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Paul Merrell

Cyberstalking, pig masks, and cockroaches: Former eBay execs are sentenced - 0 views

  • The former Senior Director of Safety & Security at eBay, and the company’s former Director of Global Resiliency, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a cyberstalking campaign. The targets of the campaign were the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.
  • For those that missed the reason for these sentences, we’ll need a quick rewind to 2019. Many see this letter by a hedge fund demanding better results from eBay as a direct cause for what followed. The letter caused some stress among eBay management, and for some reason they saw the negative reviews by EcommerceBytes as an obstacle that was holding their desired success back. EcommerceBytes was and is a resource for sellers on a number of platforms that enable users to sell items online. The website was set up by a couple that were both e-commerce bloggers. The eBay management team at the time was very unhappy with the criticism it got on the site. A third victim of their attention was the handler of a Twitter account named Fidomaster.
  • It was not that EcommerceBytes focused on ebay. Lots of similar companies featured in its e-commerce newsletter. Only the eBay employees felt the need to act and tried to silence them. A campaign was launched by eBay’s staff to harass and threaten the critics. This campaign featured packages being sent containing cockroaches, a bloody pig mask and pornography, death threats, physical surveillance, and late-night pizza deliveries. A full recount of what they had to go through makes for a gruesome read.
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  • Together with five other employees, the two staff members and the chief communications officer were fired in 2020, after eBay hired a law firm to investigate the harassment. The US Department of Justice charged seven of the former ebay employees and contractors with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. They all pleaded guilty. The only two that were arrested at the time were the executives that have now been sentenced. One of their former co-conspirators was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison, while four others are awaiting sentencing.
  • The former senior director of safety and security was sentenced to 57 months in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. The former director of global resiliency was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.
Paul Merrell

Meta reaches $37.5 mln settlement of Facebook location tracking lawsuit | Reuters - 1 views

  • Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) reached a $37.5 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing the parent of Facebook of violating users' privacy by tracking their movements through their smartphones without permission.A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed on Monday in San Francisco federal court, and requires a judge's approval.It resolved claims that Facebook violated California law and its own privacy policy by gathering data from users who turned off Location Services on their mobile devices.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterAdvertisement · Scroll to continueThe users said that while they did not want to share their locations with Facebook, the company nevertheless inferred where they were from their IP (internet protocol) addresses, and used that information to send them targeted advertising.Monday's settlement covers people in the United States who used Facebook after Jan. 30, 2015.Meta denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. It did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.Advertisement · Scroll to continueIn June 2018, Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told the U.S. Congress that the Menlo Park, California-based company uses location data "to help advertisers reach people in particular areas."As an example, it said users who dined at particular restaurants might receive posts from friends who also ate there, or ads from businesses that wanted to provide services nearby.The lawsuit began in November 2018. lawyers for the plaintiffs may seek up to 30% of Monday's settlement for legal fees, settlement papers show.Advertisement · Scroll to continueThe cases is Lundy et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-06793.
Paul Merrell

Google, Amazon Face Shareholder Revolt Over Israeli Defense Work - 3 views

  • Google and Amazon are both set to help build “Project Nimbus,” a mammoth new cloud computing project for the Israeli government and military that is spurring intense dissent among employees and the public alike. Shareholders of both firms will soon vote on resolutions that would mandate reconsideration of a project they fear has grave human rights consequences. Little is known of the plan, reportedly worth over $1 billion, beyond the fact that it would consolidate the Israeli government’s public sector cloud computing needs onto servers housed within the country’s borders and subject solely to Israeli law, rather than remote data centers distributed around the world. Part of the plan’s promise is that it would insulate Israel’s computing needs from threats of international boycotts, sanctions, or other political pressures stemming from the ongoing military occupation of Palestine; according to a Times of Israel report, the terms of the Project Nimbus contract prohibit both companies from shutting off service to the government, or from selectively excluding certain government offices from using the new domestic cloud.
  • While a wide variety of government ministries will make use of the new computing power and data storage, the fact that Google and Amazon may be directly bolstering the capabilities of the Israeli military and internal security services has generated alarm from both human rights observers and company engineers. In October 2021, The Guardian published a letter from a group of anonymous Google and Amazon employees objecting to their company’s participation. “This technology allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land,” the letter read. “We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court.” In March, an American Google employee who had helped organize the employee opposition to Nimbus said the company abruptly told her she could either move to Brazil or lose her job, a move she said was retaliation for her stance. Nimbus will now face a referendum of sorts among Google and Amazon shareholders, who next month will vote on a pair of resolutions that call for company-funded reviews of their participation in that project and others that might harm human rights.
Paul Merrell

