Further Reading (5 May)

  • Australia Is Going To Make Facebook And Google Pay For The Journalism They Use” – BuzzFeed News and “French publishers win decisive battle against Google” – Politico EU. Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg explained in an op-ed that because Facebook and Google have not come to an agreement with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in “facilitat[ing] the development of a voluntary code of conduct governing the relationships between digital platforms and media businesses, the goal of which was to protect consumers, improve transparency and address the power imbalance between the parties.” Frydenberg is threatening to put in place a system under which the Australian government would force these companies to pay journalism outlets for using their content. The Australian government could release a mandatory code by July followed by legislation. France’s Autorité de la Concurrence has ordered Google to negotiate
  • Amazon used data from its sellers to create competing products: report” – The Hill. According to 20 former Amazon employees, the company is using data on products third parties sell on its platform to develop competing products contrary to the company’s frequent claims. These claims will surely be scrutinized by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and the House Judiciary Committee, all of which are already investigating the company.
  • Vietnam says accusations it hacked China for virus information ‘baseless’” – Reuters; “Vietnam alleged to have hacked Chinese organisations in charge of COVID-19 response” – The Register; “COVID-19 prompts Vietnam hackers to hit China health officials for info, say researchers” – CNET; and “Vietnam denies hacking Chinese organisations for coronavirus information” – South China Morning Post.Cybersecurity company, FireEye, released a report claiming in January Vietnam’s APT32 started trying to hack into the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Emergency Management and the government of Wuhan province looking for information on how the COVID-19 pandemic started. To no great surprise, Vietnam denied the reports.
  • Investors Bet Giant Companies Will Dominate After Crisis” – The New York Times. The COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate and accelerate the growth and dominance of companies like Amazon and Apple. It may also result in more focus in Congress on antitrust and anti-competitive issues.
  • Exam anxiety: how remote test-proctoring is creeping students out” – The Verge. The online proctor business has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic as universities and colleges are turning to these services to police the taking of exams by students. However, it is not clear these companies have the privacy, cybersecurity, and technological policies in place to allay fears among students and some educators.
  • A Scramble for Virus Apps That Do No Harm” – The New York Times. Governments around the world are pushing into use a range of different smartphone apps to track people with COVID-19 and with whom they may have interacted. However, a number of problems remain, including privacy, cybersecurity, whether governments should be allowed to access Bluetooth, location data, and people’s contacts. It is also proving a problem that in many place people are mostly not downloading the app. For example, Norway is on the high side of adoption at 30% of the population, a level that is far short of what is needed according to most conceptions of how this technology would ideally work. Some governments are looking at apps as part of their response.
  • Europe’s Privacy Law Hasn’t Shown Its Teeth, Frustrating Advocates” – The New York Times. There are many critics of the General Data Protection Regulation, arguing the nearly two-year data processing regime has largely been a failure. The reasons for these perceived shortcomings include enforcement is fractured among the European Union’s member nation’s data protection authorities (DPA), the relatively small budgets of these agencies, the years of appeals of decisions, the complexity of the issues posed by the cases, the number of complaints, and the over-sized role of Ireland’s DPA given that most tech giants have their European headquarters there. However, a number of ruling are expected this summer that may change views on the efficacy of the law.
  • Movie and TV Piracy Sees an ‘Unprecedented’ Spike During Quarantine” – VICE. As streaming services like Netflix are seeing surges in usage with significant parts of the world under various orders keeping people home, to no great surprise, illegal viewing has also exploded. However, the increase in the latter activities has jumped between 30-50% depending on the nation.

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