Tech round-up for January 30: FaceTime flaw, Google's massive fine, Shot on iPhone challenge, Apple News in Canada, BioWare's Anthem beta

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This week, Google got slapped with a fine that exceeds US$50 million, take pretty photos with your iPhone for a chance at fame, and BioWare’s Anthem is one of the first big games of the year. But first, why you should disable FaceTime on your iPhones, iPads, and Macs for the time being.

Why you should disable FaceTime for a few days

A flaw in Apple’s FaceTime communications software makes it possible for a caller to listen to what’s going on in the room before the call is answered.

The glitch seems to be tied to Group FaceTime, which added conferencing functionality to the software and was released last October.

Apple has disabled the Group FaceTime service at the server level and plans to have a proper fix straight away.

In the meantime, you can disable FaceTime in the settings of your iOS devices and in the preferences of the macOS app.

Google slapped with record fine by French agency

The European Union’s General Date Protection Regulation (GDPR) has resulted in the levying of a hefty fine against Google.

CNIL, the organization in France responsible for monitoring and enforcing of rules around personal data, assessed the penalty because, in part, users of Google services did not have to opt-in to ad targeting, and it was too difficult for them to understand the implications of how that data was being used.

The Guardian reported that the fine is the world’s largest.

Google’s response: “People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps.”

Show off your iPhone photos for worldwide attention

Apple claims that the iPhone is the world’s most popular camera, and because of the ubiquity of the devices, I suspect they are correct.

It’s certainly true that the best camera is the one in your hand, and as smartphones get more powerful in terms of the hardware and software that help us take better photos, the snaps we’re taking are better all the time.

You’ve seen Apple’s campaigns on billboards and in advertising over the past couple of years featuring amazing photos taken with iPhones. Now you’ve got a chance to have one of your photos take that honour spot.

Starting this week and running until February 7, you can post your best iPhone photographs and have them considered by a panel of judges who will select 10.

Photos can be raw or edited.

To have your photo considered, post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag, #ShotOniPhone, and noting what model of iPhone you used to take the picture. You can also email high-res photos directly to Apple with the photos named “firstname_lastname_iphonemodel”.

Judges include Pete Souza, Annet de Graaf, Austin Mann, Luisa Dorr, and Chen Man.

Get ready for one of the first big games of 2019: Anthem from BioWare

Despite the wonky VIP beta last weekend, there’s still good reason to be excited about Anthem, the new game from Edmonton’s BioWare.

The open world action shooter RPG adventure game releases on February 22 for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One, and promises the thrill of Destiny’s combat experience matched with the narrative and character development BioWare is known for.

Players are freelancers piloting javelins, powerful and agile battle suits, exploring and fighting enemies and crafting and upgrading.

There’s an open demo starting on Friday (February 1) that will be open to everyone. Expect that BioWare’s ironed out those loading issues by then.

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