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Regulating Big Tech #23

  • The Epic Games battle
  • Israel spyware giant
  • Egypt ‘morality’ prosecutions
  • E-commerce levies
Published every Friday


Can Epic Games actually take on Apple and Google? Experts weigh in

Fortnite developer Epic Games seems to have a way with breaking the rules. In the face of Fortnite’s success, companies have ended up changing long-standing policies — like Sony, which abandoned its fight against cross-platform play in 2018 after Epic Games forced the issue, eventually leading to cross-play in other games, too.

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New Yorker

What Can America Learn from Europe About Regulating Big Tech?

Last October, a couple of days before joining Stanford University as the international policy director at the Cyber Policy Center, Marietje Schaake, a former member of the European Parliament, spoke alongside Eric Schmidt, the ex-C.E.O. of Google, to a large audience of tech employees and academics. It was the keynote event at a conference hosted by the newly launched Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (H.A.I.), at which Schaake would also have a co-appointment. Beneath the scalloped panels of a blond wood ceiling, people sipped coffee and typed on laptops in the plush chairs of a new auditorium at the heart of campus.

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MIT Technology Review

Inside NSO, Israel’s billion-dollar spyware giant

Some of that evidence is contained in a lawsuit filed last October in California by WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook, alleging that Pegasus manipulated WhatsApp’s infrastructure to infect more than 1,400 cell phones. Investigators at Facebook found more than 100 human rights defenders, journalists, and public figures among the targets, according to court documents. Each call that was picked up, they discovered, sent malicious code through WhatsApp’s infrastructure and caused the recipient’s phone to download spyware from servers owned by NSO. This, WhatsApp argued, was a violation of American law.

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LA Times

Why Epic wants you fighting its #FreeFortnite war against Apple and Google

When Epic Games shook the worlds of tech and gaming last week by filing antitrust lawsuits against Apple and Google, the political undertones of its campaign to generate support for its legal action felt as obnoxious and trolling as the most egregious players of its hit game “Fortnite.”

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Ron Wyden thinks we’re going about TikTok and China policy all wrong

He agrees that TikTok is a potential threat but says the “Trump approach is totally ineffective.”

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OneZero (Medium)

The Man Who Rallied India Against Facebook Worries Digital Nationalism Has Gone Too Far

Six years before India shook the global internet by banning TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps, Nikhil Pahwa was trying to convince his country to care about tech policy. It was October 2014, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was selling India’s leaders and public on a vision of a free, Facebook-centric internet that would bring hundreds of millions of people online. Pahwa, the founding editor of the media and technology blog MediaNama, wasn’t buying it. “What Zuckerberg means by internet for all is essentially Facebook for all,” he warned.

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Human Rights Watch

Egypt: Spate of ‘Morality’ Prosecutions of Women

Egyptian authorities have since late April 2020 carried out an abusive campaign targeting female social media influencers on charges that violate their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and nondiscrimination, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Mobile Health Surveillance Is Here to Stay, So How Do We Protect Privacy?

You wait in line with nervous excitement — you’ve been home for months and finally you’re out and about with your friends once again.

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Financial Express

Decoding equalisation levy for e-commerce sector: E-retailers may pass cost burden to sellers, consumers

Since the Equalisation Levy could potentially infringe the residence country’s right to tax the non-resident e-commerce operator, it will become a hot topic to ascertain India’s jurisdiction.

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New York Times

How Kamala Harris Forged Close Ties With Big Tech

When Kamala Harris, then San Francisco’s district attorney, was running to become California’s attorney general in 2010, she did not hide her excitement about speaking at Google’s Silicon Valley campus.

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