Google CEO Sundar Pichai Faces House Judiciary Committee

At a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai faced tough questions about how his company handles data privacy and disinformation by foreign actors. Republicans on the Committee also grilled him about a perceived anti-conservative bias, which Pichai staunchly denied, saying Google uses a “robust methodology” on all topics “without regards to political ideology.” Unconvinced, these lawmakers pointed to videos and emails from Google executives expressing dislike of right-leaning ideas. Continue reading Google CEO Sundar Pichai Faces House Judiciary Committee

MPAA Proposes Updates to Intellectual Property Enforcement

In the process of updating the Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement to help combat online piracy, the government’s IP czar Vishal Amin has sent out a call for input. The Motion Picture Association of America has suggestions, chief among them that Internet service providers be forced to take more responsibility for referral traffic from piracy sites. Currently, under the law, ISPs are regarded as neutral networks, but the MPAA wants them to play a role in filtering copyright-infringing content. Continue reading MPAA Proposes Updates to Intellectual Property Enforcement

Facebook Develops Video Filters, Retools Publishing Policies

To encourage users to publish videos on Facebook Live, Facebook is developing new filters, currently in prototype, that will help users create compelling looks for video. Video’s importance to Facebook — and, indeed, all social media platforms — is growing, expected to account for 71 percent of all Facebook mobile traffic by 2021. With the new filters, videos look as if Monet or Rembrandt painted them. The company reiterated it’s “not a media company” even as it grapples with issues that news organizations face. Continue reading Facebook Develops Video Filters, Retools Publishing Policies

U.S. Renews Contract with ICANN, Delays Giving Up Oversight

The Department of Commerce announced that it would renew its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for one year (with options to extend it another three years), delaying its plans to relinquish oversight of one aspect of Internet governance. Commerce has overseen ICANN’s management of the Internet’s domain-name system since 1998. But last year, the Obama administration proposed transferring the oversight to international stakeholders, a plan that has met criticism regarding the potential impact to free expression. Continue reading U.S. Renews Contract with ICANN, Delays Giving Up Oversight

Twitter Facing Free Speech Challenges in Global Markets

Twitter promotes itself as a protector of over 200 million people who publicly share their lives online. But increasingly, carefree tweets are conflicting with differing global laws and standards in new markets for the microblogger. The company’s hands-off approach is being tested as it enters markets in France, Germany, China and Brazil. As it is increasingly subject to local laws, Twitter is facing challenges regarding free speech and censorship. Continue reading Twitter Facing Free Speech Challenges in Global Markets