Friday 9 December 2016

Briefs: '48' to introduce zero-rating and no-limits Whatsapp deal

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

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Twitter's departing chief executive officer, Dick Costolo. Photo: David Paul Morris
Helen Dixon

The Irish mobile operator 48 is to introduce zero rating in a move that could raise questions over net neutrality. The virtual operator, which is owned by 3 Ireland, is to provide unlimited usage of the Whatsapp picture and video messaging app.

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"Data usage incurred using WhatsApp's messaging service will not be deducted from customers' data allowance," said a spokeswoman for the company. "This includes all messages sent and received through the app, inclusive of photos, emojis, audio clips and videos to and from single contacts and within groups." She said that WhatsApp's voice calling features would, however, incur regular data charges.

Net neutrality advocates dislike zero-rating, arguing that it opens the door to companies paying operators for preferential treatment on their networks. The issue is currently being debated at European ministerial level as governments try to decide on whether or not to allow commercial tiers to internet access.

We can’t influence consumers’ smartphone choices – Google boss

Google says it has little influence on the Android devices people choose to buy. The company's vice president of engineering for Android has played down the importance of the operating system when it comes to purchasing technology, claiming that most people choose their devices based on apps and services.

Hiroshi Lockheimer said that, with the latest version of Android, known as Android M, Google is focusing on improving the core user experience, with new features such as Doze for prolonged battery life and new app permissions.

However, ultimately, people will choose devices based on services, such as the ability to take high-definition photos and share them on social networks, or communicate with their friends via services like WhatsApp or Snapchat.

"A lot of the innovations are happening at the app and service level," he said. "The operating system enables these innovations to happen, but really what people are interacting with are the apps and services."

Supreme Court judge and data boss to attend privacy event

An upcoming data privacy conference will be addressed by Mr Justice Frank Clarke of the Supreme Court and Microsoft's head of Privacy for Europe, Marie Charlotte Roques Bonnet.

The conference, to be held by the Irish Centre for European Law in Dublin's Hilton Hotel on June 26, will also feature a presentation from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, pictured.

The conference occues two days after The European Court of Justice is due to receive the opinion of its Advocate General in the Max Schrems 'Safe Harbour' case.

Mr Schrems is an Austrian law student who requested that Facebook give him a copy of all his personal data.

He received 1200 pages of information and lodged a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner about Facebook. That complaint has ended up in the European Court of Justice. While the Court does not have to follow the opinion of the Advocate General, it does so in the vast majority of cases.

Costolo says new Twitter boss will have free reign to change direction

Twitter's departing chief executive officer, Dick Costolo, says that while he's confident in the current direction of the company, he also is willing to let the next CEO make the changes the person wants to make.

"Everyone on the board recognizes that the CEO needs to have the leeway to do what they need to do," Costolo, told a Bloomberg Technology Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. "We like the strategy that's in place and we like the team that's in place and until further notice will continue on that path."

Twitter has to recruit a leader who is willing to report to a board that has three former chief executives on it - Costolo, plus co-founders Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams.

It's an unusual setup that may make it difficult to recruit, but something that Costolo said won't get in the way of whoever gets the job.

"I don't have any ego and am not saying 'you have to do this this way,'" he said. "If there's one thing I'm aware of and self-aware about, it's that there are so many ways to be successful."

Costolo praised the leadership of two people on his team who may be internal candidates for the position: Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto and Adam Bain, president for global revenue.

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