EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

The European Union has unveiled proposed regulations designed to help protect its consumers. The goal is to create a single market out of Europe’s many regions, enabling its 500 million consumers to access the same services. But the EU proposals also create stricter demands for privacy and against copyright infringement, including reforms that would hold streaming services responsible for instituting better anti-piracy methods. From the perspective of Silicon Valley and much of Hollywood, the EU’s efforts are a form of protectionism. Continue reading EU to Propose Stricter Regulations Impacting Digital Services

EU Proposes Regulations for Online Communication Services

The European Union’s executive arm is poised to propose that online communication services such as Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp be regulated similarly to telecoms, a move that telecom executives have long advocated as creating a level playing field. Telecoms would actually prefer that the EU repeal regulations on user privacy among other specifics but, in lieu of that, are content to see their industry-specific regulations extended to online communication services, most of which are currently free. Continue reading EU Proposes Regulations for Online Communication Services

EU’s Highest Court Rules For-Profit Links Infringe Copyrights

The Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, has narrowed an April decision by the court’s advocate-general that determined that links to copyrighted material shouldn’t be considered a breach. Now the CJEU has specified a distinction: anyone profiting from posting a copyrighted link is responsible for researching whether the linked material is copyright protected, and any such link is considered an infringement if approval has not been secured from the rights holder. Continue reading EU’s Highest Court Rules For-Profit Links Infringe Copyrights

WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

When Facebook bought the popular free messaging service WhatsApp, it promised it wouldn’t change the privacy policies. Now the company has done just that, and organizations including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy are not happy. Facebook has stated it will now connect users’ phone numbers with Facebook’s systems, offering “better friend suggestions” and more relevant ads. The new approach will help Facebook finally monetize WhatsApp. Continue reading WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

European Commission: Apple Must Pay Tax Penalty to Ireland

The European Commission has issued a $14.5 billion tax penalty against Apple, claiming the tech giant owes unpaid taxes following a sweetheart deal with Ireland that constitutes illegal state aid. Apple and Ireland both have plans to appeal the decision. “We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.” The Wall Street Journal suggests the “decision is likely to aggravate trans-Atlantic tensions over the investigations into tax deals brokered between U.S. multinational corporations and individual European countries.” Continue reading European Commission: Apple Must Pay Tax Penalty to Ireland

EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Deutsche Telekom and Spain’s Telefónica have long lobbied the European Union to either repeal some of the onerous regulations governing carriers or to extend them to Internet-based text-message and voice-call services, including Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp. Now, carriers might get their wish as the EU’s executive body is on the verge of suggesting more rules for Skype, WhatsApp and their ilk: tighter privacy and security, and an easier way for consumers to move information when switching services. Continue reading EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

SoftBank to Purchase UK-Based Chip Designer ARM Holdings

Japan’s SoftBank Group has agreed to acquire United Kingdom’s ARM Holdings for more than $32 billion in an all-cash deal, which insiders suggest marks a major move by the Japanese telecom toward the mobile Internet. As a top designer of chips for companies such as Apple and Samsung, ARM dominates the smartphone market and is a leader in the mobile revolution. Its designs appear in a range of devices, including Internet of Things sensors. The number of chips featuring ARM processors reached 14.8 billion in 2015, up from 6.1 billion five years earlier. Continue reading SoftBank to Purchase UK-Based Chip Designer ARM Holdings

EU Telcos Join Forces for 5G Networks, Weaker Net Neutrality

BT, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Hutchison, Nokia, Orange, Telefonica, Telenor and Vodafone are part of a group of 20 telcos that released a “5G Manifesto,” detailing what governments need to do to ensure 5G coverage across Europe. The companies say they will begin conducting large-scale tests of 5G by 2018, with a 2020 commercial launch in at least one city in each EU country. But the telcos also warn that net neutrality stands in the way of innovation and ask governments to lessen strictures enforcing it. Continue reading EU Telcos Join Forces for 5G Networks, Weaker Net Neutrality

EU Approves Debated Privacy Shield to Replace Safe Harbor

Following extensive debate, the European Union has approved the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer agreement that will replace Safe Harbor, which “was struck down by the European Court of Justice in October of last year over concerns about how EU data was being treated once it was transferred to the U.S.,” reports Digital Trends. According to the European Commission’s press release, “For the first time, the U.S. has given the EU written assurance that the access of public authorities for law enforcement and national security will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms and has ruled out indiscriminate mass surveillance of European citizens’ data.” Continue reading EU Approves Debated Privacy Shield to Replace Safe Harbor

Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

By the end of the year Google plans to release its own smartphone, which will compete directly with the Apple iPhone and extend the company’s reach into hardware. Google is presently in talks with carriers about the branded phone. Its Android operating system already powers 80 percent of smartphones sold around the world in phones made by, among others, Samsung, LG and Huawei’s Google Nexus brand. With its new smartphone, Google will take charge of design and manufacturing as well as software. Continue reading Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

Global Markets React to UK’s Decision to Exit European Union

British voters cast their ballots yesterday regarding the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, and surprising to many, the country has opted to exit the European Union. Shortly after the results were announced, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign his position later this year, while leaders in Northern Ireland and Scotland have indicated they will seek independence referendums in order to reenter the EU. The immediate response has been a dramatic ripple effect in markets worldwide with expectations for future uncertainty and potential crises. The tech industry, which often benefits from the EU’s liberal trade and economic policies, will likely be impacted. Continue reading Global Markets React to UK’s Decision to Exit European Union

EU Pushes for U.S. Tech Companies to Invest in Local Content

Against an environment of social anxiety and national pride, Europe has been trying to limit the reach and influence of American tech giants, enacting privacy regulations and launching antitrust investigations. Now, the European Commission is contemplating rules that would require some of these U.S. companies to carry — and even fund — local content in various local markets. That would impact Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO among others, which would be required to allot 20 percent of local content to European-made content. Continue reading EU Pushes for U.S. Tech Companies to Invest in Local Content

Tech Firms Test AI Solutions to Combat Inappropriate Content

Digital platforms Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Periscope are implementing new ways to fight some of the worst misdeeds of the Internet: hate speech, pornography, graphic and gratuitous violence, threats and trolling. To do so, they are relying on a new range of solutions mainly but not entirely fueled by artificial intelligence. In recent months, all these Internet companies have been the target of lawsuits and harsh criticism for their inability to remove such content in a timely fashion. Continue reading Tech Firms Test AI Solutions to Combat Inappropriate Content

European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

The European Commission in Brussels is at the end of its seven-year investigation of Google and preparing to issue a record-breaking fine, expected to be about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). To date, the toughest fine the Commission has issued was 1.1 billion euros, levied at Intel. Inside sources say the announcement will likely come before the summer break, possibly as early as next week, and that the final amount hasn’t been decided upon, with the maximum possible at around 6.6 billion euros, or a tenth of Google’s total annual sales. Continue reading European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

Europe and U.S. Introduce Updated Data Transfer Agreement

After months of contentious debate, American and European officials have hammered out a new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement, dubbed the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a formal version of an agreement made early last month. But, despite the fact that the new agreement holds companies and the U.S. government to stricter rules regarding how they move individuals’ digital data — including social media posts, search queries and e-commerce purchases — from the E.U. to the United States, not everyone is happy with the new pact. Continue reading Europe and U.S. Introduce Updated Data Transfer Agreement

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