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Federal court rules on NSA phone spying, Android app tracking concerns, Facebook and native ads, Mobile Internet ‘unicorn’ companies now valued at $575B worldwide and more…

Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news you may have missed, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global Mobile News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.

 Global News Stories

Federal court rules NSA illegally spied on millions of Americans

Business Insider

A federal appeals court on Thursday revived a challenge to a controversial National Security Agency program that collected the records of millions of Americans’ phone calls, saying the program was not authorized by Congress.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a lower court judge erred in dismissing a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that challenged the constitutionality of the surveillance on the ground it violated people’s privacy.

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Facebook Preparing Native Ads for Other Apps

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Facebook is looking to expand its Audience Network, the platform that enables the social network to place ads on other, non-Facebook-owned apps, introducing native ads onto apps and growing the business substantially.

The Audience Network, which has been running for a little over a year, extends the reach of existing Facebook campaigns beyond the existing network, enabling developers and publishers who have signed up to monetise their apps with targeted ads.

The platform has seen impressive adoption, with the number of apps on the network increasing five fold since October 2014, but so far has relied more on banner ads than rich media or native ads that see higher engagement and CPM.

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app annieApple makes huge gains in Europe at Google’s expense

Times of India

The latest iPhones have helped Apple gain smartphone market share in Europe and China, with a large number of customers switching from Android devices, a market tracker said.

Kantar Worldpanel also said that in the United States, the market for “phablets,” or large-screen smartphones, has quadrupled over the past year, also helping Apple with its iPhone 6 Plus.

The newest data showed that in urban China, Apple boosted its share to 26.1% in the first quarter, up from 17.9% for the same period in 2014. Android’s market share in China, meanwhile, slipped eight points to 72%.

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The Snapscan effect: how mobile payments made QR codes relevant in South Africa


Flash back a few years and things weren’t looking great for QR codes. The Matrix barcode, first designed for the automotive industry in Japan, had its supporters to be sure, but the idea that they were largely a total crock seemed to increasingly be the consensus.

Over the last year however, that’s changed in South Africa, largely thanks to mobile payment apps like SnapScan.

According to new research from technology research company World Wide Worx, the format first took off in the country thanks to BlackBerry Messenger, where it became the quickest way to add a friend. In the past year however gained new life as mobile apps like SnapScan roped it in for payments at small merchants, flea markets and the like.

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Free Android apps connect to thousands of tracking and ad URLs, research shows


The average free Android app silently connects to more than 100 different web addresses to serve adverts and track users, according to a paper from French research institute Eurecom.

The worst offenders found on the Google Play store connect to orders of magnitude of up to 20 times more sites. One app that does nothing more than control volume “connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs” when it’s booted up on a phone.

After downloading more than 2,000 free apps from the Google Play store on to an older Samsung phone, the researchers, led by Luigi Vigneri, opened them one by one.

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Mobile Internet ‘unicorn’ companies now valued at $575B worldwide


The market value of mobile Internet unicorns — software companies valued at $1 billion or more by public or private investors — hit $575 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

So says a new report from Digi-Capital, a San Francisco-based mobile Internet advisory firm.

Digi-Capital believes there are now 79 mobile Internet unicorns, with 69 of them valued between $1 billion and $10 billion, nine valued between $10 billion and $100 billion, and one — Facebook — valued at $220 billion.

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Is mobile money boosting financial inclusion in Bangladesh?

World Economic Forum

In just a few short years bKash has made a significant impact on the financial landscape in Bangladesh. Intermedia’s Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) demand-side data reveals that over 20% of Bangladeshi adults[1]have used bKash at least once, and 5% of adults have registered bKash mobile money accounts. However, while the proportion of customers with registered accounts appears to be growing, data suggests that the majority of overall users still access the services via over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.

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mhealth 1 mhealth reportUCLA uses mHealth to take on addiction

Heathcare IT News

Researchers at UCLA are working on a project that utilizes mHealth tools to help gambling addicts better manage their behavior. Billed as the first ever behavioral mHealth clinical trial, officials see it as a promising digital approach to help curb various addictions.

UCLA researcher Ardeshir Rahman, a co-investigator in the university’s Behavioral Technologies Lab, calls the process “therapy 2.0.” He sees several advantages to using a smartphone app over the once-weekly visit to a doctor’s office or group session.

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EU unveils Digital Single Market plan

Tech City News

The European Union has unveiled its proposals for the Digital Single Market as it attempts to corral its 28 member states into a common market for digital goods, capital, content and services.

The plan, which the EU has been working on for the last six months, contains 16 initiatives ranging from a revamp of the region’s telecommunications rules to a harmonisation of its copyright and tax regimes.

The plan itself is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.

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PrivacyDigital Advertising Alliance Announces Mobile Privacy Enforcement to Begin September 1

PR Newswire

The Digital Advertising Alliance today announced that enforcement of its Principles in the mobile environment (DAA Mobile Guidance) will begin on September 1, 2015, including new guidance specific to mobile, such as cross-app data, precise location data and personal directory data. The Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Direct Marketing Association will extend their ongoing independent oversight of the DAA Principles on browsers to the mobile space.

As a result, companies that collect and use data across sites or apps for interest-based advertising will be required to demonstrate compliance with the DAA Principles as they relate to mobile activity starting on September 1.

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Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.