Government & Policy

19 November 2019

Czechs to impose 7% tax on global internet giants Associated Press

The Czech government has approved a plan to adopt a tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

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03 November 2019

Kremlin takes on sweeping internet connection powers Financial Times

The Kremlin has assumed sweeping new powers over internet connections in Russia, raising concerns from activists that they could be used to stifle dissent or shut the country off from the global web.

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31 October 2019

Twitter Will Ban All Political Ads, C.E.O. Jack Dorsey Says New York Times

Twitter said on Wednesday that it would ban all political ads, putting a spotlight on the power and veracity of online advertising and ramping up pressure on Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to reverse his hands-off stance.

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30 October 2019

EU disputes Facebook's claims of progress against fake accounts The Guardian

Facebook and other major social media platforms have been accused by the European commission of giving a misleading picture of their efforts to remove fake accounts spreading politically motivated disinformation.

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Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads New York Times

In an open letter, the social network’s employees said letting politicians post false claims in ads was “a threat” to the company.

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Facebook, Google, Twitter urged to do more to combat fake news in EU Reuters

Facebook, Google and Twitter must do more to tackle fake news or face regulatory action, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

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26 October 2019

The Shifting Definition of Platform Governance In advance of the next meeting of the International Grand Committee, Robert Gorwa asks: what exactly is platform governance? Centre for International Governance Innovation

In the past few years, several catchwords have emerged to describe the technology policy issues surrounding the intersection of user-generated content, online intermediaries for that content, and the host of legal and political frameworks that shape the relationships between them. Policy makers and journalists working in the area have had to sift through a host of similar-sounding concepts often used interchangeably — three common ones being platform governance, platform responsibility and platform regulation.

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Hazards of the Information Superhighway by Vinton G. Cerf Communications of the ACM

In the 1990s, U.S. Vice President Al Gore characterized the Internet as an "Information Superhighway." This metaphor has some utility as we try to understand emerging properties of the global Internet. More recently, an old friend, Judith Estrin, touted the importance of friction in the online environment. She had two things in mind, I believe. The first is that friction slows things down and sometimes that is exactly what is needed to give time to think about the content found on the Internet, especially in social media. Friction also keeps you on the road and not spinning off at every turn. As reports of the deliberate injection of misinformation and disinformation into the Internet continue to escalate, my attention has been drawn to efforts to counter this trend. I went back and re-read the May 2019 report about the Finnish response to information pollution,a which has garnered attention from other countries and organizations concerned about this phenomenon.

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24 October 2019

China trumpets tech power at 6th World Internet Conference, signalling a 'digital arms race' ABC News

At the turn of the millennium, former US president Bill Clinton declared that China's effort to censor the internet was akin to "nailing jello to the wall".

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19 October 2019

Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won't Police Political Speech New York Times

In an address at Georgetown University, the Facebook chief executive called for more free speech — not less — as his company has been assailed for allowing lies and falsehoods to appear.

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17 October 2019

Europe's Margrethe Vestager Takes a Rare Step Toward Big Tech New York Times

European authorities took an even more aggressive approach than usual to regulating the technology industry Wednesday when they applied a rarely used rule, ordering a company to halt a potentially anticompetitive practice while an investigation is underway.

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14 October 2019

Christchurch attack: New Zealand tries new tactic to disrupt online extremism The Guardian

The New Zealand government will create a dedicated investigative team to find and prosecute terrorist and extremist content online, seven months after a gunman live-streamed the mass murder of 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques.

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13 October 2019

Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency Faces Exodus of Partners New York Times

Facebook’s troubled cryptocurrency initiative, Libra, suffered new blows on Friday as the departures of key partners became an exodus.

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08 October 2019

U.S. Using Trade Deals to Shield Tech Giants From Foreign Regulators New York Times

The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.

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02 October 2019

Zuckerberg promised to 'fight' efforts by Sen. Warren to break up Facebook in leaked comments Washington Post

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told employees that the company was ready to “go to the mat and … fight” if Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, follows through on her vow to try to break up major technology firms, according to a leaked recording of his remarks published Tuesday.

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25 September 2019

Checking in on the Christchurch Call by Dr Ellen Strickland, Chief Advisor, InternetNZ InternetNZ

It’s been over six months since the Christchurch mosque attacks, and four months since the Christchurch Call was made. Tomorrow, there will be a meeting alongside the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to take stock of progress on the Call. World leaders, company executives, United Nations representatives and others will come together to report back on what progress has been made and what plans lie ahead.

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24 September 2019

New independent watchdog to keep extremists off internet Associated Press

The leaders of New Zealand and France are backing a watchdog organization aimed at keeping internet platforms from being used by extremists — and preparing speedy responses to future attacks.

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21 September 2019

Maria Ressa: "Facebook Broke Democracy in Many Countries around the World, Including in Mine" Centre for International Governance Innovation

In a Q&A, the Manila-based journalist discusses how Silicon Valley has “forever changed” our societies — and what can be done to stop hate spreading faster than facts

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18 September 2019

UK Home Office to fund use of AI to help catch dark web paedophiles The Guardian

Artificial intelligence could be used to help catch paedophiles operating on the dark web, the Home Office has announced.

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16 September 2019

Tech companies won't wait for U.S. to act on social media laws, Microsoft's president says Reuters

Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said on Friday that technology companies are likely to change how they moderate online platforms in response to new laws from foreign governments, regardless of whether U.S. lawmakers act to change a U.S. law that has allowed social media platforms to flourish.

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14 September 2019

House Antitrust Panel Seeks Documents From 4 Big Tech Firms New York Times

Congress showed the breadth of its investigation into the big tech companies on Friday, making a public demand for scores of documents, including the personal emails and other communications from dozens of top executives.

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12 September 2019

Host Violent Content? In Australia, You Could Go to Jail New York Times

Australia has held itself up as a model for cracking down on violent extremist material online since the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand. But the limits to its approach have become clear.

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11 September 2019

California Passes Landmark Bill to Remake Gig Economy New York Times

California legislators approved a landmark bill on Tuesday that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy and that adds fuel to a yearslong debate over whether the nature of work has become too insecure.

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E.U.'s New Digital Czar: 'Most Powerful Regulator of Big Tech on the Planet' New York Times

For five years, Margrethe Vestager was the scourge of Silicon Valley, levying billions of dollars in fines and initiating investigations against Google, Apple and Facebook for violating antitrust laws and harming consumers.

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10 September 2019

50 U.S. states and territories announce broad antitrust investigation of Google Washington Post

Attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories on Monday officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web.

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