Tough EU Laws Prompt Meta, Apple to Withhold New Products

U.S. tech companies are fighting back against what they feel are overly oppressive European Union regulations by withholding products from that market. Meta Platforms will not release its next Llama multimodal AI model there, along with future products. Apple last month said certain Apple Intelligence AI features will not be released in the EU. Previously, tech companies would accommodate regional laws by adapting global strategies so they could do business everywhere with the same products. Given the restrictions of the Digital Markets Act and other EU rules, Big Tech is signaling that may no longer be possible. Continue reading Tough EU Laws Prompt Meta, Apple to Withhold New Products

ByteDance’s DMA Gatekeeper Appeal Dismissed by EU Court

TikTok owner ByteDance lost its court battle challenging the European Union’s classification of it as a “gatekeeper” under the Digital Markets Act. The victory for EU antitrust regulators underscores its seriousness about reining in the power of Big Tech. As a gatekeeper, China’s ByteDance is lumped in with behemoths Google, Apple, Meta and Microsoft, among others. The DMA, which was passed in 2022 and came into effect this year, says gatekeepers must make certain aspects of their apps interoperable with rivals and forbids self-dealing, with stiff fines imposed for those found to fail. Continue reading ByteDance’s DMA Gatekeeper Appeal Dismissed by EU Court

Apple Issues ‘Temporary’ Epic Game Store Approval for iOS

Apple has approved the Epic Games Store app for iOS and the App Store in the EU. But the battle apparently continues, with Apple couching the move as “temporary,” and Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney vowing to fight any reversals. Sweeney says Apple is “demanding we change the buttons in the next version — which would make our store less standard and harder to use. We’ll fight this.” Even a temporary toehold moves Sweeney — whose Maryland-based Epic Games is home to the popular “Fortnite” — closer to its goal of an alt game store on the insular Apple platform at home and abroad. Continue reading Apple Issues ‘Temporary’ Epic Game Store Approval for iOS

Apple in EU Crosshairs for Anticompetitive Action Under DMA

The European Commission is expanding its investigation of Apple based on preliminary findings of anticompetitive breach of the new Digital Markets Act (DMA). The Commission has found the App Store engages in “anti-steering” by preventing app purveyors from offering consumers “alternative channels for offers and content.” The Commission also opened a new investigation into App Store developer contracts, citing  the “core technology fee” implemented in January in what was perceived as a workaround to the new European Union rules, saying such policies “fall short of ensuring effective compliance with Apple’s obligations under the DMA.” Continue reading Apple in EU Crosshairs for Anticompetitive Action Under DMA

ByteDance Opening Brief Claims U.S. Ban is Unconstitutional

China’s ByteDance has come out swinging in petition for review against the United States government over the law that would force it to sell TikTok by January 19 or see the app banned in U.S. app stores. The petition challenges the constitutionality of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act that President Biden signed into law on April 24, calling it in the brief “a radical departure from this country’s tradition of championing an open Internet, and sets a dangerous precedent allowing the political branches to target a disfavored speech platform.” Oral argument is scheduled for September 14. Continue reading ByteDance Opening Brief Claims U.S. Ban is Unconstitutional

T-Mobile Plans to Buy Most of U.S. Cellular in $4.4 Billion Deal

T-Mobile has agreed to buy most of U.S. Cellular in a deal worth about $4.4 billion that would bring the self-proclaimed “un-carrier” more than 4 million new customers as well as its retail stores and about 30 percent of U.S. Cellular’s wireless spectrum. U.S. Cellular would hang on to 70 percent of its spectrum and towers and lease much of it back to T-Mobile, which was already leasing its infrastructure. T-Mobile says it plans to use the added spectrum to improve its service in rural areas, which constitute the bulk of U.S. Cellular’s footprint. Continue reading T-Mobile Plans to Buy Most of U.S. Cellular in $4.4 Billion Deal

Internet Regulation: FCC Votes to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to reinstate net neutrality rules on Thursday, returning to the Obama-era approach of establishing a level playing field for online platforms, regardless of size. The commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, the equivalent of a public utility, which means it can be regulated like power and water. However, the FCC qualified that while it would be treating the Internet as an essential service, it will exercise its authority “in a narrowly tailored fashion.” Continue reading Internet Regulation: FCC Votes to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

