WhatsApp Sues India Government Over New Internet Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s messaging platform WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit challenging Indian rules that would require the company to provide access to encrypted messages, aggravating an already tense relationship between Silicon Valley giants and the government in a country where they have hundreds of millions of users.WhatsApp filed the lawsuit in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman confirmed. The case could come up for consideration as early as this week.“Requiring messages to trace chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on Whatsapp which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users.”Whatsapp will continue to engage with the government “on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for information,” it added in the statement. The government has received no official communication from the company and will present its views in court after it is notified by the court, a spokesman told Bloomberg in a text message.Already facing growing regulatory scrutiny around the world, companies from Facebook to Twitter Inc. to Alphabet Inc.’s Google are in the crosshairs of India’s government, which in February introduced tightened rules governing social media, digital media and streaming operators. The regulations require the companies to have mechanisms to address user complaints, appoint compliance officers and submit monthly compliance reports.Read more: Facebook, Netflix Face Fresh Scrutiny as India Tightens GripThe three-month deadline for the tech giants to comply ended on Tuesday and they are now required to take down unlawful content quickly. Under the policy, messaging apps are required to provide the identity of the originators of unlawful messages on their platforms, forcing the likes of WhatsApp to decrypt messages and dilute user privacy.WhatsApp has over half a billion users in India, where it has been enmeshed in a series of clashes with the government over the last couple of years. India’s ruling party has been under fire recently for trying to quell social media criticism of its handling of the Covid pandemic.(Updates with comment from government spokesman in fourth paragraph)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P. Read More...


Billionaire Israel Englander Bets on These 2 Penny Stocks

Let’s talk about risk, reward, and pennies. The three are related, of course. There’s no reward in the stock market without taking on some risk – and penny stocks offer investors an optimum combination of both. The ‘pennies’ are the lowest cost stocks on the public markets, typically priced below $5 per share. At such a low share price, even a small gain – a share price increase of mere pennies – can quickly translate into a high-percentage return. However, there is a but here. The critics point out that there could be a reason for the bargain price tag, whether it be poor fundamentals or overpowering headwinds. So, how are investors supposed to determine which penny stocks are poised to make it big? Following the activity of the investing titans is one strategy. Enter Israel “Izzy” Englander, who is widely known for his impressive stock picking abilities. Englander expressed interest in the stock market since he was young, and in 1989, co-founded hedge fund Millennium Management with Ronald Shear. Using a broad range of strategies involving a variety of predominantly liquid asset classes, Englander was able to take the $35 million the fund was started with and turn it into a $45+ billion Wall Street behemoth. With an estimated net worth of $9.6 billion in 2021, it’s no wonder Wall Street focus locks in on the guru when he makes a move. Taking all of this into consideration, we used TipRanks’ database to take a closer look at two penny stocks Englander snapped up recently. The platform revealed that both Buy-rated tickers have earned the support of some members of the analyst community as well. T2 Biosystems (TTOO) We’ll start in the healthcare industry, where T2 Biosystems is working to revolutionize diagnostics. The company offers diagnosticians and medical labs a range of devices based on its T2 Magnetic Resonance (T2MR) tech to quickly and accurately diagnosis a variety of septic illnesses. As the company notes, sepsis claims more lives annually than AIDS, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is the key for patient survival, and this is the niche that T2 aims to fill. The company’s technology enables diagnostic blood tests with results available in a matter of hours, compared to the 1 to 5 days currently taken by most medical lab tests. Available testing products include the T2Bacteria Panel and the T2Candida panel, which are the only FDA-approved blood tests for septic agents that do not need to wait for a blood culture. A T2SARS-CoV-2 Panel is also available, using upper respiratory samples. T2 has an active product pipeline, with rapid diagnostic tests on the drawing board for a variety of illnesses. Upcoming products include the T2Cauris panel and the T2Resistance panel. These testing products are currently designated for research use only (ROU) in the US. The T2Lyme panel, which will allow for faster diagnosis of