Mobile World Congress Cancelled Over Coronavirus Concerns

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Mobile World Congress Cancelled Over Coronavirus Concerns
Number 1048
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 13, 2020
Episode Length 5:50
Hosts Rich Stroffolino

The GSMA cancels Mobile World Congress over coronavirus concerns, Nextdoor for Public Agencies app launches, and 99% of the second largest Wikipedia edition is created by bots.

Headlines

Mobile World Congress has been canceled for the first time in its 33 years. Spanish health officials said there was no reason to cancel but GSMA CEO John Hoffman told Bloomberg "... the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event." On another Coronavirus note, Reuters sources say FoxConn expects to have 50% of its Chinese production back by the end of the month and get back to 80% Chinese production in March.
Nextdoor launched a new app called Nextdoor for Public Agencies, designed to allow police and fire departments, public schools, and City Hall agencies to post updates, push geo-targeted alerts, and read messages. According to NextDoor's head of product Tatyana Mamut, development of the app was in response to years of requests from public agencies. The app integrates with the Forward to Police feature found on the Crime and Safety tab of the main NextDoor App, allowing departments to access these notices on mobile devices.
Bloomberg reports that, according to sources, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is expected to publish previously proposed new rules for social media and messaging companies later this month. The proposed rules would require blanket cooperation with government inquiries, requiring platforms to help the government trace the origins of posts within 72 hours, preserve records for 180 days, and establish a physical presence in India with appointed grievance officers and a government liaison. Browsers, operating systems, online repositories of knowledge, and software development platforms would be exempt from the rules.
Reuters saw a document indicating EU antitrust regulators plan to investigate emerging markets in tech and consider preventative measures to help smaller rivals to big companies. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will present the paper in March. Meanwhile, Facebook postponed Thursday's launch of its dating service in the European Union due to concerns from Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner.
US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told The Wall Street Journal, "We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world." The evidence is being shared with allies, including the UK and Germany but has not been made public. The Journal says the US has been aware of a backdoor since 2009 when it was observed in 4G equipment, but did not say if it has observed Huawei using the access. Network equipment from all companies must have a way for authorities to access the network for lawful purposes but without the manufacturer having access. The US says Huawei built equipment that secretly preserves its access to this function without carriers knowledge. Huawei denies the accusations.
CNBC reports that, according to sources, Google has been consolidating healthcare-related projects into its larger Google Health division, after previously being scattered across many different departments. Google Health is headed by David Feinberg who joined the company in 2019, and now has a staff of over 500 employees. The division is working on helping doctors search medical records, and consolidates DeepMind's health division, the Medical Brain team that uses voice recognition to help doctors take notes, and a small unit from Nest working on home health monitoring. Alphabet's other health-related "other bets" companies like Verily, the life sciences group, and Calico, which is focused on aging, will remain independent.
Motherboard reports that the Cebuano language version of Wikipedia is the second largest behind the English version, despite only having 6 administrators and 14 active users. Cebuano is largely spoken in The Philippines with an estimated 16.5 million native speakers. Research by Motherboard and several global Wikipedia administrators found that this is largely due to edits and content written by bots, with one bot named Lsjbot, created by the Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson, responsible for over 24 million out of a total 29.5 million edits, and the creation of 99.12% of its articles. Research suggests that only 5 of the top 35 editors in the edition or human, with none in the top 10. Lsjbot has also created articles for the Swedish, and Waray-Waray Wikipedias. According to the Wikimedia Foundation, bot policy and permitted use are strictly up to individual Wikipedia edition communities.
Andy Rubin's Essential Phone company announced it will shut down, citing an inability to find a "clear path" to deliver its Project Gem smartphone to consumers. Essential's phone will continue to work but it will not receive updates. Newton Mail will shut down April 30.
At Samsung's Unpacked event, Netflix announced a deal with Samsung to create exclusive content for its Galaxy phone line. Content won't include new shows, rather exclusive extra content, with Netflix showing behind the scenes footage of Narcos: Mexico at the event. Samsung Galaxy phone owners will need to be a Netflix subscriber to access the content. As part of the deal, Samsung's Bixby voice assistant will integrate with Netflix, allowing users to ask Bixby to play content from the service.
Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip launch showed off "Flex" mode, that lets users split the phones foldable display into two four-inch screens to show different kinds of app content. Samsung said it worked with Google on the feature, and Google later confirmed to The Verge that Flex mode will be available to other phone makers "soon," although they did not state if this would be an open Android standard.

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Preceded by:
"Samsung's Galaxy of New Phones"
Mobile World Congress Cancelled Over Coronavirus Concerns
Followed by:
"Google Removes Over 500 Ad-Fraud Chrome Extensions"