

Amnesty International’s YouTube Data Viewer is an excellent tool to cross check a video, Frame by Frame for YouTube is another tool for the same purpose, Google Reverse Image search for photos and a host of other tools are available.

Apart from these tools nothing can beat the human intuition, which has the power to rationalise what is fake and what is real.

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