EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota. Continue reading EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

New Features Make it Easier to Run Ads on Google Services

Google launched four new ad products to automate the process of buying ads and create a central marketing hub for Google. Via an integration with Shopify, Google now runs shopping ads on its site and enables advertisers to buy these ads directly through Shopify, a move that helps both companies fend off rival Amazon. The new ad products allow marketers to set a goal and then pursue it with ads across Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube and the Internet. Google ads head Sridhar Ramaswamy describes it as a “one-stop shop.” Continue reading New Features Make it Easier to Run Ads on Google Services

Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Since 1995, European businesses and organizations have operated under data protection rules specific to an era of much less digital data. To update the rules, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will launch on May 25, 2018, and numerous GDPR experts are ready to profit off of their offer to help businesses get ready. U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham dubs much of the activity as “scaremongering,” saying that companies that complied with the older rules won’t have to deal with major changes. Continue reading Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

The Venture Reality Fund has released its H2 2017 VR Industry Landscape map and report. The organization has generously posted the map, along with maps of the 1H 2017 European Landscape and Q2 2017 AR Industry Landscape. The VR Fund’s latest report highlights more than 450 companies developing infrastructure, tools, platforms, and applications for the VR/AR ecosystem. An interactive table, which VR Fund co-founder Tipatat Chennavasin began building in 2014, provides details of the companies.  Continue reading Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Google formally rebutted two antitrust charges made by the European Commission (the European Union’s executive body). The Commission claims that Google has used its search engine to boost Google Shopping, its price comparison service, and AdSense, its ad placement service. A third European Union antitrust suit claims that Google’s mobile OS is a ‘Trojan horse’ to promote its own products and services, injuring potential rivals. The EU says it “cannot at this stage prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.” Continue reading Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

European Commission Pledges Free Internet, Wi-Fi and More

In his “State of the European Union” address, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spelled out a list of proposals. Internet access will be established as a universal service, obsoleting old universal services such as pay phones. Free Wi-Fi will be provided in the next four years for every EU city, town and village, and the Commission suggests a target date of 2025 for all EU households to have download speeds of at least 100Mbps, and full deployment of 5G mobile communications systems. Continue reading European Commission Pledges Free Internet, Wi-Fi and More

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 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

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

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

European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

European officials have charged Google with violating competition rules by favoring Android over rival mobile software. Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager accused the tech giant of unfairly promoting its own mobile search and Chrome browser with phone makers. “We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” said Vestager. From Brussels, the European Commission issued a release stating that Google has “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Continue reading European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

After three months of often-tense meetings, Europe and the U.S. agreed to a pact to enable digital data to move back and forth across the Atlantic. Negotiating beyond the January 31 deadline, European and U.S. officials hammered out details of the “EU-US Privacy Shield,” which will enable Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses to continue operations. But the agreement isn’t out of the woods: it still faces official approval by the EU’s 28 member states, and EU privacy advocates have vowed to oppose it. Continue reading EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

EU Takes Aim at Geo-Blocking, Faces Off Against Hollywood

The European Union is taking on geo-blocking — the practice of restricting access to online content based on location — in a move that pits it against Hollywood studios 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, as well as pay TV’s Sky. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says she will detail the EU’s concerns by the end of March. Joining the EU in its case is BEUC, the European consumer organization. Both groups are also looking at restrictions related to video games. Continue reading EU Takes Aim at Geo-Blocking, Faces Off Against Hollywood

European Commission Enacts Data Protection Regulations

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm; the European Parliament and member states just approved stringent data protection regulations, considered there to be of equal importance to freedom of expression. The rules, slated to go into effect by early 2017, will give individuals more power over how their information is collected and managed, as well as make data protection regulations consistent across the EU. Officials have been meeting since summer 2015 to hammer out rules that all 28 members could agree to. Continue reading European Commission Enacts Data Protection Regulations

European Court Rules Data Transfer Pact with U.S. is Invalid

The European Union’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, dealt a blow to the American tech industry yesterday when it struck down the international Safe Harbor agreement that previously allowed companies to move digital information between the EU and the U.S. The pact allowed companies to transfer data such as social media updates and online search histories. However, the court ruled that Safe Harbor was flawed since the U.S. government used it to access the online information of Europeans, an issue that was raised by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Continue reading European Court Rules Data Transfer Pact with U.S. is Invalid

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