World Consumer Rights Day: Do big tech companies respect yours?

world-consumer-rights-day

March 15 marks World Consumer Rights Day, a commemoration established by the United Nations in 1983. The choice of March 15 comes from a speech delivered on that day in 1962 by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Speaking at the United States Congress, the then U.S. president defined the consumer as an essential element in the production process, recognising their political relevance and urging institutions to protect their rights.

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Big tech lobbying in Brussels: A lot of money. Too much influence?

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It’s no surprise the Silicon Valley tech giants are paying close attention to regulatory activity in the European Union. As of March 2015, when then-Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the Digital Single Market, Europe has been setting a distinct profile in its conception of digitalization, a profile that is increasingly uncomfortable for the so-called Big Five or GAFAM – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. Some of the issues the Commission is prioritising through the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act are potentially very dangerous for the business model of companies like Google and Facebook. And we’re talking about a market of more than 450 million people. 

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Trump, Biden, and What Won’t Change Regarding the ‘Big Tech’ Companies

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For years, the big American technology companies have grown without too many regulatory impediments to the point of becoming global mastodons. Thanks to attractive products and services that respond to market demand, with loose or directly non-existent regulations in some areas, and wrapped in the American dream aura of the entrepreneur in their garage who becomes a billionaire, the big Silicon Valley companies have achieved such a powerful market position that many consider them de facto monopolies. 

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Regulation and ‘Big Tech’: The EU is leading the way, but needs more

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When the history of the big technology companies in the twenty-first century is written, the date of July 29, 2020, might have its place. On that day, the four CEOs of the ‘Big Tech’ Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple appeared before the United States House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, whose members have been investigating their alleged anti-competitive practices for years. 

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The pandemic has Europe facing the challenge of digital sovereignty

digital-sovereignty

When the EU territory slowly recovers its activity following the worst weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, the debate on using applications as tools to control possible new outbreaks will still be open. As we have already discussed in this blog, there are basically two schools of thought when it comes to processing the data created by these apps – centralised and decentralised – but what really has drawn attention from the media, politicians and experts is the role in these tools played by Apple and Google, who have offered to collaborate with the institutions. 

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Technology against pandemic: Is data the price to pay for our health?

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The gradual lifting of restrictions is here. Europe is, little by little, ending the lockdown of its population, using different rhythms and methodologies. And for now, despite all the debate in recent weeks, there is no consensus on widespread implementation of applications to detect people who have been in contact with others who are newly infected.

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Apps to fight against coronavirus: two questions and one (European) answer

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As the weeks pass and the coronavirus crisis evolves, debates about the day after have become increasingly important. The ‘day after’ poses some enormous difficulties: the virus will continue to be here, and the vaccine will still not be a reality. Many hopes have been placed on technology in order for the economy to not remain paralyzed – an economy that, in large part, is based on the movement of people – and to avoid, once again, the nightmare of an outbreak capable of saturating hospitals and ending the lives of tens of thousands of people. More specifically, hopes are placed on the effectiveness of applications that track the proximity of citizens. Like this, health services can contact all those who have been in contact with others who have become sick to apply selective isolation measures.  

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