We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Four years after Apple, Google will finally kill third-party cookies in 2024, Apple again targets iMessage-on-Android app Beeper, TikTok faces watchdog probe after supplying inaccurate information and much more…
Google has announced plans to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome, following similar actions by Firefox and Safari over the past four years. Third-party cookies are used by ad companies to track user activity for targeted advertising. Google’s alternative, the “Privacy Sandbox,” has launched in Chrome, marking the end of traditional ad tracking. The timeline for phasing out third-party cookies is set for the second half of 2024. Testing of the rollout, named “Tracking Protection,” begins on January 4, initially involving 1 percent of Chrome users. By mid-2024, it is expected to be available for all desktop Chrome and Android users. Chrome users encountering issues with sites reliant on third-party cookies will receive prompts to temporarily re-enable them. This transition, already implemented by other browsers, is expected to find web administrators well-prepared for the change.
Threads, a platform owned by Meta, has expanded its user base by launching in the European Union, posing a new challenge to its competitor Twitter. Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the EU launch in a post on Threads, which has been dubbed a “Twitter killer” app. Threads initially launched in July 2023 and quickly became available in the US and over 100 other countries, including the UK. However, the platform’s debut in the European Union faced delays due to the region’s strict privacy laws. Meta had to seek approval from the European Commission regarding the app’s privacy provisions before the EU launch. Speculations suggested that the delay was linked to the EU Digital Markets Act, which addresses various concerns related to big tech, including antitrust and privacy issues, such as cross-platform content sharing.
Apple is reportedly taking action against Beeper, a mobile app that enables Android users to access iMessage’s blue bubble texts. After Beeper Mini resumed operations following Apple’s attempt to shut it down, Beeper claims that Apple is now deliberately blocking iMessages for approximately 5% of Beeper Mini users. However, Beeper asserts it has a temporary fix for the problem: users can uninstall and reinstall the app. The company acknowledges it is actively working on a more comprehensive solution but hasn’t implemented it yet. Beeper Cloud users were also affected, prompting the company to advise them to contact Beeper Help for assistance. The ongoing tussle between Beeper and Apple highlights the challenges of bringing iMessage features to non-Apple platforms and the efforts to circumvent restrictions imposed by the tech giant.
The UK communications watchdog, Ofcom, is investigating TikTok over allegations of providing inaccurate information. The investigation is focused on whether TikTok failed to comply with a legal information request related to a report by Ofcom on video-sharing platforms’ efforts to prevent children from accessing harmful content. TikTok has attributed the issue to a technical problem, claiming it identified the issue and promptly informed Ofcom, leading to the investigation. The scrutiny is specifically on the accuracy of the information provided, not the effectiveness of its parental controls. Ofcom had requested information from TikTok, Snap, and Twitch regarding their compliance with legal requirements to protect children from potentially harmful content that could impact their physical, mental, or moral development.
Forbes speaks to Claudia Salomon, President of the ICC’s International Court of Arbitration, to discuss the increasing risk of legal disputes from privacy concerns as businesses increasingly look to harness the power of AI.
The proliferation of AI tools has sparked legitimate concerns about data privacy, given that generative AI systems rely on extensive personal data for machine learning and predictive analysis. The use of such data raises issues related to collection, processing, and storage, emphasizing the need for robust security measures to prevent theft or misuse. Equally important is the recognition of individuals’ rights to protect their data.
Web3, the next generation of the internet, holds the promise of decentralization, transparency, and improved security through blockchain networks and digital tokens. This evolution aims to empower users with greater control over their data and its utilization. In an increasingly interconnected world where digitalization is pervasive, Web3 introduces new opportunities for establishing secure and reliable digital identities (IDs). Discussions at the Fintech Connect conference in London centered on the role of Web3 in shaping the future of digital IDs and its potential implications for the realms of money and banking. The exploration of these concepts reflects the ongoing shift towards decentralized technologies and their impact on how individuals manage and safeguard their digital information in the evolving landscape of the internet.
The landscape of gaming has undergone a significant transformation, largely attributed to the widespread use of smartphones. In the past, gaming was predominantly associated with specific consoles or computers, but the ubiquity of smartphones has democratized gaming, making it accessible to a broader audience. This article explores the revolutionary impact of smartphones on the gaming industry.
Mobile gaming is rooted in the era of feature phones, where simple games like Snake and Tetris provided entertainment during moments of leisure. The real turning point, however, occurred with the advent of smartphones. The integration of touch-screen interfaces, along with advancements in graphics and processing power, marked the beginning of a new era in mobile gaming.
The rise in popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart devices has resulted in the simultaneous existence of both 4G and 5G networks. Mobile network operators (MNOs) have capitalized on efficiencies and cost savings by consolidating lawful intercept solutions for these networks.
Lawful intercept solutions play a crucial role among the myriad sources involved in the intricate task of law enforcement, especially given the diverse array of devices connected to the internet. The scope of potential information sources for investigations introduces distinctive challenges in the realm of lawful intelligence gathering. The coexistence of 4G and 5G networks further emphasizes the need for integrated solutions to address the complexities of ensuring legal compliance and effective intelligence gathering in this evolving technological landscape.