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    EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 26 April - 13:29

EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images)

Brussels has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s new digital rules under his ownership, or risk hefty fines or even a ban, setting the stage for a global regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, told the Financial Times that Elon Musk must follow rules on moderating illegal and harmful content online after Twitter accepted the billionaire’s $44bn takeover offer.

Breton said: “We welcome everyone. We are open but on our conditions. At least we know what to tell him: ‘Elon, there are rules. You are welcome but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here.’”

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    Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules, in the interests of true competition

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 26 April - 11:25

Apple requires that competing mobile browsers distributed through the iOS App Store use its own WebKit rendering engine, which is the basis of its Safari browser. The result is that Chrome, Edge, and Firefox on iOS are all, more or less, Safari.

Apple's browser engine requirement has vexed web developers, who have been limited to using only the web APIs implemented in WebKit for their web apps. Many believe this barrier serves to steer developers toward native iOS app development, which Apple controls.

"The potential for a capable web has been all but extinguished on mobile because Apple has successfully prevented it until now," said Russell. "Businesses and services will be able to avoid building 'apps' entirely when enough users have capable browsers." "There's a long road between here and there," he said. "Apple has spent enormous amounts to lobby on this, and they aren't stupid. Everyone should expect them to continue to play games along the lines of what they tried in Denmark and South Korea."


#technology #browsers #apple #competition #EU

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    EU Reaches Agreement on Digital Services Act, Including New Takedown Rules / TorrentFreak · Monday, 25 April - 08:14 · 3 minutes

eu flag In recent years the European Commission has proposed and adopted various legislative changes to help combat online piracy.

This includes the Copyright Directive which passed in 2019 as well as the Digital Services Act (DSA), which was officially unveiled at the end of 2020 .

The new legislation was met with fierce criticism. Some believe that it will lead to more ‘dumb’ upload filters. At the same time, copyright holders believed that it didn’t go far enough, as there’s no ‘staydown’ requirement.

DSA Agreement

After the official adoption by the EU Parliament earlier this year, representatives of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission engaged in trialogue negotiations to flesh out the final details. On Saturday morning, after 16 hours of discussions, the parties reached an agreement.

At the time of writing the final text is yet to be published. It is clear, however, that the main goal is to keep large online platforms and services accountable to stop the spread of harmful, misleading, and illegal content.

“The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU. It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says .

The DSA is the official successor to the E-Commerce Directive. The new package aims to bring EU legislation into line with the current state of the digital age, which has changed dramatically over the past several years.

Takedown Transparency

The legislation includes new rules for big tech and also touches on some copyright issues. These set out how online services should handle takedown notices, without being held liable for user uploads.

In addition, it will allow “trusted flaggers” to get preferential treatment in the takedown process.

The DSA proposal also strengthens the rights of users with a strong focus on transparency. For example, if platforms or services work with trusted flaggers, the public has the right to know who these are.

Also, if a hosting provider removes content following a takedown notice, users should be informed on what grounds this action was taken, and how they can appeal. On top of that, platforms have to take measures to prevent abusive takedown notices.

According to the DSA drafters, this added transparency is required to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Big Tech

The new rules and requirements don’t apply equally to all online platforms and services. The DSA makes a distinction between intermediary services, hosting services, online platforms, and very large platforms. The strictest rules apply to the latter category, which includes “big tech” outfits with more than 45 million EU users.

For example, the DSA requires online platforms and big tech to properly verify the identities of third-party suppliers to tackle the sale and distribution of illegal content. This KYBC requirement does not apply to intermediaries and hosting platforms.

The big tech companies also have to allow for external audits and offer broad transparency into how their recommendation algorithms work. If a company doesn’t comply with any of these rules, the EU can issue multi-million euro fines.

It is hard to properly evaluate the final agreement without the final text. However, over the past months, we have seen that both rightsholders and digital rights activists are not completely happy with the DSA, which is an indication that it’s somewhat of a compromise.

The new DSA rules will go into effect for big tech platforms later this year. For the other platforms and services, it can take up to 2024 before the changes go into effect.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Replaceable Batteries Are Coming Back To Phones If The EU Gets Its Way... Apple Will Tell Us This Is Bad For Us

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 30 March - 18:24 · 1 minute

Back in the day, just about everything that used a battery had a hatch or a hutch that you could open to pull it out and replace it if need be. Whether it was a radio, a cordless phone, or a cellphone, it was a cinch to swap out a battery.

These days, many devices hide their batteries, deep beneath tamper-proof stickers and warnings that state there are “no user serviceable components inside.” The EU wants to change all that, though, and has voted to mandate that everything from cellphones to e-bikes must have easily replaceable batteries, with the legislation coming into effect as soon as 2024.

Many phone batteries are designed to be non-replacaeble from the factory. Thus, when they swell up or fail, they can damage the whole phone rather than merely popping off a removable panel.

