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Sky Mobile reveals how much data was saved due to lockdown
by Paul Hill
The Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Sky Mobile, has revealed that £174 million worth of data has been saved among its customers due to lifestyle changes brought around by lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unsurprising that mobile data has dropped significantly due to people staying home and using their broadband connection more but it’s nice that Sky Mobile has been able to quantify the use reduction.
Customers that have continued to pay for their mobile usage over the last year have not lost access to the 55 million GBs of data that have been saved, instead, it’s stored in Piggybank for up to three years so many customers will have a lot of data to burn through once restrictions are lifted. Sky Mobile said that on average, customers have saved 43 GB of data which works out to about £136 of savings per person.
Commenting on the news, Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sky Mobile, said:
According to the firm, customers in Scotland saved the most data reaching 7.7 million GBs and saving £24 million. London came second with customers saving 4 million GBs of data which was worth £13 million.
While not one of the main providers in the UK, the service does have 2 million customers and it offers some interesting features including Piggybank and the recently announced ability to share spare data with those who may need it.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft pokes fun at WhatsApp privacy fiasco, recommends Skype instead
by Usama Jawad
Now, Microsoft's social media team has poked fun at the fiasco as well, and recommended that users migrate to Skype.
In a tweet from the official Skype account, Microsoft has boasted that it keeps the personal data of users private and does not share it with third-parties:
Despite all the backlash, it seems a bit unlikely that WhatsApp will reverse course. The firm probably anticipated this feedback, and is likely banking on the furore to die down within the next few weeks.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft reveals details of requests filed by U.S. government to access customer data
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft has insisted on numerous occasions that it believes that organizations should play an active role in ensuring the privacy of their customers rather than simply relying on state legislature. Now, the company has revealed details of three instances where it fought for its customers' right to know that access to their data has been requested by the U.S. government.
Original gavel image via Brian Turner / Flickr Microsoft believes that its customers need to know when the government has requested access to their emails or other documents. As such, the company has challenged at least three secrecy orders in the past year in favor of its enterprise customers knowing about requests from law enforcement.
The first case was from a federal court in Maryland which prohibited it from informing the customer about an ongoing investigation. Microsoft challenged this decision in December 2019, with the case going in its favor in January 2020. The court documents were unsealed this week and can be viewed here. Although the organization's name has been redacted, the document reveals that while Microsoft initially complied to the government request, it later challenged that the counsel for the company in question needs to know about the order. However, the court strictly emphasized that if information is disclosed to individuals other than the counsel - especially the people being targeted in the investigation -, the whole operation would be jeopardized.
In the second case, there was a similar request from a federal court in New York, which Microsoft challenged in September 2020. The U.S. government agreed to inform the customer in October 2020 and the unsealed email related to this matter can be seen here. Once again, the customer in question has not been explicitly named.
The third case is an ongoing one which Microsoft has been fighting for the past two years. This also comes from another federal court in New York. Recently, the company has received legal support from various organizations and partners such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Associated Press, and The Washington Post, among others. This aid comes in the form of five amicus briefs - which are supporting documents through which the firms will be providing technical assistance and expertise to the court.
Microsoft went on to say that:
It is important to remember that these three cases highlighted by Microsoft are likely only some of the secrecy orders that the company has fought against. There are possibly other requests that the Redmond tech giant is not allowed to disclose as of yet because court orders for those have not yet been unsealed. Regardless, it does give a clear view that Microsoft is committed to ensuring the privacy of its customers and safeguarding their legal rights.
Three to offer disadvantaged school kids unlimited data
by Paul Hill
Earlier this week, it was announced that the UK was returning to lockdown with hospitals set to be overwhelmed in just three weeks if nothing was done. Schools have, in turn, closed to all students except those of key workers. To assist children learning from home, Three has decided to offer free unlimited data upgrades to disadvantaged school children in England so they can engage in remote learning.
To get connected with the free unlimited data, students will have to let their school know that they don't already have internet access at home; the data will then be provided for the student's household through the Department for Education's 'Get Help with Technology' programme. Three said that it'll provide the free unlimited data until the end of the school year in July.
Commenting on the news, Three UK Chief Commercial Officer Elaine Carey said:
Each of the mobile carriers in the country have taken measures since last March to help people stay connected. For example, Three has provided customers with zero-rated calls to NHS 101, NHS websites, and video consultations. Along with EE, Three has also offered free unlimited data upgrades for NHS frontline staff who are dealing with an increased workload due to the virus.
Back in 2016, a couple of friends and I have founded Turn-Based Tactics, a Steam group dedicated to our fav genre and run by gamers for gamers. It sort of snowballed as we now have over six thousand members. Every Saturday we post an update wrapping up the news of the week: new releases and expansions, announcements, betas, demos, crowdfunding campaigns, etc.
Over the time this precious data was compiled into a database. It currently includes over a thousand (!) games sorted by release date, subgenre, dev, country, price, reviews, metascore… Let me know if you spot any game missing or if you have any other feedback. Note that we had to limit ourselves to Steam as including other platforms would represent too much of a scope.