European Council Weighs in on the Artificial Intelligence Act

The European Council (EU’s governing body) has adopted a position on the Artificial Intelligence Act, which aims to ensure that AI systems used or marketed in the European Union are safe and respect existing laws on fundamental rights. In addition to defining artificial intelligence, the European Council’s general approach specifies prohibited AI practices, calls for risk level allocation, and stipulates ways to deal with those risks. The Council — comprised of EU heads of state — becomes the first co-legislate to complete this initial step, with the European Parliament expected to offer its version of the AIA in the first half of 2023. Continue reading European Council Weighs in on the Artificial Intelligence Act

Apple Introduces New iCloud Encryption to Prevent Hacking

Apple is adding a new end-to-end encryption option for iCloud data that will further protect backups, photos and notes. Called Advanced Data Protection, it will shield even Apple from seeing some of the most sensitive data users store on its servers. The change reportedly makes it impossible for Apple to provide law enforcement with the contents of encrypted files. The company says the security enhancements will help protect its customers from the most sophisticated hackers. The feature rolls out this week for those participating in Apple’s Beta Software Program. Continue reading Apple Introduces New iCloud Encryption to Prevent Hacking

Kantar Media Forecasts Streamers to Pursue Appointment TV

Even as linear broadcasters seek to find their place in the on-demand world, streamers are taking a page from their traditional playbook and embracing appointment TV strategies, according to a new forecast from Kantar Media. “Winners in the platform wars will deploy hybrid strategies balancing VOD and linear content,” Kantar says, predicting streamers will be forced to “shift away from all-at-once release strategies and box-set bingeing for new content in order to maximize revenues.” As global cost-of-living price increases impact consumer discretionary spending, improved campaign planning could make budgets go further, the report says. Continue reading Kantar Media Forecasts Streamers to Pursue Appointment TV

Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

Next week, the EU’s Digital Markets Act takes effect, and U.S. tech giants are preparing for headaches. Among the DMA’s goals is making companies like Amazon, Google and Meta Platforms more open and interoperable in 2023. Last month, veteran EU official Gerard de Graaf, who helped create the DMA, was installed as director of a satellite office in San Francisco. There, he will help Big Tech prepare for breaking out their wallets and breaking open their walled gardens as the result of  “significant” changes to how they’ve been doing business in Europe. Meanwhile, telecoms in Europe are looking for tech firms to pay new fees based on bandwidth issues. Continue reading Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

EU’s AI Act Could Present Dangers for Open-Source Coders

The EU’s draft AI Act is causing quite a stir, particular as it pertains to regulating general-purpose artificial intelligence, including guidelines for open source developers that specify procedures for accuracy, risk management, transparency, technical documentation and data governance, well as cybersecurity. The first law on AI by a major regulator anywhere, the proposed AI Act seeks to promote “trustworthy AI,” but some are critical that as written the legislation could hurt open efforts to develop AI systems. The EU is seeking industry input as the proposal heads for a vote this fall. Continue reading EU’s AI Act Could Present Dangers for Open-Source Coders

European Union Digital Markets Act Creates Cloud Concerns

Antitrust scrutiny under the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act is causing concern among U.S.-based cloud services providers. Cost-savings for clients who bundle services are not unusual in the cloud sector, and while some clients prefer using multiple cloud vendors, others want to take advantage of discounts. As enterprise continues to shift operations to the cloud, packages from Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Cloud find themselves subject to criticism in what some say is nothing less than a regulatory assault on vertical integration. Continue reading European Union Digital Markets Act Creates Cloud Concerns

AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

The global cloud storage market is white hot, and the big keep getting bigger while indies lose ground, according to a study by Synergy Research Group that says the top three companies — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google — account for 65 percent of what was in the first quarter of 2022 assessed as a $53 billion worldwide market. That’s up from a combined 52 percent of worldwide sales four years ago, Synergy notes, explaining the trio’s slice of this rapidly growing market is expected to expand as their efficiencies of size make them better equipped to continue investing and wooing new clients.  Continue reading AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Wikimedia Enterprise has announced Google and the Internet Archive as its first customers. The Wikimedia Foundation launched the enterprise unit last year as a paid service for clients that source and reuse Wikipedia data at high volume. Google has been using Wikipedia content to fuel its search engine results. Wikimedia Enterprise clients have access to custom APIs that allow it to scrape and utilize data more efficiently and at greater scale. The service also provides guaranteed uptime and real-time content updates, minimizing outdated or inaccurate information. Continue reading Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Sheryl Sandberg Is Stepping Down as COO of Meta Platforms

Sheryl Sandberg announced that she will be resigning from her 14-year tenure as the chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, the company formerly known as Facebook. She will be replaced by Meta’s chief growth officer Javier Olivan and maintain a seat on the company’s board of directors. Sandberg will work with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to transition out of her role as COO and officially step down this fall. Recognized by Zuckerberg and others as the primary architect of Facebook’s advertising business, Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said Sandberg developed “one of the strongest business models in the digital economy.” Continue reading Sheryl Sandberg Is Stepping Down as COO of Meta Platforms

Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon is combatting inventory shortages with a new invite-based ordering protocol for high-demand products, starting with U.S. fulfillment of the Sony PlayStation 5 game console, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The idea is to prevent hoarding by “scalpers” who program bots to buy in quantity then resell the items at significant markup. Participation does not require Prime membership, merely a request for the invitation. Amazon plans to roll the program out to more countries as it strives to ensure a positive shopping experience for individual customers and households. Continue reading Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Nielsen’s Gracenote media data division is launching the Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive to measure “bingeability.” The company says the new datasets will help content owners and buyers optimize program licensing and acquisition strategies by providing insights into programming characteristics that drive regular consumption. “The new thinking prioritizes understanding of why certain content resonates with viewers and what drives engagement,” Gracenote says, adding that “clarity on the characteristics of content that drive viewership and understanding the historical placement of content are key to generating the maximum value out of programming in the future.” Continue reading New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Facial recognition software company Clearview AI has agreed to limit U.S. sales of its identity database to businesses and other private actors as part of a lawsuit settlement. The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups, was filed in state court in Illinois, where the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is considered the nation’s strongest data privacy law. The lawsuit alleged that Clearview routinely scraped images of state residents from the Internet without obtaining their permission or making them aware of the practice. Continue reading Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Facebook Shutters Nearby Friends and Other Data Collection

Facebook is ending its Nearby Friends feature and halting other location-tracking data collection. Location history, background location and Weather Alerts will be discontinued globally due to “low usage.” The change reflects consumers’ increased caution over personal data and movement tracking. The Meta Platforms unit says as of May 31 the features will stop collecting information, and by August 1 previously collected location history and background location data will be deleted. Users can log in to Facebook before August 1 to view or download their data. Continue reading Facebook Shutters Nearby Friends and Other Data Collection

Meta Adds Facebook Challenges and Expands Monetization

In an effort to expand payment opportunities for creators of popular original video content, Meta Platforms is updating its Reels Play bonus program, adding Facebook Challenges and rolling out new insights for Reels Play creators. Successful Facebook Challenge videos will enable creators to earn “up to $4,000 in a given month,” according to Meta, which says it will “also explore the ability for eligible creators to earn a share of revenue on crossposted Reels via overlay ads” from videos that appear on both Facebook and Instagram. Continue reading Meta Adds Facebook Challenges and Expands Monetization

Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests

Game giant Unity is using its game engine technology to help businesses make “digital twins” of real-world objects, environments and even people. These virtual entities take the brunt of testing products, machines and environments. Currently there are dozens of companies reportedly using Unity’s game engine to model digital doubles that can sub-in for robots, manufacturing lines and buildings, among other things, virtually operating and monitoring them even as they are optimized and trained. These twins rust when exposed to water and respond to things like temperature. They learn to avoid a ditch or call attention to a broken part. Continue reading Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests