With three-quarters of Americans now under some kind of coronavirus lockdown, you might not think there would be much call for extra mobile data. But the reality is that some home broadband connections are now congested, so many people are relying on a mix of fixed and mobile data to meet their Internet needs.

AT&T has now stepped up to the plate …

Extra mobile data

AT&T is now offering additional mobile hotspot data.

Using technology to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues has never been more important. That’s why starting April 2 through May 13 we’re giving AT&T mobility consumers and small businesses more ways to connect.

We are automatically increasing mobile hotspot data by 15GB a month for each line on an unlimited plan that currently includes a monthly tethering allotment. That means if you’re on AT&T Unlimited Elite you’ll automatically get 45GB a month of tethering per line. Click here to see how to setup your mobile hotspot.

UK broadband data caps removed

In the UK, all the major home broadband providers have agreed to remove data caps.

The UK’s major internet service and mobile providers, namely BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have all agreed the following commitments, effective immediately […]

All providers will remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.

Government seeks to block harmful coronavirus hoaxes

Every crisis inevitably sees a host of deliberate hoaxes and misunderstandings on social media.

Facebook and Twitter have already been clamping down on fake news, and now the UK government wants to help, reports Gizmodo.

Cabinet Office staff say that as many as 10 cases of potentially dangerously wrong virus news are being found each day primarily on your dad’s Facebook page. The Rapid Response Unit plans to address the harms caused by armchair experts issuing what could end up being “dangerous misinformation.”

Among the misinformation removed by Twitter are two tweets by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, notes CNET – a move which should arguably be extended to the president of a certain other country.

Germany working on contact tracing app

Germany is set to be the latest company to launch a contact tracing app, designed to alert you if you’ve been in close proximity to someone subsequently testing positive for COVID-19, reports Reuters.

Germany hopes to launch a smartphone app within weeks to help trace coronavirus infections, after a broad political consensus emerged that adopting an approach pioneered by Singapore can be effective without invading people’s privacy […]

That would resemble Singapore’s TraceTogether app, which records the recent history of such contacts on a device. Should the smartphone’s owner test positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness the coronavirus can cause, that data could be downloaded so that contact-tracing teams can quickly get in touch with others at risk […]

[The app] would enable the proximity and duration of contact between people to be saved for two weeks on cell phones anonymously and without the use of location data.

Our own poll found that fewer than 13% of readers would trust a government app, but just over half would trust an OS-level feature created in a partnership between Apple and Google.

Airbnb extends refund window

CNBC reports that Airbnb is now allowing customers to cancel bookings made up until May 31.

Airbnb announced it will allow guests to receive full refunds for trips starting on or before May 31 that were booked prior to March 14 as the company continues to struggle through the coronavirus’ impact on the travel industry.

So that hosts are not left without any income at all for these bookings, the company has set aside $250M to provide some degree of compensation.

Specifically, Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would normally receive through their cancellation policies.

Office noise generator

Finally, if you’re finding it too quiet when working from home, TNW notes that help is at hand.

MyNoise is a noise generator that will help you re-create an office-like ambience in the comfort of your own home — and you really are spoilt for choice.

You can choose from various presets — such as air conditioning, chatty colleagues, copy machine, printer and scanner, keyboards, and writing — and adjust the toggles for each individual sound to create the desired atmosphere.

It’s a web-based app.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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