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THE NEWS WRAP: YouTube launches new platform for children and families

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | By Broede Carmody

YouTube has launched a platform for children with the aim of making it safer and easier for pre-schoolers to find fun and educational videos online.


The family-focused app, which is currently available on the Google Play and Apple stores in the US, also allows parents to limit their kids’ screen time and search settings.


YouTube’s kids group product manager, Shimrit Ben-Yair, said in a statement the new app will allow children to search for everything from maths tutorials to how to build a model volcano.


“For years, families have come to YouTube, watching countless hours of videos on all kinds of topics,” she said.


“Now, parents can rest a little easier knowing that videos in the YouTube Kids app are narrowed down to content appropriate for kids.”

Microsoft allows third-party developers for its fitness wearable

Microsoft today announced updates to its Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health apps, meaning third party developers are now able to create apps for the company’s fitness wearable.


Matt Barlow, general manager of new devices marketing at Microsoft, said in a statement the updates were made in response to customer feedback.


“This feedback is at the heart of the decisions we make, and today we’re pleased to take our first steps in launching new features and functionality for Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health that address what we’re hearing,” he said.


The update was released today and will roll out on Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices in the coming days.

Facebook data protection practices questioned: report

Facebook’s data protection practices have come under fire in a report commissioned by Belgium’s data protection authority.


The report examines Facebook’s privacy policies and, in particular, slam’s the social network’s approach to “freely-given”, “informed” and “unambiguous consent” when it comes to customer data.


“Given the limited information Facebook provides and the absence of meaningful choice with regard to certain processing operations, it is highly questionable whether Facebook’s current approach satisfies these requirements,” the report reads.


A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch the company recently updated its terms and policies to make them “more clear and concise” in order to reflect new product features.


“We’re confident the updates comply with applicable laws,” they said.


“As a company with international headquarters in Dublin, we routinely review product and policy updates ­ including this one ­ with our regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who oversees our compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive as implemented under Irish law.”


The report comes as the European Union is in the process of updating its data protection directive, which was made in 1995.


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