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Tech Giants Apple, Google Remove 3 Dating Apps Targeting Kids

The FTC also issued a consumer alert for parents about the dating apps

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Apple, smartphone
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, Aug. 1, 2018. VOA

Apple and Google have removed three dating apps from their online stores after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged the apps allowed kids as young as 12 to access them.

In a recent letter, the FTC warned Ukraine-based Wildec LLC, which operates the apps Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U, that the three dating apps appeared to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act.

“The apps have been removed from the app stores until they address the alleged violations outlined by the FTC,” the commission said on Monday.

The dating apps collected users’ birth dates, email addresses, photographs and real-time location data.

While the three apps claimed in their privacy policies to prohibit users under the age of 13, the apps failed to block users who indicated they were under 13 from using the apps and from being contacted by other users of the apps.

online privacy
FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

In its review of the apps, FTC staff found users who indicated they were as young as 12.

“Allowing adult users to communicate with children poses a serious health and safety risk. Several individuals have reportedly faced criminal charges for allegedly contacting or attempting to contact minors using Wildec’s apps,” said FTC.

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The FTC’s COPPA Rule requires companies collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 to post clear privacy policies and to notify parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using, or sharing personal information from a child.

The FTC also issued a consumer alert for parents about the dating apps. (IANS)

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Stadia Pro Members to Get Six Bonus Games in June, Reveals Google

The game is supposed to be launched on June 16

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Google
Google reveals that Stadia Pro members will get 6 new free games in June. Pixabay

Google has revealed that Stadia Pro members will get six bonus games in June, or twice as many as usual.

Six new games for free with Stadia Pro are Get Packed, Little Nightmares, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, SUPERHOT, Panzer Dragoon Remake, and The Elder Scrolls Online,

The game will be launched on June 16 and will be available on the subscription-based game service Stadia immediately, Google said on Friday.

Stadia also brought some big updates to users who use the service via Google’s Chrome browser. The platform added support for wireless Stadia Controller play and 1440p resolution — exclusively for Stadia Pro subscribers.

Google
The game will be available on the subscription-based game service Stadia immediately, Google said. (Representative Image). Pixabay

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The company also announced 12 existing games that are still available to add to Stadia Pro collection.

Earlier, Google revealed that it will add more than 120 games to its subscription-based game service this year. (IANS)

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Scam Spotter: Google Launches Programme to Stop Scammers Exploiting Covid-19

Google has launched a new programme to stop COVID-19 scammers

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Google
Google launches a new programme to spot stop Covid-19 scammers. Pixabay

Google on Thursday launched a new programme called Scam Spotter to spot and stop scammers who are exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic with alarming speed, taking advantage of fear and uncertainty.

The programme simplifies expert advice with three rules when you receive a suspicious phone call or message to figure out if it’s a scam.

The three rules are: “Slow it down, spot check and stop! Don’t send.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019.

Every minute, more than $3,600 disappeared from wallets and bank accounts in response to made-up stories of urgently overdue tax payments, bogus contest winnings, or a smooth-talking online suitor who suddenly needs some gift cards.

scam Google
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019. Pixabay

“A high-pressure phone call or exciting message can overcome many people’s judgment, especially if they are caught at a vulnerable moment,” said Google.

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While people ages 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, research shows it’s seniors who stand to lose the most, with their median losses more than double the average.

The company also unveiled a new website ScamSpotter.org.

“If we learn how to spot the bad actors, we can spend our time focusing on those moments that matter,” said the company. (IANS)

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Apple Manages to Open Nearly Half of its Retail Stores Worldwide

Apple has reopened nearly 256 retail stores globally

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Apple
Nearly half of Apple retail stores are now open globally. Pixabay

Apple has managed to reopen nearly 256 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

“In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus’ spread,” according to Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien.

Apple
Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings at their stores to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Pixabay

“As time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in-store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months,” he added.

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Apple is taking some additional steps in most places. Throughout the day, Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19,” O’Brien elaborated. (IANS)