Tech Digest daily roundup: Vodafone to bring back roaming charges


Vodafone has become the second UK mobile company to reintroduce roaming charges for users travelling in Europe. From January, new and upgrading customers will be charged at least £1 a day to use their mobile phone in EU destinations, on several tariffs. It follows similar plans from rival EE, announced in June. Initially, all operators said they would not reintroduce a roaming charge after Brexit, despite having the option to. Vodafone’s approach is to limit those that include roaming in Europe to “selected plans”, including its more expensive options. BBC 

After some initial hesitation, Samsung confirmed that the next Galaxy Unpacked event will take place on August 11 and will go under the slogan “Get ready to unfold”. TM Roh, President of Samsung’s mobile business, dropped a few hints of what we should expect – the first S Pen for a foldable device, larger and more durable screens, improved multitasking and closer collaboration with Microsoft for the software development. You may have been following the countless leaks closely, but if you haven’t, here is a summary of what will be unveiled on Wednesday. In short, two foldables (Fold and Flip), two watches and a new TWS headset. GSM Arena 

Facebook already asks for your thoughts. Now it wants your prayers. The social media giant has rolled out a new prayer request feature, a tool embraced by some religious leaders as a cutting-edge way to engage the faithful online. Others are eyeing it warily as they weigh its usefulness against the privacy and security concerns they have with Facebook. In Facebook Groups employing the feature, members can use it to rally prayer power for upcoming job interviews, illnesses and other personal challenges big and small. After they create a post, other users can tap an “I prayed” button, respond with a “like” or other reaction, leave a comment or send a direct message. Facebook began testing it in the U.S. in December as part of an ongoing effort to support faith communities, according to a statement attributed to a company spokesperson. AP News 

Apple says it will refuse any government demands to use a planned system for detecting child abuse material on iCloud accounts for other criminal or national security investigations. The company has faced significant criticism following the announcement last week of its CSAM (child sexual abuse material) detection system, which involves automatically scanning iPhone pictures before they’re uploaded to iCloud. In a response to many of these criticisms, the company has published a series of frequently asked questions addressing the risk the system could be used to search for non-CSAM images that may be of interest to government authorities. Apple said that it would “refuse any such demands” from governments to “force Apple to add non-CSAM images to the hash list” – referencing the list of fingerprints used to identify abuse material without sharing that material itself. Sky News 

A drone delivery company controlled by Google’s owner, Alphabet, has launched a hunt for UK regulatory experts as part of its push into Europe. Wing, which was launched in 2012 and spun out into a separate company in 2018, is seeking a compliance manager to engage with regulators for permissions for its autonomous drones business. The tech company’s policy team will be based in either London or Helsinki, job postings said, with a mandate to influence the European Aviation Safety Agency or local regulators, such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Telegraph revealed last year that Wing had set up a UK subsidiary, although at the time it said this was part of a “preliminary, exploratory step”. Telegraph

Chris Price
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