Big Tech companies appeal to Supreme Court to strike down Texas law banning political censorship - LifeSite - 0 views

  • Facebook and Google are among multiple Big Tech companies seeking to have Texas’ new law banning political censorship on social media axed by the Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, advocacy groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday on behalf of Facebook, Google and other Big Tech companies, with the intention of striking down the new Texas law that prohibits censorship based on political ideology on social media. In a statement about the emergency filing, NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese argues that the Texas law, which went into effect last Wednesday, “strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”
  • “Left standing, [the Texas law] will turn the First Amendment on its head — to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it,” Marchese added. Under the law, Texas residents and the state’s attorney general would be permitted to sue social media companies based in the United States if they believe their social media accounts were censored based on their political views. While the law was initially blocked by a federal district judge after it was signed last September by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, the injunction was ultimately lifted by an appeals court last Wednesday. Big Tech companies have been consistently charged with weaponizing their “Terms of Service” agreements with users in an effort to ban or censor those expressing traditionally conservative or right-wing views on their extremely large and influential platforms.
Paul Merrell

China's quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages - 2 views

  • In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also known as Mozi, Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite and has, for several years, been at the forefront of quantum encryption. Scientists have now reported using this technology to reach a major milestone: long-range secure communication you could trust even without trusting the satellite it runs through. Launched in 2016, Micius has already produced a number of breakthroughs under its operating team led by Pan Jian-Wei, China’s “Father of Quantum”. The satellite serves as the source of pairs of entangled photons, twinned light particles whose properties remain intertwined no matter how far apart they are. If you manipulate one of the photons, the other will be similarly affected at the very same moment.
  • It is this property that lies in the heart of the most secure forms of quantum cryptography, the entanglement-based quantum key distribution. If you use one of the entangled particles to create a key for encoding messages, only the person with the other particle can decode them.
  • Secure long-distance links such as this one will be the foundation of the quantum internet, the future global network with added security powered by laws of quantum mechanics, unmatched by classical cryptographic methods. The launch of Micius and the records set by the scientists and engineers building quantum communication systems with its help have been compared to the effect Sputnik had on the space race in the 20th century. In a similar way, the quantum race has political and military implications that are hard to ignore.
Paul Merrell

Senate to mark up antitrust bills targeting Apple, Google and Amazon - 1 views

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to deliberate on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which some experts consider to have the most realistic chance of becoming law out of broad slate of reforms, while creating major change in the industry. The committee schedule also lists a markup of the Open App Markets Act, another bipartisan competition bill.Both bills would prevent certain dominant tech platforms from favoring their own products or services over others that rely on their marketplaces to do business. But the Open App Markets Act’s impact would primarily be limited to those that run app stores, like Apple and Google, while the American Innovation and Choice Online Act would be more expansive, potentially preventing a company like Amazon from giving its own private label products a better ranking in its search than a third-party competitor.Apple and Google could similarly be barred from unfairly ranking their own apps above competitors’ in their mobile app stores, and for Google, the same principle would apply to its general search engine as well
Paul Merrell

Google and Facebook fined $240 million for making cookies hard to refuse | Malwarebytes Labs - 0 views