the difficult-to-determine Lyme disease, is at an earlier stage of the development. All of T2’s products operate on the same T2Dx instrument, allowing for interchangeability in the lab environment. The device offers a simple user interface, and operates with just 4ml of whole blood. T2 boasts that its device is in use in more than 200 hospitals worldwide. In the first quarter of 2021, T2 saw top-line revenue grow by 173% year-over-year, to $7 million. This was driven by a 345% yoy increase in product revenue, to $4.7 million. Sepsis test utilization in the US rose by 85% yoy in the quarter, showing increasing acceptance of the device and technology. Izzy Englander is among those that have high hopes for this healthcare name. In Q1, Englander’s Millennium picked up over 1.36 million shares of TTOO stock, now valued at $1.5 million. This increased Englander’s stake in the company to 2.68 million shares, with a market value of $2.9 million. 5-star analyst Charles Duncan, of Canaccord, also counts himself as a fan. Duncan gives TTOO shares a Buy rating along with a $3.50 price target. This target conveys his confidence in TTOO’s ability to soar 212% higher in the next twelve months. (To watch Duncan’s track record, click here) “T2’s +345% Y/Y product revenue growth is a positive datapoint for the company’s post-pandemic commercial strategy, which is being supported by a scaling to just under 10 direct sales reps in Q1. We view the acquisitions of Cepheid, BioFire, GenMark, and Luminex as validation that the hospital lab is an attractive industry segment, given clinicians’ (and patients’) desire to shift away from centralized testing strategies to a more decentralized approach. With these four companies off the table, T2 should benefit from scarcity value. Separately, a more aggressive approach towards commercial execution should marry well with rising awareness around antimicrobial resistance and sepsis, in a post-pandemic environment that prioritizes infectious disease diagnostics,” Duncan noted. It turns out that other analysts also have high hopes. With 4 Buys and a single Hold, the word on the Street is that this stock, which currently going for $1.10 apiece, is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $2.83 average price target puts the upside potential at 156%. (See TTOO stock analysis on TipRanks) Sesen Bio (SESN) The second stock we’re looking at, Sesen Bio, is a pharmaceutical company. Sesen works in the cancer treatment segment, developing antibody-drug conjugate therapies. The program takes a fusion protein approach, tethering tumor-targeting antibodies to cytotoxic proteins. The result is a single protein molecule that kills cancer cells with minimal toxic effects on the body – and that generates a complementary response from the patient’s natural immune system. Sesen’s pipeline currently includes one drug candidate, vicineum, which is under investigation on several tracks concurrently. The main track, which has completed clinical trials and initiated the submission process of the biologic license application (BLA), is for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. The BLA was accepted for filing by the FDA this past February, and the company is on track for potential approval on August 18, 2021. European approval of vicineum for bladder cancer treatment is expected early in 2022. The company’s other pipeline projects are at earlier stages. Vicineum is under investigation as a treatment for head and neck cancers, and is in Phase 2 trials. Other investigative tracks remain at pre-clinical stages. Clinical-stage biopharma companies are always highly speculative, and in this case, Englander did not mind speculating. In Q1, his firm bought 987,926 shares of SESN, increasing its stake in the company by 156%. Englander’s holding in Sesen is now valued at $2.9 million. Weighing in on SESN for H.C. Wainwright, 5-star analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth sees an opportunity as well. “Given the favorable risk/benefit profile of Vicineum demonstrated in the Phase 3 VISTA study, we believe the drug has a high likelihood to receive regulatory approvals from the FDA and EMA. Sesen is actively preparing for the potential launch of Vicineum. The company has selected Syneos, a leading contract sales organization, as a partnerto build and manage a 35-people sales force to target approximately 2,000 high prescribers of BCG. We expect the drug to be commercially available immediately upon approval. We project Vicineum to achieve risk-adjusted sales of $516M by 2030E, growing from $9M in 2021E,” Ramakanth opined. Ramakanth’s comments support his Buy rating on the stock, as does his $8 price target. At current valuations, that target implies an upside potential of 170% for the next 12 months. (To watch Ramakanth’s track record, click here) Sometimes, the penny stocks can slide under the radar; this one has attracted only two recent analyst reviews. Both agree, however, that this is a stock to buy, making the Moderate Buy consensus unanimous. The shares are priced at $2.94 with a $7.50 average price target that suggests an upside of 155% in the coming year. (See SESN stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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