The verdict has still fallen on the new European digital rulebook

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Below: Two high-profile senators call for an investigation into TikTok’s ‘deception’, and the Justice Department makes a key hire. First:

The verdict has still fallen on the new European digital rulebook

The European Parliament on Tuesday approved the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, two landmark proposals aimed at curbing the way tech giants moderate content and treat competitors – setting a new standard for digital regulation as that similar proposals in Washington languish.

Together, these measures would force the world’s biggest tech companies to fight harmful content more aggressively, disclose more data to outside researchers, and make their services interoperable with competitors’ products. They would also ban big companies from giving preferential treatment to their own products and prevent app stores from requiring developers to use their payment systems.

But questions remain about how regulators will police the standards and whether they will be able to avoid similar hurdles that have plagued their watershed privacy regulations.

Critics have argued that enforcement of EU privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has been too dependent on individual countries which may not be able or unwilling to bring claims. major lawsuits against offending companies.

“In the GDPR, the problem they face is that enforcement is pushed to member states, and only given that states that essentially have primary jurisdiction over a business,” Alan Butlerexecutive director of the EPIC privacy group, told me in an interview.

A senior EU official, European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski, echoes some of these concernsespecially when it comes to monitoring tech giants.

“I myself share the views of those who think we still don’t see enough enforcement, especially against Big Tech,” he said during a conference on the application of the GDPR last month.

Karen Kornbluh, senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund and former US ambassador, said it was clear the EU was trying to address these issues in its new policies, but it would be a “steep hill” to overcome.

“They’re trying to learn from GDPR, but having said that, it’s complicated to go from a national-level regulatory system to a commission-level regulatory system and coordinating all of that,” she said. declared.

The composition of the Commission’s staff will be key, Kornbluh said, especially as tech companies will likely seek to bring in more expertise to comply with new regulations.

“There is going to be a sort of arms race for hiring in industry and the Commission, and I think that’s the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end,” she said.

In a bid to address these concerns, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton previewed how the bloc will enforce the two laws in a blog post on Tuesday.

Breton said EU member countries will each have “a regulator with the necessary powers to enforce the rules”, in addition to the bloc’s “specialized teams” who will “centrally oversee” the tech giants, which face greater obligations than small businesses under the rules. A key team, he said, will “step up recruitment next year” to reach “over 100 full-time employees” by 2024.

“It’s really interesting, but it remains to be seen how it will work out,” Kornbluh said.

Breton also said enforcement efforts will be funded in part by the companies themselves, which will “cover the additional costs necessary to monitor them.”

The debate mirrors one currently unfolding over data privacy on Capitol Hill, where key lawmakers are trading barbs over which bill offers the most robust enforcement.

A trio of congressional leaders recently unveiled a nationwide privacy bill that would be enforced by both Federal Trade Commission regulators and state attorneys general, while also allowing individuals to sue. businesses directly if officials fail to act.

But sen. Maria Canwell (D-Wash.), chairman of the main Senate Commerce Committee, criticized the proposal to bar consumers from suing until four years after a violation occurs and to require them to notify regulators before doing so.

Republicans oppose giving consumers a broad right to sue companies, known as a private right of action, but have reached a deal with Democrats that would allow a narrow right of action in exchange of the bill that strikes down comparable state-level privacy laws.

Butler argued that the combination of federal oversight, state enforcement and individual lawsuits makes enforcing the latest US privacy proposal more difficult than the GDPR.

“I think at the end of the day, the three-tiered enforcement is stronger than the GDPR,” he said.

The remarks suggest that while the US may lag behind the EU in crafting rules on issues such as privacy, it could still beat Europe to the punch in figuring out how to fully comply with them.

Intel Senate leaders urge FTC to investigate TikTok ‘deception’

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee called on the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday Lina Khan investigate reports that US users’ data on TikTok has been repeatedly accessed in China, a revelation that has reignited security concerns over the popular video-sharing app. US lawmakers have long worried about the possibility of Chinese government officials obtaining or capturing information about US users through the app, owned by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance.

Chair Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and vice-president Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged the agency to probe the company “based on apparent deception by TikTok” regarding its practices. The senators wrote that recent reports “suggest that TikTok has also misrepresented its corporate governance practices, including with congressional committees like ours.” The FTC declined to comment.

Last week, a group of Republican senators denounced the recent revelations and demanded answers from the company in a separate letter. In response, TikTok confirmed to lawmakers that employees in China can access US user data after clearing security protocols, Bloomberg News reported. In a rare Sunday interview on CNN, TikTok’s public policy manager for the Americas Michael Beckerman said the company had “never shared any information with the Chinese government, and neither have we.”

In a statement, the spokesperson for TikTok Brooke Oberwetter said: “For two years, we have spoken openly about our work to limit access to user data in all regions, and in our letter to senators last week, we were clear about our progress in limiting even more access.”

Twitter sues India blocking orders

The social network challenges the blocking orders issued by the Indian government, TechCrunch’s Manish Sing reports.

“In its lawsuit, filed in the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore on Tuesday, Twitter alleges that New Delhi abused its power by ordering it to arbitrarily and disproportionately remove multiple tweets from its platform,” according to the report.

As a Rod Russell Brandom wrote, the decision marks “the latest salvo in an ongoing fight against the country’s aggressive speech laws.” The company was ordered to remove posts that Indian authorities said violated its obscenity and defamation laws. Twitter has deleted the posts but is seeking protection from future orders.

DOJ selects Microsoft alumnus as top antitrust economist

Stanford University professor and former Microsoft staffer Susan Athe joins Justice Department as senior antitrust economist, Bloomberg’s Lea Nylen reports.

“Athey, an expert in the economics of internet platforms — specifically search engines and online advertising — joins the Justice Department as it prepares for the trial against Alphabet Inc.’s Google. and is continuing an investigation into Apple Inc. and another Google case,” Nylen reports.

Because of her past work, “Athey is likely to be recused from the Google and Apple Justice Department cases,” according to the report.

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Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover of Activision is subject to a UK competition investigation (CNBC)

Amazon, Microsoft and Google are tightening their grip on the cloud (Wall Street Journal)

Federal patient privacy law doesn’t cover most period-tracking apps (ProPublica)

UK signs first post-Brexit data-sharing deal with South Korea (TechCrunch)

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