  • French privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has hit Google with a 150 million euro fine and Facebook with a 60 million euro fine, because their websites—google.fr, youtube.com, and facebook.com—don’t make refusing cookies as easy as accepting them. The CNIL carried out an online investigation after receiving complaints from users about the way cookies were handled on these sites. It found that while the sites offered buttons for allowing immediate acceptance of cookies, the sites didn’t implement an equivalent solution to let users refuse them. Several clicks were required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them. In addition to the fines, the companies have been given three months to provide Internet users in France with a way to refuse cookies that’s as simple as accepting them. If they don’t, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros for each day they delay.
  • EU data protection regulators’ powers have increased significantly since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018. This EU law allows watchdogs to levy penalties of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global sales. The restricted committee, the body in charge of sanctions, considered that the process regarding cookies affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitutes an infringement of the French Data Protection Act, which demands that it should be as easy to refuse cookies as to accept them. Since March 31, 2021, when the deadline set for websites and mobile applications to comply with the new rules on cookies expired, the CNIL has adopted nearly 100 corrective measures (orders and sanctions) related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.
Paul Merrell

Russian court slaps Google, Meta with massive fines - Taipei Times - 1 views

  • A Moscow court on Friday slapped Google with a nearly US$100 million fine and also fined Facebook Inc’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc US$27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law, as Russia seeks to step up pressure on technology giants. The Tagansky District Court ruled that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content, and ordered the company to pay an administrative fine of 7.2 billion rubles (US$97.7 million).
  • Later on Friday, the court also slapped a fine of nearly 2 billion rubles on Meta for failure to remove banned content. Russian courts had this year imposed smaller fines on Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc, and Friday’s rulings were the first time that the size of the fines were calculated based on revenue. Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that Google and Meta were specifically accused of contravening a ban on distributing content that promotes extremist ideology, insults religious beliefs and encourages dangerous behavior by minors, among other things.
Paul Merrell

Google fined €500m by French competition authority - BBC News - 1 views

  • Google has been hit with a €500m (£427m) fine by France's competition authority for failing to negotiate "in good faith" with news organisations over the use of their content.The authority accused Google of not taking an order to do so seriously.Google told the BBC the decision "ignores our efforts to reach an agreement".The fine is the latest skirmish in a global copyright battle between tech firms and news organisations.Last year, the French competition authority ordered that Google must negotiate deals with news organisations to show extracts of articles in search results, news and other services.Google was fined because, in the authority's view, it failed to do this. In 2019, France became the first EU country to put a new Digital Copyright Directive into law. The law governed so-called "neighbouring rights" which are designed to compensate publishers and news agencies for the use of their material.As a result, Google decided it would not show content from EU publishers in France, on services like search and news, unless publishers agreed to let them do so free of charge.News organisations felt this was an abuse of Google's market power, and two organisations representing press publishers and Agence France-Presse (AFP) complained to the competition authority.
Paul Merrell

Google Sued By 36 States, DC Over Alleged Antitrust Violations | ZeroHedge - 0 views

  • Google on Wednesday was hit by a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys over alleged violation of antitrust laws by its Android app store.
  • Attorneys general for 36 states and the District of Columbia sued the Big Tech company in a 144-page complaint filed in a Northern California federal court. The group alleges that Google’s Play store for Android apps violates antitrust laws.The complaint centers on the control Google is able to exert on its Play store, allowing it to collect commissions of up to 30 percent on digital transactions within apps installed on Android-powered smartphones. Those devices represent more than 80 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.Led by Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska, it marks the fourth major antitrust lawsuit filed by U.S. government agencies against the company since October 2020.Other lawsuits filed against Google include a complaint filed by a bipartisan coalition of states, and one filed by the Department of Justice. It echoes allegations made against the company by mobile game maker Epic Games in August 2020. That case is awaiting trial.The complaint contends that Google has deployed various tactics and set up anticompetitive barriers to ensure it distributes more than 90 percent of the apps on Android devices—a market share that the attorneys general argue represents an illegal monopoly. It also alleges Google has been abusing that power to reap billions of dollars in profit at the expense of consumers, who wind up paying higher prices to subsidize the commissions, and the makers of apps who have less money and incentive to innovate.
Paul Merrell

Ohio's attorney general wants Google to be declared a public utility. - The New York Times - 2 views

  • Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in pursuit of a novel effort to have Google declared a public utility and subject to government regulation.The lawsuit, which was filed in a Delaware County, Ohio court, seeks to use a law that’s over a century old to regulate Google by applying a legal designation historically used for railroads, electricity and the telephone to the search engine.“When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Mr. Yost, a Republican, said in a statement. He added that Ohio was the first state to bring such a lawsuit against Google.If Google were declared a so-called common carrier like a utility company, it would prevent the company from prioritizing its own products, services and websites in search results.AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyGoogle said it had none of the attributes of a common carrier that usually provide a standardized service for a fee using public assets, such as rights of way.The “lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers,” José Castañeda, a Google spokesman, said in a statement. “Ohioans simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we’ll defend ourselves against it in court.”Though the Ohio lawsuit is a stretch, there is a long history of government control of certain kinds of companies, said Andrew Schwartzman, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. “Think of ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ Travelers needed a place to stay and eat on long road treks, and innkeepers were not allowed to deny them accommodations or rip them off,” he said.
  • After a series of federal lawsuits filed against Google last year, Ohio’s lawsuit is part of a next wave of state actions aimed at regulating and curtailing the power of Big Tech. Also on Tuesday, Colorado’s legislature passed a data privacy law that would allow consumers to opt out of data collection.On Monday, New York’s Senate passed antitrust legislation that would make it easier for plaintiffs to sue dominant platforms for abuse of power. After years of inaction in Congress with tech legislation, states are beginning to fill the regulatory vacuum.Editors’ PicksThe Abandoned Houses of Instagram21 Easy Summer Dinners You’ll Cook (or Throw Together) on Repeat‘King Richard’ Finds Fresh Drama in WatergateAdvertisementContinue reading the main storyAdvertisementContinue reading the main storyOhio was also one of 38 states that filed an antitrust lawsuit in December accusing Google of being a monopoly and using its dominant position in internet search to squeeze out smaller rivals.
Paul Merrell

House Committee Passes 'Big Tech' Antitrust Package Despite Lobbying Onslaught | ZeroHedge - 1 views

  • As the DoJ and FTC pursue civil antitrust litigation against some of America's largest tech firms, a House Committee has approved legislation to curb the market dominance of many of these same firms, including Google-owner Alphabet and Facebook. However, according to a report from WSJ, the tech firms targeted by the legislation are ramping up their lobbying efforts, precipitating a pitched battle over the legislation in the Senate.At the core of the six-bill raft of legislation is a measure to bar big tech firms from favoring their own products on their platforms. It was approved by the House committee early Thursday by a vote of 24 to 20.The NYT reported that Apple and other tech giants engaged in aggressive lobbying against the six-bill package, with Apple CEO Tim Cook going so far as to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top lawmakers to warn them against supporting the legislation. Per the NYT, the calls from Cook were "part of a forceful and wide-ranging pushback by the tech industry since the proposals were announced this month. Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen think tanks and advocacy groups paid by tech companies have swarmed Capitol offices, called and emailed lawmakers and their staff members, and written letters arguing there will be dire consequences for the industry and the country if the ideas become law."
  • Mirroring the outcome of several EU anti-trust investigations, the legislation, known as the "American Choice and Innovation Online Act," the legislation would prohibit the owners of big platforms (like Amazon's online marketplace) from creating disadvantages for goods and services provided by competitors.
Paul Merrell

Facebook agrees to $650M settlement to end Illinois privacy lawsuit | AppleInsider - 0 views

  • A judge has approved a settlement valued at $650 million from Facebook to end a privacy lawsuit, one which alleged the social network used facial recognition technology on user photos stored on its iPhone app without permission. The lawsuit, which started in April 2015, alleged Facebook did not gain consent from users to use its facial tagging features on their photographs. Originally filed by Chicago attorney Jay Edelson on behalf of plaintiff Carlo Licata, the complaint claimed the consent-less tagging was not allowed under privacy laws in Illinois. The case originated in Cook County Circuit Court before moving to Chicago federal court then California, reports the Chicago Tribune. On reaching California, the lawsuit attained class-action status. The class in question constitutes approximately 6.9 million Facebook users in Illinois that Facebook created and stored a face template for after June 7, 2011. Close to 1.6 million claim forms were filed ahead of the November 23 deadline for joining, making up roughly 22% of potential class members. Facebook went against the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, the complaint alleged, which is among the toughest privacy laws in the United States. Part of the act requires companies to gain permission from users before being able to start using biometric systems with their data, which includes facial recognition systems.
Paul Merrell

