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Regulating Big Tech #14

  • US vs. EU
  • Great Firewall and HK
  • Musicians’ fears
  • Email app vs. Apple
Published every Friday

Deutsche Welle

German COVID-19 alert app protects user data

Several countries have now long had apps that record contacts between people and make infection chains traceable. Germany has taken its time to produce one. But for good reason: Its app protects private data very well.

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France calls out US’ bully stance on taxing Big Tech

Paris: France and the US locked horns Thursday over taxing digital giants such as Google and Facebook, after Washington said it was breaking off talks aimed at establishing a global framework for making the companies pay larger levies where they operate.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Our EU Policy Principles: Interoperability

As the EU is gearing up for a major reform of key Internet regulation, we are introducing the principles that will guide our policy work surrounding the Digital Services Act. In this post, we take a closer look at what we mean when we talk about interoperability obligations, and at some of the principles that should guide interoperability measures to make sure they serve users, not corporations.

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Editor’s Note:

The Digital Services Act will aim to be a major move on regulating tech platforms the way that GDPR was for data. Here the advocacy organization EFF puts forward its thoughts about what the internet should look like.


China’s Great Firewall looms over Hong Kong as surveillance grows,

HONG KONG – Hong Kong, already grappling with tightened policing to rein in widespread protests that followed last year’s proposed extradition bill, is now bracing for the prospect of stricter digital controls – ones that would curtail free speech, communications and the ability to organize and turn the city of 7 million into a surveillance state that more closely resembles China.

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European Commission Launches Investigation Into the App Store and Apple Pay

The future is streaming and payment plans, and it is also a maelstrom of antitrust disputes. This is to say that the mutiny against Apple is making a little headway: the European Commission has announced two antitrust investigations into the iron rule of the App Store and Apple Pay.

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Proposed Wording in Music Modernization Act Worries Songwriting Advocates

The phrase “server fixation date and termination” might sound boring or gibberish to anyone other than an attorney or a tech reporter, but that term, from the U.S. Copyright Office’s April update on the Music Modernization Act, has become a potentially thorny issue among those hammering out rules for the new law, which takes effect in January.

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Editor’s Note:

Few industries have changed more radically than music over the last several decades. Here Geoff Mayfield really digs into the details of different parties, (record companies, musicians, tech companies) and worries over the Music Modernization Act as it gets ready to come into force.

Economic Times (Times of India)

Google tax: India’s tightrope walk in Covid-crippled times

Tax treaties and local regulations have witnessed substantial changes in recent times.

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Social Media Today

Facebook Rejects Australian Government’s Proposal to Make Facebook and Google Pay News Publishers

There’s a common political tactic in which a party or politician will propose an approach that takes aim a large, established enemy, in order to frame themselves as the white knight battling against evil, even if that policy will have little actual impact.

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Irish Examiner

African king takes defamation case against blogger based in Ireland

A West African king claims he has been defamed in a series of social media posts by an Irish-based blogger, the High Court has heard.

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Editor’s Note:

There has been a lot of talk lately about social networks taking or not taking down posts, though it also happens on a person to person level through the court system. Here is an interesting case from Ireland featuring the traditional ruler and spiritual leader of the Yoruba people.

Ars Technica

Why one email app went to war with Apple — and why neither one is right

Op-ed: As antitrust probes and WWDC loom, one developer sparks a firestorm.

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