WhatsApp clarifies it cannot see your private messages

WhatsApp is under fire due to a change in the company’s Terms of Service, effective Feb. 8, which now states that WhatsApp will share user data with parent company Facebook. 

Users are leaving the platform — one indication is a massive surge of new users into competing messaging service Signal — and now, WhatsApp is mitigating the damage. 

“We want to address some rumors and be 100 percent clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption,” the company tweeted Tuesday.

In an infographic attached to the tweet, WhatsApp clarifies that it “cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook.” Furthermore, WhatsApp says it “does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling,” it “cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook,” and it “does not share your contacts with Facebook.” 

Finally, WhatsApp says that groups on the platform will “remain private,” users can set their messages to disappear, and users can download their data. 

The company goes into more details in a new section of its FAQ. There, the company vows to “never weaken” the security provided by end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp also claims the changes to its Terms of Service do not “affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.” Instead, the new changes are all about how you interact with businesses on WhatsApp — businesses on Facebook will be given the option to set up WhatsApp chats with customers for things like answering questions or sending receipts, as well as the option to display their Shop goods for sale directly on WhatsApp. If you message a business listed on Facebook via WhatsApp after clicking one of these prompts, your data could be shared to personalise ads, the FAQs read.

All of the above is good to know. However, WhatsApp here doesn’t fully address the stuff that caused user concern in the first place. If you’re aren’t too excited about wading through WhatsApp’s massive Terms of Service document, the company’s FAQ explains it succinctly. 

“WhatsApp currently shares certain categories of information with Facebook Companies. The information we share with the other Facebook Companies. includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent,” the FAQ states. 

An earlier version of WhatsApp’s ToS gave users the ability to opt out of having their WhatsApp data shared with Facebook. The new ToS doesn’t mention this possibility. And while you may be fine with handing over Facebook more of your personal data, know that there are alternatives, such as Signal or Telegram, which share far less data with third parties. 

‘It was always about white supremacy’: Lilly Singh calls out privilege and the Capitol riot

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With Season 2 of A Little Late on the horizon, Lilly Singh has gone into her new rant room to talk about some of America’s recent events — and she didn’t hold back.

After speaking about her decision to delete social media last year and her experience attending a Black Lives Matter protest, the host moved on to the recent pro-Trump riot in the Capitol, which has resulted in the FBI investigating a number of people for domestic terrorism.

“I’m going to be honest, I have lost all patience for anyone that is still questioning privilege,” said Singh, after bringing up the riot. “BIPOC people are always told that their justified outrage is wrong. It’s problematic. It is a huge issue. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem in peaceful protest, he was told that he’s disrespecting America.”

Singh went on to say that she’d bet money that the people who criticised Kaepernick could be the same that broke into the Capitol, one of whom paraded the Confederate flag through its halls.

“Kaepernick disrupted a football game and was called a traitor, and these people are literally disrupting democracy,” Singh said. “So let’s just call it what it is, OK? It was never about respecting or disrespecting America; it was always about white supremacy.”

California Man Dressed As Santa Gets Stuck In Power Lines

RIO LINDA, Calif. (AP) — Santa found himself a little more tied up than usual this time of year.

A Northern California man impersonating Santa Claus and flying on a powered parachute was rescued Sunday after he became entangled in power lines, authorities said.

The incident happened shortly after the man took off near a school in Rio Linda to deliver candy canes to children in his community. He flew into a maze of power lines and wound up suspended in them, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told KCRA-TV.

The man, who wasn’t identified, was not injured.Video from the rescue shows the red-white-and-blue aircraft dangling overheadas Santa sat fastened to the pilot seat.

Neighbors watched from the ground as crews worked.

Colleen Bousliman, who lives nearby, said the pilot flies overhead often.

“He flies just around so people can see and flies around people’s houses,” she said. “This was the first time he was in his Santa suit.”

Power was shut off during the rescue to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area, according to Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Chris Vestal.

“It’s unfortunate, but we all need to remember that there’s still a lot of good out in the world, there are people doing good things and to look at the brightness of the holiday season,” Vestal said.He said it didn’t take long to rescue the costumed pilot and lower him to safety.

“W/o a scratch & full of good cheer we made sure Old St. Nick will use his reindeer when he sees you later this year,” the fire department said in a tweet after the incident.

