Phone companies around the world — from AT&T to Vodafone to Bharti Airtel — have watched, helplessly, for years as free messaging apps rocketed in popularity and blasted big holes in their SMS revenues.
None seemed able to come up with their own, good chat apps. So instead, they channeled their efforts into asking regulators to crack down on Silicon Valley’s communications giants, like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and Viber.
Later this year, the older telcos may finally get somewhere.
The European Commission, which carries out policies voted by EU members, is preparing to announce a review of the EU’sePrivacy law later this year, which will include new measures forcing “over-the-top” messaging services to follow the same kinds of rules that telcos do.
Restricting these apps’ market freedoms could be the next best thing for them. According to internal documents seen by The Financial Times, messaging apps may in future have to follow new “security and confidentiality provisions” laid out by the EU.
They may also have to allow the EU’s security services to access conversations held by suspected terrorists on their often-encrypted platforms.
“Europe faces an acute terrorist threat,” said Mewawalla. “Many European military commanders are complaining that U.S. messaging apps such as WhatsApp act as the ‘command and control centres’ for terrorist organisations. It’s only natural that the EU would want to regulate these apps on national security grounds.”
The FT’s report on the leaked internal documents shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Already last year the EU repealed its 15-year-old Safe Harbour agreement with the U.S., which allows the transfer of the personal data of European citizens used by tech giants like Apple and Facebook.
And earlier this month, the EU released the results on its public consultation on the ePrivacy Directive, which has been in place since 2002, and it showed that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of new regulations that could ensure the security of digital communication platforms.
Interestingly, respondents were asked about being tracked by companies through cookies, but not about being tracked by government security services. This suggests the EU could still claim to have a public mandate to roll out new rules for messaging apps, but still tack on policies about sharing data with security agencies.
Brexit has some bearing in all this.
“The UK is the only country really on US tech companies’ side, because the rest of Europe believes more in regulation than in free markets,” says Mewawalla. Yet with Britain having just voted to exit the EU, the UK will now have much less influence in negotiations over things like the ePrivacy Directive.
“With the UK having less influence in Europe, it is almost certain that Europe will turn more protectionist,” says Mewawalla, “protecting European telecom operators at the expensive of US tech companies.”
GOOGLE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES ANDROID 11 FOR ANDROID TV
A few weeks ago, Google officially released its latest system, Android 11 for smartphones. Today, the company announced that Android 11 will now be available for Android TVs. However, the Android 11 for TV is not a direct copy of Android 11 for smartphones. There are some features that are exclusive to the large screen. According to Google, it will partner with multiple OEMs and Android 11 on TV will be available in a few months. However, those who already have the ADT-3 Developer Kit can get the update today.
This system for Android TVs will retain most of the basic features of the Android 11 for smartphones. This system will come with better memory management and one-time permissions for secure workability. Google also did more work on privacy features to reduce the system’s vulnerability.
In addition, the Android 11 for Android TVs will come with an “Auto Low Latency Mode and low latency media decoding”. This system will also bring a new Tuner Framework with updated Media CAS support. Furthermore, this system will support gamepads, a feature that will be important for Stadia on the TV. Developers of Android TV apps can seamlessly test their apps with Google’s “test harness mode for Android TV”.
According to Google, the Android 11 system allows better control over TV functions. The company said the “…new framework functionality for managing System LEDs and physical microphone mute buttons also facilitate integrations for far-field microphone enabled devices”.
Google Chrome prepares new tab groups feature that creates groups automatically
Months after announcing it, Google finally rolled out tab groups widely in the past couple of weeks. Now, an improvement could be coming to Chrome’s tab group feature — the ability to recreate them automatically.
In the latest Chrome Canary release, a new flag is present that describes a feature Google is working on. That flag, titled “tab groups auto create,” is one that has had us scratching our heads since it popped onto our radar earlier this week.
Google’s description, too, unfortunately doesn’t help matters. the company simply explains that the feature “automatically creates groups for users, if tab groups are enabled” in Chrome. What does that mean? We’re not entirely sure, but there are a few possibilities!
For one, Google might be able to remember tab groups from a previous session and drop them into a group when opened. Alternatively, Google could intelligently create groups based on similar types of tabs. At this point, it’s all up in the air. We can say pretty confidently, however, that this feature is not live in the latest Canary release.
Facebook Is Apparently Adding Instagram Stories to Its Key Application
Facebook has built it no key that it would like to entwine Instagram into its principal blue app as a great deal as possible (to some Instagram users’ chagrin.) Its most recent experiment evidently requires placing Instagram stories right on Facebook.
In accordance to a report in the Verge, some Facebook customers have lately started looking at Instagram stories in their Fb story feeds. A Fb representative apparently verified the news to Matt Navarra, a social media marketplace commentator and advisor, and stated that it was a restricted examination. The representative added that Facebook would be listening to feedback from its group on the prospective new characteristic.
In a screenshot posted by a Twitter consumer and Navarra on Friday, Fb seemingly points out that not just anyone can view an Instagram story on Facebook. In get to do so, consumers have to website link their Instagram accounts to Facebook and have this viewing placing turned on. Fb states that men and women who don’t abide by a user on Instagram will not be ready to see that user’s tales.
Fb also purportedly pressured that even however tales will be in two sites, users’ overall practical experience would not improve. That is mainly because people will nevertheless essentially be sharing their tales with the similar persons on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, Instagram stories on Facebook (which will have a pink and orange circle) will surface with a user’s Instagram take care of. And even though the tales will be seen on Fb, end users will see all tale sights and replies on Instagram.
In new many years, Facebook has labored to convey all of its popular apps, which involve WhatsApp and Instagram, nearer with each other. Very last thirty day period, Facebook released a new exam working experience on Instagram messaging for some users. The new experience up-to-date the look of Instagram immediate messages and promoted the likelihood of chatting with individuals who use Fb.
Who knows, possibly in the foreseeable future we won’t have an application named Instagram or Fb. We’ll just have a person giant purple and blue app, owned by Facebook, that does almost everything.
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