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

Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

Apple announced various App Store developer updates last week, and one change getting lots of attention is that which specifies “sales of ‘boosts’ for posts in a social media app must use in-app purchase.” That means Apple will be taking its customary 30 percent fee for paid boosts on iOS devices, a move that will primarily affect Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram, since they hadn’t previously been processing such transactions through Apple’s in-app purchase system, like Twitter and Tiktok have. Apple says its “guidelines have been clear” that in-app sales are required to use its In-App Purchase. Continue reading Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

Clearview AI, the New York-based facial recognition firm that is targeting 100 billion facial images in its database by the close of 2022, has been fined €20 million ($19.7 million) by France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, for what the agency says is the illegal collection and processing of personal biometric data belonging to French citizens. The fine comes after the CNIL last year ordered Clearview to cease data collection and delete its existing database, instructions the company reportedly ignored. This is Clearview’s third breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) pertaining to France. Continue reading France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

White House Updates Data Protection Framework with the EU

President Biden has signed an executive order designed to repair data sharing with the European Union. The arrangement has been in disarray since 2020, when the Court of Justice of the European Union nullified the Privacy Shield, jeopardizing what the White House calls a $7.1 trillion economic relationship, premised on companies doing business on both sides of the pond. Friday’s executive order stipulates new ways for the EU to challenge what it had previously identified as objectionable U.S. government surveillance practices. In March, the U.S. and European Union agreed “in principle” to a revamped framework for data transfers. Continue reading White House Updates Data Protection Framework with the EU

White House Creates a ‘Blueprint’ of AI Rights for Consumers

The White House has issued a “blueprint” for consumer protections with regard to artificial intelligence. Aimed at guiding federal agencies while setting the bar for future legislation, the voluntary directive offers five areas of focus — safety, algorithmic discrimination protection, data privacy, notice, human alternatives — and a section on applying the rules. “Among the great challenges posed to democracy today is the use of technology, data, and automated systems in ways that threaten the rights of the American public,” begins the bill, which says such tools are “too often used” to limit opportunities and prevent access to critical resources or services. Continue reading White House Creates a ‘Blueprint’ of AI Rights for Consumers

Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Samsung wants to dominate the global market for advanced semiconductors, unveiling plans to begin producing chips with a 2-nanometer spec in 2025 and launching into the even more advanced 1.4-nanometer market in 2027. The timeline takes the South Korean company beyond the 3-nanometer chip production it began in June. Samsung says it will more than triple production capacity in five years, positioning it to challenge Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of volume, and potentially surpass it in the high-end market for “smart chips.” TSMC said it will mass produce 3nm chips this year and start 2nm production by 2025. Continue reading Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen signaled the bloc is preparing the implement a regulatory framework for the metaverse, writing in her annual Letter of Intent for the State of the Union address that the Commission will in 2023 advance an “initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse.” The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expanded on that in a blog post that Europe’s “way to foster the virtual worlds” will be threefold, focusing on “people, technologies and infrastructure,” with speculation bubbling that the third prong will involve some sort of carrier tax. Continue reading EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

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

Oracle, Microsoft Partner on Multi-Cloud Database Services

Thousands of customers have built data platforms using a combination of Microsoft and Oracle technology over the years. Now, the duo is deepening the relationship with the rollout of Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure. The new offering lets Microsoft Azure customers access and monitor enterprise-grade Oracle Database services in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with a friendly user interface. Those creating new Azure installations or working within existing configurations can migrate or connect to high-performance Oracle Database services such as Autonomous Database running on OCI. Continue reading Oracle, Microsoft Partner on Multi-Cloud Database Services

Amazon Offers Concessions to Call Off EU’s Antitrust Probes

In the wake of the European Union’s strict new digital-competition laws, Amazon has proposed settlements in two EU antitrust cases. The U.S.-based e-commerce giant says it will stop using non-public data it obtains from the activities of independent sellers on its marketplace to inform its own business decisions in competition with those sellers. A separate investigation found Amazon to be self-dealing with regard to its Buy Box and Prime plans, resulting in a commitment to give third-party sellers equal treatment. The commitments would remain in force for five years, monitored by a trustee reporting to the European Commission. Continue reading Amazon Offers Concessions to Call Off EU’s Antitrust Probes

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

TikTok Draws Criticism for Undisclosed Sponsored Content

TikTok is facing blowback for lax advertising disclosures. While the platform offers various ways to identify paid promotion, its marketing policies appear to operate on an honor system, and while some creators label their posts as advertising or partnerships, many do not. Where a financial relationship exists with regard to products mentioned, the truth in advertising rules enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general require media partners to disclose that funds will change hands. As part of a renewed national interest in digital consumer protections, particularly related to child safety, the area is getting increased scrutiny. Continue reading TikTok Draws Criticism for Undisclosed Sponsored Content

Under Antitrust Scrutiny, Google Could Spinoff Its Adtech Biz

Battling new antitrust action by the U.S. Department of Justice, Google is offering to separate part of its adtech business into a discrete unit. The new Alphabet company would focus on app dissemination and programmatic auctions for advertising space and could potentially be worth billions of dollars. It is not known whether the move would satisfy the DOJ, which is reportedly prepping a fresh antitrust suit in the wake of a 2020 action. Google is also the target of antitrust investigations by state attorneys general and under EU and UK inquiries for anticompetitive measures. Continue reading Under Antitrust Scrutiny, Google Could Spinoff Its Adtech Biz

Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

Following a decade-long boom, funding for startups is in decline, according to PitchBook, which says investments in fledgling U.S. tech firms has dropped by 23 percent in Q2 to $62.3 billion, the biggest fall since 2019. In another dire indicator, startup sales and IPOs have fallen to $49 billion the first six months of 2022, plunging 88 percent compared to the same period in 2021. The slump comes amidst an overall stock market downturn that has seen the technology sector take a particularly brutal hit that appears to have affected private startup valuations. Continue reading Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

EU Checks Power of Big Tech with Digital Services Regulation

The European Parliament has adopted two digital acts, one focused on leveling the competitive playing field, the other on protecting consumer rights online. The Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act are both expected to take effect this fall, after the European Commission signs off. “We are finally building a single digital market, the most important one in the ‘free world,’” EU commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton said Tuesday. “The same predictable rules will apply, everywhere in the EU, for our 450 million citizens, bringing everyone a safer and fairer digital space.” Continue reading EU Checks Power of Big Tech with Digital Services Regulation