In this photo provided by the California Highway Patrol, a man dressed as Santa Claus who was flying on a powered parachute o



ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this photo provided by the California Highway Patrol, a man dressed as Santa Claus who was flying on a powered parachute on his way to deliver candy canes to children is seen stuck on power lines in Rio Linda, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. The man was rescued uninjured. The incident happened shortly after the man took off near a school in Rio Linda and then hit and became suspended in power lines, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told KCRA-TV. (California Highway Patrol via AP)

The best parental control software for your family

Keep your kids safe with the best software for blocking explicit, disturbing, and illegal websites and apps.

We all have the best intentions when it comes to entertaining the kids, but it doesn’t always work out like we hoped.

Everyone starts out with bold plans for outdoor activities, craft exercises, board games, and maybe even a dance routine, but this doesn’t last long. This sort of schedule requires superhuman levels of focus, energy, and patience, and nobody has all three.

You might have the best intentions, but it’s only a matter of time before you’ll turn to technology to save the day. Nothing captures the attention of a child like a desktop, tablet, laptop, or mobile, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s time to just accept it.

Modern kids have never known a world without the Internet and constant access to videos, games, movies, and shows. They probably spend more time online than you, and this presents a problem. There are explicit and potentially disturbing sites and apps out there on the web, and you can’t always be physically present to stop your child from encountering this sort of content. 

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem. Parental control software helps you to manage all the devices your kids use by blocking unwanted content, limiting screen time, restricting the use of certain apps, and much more. It’s all about making sure the online world is a safe space for your kids to explore (but you should always chat with them about the importance of online safety before making any of these changes).

There are plenty of parental control software options out there for you to consider, with something for every family. We have researched everything on offer and lined up a selection of the very best services, including software from big names like Kaspersky, McAfee, and Norton. Basically, we’ve done all the hard work for you.

These are the best parental control software options for 2021.


Relatively cheap • No device or profile limit • Strong web filtering • Resists uninstallation
Filtering limited to certain browsers • Interface isn’t the best
Affordable and comprehensive parental control software that can protect all your devices.
Kaspersky Safe Kids is one of the most popular parental control software options, and is designed to help you protect your kids online and offline.
It’s a simple system to use, with an app for your child and an app for you connected through a single account. The app on your kid’s device helps you to regulate their activity, and your app lets you see reports and customise settings. 
You can manage your child’s app settings and block access to adult websites and content. This extends to harmful YouTube search requests and access to games and inappropriate apps. You can even manage their screen time by device.
Kaspersky Safe Kids also uses a GPS tracker so you can locate their whereabouts on a real-time online map. This function lets you define a safe area for them to stay in and alerts you if they step outside it. You’ll also get a notification when they’re running low on battery so you can warn them to plug in and charge.
This comprehensive service costs £14.99 for a one-year subscription, or comes free with Kaspersky Total Security. This complete security package will set you back £39.99 per year.

No device number limits • Simple configuration • Attractive dashboard
Does not work on Apple Macs • Time restrictions
Norton Family lets you track and manage your children’s activity with plenty of features and easy installation.

Norton Family

Norton Family is easy to install and configure, and makes the web safer for your kids to explore.

Norton Family lets you manage the time your kids spend online so you know when to encourage more offline fun. 
It works by keeping you informed of which sites your kids are visiting, and letting you block harmful or inappropriate content. It also helps your children balance time spent online by scheduling screen time limits for their devices.
Norton Family provides useful insights into the search terms and videos that interest your kids, and flags unsafe behaviour. You’ll also get detailed reports on what your kids are doing online.
Until May 31, you can get six months of Norton Family for free. You can also get this parental control software as part of an annual subscription to Norton 360 Deluxe (£79.99) or Norton 360 Premium (£89.99). We wouldn’t recommend ever paying full price because these services regularly go on sale.

Unlimited number of devices • Time-management features • Geofencing
Pricey • Not for Apple Macs
Offers plenty of parental control tools and can monitor an unlimited number of devices.

McAfee Safe Family

McAfee Safe Family allows you to easily limit your childrens’ screen time.

Your kids are probably glued to their devices all day, so it’s important to invest in something that can let you know what they’re doing, protect them from harm, and limit their screen time.
McAfee Safe Family does all of the above and more, and lets you view your kid’s device activity, website access, current location, and checked-in places. You can set rules and time limits for apps and websites, starting from pre-defined age based rules that you can customise.
McAfee is another provider that lets you locate their devices on a live map. You’ll get automated notifications the moment they enter or leave familiar places like a school or the library.
This popular service costs £5.99 per month, or £39.99 for an annual subscription. It also comes free with a subscription to a McAfee Total Protection family plan.

