Government & Policy

13 August 2019

Australian competition regulator ACCC set to launch landmark Facebook, Google cases Australian Financial Review

The competition watchdog is close to launching five landmark cases against Facebook and Google over breaches of privacy, competition and consumer laws following its landmark inquiry into the tech giants.

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How Facebook Is Changing to Deal With Scrutiny of Its Power New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the breakup of big tech companies like Facebook. Regulators have opened investigations into Facebook’s power in social networking. Even one of Facebook’s own founders has laid out a case for why the company needs to be split up.

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The Phony Patriots of Silicon Valley: Top tech companies are rallying around the flag. How opportunistic of them. New York Times

Not long ago, many leading technologists considered themselves too lofty and idealistic to concern themselves with the petty affairs of government. John Perry Barlow, a lion of the early internet, addressed his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” to the “governments of the industrial world,” saying that for him and his fellow netizens, these creaky institutions had “no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.”

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11 August 2019

The Lawless Way to Disable 8chan: The decision to disable an infamous message board fell to Matthew Prince, an internet executive who is deeply uncomfortable with his own power. The Atlantic

Two years ago, Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, saw this controversy coming and begged not to be put in this position. Then and now, his company—which helps provide some of the basic plumbing of the internet—found itself at the center of the battle over which speech should and should not be easily available online. The more fundamental question is who gets to make these decisions, and it’s being answered by default, in the absence of any legal norms. Who are the deciders? This week, at least, companies like Prince’s are.

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New Zealand telco bans 8chan as chief censor calls it racist killers' 'platform of choice' The Guardian

One of New Zealand’s largest telecommunications providers, Spark, has banned the far-right site 8chan after the country’s chief censor offered his backing for any internet service provider who did so in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting.

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08 August 2019

How to Force 8Chan, Reddit and Others to Clean Up: We can change safe harbor laws to hold social media platforms accountable. New York Times

In the hours after the El Paso shooting last weekend, Fredrick Brennan, the founder of the online message board 8chan — the site that had hosted the racist manifestoes of the men responsible for the El Paso, Christchurch and Poway synagogue shootings — called for the site to be shut down. In an interview with The Times, he said, “It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.”

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06 August 2019

Legal Shield for Websites Rattles Under Onslaught of Hate Speech New York Times

When the most consequential law governing speech on the internet was created in 1996, didn’t exist and Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old.

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01 August 2019

Army fights fake news with propagandists and hackers in one unit The Guardian

Computer hackers and propaganda specialists working in the British army are to be placed in a single division, as part of a reorganisation designed to reflect a belief that the boundary between peace and war has become increasingly blurred.

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31 July 2019

Calls for backdoor access to WhatsApp as Five Eyes nations meet The Guardian

British, American and other intelligence agencies from English-speaking countries have concluded a two-day meeting in London amid calls for spies and police officers to be given special, backdoor access to WhatsApp and other encrypted communications.

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30 July 2019

The internet is rotting - let's embrace it by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, University of Oxford The Conversation

I have just taken an entire website and gigabytes of data offline. It covered a highly successful series of conferences on the data economy. It brought together thought leaders and key decision-makers from around the world for annual retreats – over a decade ago. And now it is gone.

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Will Europe scare off Silicon Valley? Asta Gudrun Helgadottir asks how long Google and Facebook will tolerate EU regulation Chatham House

Regulation of the internet has been a tendentious issue for some time. In recent years, the European Union has taken the lead in creating consumer-oriented rules to control digital businesses through a framework based on European values.

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28 July 2019

Trump vows to retaliate against French digital tax Associated Press

President Donald Trump promised on Friday to retaliate against France for adopting a pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

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26 July 2019

Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up. New York Times

Chris Hughes used to huddle with Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room building Facebook from scratch. Now, he’s huddling with regulators to explain why Facebook needs to be broken up.

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Calls Mount to Ease Big Tech's Grip on Your Data New York Times

The market for our digital data can seem like a lopsided bargain. We all create valuable data points with every tap on a screen or keystroke — clicks, searches, likes, posts, purchases and more. We hand it over willingly for free services. But the biggest economic windfall goes to the tech giants like Google and Facebook. Their corporate wealth is built on harvesting and commercializing the information supplied by the online multitudes.

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Facebook and Google face tighter rules in Australia as ACCC releases report The Guardian

Facebook and Google face new regulation of their advertising products and the algorithm that determines what appears in users’ news feeds and in search results.

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25 July 2019

Facebook Antitrust Inquiry Shows Big Tech's Freewheeling Era Is Past New York Times

Facebook came under siege on multiple fronts on Wednesday, agreeing to new layers of oversight and two fines to settle privacy and disclosure violations, even as it acknowledged that it was under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust concerns.

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24 July 2019

Facebook deceived users about the way it used phone numbers, facial recognition, FTC to allege in complaint Washington Post

The Federal Trade Commission plans to allege that Facebook misled users about its handling of their phone numbers as part of a wide-ranging complaint that accompanies a settlement ending the government’s privacy probe, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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Justice Department Opens Antitrust Review of Big Tech Companies New York Times

The federal government has turned its full investigative powers toward examining the world’s biggest technology companies, building on a backlash against the industry that has been growing for over a year.

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19 July 2019

G7 urges tough Libra regulation, agrees to tax digital giants Reuters

Digital currencies such as Facebook’s planned Libra raise serious concerns and must be regulated as tightly as possible to ensure they do not upset the world’s financial system, Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers said on Thursday.

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18 July 2019

G7 finance ministers look to rein in tech giants at French meeting Reuters

G7 finance ministers will have the growing powers of big digital firms in their sights when they meet on Wednesday outside Paris despite divisions about how best to tax them.

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'I Don’t Trust You Guys': Lawmakers Unite to Take Aim at Big Tech New York Times

Lawmakers leveled stinging criticism and sharp questions at Big Tech executives on Tuesday, attacking Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for their market power, their perceived bias as gatekeepers of communication and Facebook’s ambitions to reshape the financial industry.

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17 July 2019

France will not back down on digital tax despite US legal threats The Guardian

France will not back down in the face of US threats of legal action over its plans for a digital tax on tech giants, the French finance minister has said.

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Australian government agencies pushing for longer mandatory metadata retention The Guardian

Government agencies are pushing for telecommunications companies to be forced to retain customer data for law enforcement agencies for longer than the current two-year requirement.

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16 July 2019

Fighting Big Tech Makes for Some Uncomfortable Bedfellows New York Times

Conservatives are showing up at largely liberal conferences to call for breaking up Facebook and Google. Liberals are going on conservative TV shows to do the same. It’s awkward.

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12 July 2019

Trump Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Right-Wing Social Media Trolls New York Times

Trolling on the internet was once a thankless pastime. Make edgy jokes on the right message board, get your sarcastic memes noticed by the right people, and you might score some retweets and Reddit upvotes, but that was about the extent of it.

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