The ‘shadow value of personal data’: What value does something apparently “free” have for the consumer?

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Various events are being held this week to celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, a day in which civil society and regulators defend the rights of citizens-consumers. This year, the date takes on a special relevance. This is because it is being held in the midst of major discussions within the European institutions that are designing one of the most important regulatory frameworks for the coming years, that is, the ‘Digital Acts’ regulatory package: DSA, DMA, and DGA.

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

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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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Beyond Bitcoin and Libra: The European Commission regulates the expansion of crypto assets

beyond-bitcoin

It’s been 12 years since Bitcoin was born, and with it the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies, digital assets not issued by any central authority and transacted through blockchain technology. In these 12 years, Bitcoin has experienced dramatic swings in value, becoming established as a high-risk speculative item – in the last 12 months it has been revalued by 20% – but not as a commonly used currency. 

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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

big-tech

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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Hate on social networks: great power, great responsibility

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Massive anti-racist protests, nearly 150,000 deaths from coronavirus, and an ever-growing social divide, stirred up from the political arena. It is a turbulent time in the United States, and in many of the debates where the country looks itself in the mirror and wonders what is happening, Facebook appears, probably the company that best exemplifies the dynamics of social and commercial communication in the twenty-first century

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