I remember the early Samsung phones had a rubber gasket on the battery cover to also help keep water out. Point is most people's phones don't get taken swimming, but the first thing normally to fail on a very very expensive phone, is the battery. I anyway have always taken out all-risk insurance on every phone and tablet I've bought (which excludes failed batteries). Personally, I'd be happy to see replaceable batteries again, as I have still not forgotten my Nexus 6P battery failure which turned my phone into an expensive brick. And of course this is not just about phones, and also includes rechargeable toothbrushes and other devices, which is better for the environment.


#technology #EU #batteries #environment

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    EU announces Big Tech crackdown, demands interoperability between platforms / ArsTechnica · Friday, 25 March - 17:56

A European Union flag blowing in the wind.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SimpleImages)

European regulators have agreed on a Digital Markets Act that would impose a variety of new requirements on Big Tech companies classified as "gatekeepers." Final votes on the legislation are still pending.

"The text provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators targets large companies providing so-called 'core platform services' most prone to unfair business practices, such as social networks or search engines, with a market capitalization of at least 75 billion euro or an annual turnover of 7.5 billion," a European Parliament announcement said yesterday. "To be designated as 'gatekeepers,' these companies must also provide certain services such as browsers, messengers, or social media, which have at least 45 million monthly end users in the EU and 10,000 annual business users."

Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook owner Meta, and Microsoft would apparently have to comply with the new rules. "The Digital Markets Act puts an end to the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech companies. From now on, they must show that they also allow for fair competition on the Internet," said Andreas Schwab, a member of the European Parliament from Germany and rapporteur for Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

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    New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms - NOT using proprietary, but hopefully interoperable standards instead

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 25 March - 13:24 · 1 minute

It's a great idea as WhatsApp, iMessage, and others are creating more and more fragmentation and walled gardens for users who have to install 10+ apps to message their friends elsewhere. But this why open (not insecure) interoperable standards exist in the first place.

Rather than letting each provider now go create their own API, this is the opportunity to ensure open standards exist for each technology so that everyone can reach others. If RCS is to be the open standard for messaging, then let iMessage and WhatsApp adopt that. That way a message from one app can reach users on iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram and more. Each app will still have its own UI and own bells and whistles that differentiate it from the others. As users, it will mean we are no longer locked into an app that prevents us from leaving.

Such data interchange standards do already exist such as XMPP, XML, RCS, and others. XMPP for example can enable encryption between the end-points so that need not be the issue here. Maybe this will also force the bigger players to help improve these interoperability standards.

It is quite clear that Apple, Facebook, and other big players had no intention of opening up interoperability with their competitors, and we can see already how this harmed consumers on both sides. It is therefore only likely that some legislation will achieve what BigTech has failed to do on their own. Clearly the few consumers that exercised their freedoms to leave platforms, had no real effect on the those running the platforms, so market forces were also not achieving any beneficial change for users (the lock-in effect for mainstream users was just too strong).


#technology #BigTech #interoperability #messaging #EU

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    EU and UK open antitrust probe into Google and Meta over online ads / ArsTechnica · Friday, 11 March - 14:40

KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/08/20: Social media apps with European Union flag are seen in this photo illustration. The European Commission is planning issue a regulation that allows to fine social media platforms and websites if they don

Enlarge / KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/08/20: Social media apps with European Union flag are seen in this photo illustration.The European Commission is planning issue a regulation that allows to fine social media platforms and websites if they don't delete extremist post within one hour. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Regulators in Europe and the UK have opened an antitrust probe into a deal between Google and Meta on online advertising, in the latest effort to tackle the market power of the world’s biggest technology companies.

The move follows US antitrust investigators who are also probing an agreement informally known as “Jedi Blue.” The search engine giant and Facebook’s parent company have been accused of working together to carve up advertising profits, acting together to buttress their businesses.

The EU and UK probes represent the latest assault on Big Tech from global regulators that are also preparing to unleash new rules designed to challenge the primacy of groups such as Google, Meta, and Amazon. In response, US tech groups have launched lobbying efforts in Washington and Brussels in an effort to protect their interests.

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    EU Data Protection Board probes public sector use of cloud - Privacy: We've heard of it. Do you know where your data is?

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 16 February - 09:47

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has kicked off its first coordinated enforcement action, taking a long, hard look at the use of cloud-based services by the public sector.

The EDPB is concerned that the services obtained might not comply with rules concerning the protection of personal data. Hence, the requirement that Supervising Authorities (SA) "explore public bodies' challenges with GDPR compliance when using cloud-based services."

"Regardless of whether the cloud provider is a processor or independent data controller, If the cloud is outside the UK or EEA then the data transfer provisions of the GDPR need to be followed through. The French regulator, CNIL, has begun enforcement action against Google Analytics."


#technology #cloudstorage #EU #datasovereignty