Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Edward Snowden smartphone claims, Apple and in-app ad-blockers, European court of Justice rejects Safe Harbour agreement and Samsung’s Looppay gets hacked, plus much more.
Smartphone users can do “very little” to stop security services getting “total control” over their devices, US whistleblower Edward Snowden has said.
The former intelligence contractor told the BBC’s Panorama that UK intelligence agency GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owners’ knowledge.
Mr Snowden said GCHQ could gain access to a handset by sending it an encrypted text message and use it for such things as taking pictures and listening in.
Publishers and advertisers struggles with ad blockers have been dealt a significant blow with the news that Apple has for the first time approved an app that will block in-app ads.
The Been Choice app sharpens the threat to the publishing and ad industries that spawned from Apple’s decision to let users block ads in their mobile browsers.
The new app takes things one perilous step further with the the ability to block advertisements which appear within apps; it even blocks ads from Apple’s own News app.
The European Court of Justice has just ruled that the transatlantic Safe Harbour agreement, which lets American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both the US and Europe, is invalid.
The ruling came after Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks showed that European data stored by US companies was not safe from surveillance that would be illegal in Europe.
Companies such as Facebook and Twitter may now face scrutiny from individual European countries’ data regulators — and could be forced to host European user data in Europe, rather than hosting it in the US and transferring it over.
The Internet of Things, which makes everyday objects smarter and connected, could bring electronic brains to more than 1.9 billion devices by the year 2020, according to a forecast by the tech analyst firm Linley Group.
Linley Gwennap, founder of the Linley Group, told the crowd at the company’s annual chip conference that the term Internet of Things covers a lot of ground, from smart utility meters to smart cooking thermometers, making the forecast difficult to make. Industrial devices are leading the way, but Gwennap said he expects to see rapid growth in consumer devices starting around 2017.
Tim Berners-Lee, the English computer scientist who is the inventor of the World Wide Web, has attacked Facebook’s Internet.org or ‘Free Basics’ initiative that offers a limited set of websites and apps free of charge to users in developing countries. The initiative has been widely panned as it’s considered that it violates the principles of net neutrality.
In an interview with The Guardian, Berners-Lee said people in emerging markets should “just say no” to the project. He said the initiative was not internet and that there were other ways of reducing the price of access.
“When it comes to compromising on net neutrality, I tend to say ‘just say no’,” he said.
Google’s search chief Amit Singhal said for the first time this summer, more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers.
Singhal said Google fields more than 100 billion searches per month. The number is particularly significant because Singhal was speaking about just devices with screens that are less than six inches, so it excludes many tablets.
During the interview with Kara Swisher at Code/Mobile on Thursday, Singhal spoke about the future of the company’s search products.
Digital ad spend in the UK rose to a record £3.98bn during H1 2015, according to the latest report from the IAB andPwC – representing a year-on-year increase of 13.4 per cent, four-fifths of which came from mobile.
Spend on mobile rose by 51 per cent to £1.08bn, 27.1 per cent of total digital spend. The channel accounts for 39 per cent of display, 43 per cent of video, 63 per cent of social media ads and 74 per cent of native and content ads.
“Mobile is unquestionably the engine of digital growth, with mobile display spend up 63 per cent on the back of mobile video spend more than doubling,”
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said its Samsung Pay user data is safe after a hacking attack against a U.S.-based subsidiary that developed a key technology for its newly-launched mobile payments system.
Disclosure of the attack, first reported by the New York Times on Wednesday, comes less than two weeks after Samsung Pay’s launch in the United States. The world’s top smartphone maker hopes the convenience provided by the payments system can help it defend shrinking market share and margins.
Mobile money penetration in South Africa is still lagging behind most prominent African markets. Only 7.6% of adults in the country reportedly had a registered mobile money account by the end of 2014, putting it at the bottom four among 18 top countries.
This was revealed in the GSMA Mobile Economy Africa 2015 report released today which looks at trends in the Africa mobile industry over the last year and predictions for the upcoming years leading up to 2020.
Mobile commerce transactions are expected to top $115 billion in 2015 and climb to $142 billion next year, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
The numbers in the report, “US Mobile Phone And Tablet Commerce Forecast, 2015 to 2020,” point to the ongoing challenge driving conversions on mobile, with nearly one-third of retailers’
Web traffic coming from phones but only 11 percent of sales. However, only a few merchants are truly leading the way in mcommerce, with Forrester estimating that Amazon and eBay capture approximately one-third of all mobile shopping in the United States