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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world. Stories this week include… Use of Meta tracking tools found to breach EU rules on data transfers, UK bans TikTok from government mobile phones, Microsoft targets AI take off with Copilot and much more…

Use of Meta tracking tools found to breach EU rules on data transfers

Tech Crunch

Austria’s data protection authority has found that use of Meta’s tracking technologies violated EU data protection law as personal data was transferred to the US where the information was at risk from government surveillance.

The finding flows from a swathe of complaints filed by European privacy rights group noyb, back in August 2020, which also targeted websites’ use of Google Analytics over the same data export issue. A number of EU DPAs have since found use of Google Analytics to be unlawful — and some (such as France’s CNIL) have issued warnings against use of the analytics tool without additional safeguards. But this is the first finding that Facebook tracking tech breached the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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UK bans TikTok from government mobile phones


Britain is to ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from ministers’ and civil servants’ mobile phones, bringing the UK in line with the US and the European Commission and reflecting deteriorating relations with Beijing.

The decision marks a sharp U-turn from the UK’s previous position and came a few hours after TikTok said its owner, ByteDance, had been told by Washington to sell the app or face a possible ban in the country.

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Microsoft targets AI take off with Copilot

Mobile World Live

Microsoft made its latest move in an ongoing battle with Google for AI supremacy, previewing a new feature to integrate the technology with its Microsoft 365 Office suite.

Dubbed Copilot, Microsoft stated the feature is currently being tested with select corporate customers and has been built on an AI software called large language models (LLMs), which has been developed in recent years to be capable of understanding and responding to text.

Through Copilot, Microsoft said users of its popular business apps including Word, PowerPoint and Excel will benefit from “an entirely new experience”, using AI to generate drafts of documents, emails, presentations and even chats.

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China’s experience with mobile payments highlights the pros and cons of a cashless society

The Conversation

An increasing number of people are using mobile devices – their smartphone, a smartwatch or tablet – to pay for goods and services. Mobile devices allow people to complete transactions without using cash or a traditional bank card, making shopping quicker and easier.

Our recent research on China’s experience with mobile payments even suggests that people who pay with mobile devices are happier than those who do not. While China’s experience with mobile payments over the past decade highlights some of the benefits of using digital devices to pay for everyday items, it also illustrates how accessibility issues can leave sections of the community behind.

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FBI warns that mobile games may be front for cryptocurrency scams

Game Developer

The FBI has advised players of mobile games to be wary of new gaming apps, as they may be used to steal cryptocurrency from their victims. Recently, the organization released a PSA warning that play-to-earn apps offering financial incentives to players are fake.

Mobile games are heavily promoted in a number of ways, including by a real person (or bots) attempting to form interpersonal relationship with someone. Add in the attempted popularity of cryptocurrency, and it’s easy to see how this can be taken advantage by people with ill intent.

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Innovative Mobile Banking Support Options Grow but Capabilities Vary Widely, Says New Report

Yahoo Finance

Keynova Group, the principal competitive intelligence source for digital financial services firms, today announced the results of the Q1 2023 edition of its semi-annual Mobile Banker Scorecard. For the fourth time in a row, U.S. Bank earned top honors for its mobile banking capabilities and customer experience, ranking No. 1 for Overall Score in an evaluation of the country’s 17 leading mobile banking offerings. The Scorecard reveals that even as the use of innovative mobile banking support options like chatbots and virtual assistants (VAs) continues to grow, the capabilities offered are inconsistent.

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8 Internet of Things (IoT) Highlights from MWC Barcelona 2023

Tech Funnel

The Mobile World Congress (MWC), hosted by GSMA in Barcelona every year, is among the most influential technology events in the world. This year’s edition just ended in the first week of March, and we saw an overwhelming emphasis on all things IoT.

The Internet of Things or IoT aims to build an interconnected network of things, appliances, objects, and machines, which will bring tech into every workflow and sphere of our lives — even non-digital ones. MWC 2023 brought a massive range of Internet of Things breakthroughs to the forefront, from IoT platforms to consumer-grade products.

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Study: 97 percent of cinema goers watch the ads

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Research using eye-tracking technology has shown that cinema is way out in front of other media when it comes to ad attention.

The US study, conducted by National CineMedia, Lumen and dentsu, used eye-tracking and questionnaires to assess ad attention in cinemas and its impact on recall and intention to purchase.

Cinemagoers agreed to be filmed watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in an environment set up to mimic a regular moviegoing experience. 151 participants took part over six screenings. Infrared cameras captured their attention to the screen, and their pupil and body movements.

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Sensor Tower: Mobile games with LiveOps generate 30 times more revenue than non-GaaS titles

Game World Observer

Sensor Tower has released its State of Mobile Gaming 2023 report. This is a deep analysis of key market trends, as well as top performing genres, titles, and monetization strategies. Here are some findings from the study.

In 2022, downloads of almost all top genres declined. The only categories to show growth were Action (+13% year-over-year) and Sports (+8 year-over-year).

Despite a 10% decline, Hypercasual remained the top genre by downloads, with 12.3 billion installs. It is followed by Arcade (5.9 billion), Simulation (4.8 billion), Puzzle (4.5 billion), and Lifestyle (3 billion).

According to Sensor Tower, the major decline in downloads for hypercasual games is “directly linked to user acquisition costs and monetization through the use of video ads.”

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Walmart invests $200 million in Indian mobile payments giant PhonePe

Tech Crunch

PhonePe has raised another $200 million as part of an ongoing round, a deliberation that has now helped it pull $650 million in recent weeks despite the market slump, as the Indian fintech giant bulks up its war chest following the recent separation from the parent firm Flipkart.

Walmart, which owns the majority of PhonePe, has invested $200 million into the startup. The ongoing round values the Bengaluru-headquartered PhonePe at a pre-money valuation of $12 billion. PhonePe has previously said that it plans to raise up to $1 billion as part of the ongoing financing round.

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