Attractive and intuitive interface • Straightforward time restrictions • App blocking • Cross-platform support
Relatively expensive • Social media tracking limited to Facebook
Pricey parental control software is well designed, intuitive, and comprehensive.

Qustodio

Qustodio is a straightforward and highly configurable tool for managing your child’s online activity.

Qustodio is designed to supervise, manage, and protect your child’s device use on the go, making your life as a digital parent easier than ever.
With the Qustodio online dashboard and app you’ll be able to see how your kid uses devices, apps, and the web. You can easily set healthy limits to manage your child’s online experience, and the powerful filtering technology is automatically enabled to protect your child from potentially harmful content.
Qustodio provides all the information you need to help protect your children against the growing number of serious online threats like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, cyberpredators, and screen addiction. 
A Small Plan protect up to five devices with all premium features and costs £39.95 per year. A Medium Plan costs £64.95 per year and protects up to 10 devices, and a Large Plan costs £92.95 per year and protects up to 15 devices. It’s all about finding a plan that works for you and your family.

Mobile apps • Organised interface • App blocking
Possible to bypass browsing restrictions • No geofencing
Mobicip provides all the tools you need to monitor your children’s web and app activity.

Mobicip

Mobicip’s lets you easily block screen time and establish rules for mobile apps.

Mobicip lets you protect your family on the internet, limit screen time, manage apps, and track location.
Its dynamic internet filter scans sites in real-time to ensure web safety and allow only age-appropriate content for each user. It also manages screen time by setting practical schedules, and locks or restricts family devices, apps, and games when it’s time to go offline. 
The location tracker lets you keep tabs on your children’s whereabouts, showing their last known location. This feature gives you valuable peace of mind and ensures that your little ones are safe.
There are three plans to consider: Small, Medium and Large. These options protect up to five, 10, and 15 devices, and cost £3.34, £6.04, and £8.38 per month respectfully. All of these plans are billed annually.

Parler CEO says the service will be down ‘longer than expected’

Parler probably isn’t coming back any time soon. 

The social network that still supports Donald Trump and his followers — one of the few to do so right now — has been shut down after Amazon suspended it from its web-hosting services on Monday. Google and Apple have already removed Parler from their respective app stores, and the service is completely inaccessible at writing time.  

Ahead of the shutdown, Parler CEO John Matze said (via screenshot by author Don Winslow) that the service will “likely be down longer than expected,” in a post on the platform. 

This is not due to software restrictions; Matze says that the company has the “software and everyone’s data ready to go.”

“Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well. And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us.”

In a post Sunday, Matze said the company will try to move to a new provider and that it has “many competing for [its] business.” He called the actions by Amazon, Google and Apple a “coordinated effort,” and an “attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet.”

Parler has gained notoriety as it allowed pro-Trump supporters to post on the service without moderation, with some posts inciting violence and posing threats to public safety. 

Parler might not be going away for good, however. “Parler is my final stand on the Internet,” wrote Matze. “I won’t be making an account on any social. Parler is my home. See you all soon.”

COVID derails Musk’s plan to shuttle CES attendees in underground Teslas

If CES 2021 were taking place in Las Vegas as usual, Elon Musk’s underground loop tunnels would’ve been up and running to whisk conference attendees underground from one convention hall to the other. 

Instead, the Musk-owned Boring Company’s Las Vegas Convention Center Loop is fully excavated beneath the massive convention buildings, but is not yet operational. With COVID-19 restrictions forcing a virtual CES this year, no one is traveling above ground, let alone below it. 

The Loop will be an “underground public transportation system” that uses modified Tesla electric vehicles (Models X and 3) that will purportedly zoom from station to station at 155 mph. The plan is that the cars will eventually be autonomous, but that part isn’t quite ready yet, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A new convention center building, West Hall, was also slated to make its debut at CES 2021 and would have been the Loop’s third stop. In an email, a CES spokesperson said: “The Loop was not delayed and would actually be open to CES attendees now if we were in Las Vegas.” 

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is in charge of the Boring Company’s Loop plans and the two one-way tunnels under the Convention Center, along with three stations, cost the LVCVA $52.5 million to build. It recently took over the bankrupt Las Vegas Monorail aboveground train system that shut down at the start of the pandemic. Last month, the LVCVA effectively approved an extension to the Boring Company’s tunnel system throughout Vegas as part of a larger 10-mile loop

An LVCVA spokesperson confirmed that the convention center Loop is “substantially complete” with only “finishing touches remaining.” It has not yet been officially unveiled since shows and conventions were paused in Vegas. 

The spokesperson wrote in an email that the authority is still determining when an opening event for the underground tunnels would be appropriate.

Predictions for 2021: Psychic foresees new virus, Brexit boom and ‘return to normal’

Nostradamus ‘predicted’ death of Henry II says expert

The past 12 months have won the award for the “worst year ever” and predictions for 2021 might offer some much-needed respite. Not only did 2020 see the coronavirus pandemic affect people in every corner of the globe, including an isolated station in Antarctica, but the year was chockfull of political upheaval, civil unrest and natural disasters. In South America, the year began with devastating wildfires raging through the Amazon – fires that increased by 13 percent in the first nine months of 2020.

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A similar situation developed in Australia, where more than 40 million acres of land were burned between 2019 and 2020.

In California, US, the annual wildfire season swept across the state, burning more than 4.3 million acres of land and killing at least 33 people.

The year also saw massive shifts in the world of politics as incumbent President Donald Trump was unseated by Democrat Joe Biden in what has been one of the biggest and most controversial US elections of recent history.

All of these disasters and more have led to Time magazine declaring 2020 the “worst year ever”, marking its December 14 issue with a large, red “X” on the cover.

The last time the magazine did this was upon the death of Adolf Hitler in 1945, at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 and at the death of Al-Qaeda leader Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi and the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

READ MORE:

Predictions for 2021: Psychic predictions for 2021

Predictions for 2021: A psychic has shared his predictions for the new year (Image: GETTY)

Predictions for 2021: Boris Johnson and von der Leyen

Predictions for 2021: Mr Hamilton-Parker predicts an economic boom after Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Predictions for 2021: What awaits us this year?

Craig Hamilton-Parker, one of Britain’s leading psychic experts and mediums has shared with Express.co.uk his most interesting predictions for 2021.

The psychic, who runs Psychics.co.uk, has made a number of

He has now shared his thoughts about Britain’s political landscape in the future, the aftermath of Brexit and how he thinks the world will cope with the coronavirus pandemic in 2021.

Unfortunately, some of these predictions might not be welcomed by most.

Psychic medium on dreams about teeth falling out

1. Brexit and the future of Britain

With the Brexit transition period ending on December 31, Britain once and for all cut itself off from the EU.

Mr Hamilton-Parker predicted Britain would leave the EU with very little in terms of concrete deals.

He said: “Whatever the ‘deal’ struck in the next few days we in effect still have a hard Brexit with several botched add-ons.

“I see Angela Merkel stepping in and overriding Emmanual Macron’s resistance to a deal because of fishing rights.

“A short term deal will be made to allow temporary access to British waters.

“Politically, Macron will be able to claim it was not his decision – added to the fact that he was incapacitated because of his virus infection.”

A UK-EU trade agreement was struck just days before the year was over and went into effect on 11pm GMT on December 31.

The agreement introduced some checks at borders as well as some new restrictions on certain UK food products.

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Coronavirus impact on tourism mapped out

Predictions for 2021: The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the tourism industry (Image: EXPRESS)

2. Economic boom awaits Britain after Brexit

According to Mr Hamilton-Parker’s predictions, the economy will take a dip immediately after Brexit.

But he believes this will only be temporary and he foresees a significant recovery in a short amount of time.

He said: “Within three years, the UK economy will boom.

“In 2021 youth unemployment will be addressed with a new form of youth employment scheme focusing on in-work training.

“Government support will encourage significant investments in the UK from the USA, Japan, India and the European Free Trade Association.

“The USA will do a huge trade deal with the UK without having to compromise health standards for chlorinated chickens etc.”

Predictions for 2021: Coronavirus patient in China

Predictions for 2021: The psychic predicts a new virus will emerge in China in the new year (Image: GETTY)

3. Coronavirus will continue to plague the UK

Although the rapid development of vaccines in recent months has raised hopes of a return to normality, Mr Hamilton-Parker thinks the virus will still shape our fate in the year to come.

The psychic predicts Tier 3 restrictions will grip much of the UK, with Scotland suffering the worst hit.

However, he also thinks the UK will find a way of beating the virus by August.

He said: “Life will return to normal for vaccinated people. People refusing the vaccine will face restrictions on international travel.

“The Oxford vaccine will save millions of people across the world. It will be used successfully in India and Africa.”

Predictions for 2021: Coronavirus in China

Predictions for 2021: Mr Hamilton-Parker said a vaccine will save millions of people (Image: GETTY)

4. A new viral threat will emerge in China

With the world still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Hamilton-Parker has predicted a new virus could emerge in China.