KBR v. SFO: the United Kingdom's Microsoft Ireland? - 0 views

  • On Feb. 5, 2021, the United Kingdom (U.K.) Supreme Court issued its judgment in R (on the application of KBR, Inc) v. Director of the Serious Fraud Office, holding that the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) lacked statutory authority to compel a U.S. company to disclose overseas data under threat of criminal sanction.  This judgment has obvious similarities with the so-called Microsoft Ireland decision of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that using U.S. Stored Communication Act (SCA) warrants to reach overseas data was an impermissible extraterritorial application of that legislation.  Microsoft Ireland was viewed by many as hugely controversial, hindering U.S. law enforcement’s access to overseas data, leading to a Supreme Court appeal and, ultimately, legislative amendments.  This new U.K. judgment promises to have an equally significant impact across the Atlantic on equivalent U.K. law enforcement powers.
Paul Merrell

Facebook to invest $1bn in news business after Australia dispute | Media News | Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • Facebook Inc on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1bn in the news industry over the next three years, days after a high-profile standoff with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content. The social network’s commitment to the news industry follows Google’s $1bn investment last year, as technology giants come under scrutiny over their business models as well as the proliferation of misinformation on their platforms.
  • Facebook on Tuesday restored Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented weeklong blackout after the company wrung concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content. The brief blackout shocked the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the tech giants.
  • Facebook said on Wednesday that it has already invested $600m in the news industry since 2018. The social media company added it was in active negotiations with news publishers in Germany and France for a deal to pay for content for its news product, where users can find headlines and stories next to a personalised news feed.
Paul Merrell

How Silicon Valley, in a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler - Glenn Greenwald - 1 views

  • As Silicon Valley censorship radically escalated over the past several months — banning pre-election reporting by The New York Post about the Biden family, denouncing and deleting multiple posts from the U.S. President and then terminating his access altogether, mass-removal of right-wing accounts — so many people migrated to Parler that it was catapulted to the number one spot on the list of most-downloaded apps on the Apple Play Store, the sole and exclusive means which iPhone users have to download apps. “Overall, the app was the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs,” reported TechCrunch.It looked as if Parler had proven critics of Silicon Valley monopolistic power wrong. Their success showed that it was possible after all to create a new social media platform to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And they did so by doing exactly what Silicon Valley defenders long insisted should be done: if you don’t like the rules imposed by tech giants, go create your own platform with different rules.
  • But today, if you want to download, sign up for, or use Parler, you will be unable to do so. That is because three Silicon Valley monopolies — Amazon, Google and Apple — abruptly united to remove Parler from the internet, exactly at the moment when it became the most-downloaded app in the country. If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of antitrust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.
Paul Merrell

Several U.S. tech firms launch coalition to promote key internet law | Reuters - 0 views

  • everal technology companies including Snap Inc, Pinterest, Dropbox and eBay announced a coalition on Tuesday that would advocate the benefits of Section 230, a decades-old law protecting internet firms.Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects tech companies from liability over content posted by users, and has been under attack from U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers. They have criticized internet platforms’ content moderation decisions and accused them of stifling conservative voices.
  • Trump said earlier this month that he would veto the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act unless it includes a measure eliminating the law.
  • The coalition, Internet Works, said on Tuesday it aims to ensure that policymakers understand “the potential unintended consequences of blunt changes to the law”, including limiting effective content moderation efforts."This coalition brings new voices and diverse perspectives to Washington's current Section 230 debate, which too often focuses on the largest internet platforms," it said here.
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  • The coalition also includes GoDaddy Inc, Tripadvisor and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Paul Merrell

EU unveils landmark law curbing power of tech giants | News | DW | 15.12.2020 - 0 views

