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

This week..  Google and Apple criticise GCHQ eavesdropping idea, how Qualcomm shook down the cell phone industry for almost 20 years, microtransactions and Asia’s obsession with mobile gaming and much more.

Google and Apple criticise GCHQ eavesdropping idea


A proposal by the UK security agency GCHQ to eavesdrop on encrypted messages has been strongly criticised by big tech firms and rights groups.

Google and Apple were among 47 firms to sign an open letter, saying it was a “serious threat” to trust and security. The GCHQ plan would effectively mean that a copy of every encrypted message would be sent to the security services.

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How Qualcomm shook down the cell phone industry for almost 20 years

Ars Technica

In 2005, Apple contacted Qualcomm as a potential supplier for modem chips in the first iPhone. Qualcomm’s response was unusual: a letter demanding that Apple sign a patent licensing agreement before Qualcomm would even consider supplying chips.

“I’d spent 20 years in the industry, I had never seen a letter like this,” said Tony Blevins, Apple’s vice president of procurement.

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Are microtransactions the drug that feeds Asia’s obsession with mobile gaming?

Asia One

Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) voted to classify gaming addiction as a disease, prompting a swift pushback from the games industry.

The vote was based on expert consensus that some people “show a pattern of gaming behaviour characterised by impaired control,” which results in prioritising gaming over all other aspects of their life. In smaller print, WHO concedes that “gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital or video-gaming activities.”

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Kenya Is Also Setting The Standard For Mobile Lending


We all know that Kenya revolutionized mobile payments for the developing world and brands like M-Pesa continue to lead the market, but what about mobile lending? According to Creditinfo Kenya, 93 percent of all mobile loans originate from regulated financial institutions, and there are around five million borrowers and each has an average of 5.89 loans.

Creditinfo Group, a privately-owned company started out with their first credit bureau in Iceland back in 1997 and expanded to Eastern Europe, working with banks to maximize data before a period of stabilization following the crash.

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Mobile storage in the age of GDPR


Mobility is great, except when it comes to data. Then it can be a massive financial and legal headache. When on-the-go it is easier to lose devices – and the data they contain – than when you’re buttoned up at the office. Violators may be fined up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide sales of an enterprise, whichever is greater.

While websites are the most obvious target of the GDPR, it applies to all personal data, no matter how collected. If you or your company collect personal information you’re liable.

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It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?

Washington Post

It’s 3 a.m. Do you know what your iPhone is doing?

Mine has been alarmingly busy. Even though the screen is off and I’m snoring, apps are beaming out lots of information about me to companies I’ve never heard of. Your iPhone probably is doing the same — and Apple could be doing more to stop it.

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Now live: Google 3D images and AR integration in mobile search

Search Engine Land

Google announced at Google I/O a few weeks ago support for 3D images and AR within search — that feature is now live. Many searchers are able to search for objects such as [shark], [lion], [panda], [alligator] and so on and see those 3D objects in search and then project them into their environments with AR.

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First to 5G? For smartphone users, the race is kind of meaningless


Pop the champagne and polish the medals, for the competition to be first to 5Ghas declared its victors.

UK carrier EE turned on the first 5G network in its home country on Thursday, beating its rivals to the punch. EE joins Verizon and Swisscom as “winners” of the race to being the first in a given country to offer customers the next generation of network speeds.

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Can tracking people through phone-call data improve lives?


After an earthquake tore through Haiti in 2010, killing more than 100,000 people, aid agencies spread across the country to work out where the survivors had fled. But Linus Bengtsson, a graduate student studying global health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, thought he could answer the question from afar. Many Haitians would be using their mobile phones, he reasoned, and those calls would pass through phone towers, which could allow researchers to approximate people’s locations. Bengtsson persuaded Digicel, the biggest phone company in Haiti, to share data from millions of call records from before and after the quake. Digicel replaced the names and phone numbers of callers with random numbers to protect their privacy.

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ARM’s latest chip designs will give mobile devices a machine learning boost


ARM WANTS TO GIVE artificial intelligence (AI) on phones a kick up the smart glands with chip designs that promise 60 per cent improved clever computing performance.

The UK chip designer’s Cortex-A77 CPU promises to deliver a 20 per cent hike in instructions per cycle when compared to devices running chips based on the previous Cortex-A76. ARM reckons this will not only boost mobile device performance but also help gadgets like smartphones handle machine learning workloads with more aplomb.

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