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Android Phones ‘Betray’ Users

Google has come under fire after revelations that Android smartphones still collect the user’s location data and sends it back to the firm – even when the phone’s location services used for apps has been switched off.

The system works by gathering information from nearby mobile phone masts and sharing the information with Google. The data can be used to calculate the user’s position.

The practice cannot be disabled.

A privacy advocate told a news website that the findings are a ‘betrayal’ of Android phone users.

The issue is with Google Play Services running in the background since this is required to access search functions and has been installed on most Android smartphones.

In response, Google says it does not retain the information though it has been collecting data for 11 months and its Android system will be updated shortly to stop the practice.

App helps turn phone into a ‘sonar’ detector

Biometric voice authentication has taken a step forward with a mouth app that turns a user’s smartphone into a ‘sonar’ detector.

The security app will check that the lip movement being monitored really is the phone’s owner speaking.

The app then enables the user’s voice to be recognised as a password for using other apps.

However, critics say it might be vulnerable to ‘replay’ attacks should an identity thief use a recording of the user’s voice.

In a bid to overcome this issue, the app will detect whether someone is using the phone ‘live’ or is misusing a recording.

The VoiceGesture app could, say its creators, help make smartphones more secure and Google is already said to be reviewing the technology which has been created by researchers at State University of Florida.

They say the app can also be extended to include various voice assists including Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Mobile gaming apps take-off in Asia-Pacific

There’s been a huge growth in mobile gaming users in the Asia Pacific region, according to research.

The findings from AppsFlyer and eMarketer point to mobile gaming becoming increasingly important for marketers in the region with the apps delivering strong revenues and audiences.

The researchers at AppsFlyer found that in 40 countries, there are 1,300 apps to choose from and 95 million apps have been installed to generate $150 million of revenue.

Meanwhile, a report from eMarketer is forecasting that around 55% of Chinese Internet users will be playing digital games by the end of this year which equates to 420 million people.

Also, they say that 54% of mobile phone users will be using a gaming app at least once a month.

EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber

The EU’s privacy regulators are to meet to discuss the massive Uber app hack.

The move follows last year’s data breach which saw the personal data from 57 million accounts being exposed.

Now, the regulators are to discuss creating a task force from various EU countries for undertaking the investigation.

The stolen data included the names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of Uber users around the world and the firm says it paid hackers $100,000 to keep the data breach secret.

News of the data breach of its app only came after senior management were replaced.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Microsoft has revealed that it has pulled its Skype app from China’s Android and Apple app stores. Apple has also removed several Internet phone call apps after being informed that they did not comply with local laws.

Cyclists in the UK could benefit from a new app that will warn them of potholes in the road ahead. Using smart lights and Bluetooth technology, the lights will detect imperfections and alert the cyclist with data collected via Bluetooth of cyclists avoiding spots on the road to help create a virtual map of Manchester’s roads where the trial is underway.

Newcastle University has created an app that will help protect ancient rock art in Northumberland. Researchers say that the ‘cup and ring’ marks are under threat from climate change and agriculture. The app will help pinpoint the sites so users can add information about its surroundings and conditions.

Users Want More Mobile Apps

A survey of Internet users has revealed that they expect to use more personalised mobile phone apps over the coming three years.

More than one in three respondents said they are looking for secure and convenient apps that react and adapt to the user’s current location.

In addition, they also expect websites to become more personalised and they believe payment methods will become quicker.

Other apps to improve their lives would be real-time online customer service, ordering products ‘on the go’ and they expect faster delivery times in the years to come.

YouTube launches app to communicate

YouTube is trialling a new smartphone app feature which enables users to discuss and share videos from the platform without using other services to connect with family and friends.

It’s only currently available to a small test group but looks set to be rolled out for use on Android phones and iPhones.

The idea is to keep users on the YouTube platform for longer without them resorting to copying and pasting links into tweets and Facebook messages.

Also, by keeping people using YouTube for longer means they will be able to show more adverts to the site’s one billion regular users.

Phone app to repair potholes

A new mobile app to repair potholes has been trialled.

Entitled ‘Changify’ the idea is for users to photograph a pothole and send it to the private contractor responsible for fixing it and bypassing the local authority’s complaints procedure.

The app has been a success in Plymouth and those behind it say the technology will help better manage our cities.

The apps users can also report where litter is building up and roadworks where no work appears to be done.

Fire hit residents get app

The residents of Fort McMurray where a huge wildfire ravaged most of the city have access to a new smartphone app which enables them to look at the condition of their property.

Launched by the provincial government of Alberta, the app provides satellite overviews of those areas devastated by the wildfire which forced 80,000 people to flee their homes. More than 2,400 buildings were destroyed.

App to find missing children

Police in China have launched a mobile phone app to help encourage people to report where missing children are being held.

Users of the app will receive updates when a child disappears with their details and a description as the police work to encourage the help in fighting child traffickers, which is a growing problem in China.

In other mobile phone app news…

Google says its ‘Project Tango’ will encourage developers to create mobile phone apps that utilise indoor 3-D mapping. The firm says it sees applications ranging from virtual reality to advertising.

Microsoft has announced that users of some Windows 10 mobile phones will soon be able to use a fingerprint scanner.

WhatsApp has launched a desktop app that will link with a user’s mobile app as it looks to expand beyond web-based and mobile platforms. The new app will run on Windows and Mac OS and will, the firm says, offer a new way to stay in touch anywhere and anytime.