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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Apple says it was ordered to remove WhatsApp and Threads from China App Store, Can TikTok’s owner afford to lose its killer app, Meta releases Llama 3, claims it’s among the best open models available, and much more…

Apple says it was ordered to remove WhatsApp and Threads from China App Store

Engadget

Apple’s decision to remove WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store in China comes in response to orders from the country’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration. According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Apple stated that it complied with the regulator’s directives out of concern for national security. Despite any potential disagreement with these laws, Apple emphasized its obligation to abide by local regulations in the countries where it operates. This move highlights the complex intersection of technology, regulation, and national security concerns in the global digital landscape.

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Can TikTok’s owner afford to lose its killer app?

BBC

The potential for a second bill within a short span targeting ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, underscores the ongoing tensions between the US and China regarding data security and privacy concerns. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would force ByteDance to divest its US operations or face a ban, citing fears that American user data could be compromised. While TikTok has refuted allegations of being an agent of China, emphasizing its independence from governmental influence, the app’s popularity in the US has intensified scrutiny and raised questions about its ties to Beijing. This situation reflects broader geopolitical tensions and the complexities surrounding technology, national security, and international relations.

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Meta releases Llama 3, claims it’s among the best open models available

TechCrunch

Meta’s latest release, the Llama 3 series of open generative AI models, marks a significant advancement in AI technology. Consisting of two initial models, Llama 3 8B and Llama 3 70B, these models boast 8 billion and 70 billion parameters, respectively, representing a notable improvement over the previous Llama 2 models. Parameters play a crucial role in determining an AI model’s capabilities, with higher counts typically indicating greater proficiency in tasks like text analysis and generation. According to Meta, the Llama 3 models rank among the top performers in their respective parameter categories, showcasing impressive performance levels. These models, trained on specialized 24,000 GPU clusters, demonstrate Meta’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of generative AI technology.

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EU Policy. Paid ad-free platforms should not be default option, privacy watchdogs say

Euronews

The EU’s data protection authorities have emphasized the importance of providing users with genuine options when implementing “consent or pay” models on online platforms. This model typically requires users to either consent to data processing or pay a fee for ad-free access. However, many users may not fully understand the implications of their choices and end up consenting to data processing in order to use the service.

The opinion, drafted by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), underscores the need for platforms to offer transparent choices to users. This statement follows Meta’s announcement last October regarding its plans to offer Facebook and Instagram users in the EU, EEA, and Switzerland the option to pay a monthly fee for ad-free access. The EDPB’s opinion seeks to ensure that users have clear and meaningful choices regarding their data privacy when engaging with online platforms.

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India scrambles to curb PhonePe and Google’s dominance in mobile payments

Yahoo news

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), responsible for overseeing the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) mobile payment system, is taking steps to address the market dominance of PhonePe and Google Pay in the UPI ecosystem. NPCI executives are planning to meet with various fintech startups, including CRED, Flipkart, Fampay, and Amazon, among others, this month to develop a strategy.

During these meetings, NPCI aims to discuss key initiatives aimed at increasing UPI transactions on the respective apps of these fintech startups. Additionally, NPCI seeks to understand the assistance required by these companies to enhance their UPI offerings and compete effectively in the market.

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The rise of smart and AI-capable cellular IoT modules

IoT Business News

IoT Analytics, a prominent provider of market insights for various technological domains including the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, Cloud, Edge, and Industry 4.0, has released its latest research report on the global cellular IoT module and chipset market.

According to the report, shipments of cellular IoT modules and chipsets experienced a 16% year-over-year decline in 2023. However, the research forecasts a rebound in the market, projecting it to return to near 2022 levels in 2024. The article also highlights the evolution of cellular IoT modules and chipsets, emphasizing the role of smart and AI-enabled cellular IoT modules as significant drivers for projected growth in the market.

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Telegram To Reach One Billion Users Within Year

Silicon

Pavel Durov, the co-founder of Telegram, has made a bold prediction regarding the growth of his encrypted messaging app. In a recent statement to Reuters, Durov indicated that Telegram is on track to surpass one billion active monthly users within a year. He likened the app’s expansion to a “forest fire,” emphasizing its rapid and widespread adoption.

This prediction follows Durov’s revelation last month during his first public interview in seven years, where he disclosed that Telegram had reached 900 million users and was nearing profitability. He also hinted at the possibility of the company considering a public listing. Additionally, Durov highlighted India as one of the leading markets for Telegram in terms of user numbers.

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Decentralized digital identity is spreading as fresh use cases emerge

Biometric Update

Forrester’s VP and Principal Analyst, Andras Cser, recently explored the role of travel and mobile technology in driving the growth of Decentralized Digital Identity (DDID). The post highlighted significant developments such as SITA’s leading role in Series A funding for Seattle-based Indicio, aimed at advancing digital transformation in the air transport sector. Additionally, the NFID Foundation announced plans to promote DDID standards within the security industry and mobile device sector, indicating potential for widespread adoption.

Cser emphasized the importance of identifying and supporting use cases, particularly those involving secure and standardized digital travel documents, within standard mobile wallets and frameworks. Leveraging standardized frameworks like OpenWallet on mobile devices can accelerate DDID adoption while addressing concerns about fragmentation or proprietary technologies. By promoting interoperability and usability through standardized use cases, the industry can facilitate the broader adoption of DDID.

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