U.S. Braces for TikTok Ban After President Signs Bill into Law

Congress rapidly passed and President Biden signed into law a bill intended to sideline the short-form video service TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. The process played out over the course of a week — the result of the proposal being tied to a foreign aid package with support for Ukraine and Israel. The nation now readies for the aftermath of the new U.S. law, which gives ByteDance nine months to find a new, U.S.-approved owner. Absent that, the app will essentially be banned from app stores and ISPs, which will face fines for distributing or supporting the social platform. Continue reading U.S. Braces for TikTok Ban After President Signs Bill into Law

Federal Policy Specifies Guidelines for Risk Management of AI

The White House is implementing a new AI policy across the federal government that will be implemented by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Vice President Kamala Harris announced the new rules, which require that all federal agencies have a senior leader overseeing AI systems use, in an effort to ensure that AI deployed in public service remains safe and unbiased. The move was positioned as making good on “a core component” of President Biden’s AI Executive Order (EO), issued in October. Federal agencies reported completing the 150-day actions tasked by the EO. Continue reading Federal Policy Specifies Guidelines for Risk Management of AI

UN Adopts Global AI Resolution Backed by U.S., 122 Others

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a U.S.-led resolution to promote “safe, secure and trustworthy” artificial intelligence systems and their sustainable development for the benefit of all. The non-binding proposal, which was adopted without a formal vote, drew support from more than 122 co-sponsors, including China and India. It emphasizes “the respect, protection and promotion of human rights in the design, development, deployment and use” of responsible and inclusive AI. “The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including throughout the life cycle of artificial intelligence systems,” the resolution affirms. Continue reading UN Adopts Global AI Resolution Backed by U.S., 122 Others

EU Lawmakers Pass AI Act, World’s First Major AI Regulation

The European Union has passed the Artificial Intelligence Act, becoming the first global entity to pass comprehensive law to regulate AI’s development and use. Member states agreed on the framework in December 2023, and it was adopted Wednesday by the European Parliament with 523 votes in favor, 46 against and 49 abstentions. The legislation establishes what are being called “sweeping rules” for those building AI as well as those who deploy it. The rules, which will take effect gradually, implement new risk assessments, ban AI uses deemed “high risk,” and mandate transparency requirements. Continue reading EU Lawmakers Pass AI Act, World’s First Major AI Regulation

Bitcoin Hits Record $69,000 High Following SEC Rule Change

After a tumultuous two-year slump, Bitcoin rebounded this week when it briefly reached a new all-time high exceeding $69,000, marking a more than 300 percent rise since November 2022 when the price was below $20,000. The prior record of just below $68,790 dates back to November 2021. The 2024 rally comes on the heels of regulatory action approving rules that make it simpler for individuals to invest in Bitcoin by allowing some large investment firms including BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale and Valkyrie to add it to their funds, making it easier for the average investor to choose it as a portfolio option. Continue reading Bitcoin Hits Record $69,000 High Following SEC Rule Change

Florida Pushes Forward a Social Media Ban for Kids Under 16

Florida’s legislature has passed a bill banning children younger than 16 from having social media accounts despite some pushback from Governor Ron DeSantis, who said he will be wrestling with whether to sign the measure into law. Due to a procedural requirement, DeSantis will have to sign or veto the proposed legislation before lawmakers conclude the current session in a matter of weeks. He has expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of a provision to let parents override the restriction, which would curtail access to the most popular sites, potentially impacting TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. Continue reading Florida Pushes Forward a Social Media Ban for Kids Under 16

OpenAI Partners with Common Sense Media on AI Guidelines

As parents and educators grapple with figuring out how AI will fit into education, OpenAI is preemptively acting to help answer that question, teaming with learning and child safety group Common Sense Media on informational material and recommended guidelines. The two will also work together to curate “family-friendly GPTs” for the GPT Store that are “based on Common Sense ratings and standards,” the organization said. The partnership aims “to help realize the full potential of AI for teens and families and minimize the risks,” according to Common Sense. Continue reading OpenAI Partners with Common Sense Media on AI Guidelines

CES: Panelists Weigh Need for Safe AI That Serves the Public

A CES session on government AI policy featured an address by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson (who is also administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration), followed by a discussion of government activities, and finally industry perspective from execs at Google, Microsoft and Xperi. Davidson studied at MIT under nuclear scientist Professor Philip Morrison, who spent the first part of his career developing the atomic bomb and the second half trying to stop its use. That lesson was not lost on Davidson. At NTIA they are working to ensure “that new technologies are developed and deployed in the service of people and in the service of human progress.” Continue reading CES: Panelists Weigh Need for Safe AI That Serves the Public