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Call masking: NCC sanctions telcos, bars 750,000 numbers

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has sanctioned three companies and barred 750,000 numbers found to be connected to call masking.

Call masking is a technique used to hide numbers when making calls or sending messages.

In some cases, international numbers are masked with local numbers which are not charged, because the caller’s identity is completely hidden on the network.

In a statement signed by Tony Ojobo on Tuesday, the commission said the sanctioned entities were found to be directly and indirectly involved in several infractions.

“Including covertly allowing organisations with expired licenses to transit calls, failure to undertake due diligence on parties seeking to interconnect, deliberately turning a blind eye to masking infractions by interconnect partners, and using a licence issued to another organisation to bring-in and terminate international calls which were masked as local calls to other operators.”

NCC had previously warned that it would
suspend the licensees of companies suspected of call masking.

After investigations with the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Department of State Services, NCC imposed the following sanctions:

“a. Suspension of the Interconnect Clearinghouse License issued to Medallion Communications Limited for a period of 90 days, in the first instance;
b. Issuance of a strong warning to Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited;
c. Disconnection of Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL) and Solid Interconnectivity Services Limited from all networks, until they regularize their operations;
d. Issuance of letters to Exchange Telecoms Limited, NiconnX Limited and Breeze Micro Limited, cautioning them against engaging in the fraudulent practice; and
e. Barring of over 750,000 numbers assigned to several Private Network Links (PNL) and Local Exchange Operator (LEO) licensees, which number ranges were found to have been utilized for the practice.”

According to the statement, the licensees whose numbers have been barred are: Vezeti Communications Services Limited, Voix Networks Limited, Mobitel Limited, Peace Global Satellite Communications Limited, ABG Communications Limited, Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited, Swift Telephone Networks Limited, QVODA Telecoms Limited, Wireless Telecoms Limited and Emcatel Networks Limited.

“Accordingly, every service provider that has been sanctioned still has an opportunity to correct the identified anomalies and satisfy the commission that it should be allowed to continue to operate in Nigeria.”

NCC said the second stage, which has commenced, is focusing on mobile network operators and other persons involved in SIM-Boxing.

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Obama loses 2.5m followers in Twitter purge

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Barack Obama, former president of the United States of America, has lost 2.5 million followers to the clean-up exercise being carried out by Twitter.
The social media company had announced that it would delete accounts of fake followers saying prominent accounts could see a significant drop.
Twitter’s main account lost 7.5 million followers in one day from 62.85 million to 55.35 million.
Kim Kardashian-West, US reality TV star, lost 1.7 million followers going from 60.2 million followers to 58.5 million on Thursday.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter chief executive officer, also lost 200,000 followers.
lost 200k followers )
— jack (@jack) July 12, 2018
Donald Trump, the US president, lost 400,000 followers.
Other people affected included Rihanna, who lost 900,000 followers and Justin Bieber, who lost three million followers to 104 million.
Twitter noted on Wednesday locked accounts are different from spam and bot accounts — two other issues that have plagued the platform — in that they were usually started by “real people,” but the company is unable to verify they’re still being run by their initial creators.
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust, said the clean-up will affect accounts that were frozen over the years for suspicious behaviour.
“This week, we’ll be removing these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. As a result, the number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down.”

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Whatsapp will now tell you which messages are forwarded to curb fake news

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Whatsapp, in a fight against fake news, has added a ‘forward message indicator’ to make it clear when a user has received a forwarded message.
The instant messaging platform will notify users when a message has been forwarded, rather than composed by the sender.
The latest version of WhatsApp includes the feature, which marks forwarded messages in italicized text above the content of a message.
The Facebook-owned application has is regularly used in the spread of viral misinformation.
“Starting today, WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you,” WhatsApp said in a blog post on Wednesday.
“This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow. It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else.
“To see this new forwarded label, you need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on your phone.
“WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety. We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded.”

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MultiChoice may reduce GOtv subscription (SEE REASON)

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MultiChoice Nigeria, the leading pay television company in the country, may soon embark on a review of subscriptions on some bouquets on its GOtv platform.
DSTV
Industry sources told journalists at the weekend that the review, which is expected to be announced soon, may see the subscription rate on GOtv MAX, the highest package on the platform, slashed by about 20%, from its present N3, 800 to either N3, 200 or N3,100 monthly, a difference of between N600 and N700.
GOtv MAX, which broadcasts all LaLiga matches live via SuperSport, is expected to, from the coming European football season, also make available to subscribers live matches of the Italian league (Serie A), following SuperSport’s acquisition of the broadcast rights to another of Europe’s top competition.
GOtv MAX offers 60 channels across genres such as news, commerce documentaries, lifestyle, movies, religion, music and kiddies’ programming.
Rates for GOtv Plus, GOtv Value and GOtv Lite, however, are to remain unchanged at N1, 900, N1, 250 and N400, monthly respectively.
Sources say the price change will be effected in the next few weeks.
If this happens it will be the first time a pay television provider will be reducing prices in recent memory in Nigeria.

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