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Paul Merrell

Facebook to pay $5bn fine as regulator settles Cambridge Analytica complaint | Technology | The Guardian - 0 views

  • Facebook will pay a record $5bn (£4bn) penalty in the US for “deceiving” users about their ability to keep personal information private, after a year-long investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data breach. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US consumer regulator, also announced a lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica and proposed settlements with the data analysis firm’s former chief executive Alexander Nix and its app developer Aleksandr Kogan. The $5bn fine for Facebook dwarfs the previous record for the largest fine handed down by the FTC for violation of consumers’ privacy, which was a $275m penalty for consumer credit agency Equifax.
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

Google Caves to Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service, Agrees to Pay Fine - nsnbc international | nsnbc international - 0 views

  • Google ultimately caved to Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service, agreeing to pay $7.8 million (438 million rubles) for violating antitrust laws. The corporate Colossus will also pay two other fines totaling an additional $18,000 (1 million rubles) for failing to comply with past orders issued by state regulators. Last year Google caved to similar demands by the European Union.
  • In August 2016 Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service responded to a complaint by Russian search engine operator Yandex and fined the U.S.-based Google 438 million rubles for abusing its dominant market position to force manufacturers to make Google applications the default services on devices using Android. Regulators set the fine at 9 percent of Google’s reported profits on the Russian market in 2014, plus inflation. Similar to the case against the European Union Google challenged the penalty in several appellate courts before finally agreeing this week to meet the government’s demands. The corporation also agreed to stop requiring manufacturers to install Google services as the default applications on Android-powered devices. The agreement is valid for six years and nine months, Russia’s Antimonopoly Service reported. Last year Google, after a protracted battle, caved to similar antitrust penaltys by the European Union, but the internet giant has also come under fire elsewhere. In 2015 Australian treasurer Joe Hockey implied Google in his list of corporate tax thieves. In January 2016 British lawmakers decided to fry Google over tax evasion. Google and taxes were compared to the Bermuda Triangle. One year ago the dispute between the European Union’s competition watchdog and Google, culminated in the European Commission formally charging Google with abusing the dominant position of its Android mobile phone operating system, having launched an investigation in April 2015.
Paul Merrell

Comcast hit with FCC's biggest cable fine ever - Oct. 11, 2016 - 0 views

  • Comcast is being forced to pay the largest fine the FCC has ever levied against a cable operator. Its offense: Charging customers for services and equipment they didn't ask for. The company agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty and to submit to a "compliance plan," in which regulators will monitor Comcast for the next five years to ensure it cleans up its act.
  • The FCC said it received over 1,000 complaints from customers, who said Comcast charged them for premium channels, cable boxes, DVRs or other products that they never ordered. In many cases, the FCC said, customers expressly told Comcast that they didn't want the add-on options, but they were charged anyway. Complaints also describe how customers spent "significant time and energy to attempt to remove the unauthorized charges" and get refunds, the commission said. The complaints spurred the FCC to launch an investigation nearly two years ago. Today's settlement marks the conclusion of the probe. Under the five-year compliance plan, Comcast must begin sending customers special notifications every time a new charge or service is added to their bill. The company also has to add a way for customers to easily "block the addition of new services or equipment to their accounts," according to an FCC press release.
  • Comcast (CMCSA) will also be required to compensate or address complaints from customers who have disputed charges, and it will be barred from referring an account to collections or suspending an account that has a disputed charge. Comcast agreed to the fine without admitting any guilt.
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