48 mobile returns, Zoom refusals and more tech 1 month ago

48 mobile returns, Zoom refusals and more tech

It's Friday and it's been a hell of week.

Monday will see us enter Phase Two of opening Ireland following the coronavirus outbreak.

We've even gone from five phases down to four, so barring setbacks, we're almost halfway towards normality, or the "new normal" as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck despite pleas he couldn't breathe, are continuing across the United States.

The eyes of the world are on the US at this moment but many will be shocked by what they're viewing. The venerated First Amendment rights - the right to free speech, peaceable assembly and to petition the government to redress grievances - appear to coming under strain.

The US President Donald Trump declared himself a friend of peaceful protestors earlier this week but some have suggested his rhetoric and social media comments have inflamed tensions, incited violence and deepened already wide divisions in the country.

Which brings us to some of the news from the last week.

Playstation postponements 

Earlier this week, Sony delayed a showcase of their hotly anticipated Playstation 5 console.

While the company did not specifically mention the civil unrest in the US, the message was pretty clear when it said "we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration", adding it wanted "more important voices to be heard".

The announcement came shortly after President Trump threatened to deploy heavily armed soldiers and military personnel to end protests and unrest in the US.

48 return

Remember that mobile network for those aged between 18 and 22? Yes, 48 is what it was and still is called but it's part of Three Ireland's family.

Buoyed by the success of GoMo and others in the market over the past 12 months, 48 is introducing two new low cost plans for Irish customers, and there's no age limit to those who want to join.

For €9.99 a month, customers get 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 20GB data.

A second membership plan for €14.99 per month is offering customers 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 40GB of data.

They've also got some nice features like sharing data with friends, saving it for a rainy day, swapping minutes for data and borrowing data that you can repay later.

While we say there's no age limit, the data heavy plans tend to lean towards a young generation.

There's certainly a market for SIM-only plans so it will be interesting to see if 48 can make a dent in the market.

Zoom ain't end-to-end for the free folks

Odds are a lot of people had never heard of Zoom until a two or three months ago. The video conferencing platform was perfectly placed to take advantage of the unique circumstances the Covid-19 pandemic provided.

To put it into perspective, on 6 December, Zoom stock was trading around $60. On 3 June, Zoom stock was trading at $223.

The company hasn't had it all their own way though and have faced a series of privacy issues.

The latest is the revelation is that Zoom will be excluding free calls from end-to-end encryption because it wants to allow cooperation with police and FBI.

“We think this feature should be a part of our offering” for professional customers, said Zoom CEO Eric Yuan in a meeting with investors Tuesday. “Free users — for sure we don’t want to give [them] that, because we also want to work together with the FBI, with local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose.”

The company later said in a statement that it would "not share information with law enforcement except in circumstances like child sex abuse."

"We do not have backdoors where participants can enter meetings without being visible to others. None of this will change."