This will be a new and unrelated threat that will be stopped but will leave much of the world in anger.

The psychic said: “The truth about the origin of the virus will not be known until 2048.”

In the aftermath of the virus, however, the psychic expert said people will open up to a more spiritual way of life.

He added: “We will question the selfishness ingrained in our societies and address the problems of waste and greed that threaten the world’s future.”

Wow, scientists discovered dwarf giraffes

The wild teems with the unknown.

Researchers have identified two dwarf giraffes, the first such animals known to science. During routine surveys of endangered, troubled giraffe populations by the conservation group Giraffe Conservation Foundation, biologists found the two curious ungulates, one in Namibia and the other in Uganda. 

In research recently published in the journal BMC Research Notes, biologists conclude the giraffes have skeletal or cartilaginous disorders, a rare occurrence in most wild, free-ranging animal populations. They had particularly short legs, and one had a shorter than average neck.

The height of a typical giraffe is around 16 feet. But the giraffe found in central Namibia measured nine feet, four inches tall. That’s quite short (for a giraffe). The giraffe, known as Nigel, was a mature adult animal. The other giraffe, in Uganda, who was measured as a sub-adult (meaning an independent and maturing animal), reached about eight and a half feet tall.

“Instances of wild animals with these types of skeletal dysplasias are extraordinarily rare,” Michael Brown, a conservation biologist and lead author of the research said in a statement. “It’s another interesting wrinkle in the unique story of giraffe in these diverse ecosystems.”

The dwarf giraffe in Namibia in 2018.

The dwarf giraffe in Namibia in 2018.

Image:  Emma Wells / GCF

The dwarf giraffe in Uganda in 2017.

The dwarf giraffe in Uganda in 2017.

Image: Michael Brown / GCF

Both giraffes apparently succeeded with diminished height for years, growing to either an adult or a maturing animal nearing adulthood. However, biologists haven’t spotted the Ugandan giraffe since 2017 and the Namibian giraffe since July 2020. Indeed, their shorter legs may have hindered movement, making them more susceptible to fast predators, the researchers conclude.

Overall, giraffes are in a bad spot. Today, some 111,000 remain in the wild, but they’ve lost some 36 to 40 percent of their population over the last few decades.

“Giraffe are undergoing a silent extinction in Africa,”  Julian Fennessy, director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said in a statement. “The fact that this is the first description of dwarf giraffe is just another example of how little we know about these charismatic animals.”

How to access Amazon’s music streaming services for free

SAVE OVER £40: New customers can get a three-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Music HD for free.


You know that uneasy feeling you get when you see something being offered up for free? Everyone looks for the catch, because nothing can actually be available for free, right?

Wrong. Until Jan. 11, new customers can get a three-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Music HD for free. After the promotional period comes to an end, the subscriptions will automatically renew at the full price. You can cancel this at anytime though, so there is no obligation to pay anything at all.

Amazon Music Unlimited offers unlimited access to 60 million songs and thousands of playlists, without adverts. Amazon Music HD offers unlimited access to 70 million songs in HD, with 5 million songs in ultra HD with up to ten times the bitrate of standard streaming services. 

Anyone who goes for a trial of Amazon Music Unlimited will only be eligible for access to the HD subscription add-on. So you can’t gain total access to both services, so it’s decision time.

Try Amazon’s music streaming service for free in 2021.

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Unblock Netflix from anywhere in the world with this cheap VPN

SAVE 90%: A five-year subscription to Ivacy VPN is on sale for £0.74 per month as of Jan. 10, saving you 90% on list price.


Streaming services are going to take an absolute hammering this year as alternative entertainment options are off the table and many productions have been paused. We’re all going to be out of options before too long, unless we take steps to unlock content from other locations.

VPNs can be used to bypass geo-restrictions to unblock popular streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+. That means you can watch all of the shows and films that would normally be unavailable in your country. VPNs can open up a whole new world of content for when you need it most.

There are a number of VPN providers that claim to be able to unlock streaming services, but few can unlock seven major Netflix regions like Ivacy VPN. All Ivacy VPN plans can also unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Hulu, which is great news for everyone planning on not moving this year.

A five-year subscription to Ivacy VPN is on sale for £0.74 per month as of Jan. 10, saving you 90% on list price. This plan includes access to 3,500 servers in 100 locations, P2P support, unlimited bandwidth, military-grade 256-Bit encryption, and much more. You can also connect 10 devices simultaneously, so everyone in your home can stream at the same time.

Boost your content options with Ivacy VPN.

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