Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world. Stories this week include… TikTok fined £12.7m for misusing children’s data, India cracks down on betting games, Facebook parent Meta releases A.I. model ‘SAM’ that can identify images within photos, Google cracks down on predatory loan apps and much more…
TikTok fined £12.7m for misusing children’s data
TikTok has been fined £12.7m by the UK’s data watchdog for failing to protect the privacy of children.
It estimated TikTok allowed up to 1.4 million UK children aged under 13 to use the platform in 2020.
The video-sharing site used the data of children of this age without parental consent, according to an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
TikTok said it had “invested heavily” to stop under-13s accessing the site.
India cracks down on betting games
India is cracking down on games that offer betting services by amending its IT Rules 2021 that will require self-regulatory bodies to ban apps that offer wagering.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for electronics and information technology, said at a press conference that online gambling and betting platforms presented challenges to New Delhi’s vision of open and safe internet. “We have seen over the last few months many startups running afoul of state laws, state rules and state regulations. We hope that these rules will create a much more stable, consistent and predictable framework for all those startups that are interested in the online gaming ecosystem.”
Facebook parent Meta releases A.I. model ‘SAM’ that can identify images within photos
Facebook parent Meta on Wednesday released a paper detailing its latest A.I. model that can “segment” different items within photographs.
The company’s research division said it released the Segment Anything Model (SAM), and the corresponding dataset to foster research into foundation models for computer vision.
“The model is designed and trained to be promptable, so it can transfer zero-shot to new image distributions and tasks,” Meta said in a blog post. “We evaluate its capabilities on numerous tasks and find that its zero-shot performance is impressive – often competitive with or even superior to prior fully supervised results.”
Google cracks down on predatory loan apps
Google is cracking down on predatory loan apps by cutting off their access to “sensitive” data including debtors’ contacts, photos and location, after growing criticism that unscrupulous lenders are tapping the contents of borrowers’ smartphones for harassment and blackmail.
The tech company said on Wednesday it would update policies for financial services apps listed on the Google Play store at the end of May, so that “apps aiming to provide or facilitate personal loans may not access user contacts or photos”.
50 years of the mobile phone: From brick to flip to folding and holograms
“I said, ‘Joel, this is Martin Cooper. I’m talking to you on a handheld cellphone. But a real cellphone, personal, portable, handheld.'”
It was April 3, 1973. Cooper was a Motorola engineer in California and after three months of developing a mobile phone, he called his arch rival from Bell Labs in New York. Bell Labs had built a car phone, but a cellular system was proving tricky because of the huge battery size.
Cooper was holding a brand new device called a DynaTAC and waited for a response from Joel Engel.
Savvy Games Group to buy mobile game publisher Scopely for $4.9B
Savvy Games Group has agreed to acquire mobile game publisher and developer Scopely for $4.9 billion.
The deal is the latest sign of consolidation in gaming — and mobile gaming in particular — and it further cements the push by Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games Group to expand in the game industry. Savvy announced last September its intention to purchase a leading games publisher and the acquisition of Scopely is the realization of this goal.
The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, strengthens Savvy’s ability to deliver new and exciting products for the global gaming community and help fulfill Scopely’s ambitions to grow and strengthen its portfolio of original and beloved brands.
Intelligence Brief: Laying the foundations for success in 5G in India
Mobile World Live
As 5G reached 1 billion connections by the end of 2022, GSMA Intelligence began discussing the second wave, the phase of growth which would see the technology reach 2 billion connections and then 5 billion by 2030.
The first wave was led by a small number of countries, but the second wave will be driven by an array of emerging economies with significant growth potential. Among the list of countries that will drive the second wave of 5G, India has a major role.
Accounting for one-in-eight global mobile connections and with 65 per cent of its population under 35 years old, India will drive a significant portion of this growth, with 5G adoption going from around 1 per cent at end2022 to around 40 per cent by end-2030.
Confirming Pilot Expansion, TSA Head Lauds Security of Mobile IDs
he Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning to expand its testing of mobile traveler ID to airports in Puerto Rico and Tennessee later this year, according to TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
Testifying at a congressional budget hearing this week, the TSA head confirmed that the agency is currently trialling the acceptance of digital identity credentials at 19 airports, and said that the same functionality will be brought to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in June and Nashville International Airport in August. Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, and Utah are all currently involved in the pilots.
Adludio raises $2.5M for AI-based mobile ad platform
Adludio has raised $2.5 million for its mobile advertising platform. That sounds like a story from 10 years ago. But the company says it will combine AI with attention-led and data-driven mobile advertising.
Mercia made the investment, following on an initial investment of $4.9 million, or £4 million, in 2021.
This new funding round will enable Adludio to expand in the U.S. and launch a fully-automated version of its platform. Powered by AI and data science, this will offer marketers a one-stop-shop for the automated design and delivery of ad campaigns that guarantee engagement, the company said.