Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
By Usama Jawad96
Most devices, including iPhones, could soon be forced to use USB-C charging
by Usama Jawad
Image via Google The European Commission (EC) has put forward a new proposal according to which all hardware manufacturers will be forced to use USB-C as the charging port for most devices. The motivation behind the proposed standard is that it will aid in reducing e-waste since consumers will be able to utilize charging cables from their old devices instead of purchasing new ones. The EC has also suggested that manufacturers drop chargers from their packaging altogether, something that several OEMs are already doing.
The proposal covers the use of USB-C charging in smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld consoles. Meanwhile, smartwatches, earbuds, and fitness trackers are exempt. EC executive vice-president Margarethe Vestager had the following to say about the proposal:
In totality, the EC has stated that USB-C with a unified fast charging technology implementation should become the standard. While the charger should be unbundled by OEMs, they are required to be more transparent towards consumers in terms of informing them about charging performance and support for fast charging, so that users can judge if their existing chargers fulfill respective criteria.
In terms of next steps, the legislation will need to go through a vote in the European Parliament today, and if successful, it will become law. Should that happen, hardware manufacturers will have up to two years to adopt USB-C as the standard. The legislation is most likely to affect Apple devices such as iPhones the most, as they still come with proprietary Lightning ports and cables. Should the proposal become law, Apple will be forced to substitute Lightning connectivity with USB-C ports across its device portfolio - where applicable - within the next two years.
Three UK announces the re-introduction of roaming fees in the EU
by Paul Hill
Following the lead of EE and Vodafone, Three has announced that it’s going to be re-introducing roaming charges within the European Union. The charges will start on May 23, 2022, and will affect those who took out a contract or upgraded with Three from October 1, 2021.
The new charge will see customers pay £2 per day while roaming inside the EU and £5 a day when roaming without. Pay as you go customers or customers that have taken out a contract before October 1, 2021, will be unaffected by these changes. There will also be no roaming fee to pay when you visit the Republic of Ireland.
Explaining the decision to bring back roaming, Three said:
Three said that by re-introducing roaming fees it’ll be able to continue offering ‘cost-effective deals’ to customers. It said that the new pricing is simple and affordable and by only charging roamers, its other customers will not have to absorb the costs.
Ireland fines WhatsApp €225 million over violations of GDPR
by Paul Hill
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced that it’s fining WhatsApp €225 million due to violations of GDPR which came into force across the European Union several years ago. Today’s decision is the end of an investigation that began on December 10, 2018, and took several twists and turns in the period since.
The investigation set out to seek whether WhatsApp had met its transparency obligations under GDPR which require it to supply requested information to both users and non-users of its service.
Following a comprehensive investigation, the DPC provided its draft report to all Concerned Supervisory Authorities (CSAs) in December 2020 where objections were received from eight of the CSAs. The DPC and the CSAs were unable to come to a consensus on the issue which triggered a dispute resolution process on June 3, 2021.
At the end of July, the European Data Protection Board told DPC to reassess and increase its proposed fine; the new fine WhatsApp will now face is €225 million. The DPC has also ordered WhatsApp to bring its data processing into compliance with GDPR rules.
The latest fine from Europe should act as a reminder to companies that they must strictly adhere to GDPR rules when operating in EU countries. At the time of writing, Facebook’s stock price had fallen 0.77%.
By Usama Jawad96
Google protests €500M fine imposed in France over row with news agencies
by Usama Jawad
Back in July, French regulatory authorities slapped Google with a €500 million ($592 million) fine for failing to reach an agreement with news publishers in the country. Essentially, the French Competition Authority had mandated that Google should hold talks with a publisher within three months after a request is made. These meetings were to be conducted in order to decide how much news outlets should be paid to have their content displayed on Google News. The hefty fine was imposed because many major news agencies claimed that the talks held by Google were not in good faith and that they were not fairly compensated.
Previous court documents indicated that Google agreed to pay 121 news publishers a sum of €64 million ($76 million) over a period of three years to put an end to the case, but this offer was clearly not enough for French agencies.
As reported by Reuters, Google France's head Sebastien Missoffe has protested the decision today, stating that:
The appeal will be formally ruled on by the Paris' court of appeal, but according to the French Competition Authority, Google will have to pay the fine regardless.
When it imposed the penalty on July 13, the French watchdog also stipulated that Google is required to present proposals about compensation plans for news agencies within the next two months, or face up to €900,000 ($1.07 million) per day once this deadline expires. It will be interesting to see how the tech giant proceeds given that the odds seem stacked against it.
Vodafone re-introduces EU roaming charges because Brexit allows them to do it
by Paul Hill
In December last year, Vodafone, EE, O2, and Three all assured the public that they had no plans to bring back roaming charges when travelling around the European Union after they were scrapped several years ago. EE was the first to reveal it was going back on its word in June but now Vodafone has announced it’s doing the same.
According to the firm, nothing is free and has to be paid for by someone. It also said that most of its customers do not travel and don't need free roaming so they shouldn’t have to subsidise this feature for those who do need it. Therefore, it will remove this feature from some of its plans and make those who need the feature pay more.
While this is definitely bad news for people who travel to Europe often, the company does say that the changes will only affect new and upgrading customers. Additionally, the new terms will come in on August 11 but the actual roaming charges won’t need to be paid until January 6, 2022. For those who don’t want to pay for roaming, you will be able to acquire one of Vodafone’s Xtra plans which include roaming in 83 worldwide destinations. If you don’t need an entire plan, eight and 15-day passes can be purchased for just £1 a day.
One exception to the changes will be the Republic of Ireland. Any roaming charges in the country will remain inclusive for all customers.
One of the big complaints with roaming charges before, was that people were being lumped with massive bills that were too expensive. Going forward, Vodafone says there will be no unexpectedly high bills and that you’ll be able to set a spending limit on your data usage. While the firm claims that roaming fees will be transparent, we won’t really know if this is true until it’s implemented and people start being billed for roaming.