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Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over its Messenger App

Three Facebook Messenger app users have launched a lawsuit against the online giant over privacy concerns.

They claim that the social network violated their privacy by compiling phone call logs and their text messages.

The lawsuit follows Facebook’s acknowledgement that it has been accessing text and call logs from Android phones since 2015.

The firm says that only those users who gave permissions have been affected and it did not collect the contents of calls or messages and users can opt of data collection.

Meanwhile, while giving evidence to MPs, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie claimed that Facebook is using user’s mobile phone microphones to listen to their user’s conversations and tailor adverts to their needs when using the firm’s apps.

BBC announces an app to capture children’s audience

The BBC has responded to growing on-demand viewing habits by unveiling an app aimed at children.

The broadcaster says it is currently running the risk of ‘being overtaken by competitors’.

In its latest Annual Plan, it says that 82% of children are going to YouTube to enjoy on-demand content, around 50% head to Netflix and 29% use the BBC iPlayer.

Now, the BBC is launching an app aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds to provide a ‘daily diet of funny, inspiring and fascinating facts’.

The app will also help users build social communities around their passions.

In research, it’s been revealed that children aged between 5 to 15 are spending more time online than they do watching TV; it is 15 hours 18 minutes for online viewing and 14 hours for TV. Also, 43% of those aged between 12 and 15 are using their mobile phone for watching TV.

Mobile phone app only bank moves into business

The award winning Starling Bank is the first UK licensed mobile only bank to unveil a business account for entrepreneurs and small firms.

The app is easy to use and enables small business owners to open their account in under 10 minutes, direct from their mobile phone.

The bank account carries no fees for running the account and there are no fees for making payments or withdrawing cash.

The bank says customers can manage their bank account from their mobile phone and can pay suppliers, including international payments, directly from the app.

In other mobile phone app news …

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been accused of spying on millions of voters using a mobile phone app that was downloaded more than 5 million times. The app apparently sent user’s personal data to third-party websites without permission.

Traders in the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth are using their WhatsApp messaging app to fight against a wave of shoplifting by communicating effectively between businesses warning them of shoplifters.

The TPS Protect app, launched last August, has been updated to help users block unwanted scam and nuisance calls – and now it helps protects against those selling cryptocurrency investments.

Bank Available Only as a Phone App Continues Success

A fast-growing bank that is only available as a smartphone app has announced its now available in 17 European countries and the number of customers has risen to 200,000.

The German-based Number26 bank only offers accounts to people living in the euro zone and now has its own banking licence from German regulators.

The bank offers users an online account for cash withdrawals, insurance services and savings with everything being managed on a smartphone.

This means there are no branches and there’s no computer infrastructure so the bank is able to offer better rates on savings and borrowing.

Those behind Number26 told a London conference about tech disruption that they have created a truly European bank that is also the continent’s most modern mobile bank.

Users warned to be aware of free Android apps

A study by a university of 18,000 free apps in the Google Play Store has revealed many are sharing the user’s information without their knowledge.

The researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say that half of the apps they surveyed did not have a privacy policy.

Also, most of the free apps that did not have a privacy policy were also less than honest about how they were using personal information collected from the user.

Researchers say that 41% of Android apps they checked made no mention of their gathering of identifiable data in a privacy policy and 17% also failed to disclose that the information is shared.

With millions of Android users now using free apps from the Google Play Store means many of them will be unaware of whether their data is being collected and shared.

However, the apps are violating Google’s guidelines for posting apps to the Play Store.

One critic said the automated system used by the researchers may not prove a problem exists since checking apps for their privacy requirements may be an inconsistent.

Mobile apps help boost the gig economy

Apps for mobile phones are helping to fuel the rocketing ‘gig’ economy in London, suggests research.

The New Economic Foundation says that the gig economy in the capital has risen by 72% since 2010 and the number of those employed within it have rocketed from 38,000 to 65,000.

It’s the application of app technology as well as new business models that has led to a big rise in workers undertaking the casual short-term work and helped to create companies such as Deliveroo and Uber.

The think tank says that the next rapid growing gig economy will be in DIY trade and cleaning.

The government says around 5 million people are currently working in the UK’s gig economy which is expected to grow further over the coming years.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Microsoft has announced that it is effectively going to turn a mobile phone into a PC by delivering a full suite of desktop apps to ARM chipsets. The Windows 10 platform will also have desktop app support.

The users of health apps are being warned not to rely on them in an emergency. A survey in the US has revealed that despite a proliferation of health apps, the ones that are designed to help those with serious ongoing health problems do not live up to expectations.

P-Plate drivers in New South Wales, Australia, are now officially banned from using their mobile phone behind the wheel and this includes using navigation apps. The ban also extends to the device being inserted safely in a dashboard mount.

Blame Pokémon Go but Sony has unveiled plans to release six games for smartphones in the coming year in the hope of recreating the success seen by Nintendo’s Pokémon Go. Among the titles will be popular PlayStation hits such as Arc The Lad and Everybody’s Golf with the games launched in Japan and then rolled-out to other Asian countries.