Without the free rein they had a few years ago in terms of control over data, the big tech companies have long been working on the concept of ‘privacy’, which has also become a marketing tool. Apple has taken this dispute very seriously, and in early June introduced a new concept on privacy for the clients of its cloud service, iCloud. It’s called Private Relay.Read more
Historic G7 agreement: En-route to fairer taxes on big tech
The seven most powerful economies in the world, assembled in the Group of 7 (G7), have reached an historic agreement on taxes on big tech: multinationals with a profit margin above 10% will have to pay at least 20% of their taxes where they produce profits and not, as many do, in countries with low tax rates where they base their operating headquarters. Moreover, these powers have agreed to set 15% as the minimum tax rate, lowering the proposal from the United States, which was 21%. France was also hoping for a higher common rate.Read more
World Consumer Rights Day: Do big tech companies respect yours?
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.Read more
Big tech lobbying in Brussels: A lot of money. Too much influence?
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.Read more
Trump, Biden, and What Won’t Change Regarding the ‘Big Tech’ Companies
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.Read more
Regulation and ‘Big Tech’: The EU is leading the way, but needs more
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.Read more
The pandemic has Europe facing the challenge of 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.Read more
Technology against pandemic: Is data the price to pay for our health?
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.Read more
Apps to fight against coronavirus: two questions and one (European) answer
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.Read more