Ireland DPC Fines Meta $275 Million for Data Privacy Breach

Meta Platforms has been fined $275 million for violating European Union privacy rules, the result of a 2021 data leak that led to the online publication of personal information belonging to 500 million Facebook users. The penalty is the latest imposed on Meta by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which in September imposed a $400 million penalty on Instagram for mishandling children’s data. In October 2021, the same regulator fined Meta $235 million for violations by its WhatsApp messaging service. In total, Irish authorities have imposed penalties of more than $900 million on Meta in the past two years. Continue reading Ireland DPC Fines Meta $275 Million for Data Privacy Breach

EU’s Cyber Resilience Act Plans to Augment Security for IoT

The European Union has released additional details of its Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), proposed cybersecurity rules initially introduced last year aimed at the growing number of smart devices and the Internet of Things. The goal is to introduce effective regulations that would help curb surging cyberattacks. Major tech companies from Apple to Amazon and LG would need to meet strict new standards in the connected electronics space or face significant fines that could run as high as the greater of $15 million or 2.5 percent of a company’s worldwide revenue. Continue reading EU’s Cyber Resilience Act Plans to Augment Security for IoT

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

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

Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google News is trying to keep peace with publishers while adding functionality to its feed with a revamped desktop that lets users customize up to three topics on the home screen. For example, Local News, World News and Top Picks can be set to display across three-columns. Meanwhile, the global payment battle between content providers and Alphabet’s aggregator has achieved closure in France, where the competition authority said a settlement has been reached after a two-year legal battle and a $525 million fine. Terms include a pledge from Google to give news providers estimates of indirect revenue generated from news content that appears in its search results. Continue reading Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Europe’s Digital Markets Act Designed to Regulate Big Tech

The European Parliament and EU member states reached agreement Thursday on key points of the Digital Markets Act, a sweeping measure poised to reshape the technology landscape in Europe and potentially around the world. The DMA objectives are two-fold: reining in anticompetitive measures that advantage Big Tech over competitors and consumers, and putting teeth to the new rules. Considered the biggest digital regulatory expansion anywhere in decades, the proposal has been criticized for singling out U.S. firms like Amazon, Apple, Meta and Alphabet, all of which fall into the gatekeeper category targeted by the act. Continue reading Europe’s Digital Markets Act Designed to Regulate Big Tech

EU Digital Markets Act Poised to Compel Apple ‘Sideloading’

The EU is preparing to finalize its Digital Markets Act (DMA) designed to neutralize Big Tech’s gatekeeper status by leveling the playing field with smaller competitors. The DMA, which could be completed by month’s end, has ramifications for Amazon, Google and parent Alphabet, and especially for Apple, which faces what some describe as an existential threat through provisions that would allow software to be downloaded outside the App Store and third-party payment systems inserted on apps, known as “sideloading.” Failure to comply could carry fines and penalties totaling tens of billions of dollars. Continue reading EU Digital Markets Act Poised to Compel Apple ‘Sideloading’

European Union Plans to Announce Regulations for Big Tech

On December 2, European Commission EVP and commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager and European commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton plan to announce the new rules governing powerful online companies. Among the draft rules of the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, Big Tech companies will have to share data with rivals and regulators. Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai also apologized to Breton over a leaked document revealing his company’s proposed tactics against the European Union’s new, tougher rules. Continue reading European Union Plans to Announce Regulations for Big Tech

EU Presses Facebook for Documents Related to Competition

The European Commission’ antitrust probe into Facebook is now seeking internal documents related to allegations that Facebook suppressed competition by leveraging its own access to users’ data. EU investigators are also looking into changes Facebook made to software interfaces that enabled app developers to access data, as well as more information on Facebook’s use of Israeli VPN app Onavo it purchased in 2013. Facebook, which shut down Onavo last year, said it disclosed its data collection to users. Continue reading EU Presses Facebook for Documents Related to Competition

Google Will Pay $170 Million in Record COPPA Settlement

The FTC and New York attorney general announced yesterday that Google is being fined $170 million following the investigation of YouTube’s alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The investigation claims that Google marketed the video platform to advertisers based on the popularity of channels with younger audiences, and tracked viewing histories of children to serve them ads, without first getting consent of the parents. Google and YouTube will pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York in the largest COPPA fine to date (Congress enacted the law in 1998). Continue reading Google Will Pay $170 Million in Record COPPA Settlement

Google Filters Appropriate Content with YouTube Kids Site

Kid-friendly video content is now available on a dedicated YouTube Kids website that filters content deemed most appropriate based on three different age groups. The site offers a similar experience to the mobile app of the same name. Parents can select age-appropriate videos based on newly listed age groups, track viewing history and flag anything that may be missed by filters. A sign-in option is expected to be added in the future. The filters include “Preschool” (up to age 4), “Younger” (ages 5 to 7) and “Older” (kids over 7). Content is organized by categories including Explore, Gaming, Music and Shows.  Continue reading Google Filters Appropriate Content with YouTube Kids Site

Facebook Planning to Face FTC Fine in Excess of $3 Billion

In its first quarter earnings report yesterday, Facebook revealed that it is putting aside $3 billion (about 6 percent of its cash and marketable securities) in anticipation of an upcoming fine from the Federal Trade Commission regarding privacy violations. The penalty, which could become the highest of its kind against a tech company by U.S. regulators and the biggest privacy-related fine in the FTC’s history, is expected to run from $3 billion to $5 billion. The social media giant posted more than $15 billion in revenue, a 26 percent increase over the year-earlier period. Continue reading Facebook Planning to Face FTC Fine in Excess of $3 Billion

Ireland Is Investigating Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn and Twitter

Ireland, where many U.S. tech firms have European headquarters, is investigating Facebook in seven separate cases. Ireland’s data protection commissioner Helen Dixon reported that these probes are among 16 cases looking into Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram. She added that the Irish and EU investigations are “centered on the activities of very big Internet companies with tens and hundreds of millions of users,” which would be “a very large factor when looking at the scale of a fine.” Continue reading Ireland Is Investigating Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn and Twitter

California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

It’s not just Europe that’s battening down the privacy hatches with the recently activated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). California voters in November will likely be able to weigh in on the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, an initiative that would provide the state one of the broadest online privacy laws in the country. One of this initiative’s most significant backers is San Francisco real estate mogul Alastair Mactaggart, who put more than $2 million of his own money into getting it on the ballot. Continue reading California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, Facebook plans to debut a new privacy center that will be a hub for all its privacy settings. The company also published its “privacy principles” for the first time, with details of how it handles user information. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says the result will be a “good foundation” for meeting GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR limits how technology companies collect, store and utilize users’ personal information. Continue reading Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom