single distill image banner

Regulating Big Tech #15

  • Senators and encryption
  • India’s COVID app
  • Barr and anti-trust
  • Amazon’s failures
Published every Friday

The Globe and Mail ($)

Opinion: Heritage Minister raises possibility of link tax for internet companies

The government’s support for new internet taxes should not come as a surprise.

Read more


Many Indian citizens believe their government is trying to steal and sell their data. Here’s why

When India launched its coronavirus tracing app Aarogya Setu in April, it came with a mandatory download order for public sector workers.

Read more

Editor’s Note:

Many different countries are now rolling out their own versions of a coronavirus tracking app. Here Priyali Sur reports on the situation in India and the particular use of Bluetooth and GPS data.


Senators Launch Full On Nuclear War Against Encryption: Bill Will Require Broken Encryption, Putting Everyone At Risk

Another day, another bad bill. Just as we’re coming to terms with the EARN IT Act moving forward in Congress, three Senators — Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and Marsha Blackburn — have announced a direct attack on encryption. The full bill is here. It’s 51 pages of insanity that would effectively destroy privacy and security on the internet. This is five-alarm fire bad.

Read more


Business Considerations for Complying With the Final CCPA Regulation

Faced with the uncertain timeline of the California Consumer Privacy Act, businesses subject to the CCPA must determine how quickly to drive compliance with the final CCPA regulations.

Read more


Big Tech Is Using the Pandemic to Push Dangerous New Forms of Surveillance

For more than two decades, the ankle shackle has remained the standard electronic monitoring (EM) device. While cellphones, tablets, smartwatches and laptop computers evolved, the black plastic band remained — bulging out under socks and scraping the skin off criminalized legs. Even at this stage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many of these devices require a landline phone to function. They retain ancestral ties to the analog age.

Read more

New York Times

Barr’s Interest in Google Antitrust Case Keeps It Moving Swiftly

WASHINGTON — For months, lawyers at the Justice Department have been marshaling their forces for a possible antitrust lawsuit against Google, spurred on by the personal interest of Attorney General William P. Barr.

Read more

Editor’s Note:

Anti-trust proceedings against tech giants have been looming for a while. Here the NYT looks at the state of play in the US against Google, including the role of the attorney general.


Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers

Facebook is “aiding and abetting the spread of climate misinformation,” said Robert Brulle, an environmental sociologist at Drexel University. “They have become the vehicle for climate misinformation, and thus should be held partially responsible for a lack of action on climate change.”

Read more


Transfer pricing regulation and tax competition

To address the issue of tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, governments impose transfer-pricing rules to control transfer-price manipulation. Using a theoretical framework allowing for the possibility of profit shifting, this column explores the interplay between transfer-pricing regulations and tax competition. It finds that the nature of tax competition can depend on the tightness of transfer-pricing regulation, and a tax-haven country does not always prefer lax transfer-pricing regulation. Thus, the incentives of the host and FDI source country can be aligned to set up global regulatory standards for transfer pricing.

Read more


Commission uncertain on future UK data adequacy agreement

The European Commission has said that it “cannot predict” whether the UK will be fit for a data transfer adequacy agreement with the EU as part of ongoing negotiations on a future trade deal between the two parties.

Read more

Editor’s Note:

One of the many ties between the UK and the EU has been their data. Here Euractiv looks at what is to become of those ties as Britain exits the bloc.

The Markup

Amazon’s Enforcement Failures Leave Open a Back Door to Banned Goods—Some Sold and Shipped by Amazon Itself

The online giant bans products related to drugs, spying and weapons, but we found plenty for sale; one of the items bought on the site left a grim trail of overdoses

Read more