Week Ending: 18th December - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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What a year it’s been! It’s hard to believe 2020 will soon be coming to an end, but we’re sure many of you will be looking forward to a more positive 2021.

In our last roundup of the year, we continue to bring you the latest news from the I.T. and Tech world. This week, we explore the impact of 2020 on social media socialisation and consumer data, plus, we delve into the new privacy labels introduced by Apple.

Let’s bring you up to date.

1 in 3 people rely on social media completely for socialisation

Does this sound like you? If so, don’t worry you’re not alone.

2020 has certainly been a year of low-key socialising, with two lockdowns and the pandemic spanning almost a year, seeing family or friends has been somewhat impossible. With digital platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime being the only way to see loved ones, it’s no surprise that mobile phone usage has skyrocketed.

A study of 2,000 smartphone users, commissioned by Three Mobile, found that almost half used their phones more during 2020, whether to send messages, make phone calls or just simply scrolling through social media. The increase in use resulted in an additional 156 calls made, 104 extra social media posts shared, and 364 WhatsApp messages sent in 2020, compared to 2019.

Aislinn O’Conner, Three’s spokesperson commented

“Our report truly reflects the mood of the nation this year and proves how now, more than ever, our mobiles are far more than just the ability to simply make and receive calls and texts. They have been a lifeline for many and helped keep our spirits high at times where we’ve needed it most.”

Not only do mobile phones help us keep in contact with those that we may not be able to see, but people have been using them more to keep themselves entertained. While strict government guidelines have been in place, 22% of smartphone users used their phones to play online board games and 24% watched TikTok videos.

This year has been far from normal but 32% felt that their phone allowed them to have some normality back in their lives and 30% admitted that speaking to others on the phone helped their wellbeing.

Discover more here.

Consumers download extra 2.8GB of data per day in 2020

Virgin Media’s recent analysis has shown that the nation consumed a record-breaking amount of data during 2020. With consumers watching more TV, spending longer on the phone via video chats and scrolling through social media, it takes a toll on your data packages!

The network provider revealed this week that customers downloaded an extra 2.8GB of data per day on average in 2020, totalling to a shocking 26,530 million gigabytes of data!

Upload traffic jumped by 64% across the year because of people working from home, connecting with loved ones or playing online video games. Not only that, but the amount of TV watched each month totalled to 21 extra hours per household during 2020, that’s the equivalent of 10 full days per year!

Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media COO commented

“After an extraordinary year we’ve seen unprecedented demand for our services across the board; whether that’s broadband traffic, binge-worthy box sets or people picking up the phone to check in with friends and family. The unexpected shift towards working, living, learning, and socialising from home drove record-breaking traffic on our network and we provided a lifeline in lockdown. Staying connected, informed, and entertained is more important than ever, and despite the additional demand and challenges we’ve faced this year, our network has played a key role in keeping the country connected to the things and people that matter most.”

Read more here.

Apple Launches Privacy Labels For App Store Apps

Where does our personal data go when we download an app? What is it being used for? Many people will blindly agree to terms and conditions on apps just so they can get it downloaded and start using it, but others are more concerned about their personal data being shared.

Apple has followed through on their promise to implement new privacy rules, with apps in its App Store now required to show a summary of the app’s privacy practices (no more scrolling through 10 pages of T&Cs).

This label will explain to the user what the app will do with their personal data, something that advertisers are not overly keen on. The apps will now be required to show a pop-up label before they enable any tracking to show personalised ads.

The new feature is to give users greater transparency over how their information is being used. It will contain three main sections, ‘data used to track you’ such as information for advertising purposes, ‘data linked to you’ this data is tied to a user’s identity through the app and ‘data not linked to you’ which is collected but not linked to an account.

With these new privacy policies in place, we may see an increase in customer satisfaction with certain apps as well as a decrease on advertisers satisfaction as more users may be more aware of where their data is being used and decline it.

Explore more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.