Government & Policy

02 July 2017

Delete Hate Speech or Pay Up, Germany Tells Social Media Companies New York Times

Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

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To tackle Google's power, regulators have to go after its ownership of data by Evgeny Morozov The Observer

The problem with regulating technology companies is that, faced with tough new rules, they can eventually innovate their way out, often by switching to newer, unregulated technologies. The risk of targeted regulation informed by little other than economic doctrines might even be fuelling a corporate quest for eternal disruption: instead of surrendering to the regulators, technology firms prefer to abandon their old business model.

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Internet regulation: is it time to rein in the tech giants? The Observer

“Enough is enough,” said Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street after the London Bridge attack last month. “When it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.” And one of those things was the behaviour of internet firms, which should not allow extremism a place to breed. “Yet that is precisely what the internet – and the big companies that provide internet-based services – provide,” she continued.

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83 organisations send strong message to Five Eyes InternetNZ

InternetNZ - alongside 83 organisations and individuals from Five Eyes countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States - signed onto an open letter asking government officials to defend strong encryption.

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30 June 2017

Google's fine is big news but the company faces a far bigger threat The Guardian

Google has come face to face with two of its greatest nightmares this week. The first garnered enormous attention worldwide, and will be an expensive period regardless of how it shakes out; but the second flew below the radar, despite the fact that it could eventually be far more damaging to the company’s operating model.

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29 June 2017

Why Europe got tough on Google but the U.S. couldn't Washington Post

In the fall of 2012 the staff at the Federal Trade Commission had concluded that Google had engaged in unfair competition by favoring its own services over those of its competitors. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the staff had recommended an enforcement action: “The 160-page critique, which was supposed to remain private but was inadvertently disclosed in an open-records request, concluded that Google’s ‘conduct has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers.’”

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28 June 2017

Google fine: EU is not waging underhand trade war against ​​US tech firms... and more coverage The Guardian

Let’s start by laying one falsehood to rest. In fining Google €2.42bn (£2.14bn), the European commission is not engaged in a form of underhand trade warfare against US technology companies. Instead, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, is addressing a central commercial question of the digital age: to what extent should companies such as Google be able to exploit their dominance in one area to gain advantage in another?

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27 June 2017

Google hit by record-breaking €2.4bn fine from EU The Guardian

Google has been handed a record-breaking fine €2.42 billion fine by the European Union for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in building its online shopping service.

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Google Said to Face $1.2 Billion Antitrust Fine, but Battle With Europe Looms New York Times

European Union officials are expected to issue a record fine of at least 1.1 billion euros, or $1.2 billion, against Google as soon as Tuesday for breaking the region’s tough competition rules.

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26 June 2017

Tech giants face no contest when it comes to competition law The Observer

The news that Amazon had acquired Whole Foods Market for $13.7bn sent shivers down the spine of every retailer in America. Shares in Walmart fell 7%, and rival Kroger by 17%. Amazon’s market capitalisation, in contrast, went up by $11bn. So why the fuss? At first sight it seemed straightforward: Amazon wanted to get into food sales, and it fancied having a network of 400 urban stores; and Whole Foods (which some of my American friends call “whole wallet” because of the cost of its products) was ailing. There was also a small political angle: John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods, had been enmeshed in a row with an activist investor that threatened to drive him from power; by selling to Amazon, he gets to keep his job. So: small earthquake in food retailing, not many dead?

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20 June 2017

EU seeks to outlaw 'backdoors' in new data privacy proposals The Guardian

The European Union is considering banning the implementation of so-called “backdoors” that allow the reading of encrypted messaging, a move that would place it in conflict with the UK government’s desire to have access to all secure communications.

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16 June 2017

Google 'faces €1bn-plus fine' from EU over market dominance The Guardian

Google is reportedly facing a record-breaking fine from Brussels of more than €1bn (£875m) over alleged abuse of its market dominance.

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13 June 2017

Google execs brace for possible record A$1.6b EU antitrust fine Australian Financial Review

Google's lawyers and lobbyists are preparing in Brussels to defend the company against what may be a record EU antitrust fine.

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Britain, France to join forces to combat online extremism - UK Prime minister Reuters

Britain and France will join forces to press companies to do more to tackle online extremism, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Tuesday, her first foreign trip since her Conservative Party lost its majority in a parliamentary election.

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11 June 2017

Tech firms could do more to help stop the jihadists The Economist

Three jihadist attacks in Britain in as many months have led to a flood of suggestions about how to fight terrorism, from more police and harsher jail sentences to new legal powers. But one idea has gained momentum in both Europe and America—that internet firms are doing the jihadists’ work for them. Technology giants, such as Google and Facebook, are accused of turning a blind eye to violent online propaganda and other platforms of allowing terrorists to communicate with each other out of reach of the intelligence services.

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Germany's Merkel says digital world needs global rules Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the digital world needs regulations like those that exist for financial markets in the G20 and for trade under the World Trade Organization.

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06 June 2017

'Blame the internet' is just not a good enough response, Theresa May The Guardian

We can feel pretty certain that the London Bridge attackers did the following things: owned smartphones; and used Google, YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. That isn’t because owning those things and using those services marks you out as a terrorist: it’s because it marks you out as someone living in the west in the 21st century.

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Google and Facebook Join Cities in Challenging Trump on Climate Bloomberg

Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. are among dozens of companies that pledged their support for policies combating climate change following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.

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Australia's digital strategy needs major readjustment The Conversation

Australia ranks 15 out of 63 nations when it comes to digital competitiveness, according to a new report from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). While we’re in the top 20, the result highlights serious structural flaws in our economy that will impact our future performance and living standards.

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01 June 2017

China's New Cybersecurity Law Leaves Foreign Firms Guessing New York Times

As China moves to start enforcing a new cybersecurity law, foreign companies face a major problem: They know very little about it.

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29 May 2017

Publishers call for rethink of proposed changes to European online privacy laws The Guardian

An alliance of news publishers has called on European regulators to rethink proposed changes to online privacy laws, arguing that they will potentially kill their digital businesses and give Google, Apple and Facebook too much control of advertising and personal data.

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28 May 2017

G7 calls on internet companies to boost efforts to remove extremist content Reuters

The world's seven major industrialised nations on Friday called on internet service providers and social media to increase their efforts to remove extremist content, four days after an Islamist suicide bomber killed 22 in Manchester.

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26 May 2017

Theresa May calls on tech firms to lead fight against online extremism The Guardian

Theresa May will urge G7 leaders to tell technology firms that they should do more to suppress extremist content online, arguing that fight against Islamic State is shifting from the “battlefield to the internet”. The prime minister will tell fellow leaders at the summit in Sicily that every country should encourage companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to block users who post extremist content and report individuals to authorities if there is evidence of imminent harm.

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Social media, extremism and fears we are losing the online war The Guardian

Theresa May’s initiative to put more pressure on tech companies over online extremism is born of a frustration that can only have been heightened by this week’s attack in Manchester.

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Democrats want to turn net neutrality into the next GOP health-care debacle Washington Post

Now that federal regulators have released their official proposal to repeal the government's net neutrality rules, Democrats are vowing, Churchill-style, to fight that measure in the courts, at the Federal Communications Commission and in the realm of public opinion. Sensing they've hit on a white-hot campaign issue, liberals are seeking to stir up a grass-roots firestorm around net neutrality that can thwart the GOP plan — or at least make it incredibly costly for Republicans to support.

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