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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Meta uses “dark patterns” to thwart AI opt-outs in EU, complaint says, Google Maps is about to get a big privacy boost, but fans of Timeline may lose their data, Mobile banking widens gap with internet banking in Cambodia and more…

Meta uses “dark patterns” to thwart AI opt-outs in EU, complaint says

Ars Technica

The European Center for Digital Rights, also known as Noyb, has filed complaints in 11 European countries to prevent Meta from using personal posts and pictures of Facebook and Instagram users based in the European Union for training its new AI technologies. Noyb is concerned about the broad scope of data collection that Meta plans to implement, which includes information not only from its platforms but also from third parties and interactions with Meta’s generative AI features.

Meta has stated that the data for AI training will be collected from users’ posts, photos, and interactions, as well as from individuals who are not on Facebook or Instagram but appear in the posts or photos of users. The company has clarified that private messages exchanged between “friends and family” will not be processed for AI training, but private messages sent to businesses and Meta itself are included in the data collection. Additionally, any data collected for AI training could potentially be shared with third parties.

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Google Maps is about to get a big privacy boost, but fans of Timeline may lose their data

Tech Radar

Google Maps’ popular Timeline feature, which keeps a record of all your past routes and trips, is set to become significantly more secure. This feature, acting as a travel diary, currently requires users to upload their data to Google servers for storage. However, starting later this year, Google plans to shift Timeline data storage from its servers to users’ smartphones.

This change will enhance security by ensuring that sensitive travel information remains localized on personal devices rather than being stored on public servers. As a result of this migration, Google will discontinue the Timeline feature on the web. Users have until December 1, 2024, to transfer their Timeline data from the online resource to their phone’s storage. If users do not move their data by this deadline, they risk losing valuable information from their timeline, such as memorable trips and routes.

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Mobile banking widens gap with internet banking in Cambodia

Developing Telecoms

In Cambodia, mobile banking has become the most favored method for conducting banking transactions, reflecting a notable shift in consumer behavior. According to data from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) reported by the Khmer Times, transactions conducted via mobile phones grew by 11% year on year, reaching a total of 746.7 trillion riel ($164 billion) in 2023. In contrast, internet banking transactions using laptops and PCs saw a decline of 7% during the same period, dropping to 74.5 trillion riel.

Over the past five years, mobile banking has significantly outpaced internet banking, a trend that has accelerated since 2019. This rapid growth in mobile banking can be attributed to the widespread availability and usage of mobile devices in Cambodia. As of early 2023, the country had 22.16 million active mobile connections, compared to 11.37 million internet connections, translating to penetration rates of 131.5% and 67.5%, respectively, according to Datareportal.

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Mobile accounted for $90.4bn of global games revenue in 2023

Games Industry biz

In 2023, mobile games accounted for a substantial portion of the global games market, generating 49% of the total revenue, which amounted to $90.4 billion, according to Adjust’s latest report. The 2024 Mobile App Trends report, which analyzed data from January 2022 to January 2024, revealed that in-app revenue for game apps experienced a 6% year-over-year increase, even though overall consumer spending in the sector saw a slight decline of 2%, totaling $107 billion.

Looking forward, Adjust predicts a significant rise in advertising expenditure within the mobile gaming industry. The report forecasts that advertising spend will reach $103 billion in 2024 and is expected to climb to $131 billion by 2025. This projected increase underscores the growing importance of advertising as a revenue stream for mobile game developers and the continued expansion of the mobile gaming market.

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Identiverse panel cracks open international mDL standards

Biometric Update

Hosted by OpenID Foundation Executive Director Gail Hodges, the Industry Whispers panel underscored the importance of a unified approach to standards for mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) to ensure trust, security, and privacy. Digital identity professionals working on significant projects in both the EU and the U.S. highlighted the critical role of secure cryptography in implementing digital identity verification systems, which are essential for a reliable mDL ecosystem.

The panelists emphasized that while secure cryptography is paramount to safeguard digital identities, there must be a careful balance between privacy, security, and user experience. Effective digital identity verification methods must maintain robust security without introducing excessive friction for users. This balance is crucial for widespread adoption and trust in mDL systems, ensuring that they are both secure and user-friendly.

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China cracks down on instant messaging services

Associated Press

China is targeting popular smartphone-based instant messaging services in a month-long campaign aimed at cracking down on the spreading of rumors and what it describes as the infiltration of hostile forces. This campaign represents the latest move in the government’s ongoing efforts to restrict online freedom of expression.

These instant messaging services, which incorporate social media functions, enable users to post photos and updates to their friends, follow the feeds of companies, social groups, and celebrities, and—most concerning to the government—engage with intellectuals, journalists, and activists who comment on politics, law, and society. These individuals often share news and viewpoints that are avoided by mainstream media.

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Sateliot to launch four satellites in 5G IoT programme

Computer Weekly

Satellite operator Sateliot is set to deploy what it claims to be the first low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation adhering to 5G standards specifically for the internet of things (IoT), aiming for 100% global coverage. This commercial phase will commence with the launch of four satellites, facilitated by SpaceX’s Transporter-11 mission.

Scheduled for July 2024, these satellites will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Each of the four CubeSat 6U satellites represents an investment of €500 million. They measure 20 x 10 x 35 centimeters, weigh 10 kilograms, and will orbit at an altitude of approximately 600 kilometers. The satellites are designed with a lifespan of over five years, marking a significant step in providing global 5G IoT connectivity.

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India 5G spectrum sale delayed again

Mobile World Live

India has rescheduled its second 5G spectrum auction to late June, postponing the event that was initially set for March. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) did not provide specific reasons for the delay, which includes the sale of eight spectrum bands. The major mobile operators in India will be bidding for airwaves in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz, 3.3GHz, and 26GHz bands.

The DoT announced the change in auction rules through an official notification, as reported by The Economic Times. A mock auction will be held on June 13 and 14, during which the DoT will release a comprehensive catalogue for the actual sale. The auction date has been postponed several times, with the latest shift from May to early June attributed to the national elections.

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Google Messages Will Support 911 RCS Texts to Improve Emergency Chats

CNET

Google has announced that starting this winter, users will be able to text emergency services like 911 using RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging. This update will enhance the capabilities of emergency texts by enabling features such as read receipts and the ability to send media messages, including photos and videos. This will be particularly beneficial in providing precise locations and visual information about ongoing situations.

Google is collaborating with RapidSOS, an emergency technology company, to facilitate this rollout. The new functionality will be accessible via the Google Messages app on Android devices. However, the adoption of this feature by emergency call centers may vary, as these centers will need to integrate the new RCS functionality. Notably, this adoption will incur no cost for the emergency contact centers.

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