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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week.. Facebook under fresh political pressure as UK watchdog, Zimbabwe’s first election without Mugabe turns into a data privacy minefield, HTC develops ‘blockchain phone’, and much more…

Facebook under fresh political pressure as UK watchdog calls for “ethical pause” of ad ops

Tech Crunch

The UK’s privacy watchdog revealed yesterday that it intends to fine Facebook the maximum possible (£500k) under the country’s 1998 data protection regime for breaches related to the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

But that’s just the tip of the regulatory missiles now being directed at the platform and its ad-targeting methods — and indeed, at the wider big data economy’s corrosive undermining of individuals’ rights.

Alongside yesterday’s update on its investigation into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a policy report — entitled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence — in which it sets out a series of policy recommendations related to how personal information is used in modern political campaigns.

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Zimbabwe’s first-ever election without Robert Mugabe has turned into a data privacy minefield


When Zanu PF, the party of Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa sent out a text message campaign to thousands of people last week it was probably not expecting to set off an uproar about invasion of citizens’ data privacy. But that is just what is has managed to do and also been accused of manipulating the voter roll.

Mnangagwa and the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa are caught up in an intense battle ahead of presidential, parliamentary and local government polls on July 30 this year. It is the first election in Zimbabwe’s 38-year history without former president Robert Mugabe on the ballot and a lot of the debates are being played out on social media.

This is perhaps why Zimbabweans have been quick to raise serious concerns about a targeted bulk messaged from the ruling party. The key issue is it is unclear how Zanu PF obtained phone numbers but opposition leader Chamisa has claimed his rivals did so illegally.

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HTC develops ‘blockchain phone’ – but how does it work?

South China Morning Post

The race to launch the world’s first blockchain-enabled smartphone is poised to heat up as Taiwanese consumer electronics firm HTC said its device would be made available this third quarter.

HTC’s Exodus blockchain phone, which it first announced in May, has already received “tens of thousands” of reservations globally, said Phil Chen, the chief crypto officer at HTC, in an interview on the sidelines of the RISE technology conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The impending launch of Exodus would put HTC ahead of Switzerland-based start-up Sirin Labs in introducing a blockchain phone to market.

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10 years ago, the App Store still didn’t understand what it meant to be mobile

The Verge

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the iOS App Store, which officially opened with 500 applications on July 10th, 2008 in what Steve Jobs called “the biggest launch of my career.” Those words have proven to be at least somewhat prophetic: the App Store now serves as one of the most important software stores on the planet. It has over 2 million apps, 20 million registered developers, and revenues topping $100 billion over its decade-long lifetime.

But here, on the 10-year mark, it’s easy to forget that things weren’t always this way. Back when the App Store first launched, things were a bit… weird, to say the least. In fact, looking back at the top apps from the first year of the App Store’s existence (preserved by the now-defunct iTunes list in an article by TechCrunch), it’s truly incredible to see how far we’ve come, both in what our apps are capable of and how we use our phones today.

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Why California’s new consumer privacy law won’t be GDPR 2.0

Digiday UK

The consumer privacy law that California’s governor signed into law on June 28 is considered the strongest, most aggressive privacy protection measure in the U.S., according to legal experts.

The new California law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will require that companies tell state residents what information the company is collecting and how it’s used. It also gives people options to ask the company to delete or stop selling that information. The law does not prevent companies from collecting people’s information or give people an option to ask a company to stop collecting their information, differentiating it from GDPR.

“The sweeping nature of this bill is really unprecedented in the privacy area, and its impacts are still far from known,” said Dan Jaffe, group evp for government relations at the Association of National Advertisers.

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Machine Learning Vs. Artificial Intelligence: How Are They Different?


Artificial intelligence and machines have become a part of everyday life, but that doesn’t mean we understand them well. Do you know the difference between machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)?

If you’re hoping to use one or the other in your business, it’s important to know which one to focus on. ML and AI are related, but they aren’t the same, and they aren’t necessarily suited to the same tasks. You can take your business to the next level by knowing when to choose ML or AI.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about AI and ML, from what they are to why they’re different. Keep reading to learn how this modern tech can help you and your business.

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How a wearable changed the customer experience for Carnival Cruise

Mobile Payments Today

Imagine directing innovation strategy and technology for what’s viewed as the world’s largest experience enterprise. That’s exactly the role of John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer, global experience and innovation at Carnival Cruise.

Carnival, the world’s largest travel company when it comes to cruise lines, operates more than 100 ships under nine brands that travel to 740 destinations. Its interactive customer experience for each guest begins the moment a trip is booked and ends once the guest departs a ship.

In Padgett’s view ICX is exactly what a vacation should be all about.

“The letters say it all. The I is for interactive and interaction with the consumer. The C is for consumer and the consumer is everything, and the X is for band and pass [technology],” he shared during his keynote talk at the recent ICX Summit held in Dallas in mid-June.

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A ‘Mobile mindset’ leads consumers to entertainment-led and individualistic shopping choices, psychologists conclude

Internet Retailing

Consumers are drawn to seek out entertainment-led and individualistic shopping choices in what they feel is a ’safe zone’ on mobile, psychologists have concluded. Or, for the layman, shoppers like fun stuff on their phones – so if you want them to buy from you, be entertaining.

According to ’The truth behind smartphone behaviour’ conducted by Clicktale in conjunction with Dr Melumad and Meyer the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, shoppers are pulled in towards entertaining content such as pop culture, sport and ‘guilty pleasures’, rather than scientific facts or hard news.

Some 35% of the analysed consumers are likely to engage with entertaining and sport-related content. Whereas, interest in science, education and regional-specific content was higher for desktop users.

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Seoul to launch to its own mobile payment platform: Report


South Korea’s capital Seoul is planning to launch its own mobile payment platform, local media reports.

The municipal government has formed a task force that will work to launch the service, tentatively called S-Pay, which aims to improve payment convenience for citizens and small businesses.

The task force will aim to build the system for the platform and cooperate with banks as well as find partnered small businesses.

The platform will use a mobile app or QR codes. The aim is to lessen commissions paid by businesses when they use credit cards. S-Pay’s system won’t go through credit card companies’ systems.

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Faltering consumer trust creates window of opportunity MNOs 

Telemedia Online

The Facebook data scandal has not only eroded consumer trust in social media platforms, but also in digital services companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Skype – and this presents MNOs with a massive opportunity.

More than 50% of consumers are now less likely to share personal data with digital dservices companies, with 66% of consumers stating that they would prefer to pay for services if it meant more control.

This is putting ‘freemium’ business models at risk, and opening new opportunities for alternative digital players including mobile operators.

A new study from Openet, released today, surveyed 1,500 consumers across the UK, US, Brazil and The Philippines on their perceptions of digital services companies and mobile operators following the recent data scandal. The survey highlighted several further consequences for digital service companies around consumer confidence in sharing personal data:

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