  • The European Union unveiled landmark legislation on Tuesday that lays out strict rules for tech giants to do business in the bloc. The draft legislation, dubbed the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), outlines specific regulations that seek to limit the power of global internet firms on the European market. Companies including Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and others could face hefty penalties for violating the rules. EU antitrust czar Margrethe Vestager and EU digital chief Thierry Breton presented the draft on Tuesday, after the content of the new rules was leaked to the media on Monday.
  • What's in the draft laws? The dual legislation sets out a list of do's, don'ts and penalties for internet giants: Companies with over 45 million EU users would be designated as digital "gatekeepers" — making them subject to stricter regulations. Firms could be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover for violating competition rules. The could also be required to sell one of their businesses or parts of it (including rights or brands). Platforms that refuse to comply and "endanger people's life and safety" could have their service temporarily suspended "as a last resort." Companies would need to inform the EU ahead of any planned mergers or acquisitions. Certain kinds of data must be shared with regulators and rivals. Companies favoring their own services could be outlawed. Platforms would be more responsible for illegal, disturbing or misleading content.
  • Following the announcement on Tuesday, US internet giant Google criticized the draft legislation, saying it appeared to target specific firms.  "We will carefully study the proposals made by the European Commission over the next few days. However, we are concerned that they seem to specifically target a handful of companies," said Karan Bhatia, the vice president of government affairs and public affairs at Google. Facebook appeared to offer a more conciliatory tone, saying the legislation was "on the right track."
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  • The draft still faces a long ratification process, including feedback from the EU's 27 member states and the European Parliament. Company lobbyists and trade associations will also influence the final law. The process is expected to take several months or even a year.
Paul Merrell

Keller Lenkner & Quinn Emanuel File Antitrust Class-Action Lawsuit Against Facebook - 1 views

  • National plaintiffs’ law firm Keller Lenkner LLC and global business litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. alleging violations of federal antitrust laws and California law on behalf of Facebook users.ADVERTISEMENTFiled in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the complaint alleges that Facebook obtained and maintained a social network and social media monopoly by consistently deceiving consumers about the data-privacy protections it provided to users, and by exploiting the data it extracted from users to target smaller startup companies for destruction or acquisition.The lawsuit seeks to put an end to Facebook’s misrepresentations about its privacy practices and its anticompetitive acquisition conduct; to require Facebook to engage in third-party auditing of its conduct; and to require Facebook to divest assets, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, that entrench its market power.
  • According to the complaint, which was filed on behalf of named plaintiffs Sarah Grabert and Maximilian Klein, Facebook did not achieve its Big Tech monopoly through innovation or vigorous competition. Despite its public pledge to protect user privacy, Facebook lied to users and violated their trust in a scheme to build a technology empire. Facebook also acquired technology from smaller firms that it used to track consumer activity across the internet so that it could identify and target competitors.ADVERTISEMENTThe complaint further alleges that in a strategic, intentional ploy for market domination, Facebook engaged in its scheme to destroy all competition without a care for the ultimate harm it would inflict on consumers. By the time Facebook’s deception about its lackluster privacy protections became public knowledge, Facebook had already achieved dominance, making it difficult for any firm to challenge its social media and social network monopoly.
  • The complaint notes that Facebook derives enormous economic value from the data it harvests from consumers on its platform. In fact, Facebook itself has described how it generates massive earnings per user from the data it collects. The complaint details how Facebook’s destruction of competition has caused consumers substantial economic injury. Consumers who sign up for Facebook agree to give up their valuable data and attention in exchange for using Facebook’s platform. That information and attention is then sold in measurable units to advertisers in exchange for money. The complaint alleges that consumers were harmed by Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct, as they did not receive the benefit of their bargain with Facebook.The lawsuit includes claims for violations of federal antitrust laws and California common law. It also seeks an order enjoining Facebook from continuing to engage in the alleged wrongful acts, requiring Facebook to engage third-party auditors to evaluate and correct problems with Facebook’s conduct, and requiring Facebook to divest assets like Instagram and WhatsApp. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages, restitution and/or disgorgement of Facebook’s wrongful gains, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Paul Merrell

Canadians sue Facebook over use of personal info | Toronto.com - 1 views

  • Two Facebook users are seeking damages on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose personal data may have been improperly used for political purposes. The proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Calgary residents Saul Benary and Karma Holoboff asks the Federal Court to order the social-media giant to bolster its security practices to better protect sensitive information and comply with federal privacy law. It also seeks $1,000 for each of the approximately 622,000 Canadians whose information was shared with others through a digital app.
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