Tag: rules

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

EU targets Big Tech with “hit list” facing tougher rules

A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.
Enlarge / A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.

EU regulators are drawing up a “hit list” of up to 20 large Internet companies, likely to include Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Apple, that will be subject to new and far more stringent rules aimed at curbing their market power.

Under the plans, large platforms that find themselves on the list will have to comply with tougher regulation than smaller competitors, according to people familiar with the discussions, including new rules that will force them to share data with rivals and an obligation to be more transparent on how they gather information.

The list will be compiled based on a number of criteria, including market share of revenues and number of users, meaning the likes of Facebook and Google are likely to be included. Those deemed to be so powerful that rivals cannot trade without using their platforms could also be added.

The move to gain new powers is part of a growing effort in Brussels to force big technology companies to change their business practices without a full investigation or any finding that they have broken existing laws.

It follows complaints that the current regulatory regime has resulted in weak and belated action, which has done little to foster competition.

The number of companies and the precise criteria for the list is still being discussed, but it is the latest indication of how serious the EU is about coming up with powers to limit the power of platforms seen as “too big to care.”

“The immense market power of these platforms is not good for competition,” said a person with intimate knowledge of the discussions.

The proposals, which are still being discussed among senior EU officials, could

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Airbnb faces calls for stricter enforcement of rental rules in Ireland

View of Ha’penny bridge on bright sunny day in Dublin, Ireland.

Stricter enforcement on Airbnb and short-term lettings in the Republic of Ireland are needed to protect the housing and rental market. 

That’s according to housing activists and opposition politicians that believe regulations introduced last year need to be bolstered ahead of the difficult months and years ahead for the economy.

Last July, regulations around short-term rentals came into effect with a “one host, one home” model that is enforced by local planning authorities.

Eoin O’Broin, a member of parliament and housing spokesperson for Sinn Féin, the main opposition party, told CNBC that the regulations are sound but fall down when it comes to enforcement as the planning system is a “very slow and laborious process.”

For Airbnb hosts renting out a room in the home that they themselves live in, there was little change.

However, for people renting out second homes, holiday homes and other properties that aren’t their primary residence, they are required to obtain a “change of use” planning approval from their local authority. The regulations were introduced to encourage more properties back onto the long-term market. Rising rent costs in cities like Dublin have been a difficult policy issue as the average rent in the capital has risen to 1,709 euros ($2,010), compared to 1,252 euros in the same quarter five years ago.

However there has been a low number of short-term let planning applications filed with authorities despite the number of listings remaining high, as hosts avoid the lengthy application process.

“We always knew the regulations, even if they were good, would fall foul of weak enforcement if it was left to the local authorities. That’s not a criticism of the councils, it’s just the nature of planning enforcement,” O’Broin said.

Ireland’s Department of Housing,

04
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

India and South Africa ask WTO to waive rules to aid COVID-19 drug production

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters next to a red traffic light in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) – India and South Africa want the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import COVID-19 drugs, a letter here&Open=True to the WTO shows.

In their letter dated Oct. 2 the two countries called on the global trade body to waive parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which governs patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rules globally.

“As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 are developed, there are significant concerns (over) how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at (an) affordable price to meet global demand,” the letter posted on the Geneva-based WTO’s website says.

The two countries said that developing nations are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and that intellectual property rights, including patents, could be a barrier to the provision of affordable medicine.

The letter asks that the WTO’s Council for TRIPS recommends a waiver to the General Council, the WTO’s top decision-making body in Geneva, “as early as possible”. It does not say how much support India and South Africa have from other countries.

A draft General Council decision text submitted with the letter says the waiver should last an as yet unspecified number of years and be reviewed annually.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by David Goodman

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03
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Google Play gets new rules, Apple launches app marketing tools, EU looks to rein in tech giants

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

Google changes its app store rules, too

Google Play Store screen
Google Play Store screen

Google Play Store screen

Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple revised its App Store rules to permit game streaming apps and clarify rules around in-app purchases, among other things. Now, Google has updated its rules, as well.

Under threat of regulation, Google announced this week it’s updating its Google Play billing policies to better clarify which types of transactions will be subject to Google’s commissions on in-app purchases. While the more detailed language doesn’t actually change the earlier policy’s intention, it will impact a percentage of developers who don’t currently use Google Play’s billing system when selling digital goods in their app.

In addition, the company announced it will make changes in Android 12 that will make it easier for users to install and use third-party app stores as an alternative to Google Play.

The company says that its current billing policies only apply to less than 3% of apps on Google Play. Of those apps, 97% already use Google Play’s billing library. That means there’s only a small

02
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

U.S. Supreme Court will consider FCC effort to loosen media ownership rules

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday it will take up a long-running legal dispute over whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can loosen U.S. media ownership rules.

A lower court has thwarted the FCC’s efforts to revise the rules since 2003 in a series of decisions.

In 2017, the Republican-led FCC voted to eliminate a ban in place since 1975 on cross-ownership of a newspaper and TV station in a major market. It also voted to make it easier for media companies to buy additional TV stations in the same market, for local stations to jointly sell advertising time and for companies to buy additional radio stations in some markets.

The FCC said in 2003 “that the ownership rules should be substantially overhauled because they inhibit beneficial combinations between struggling traditional outlets and no longer reflect current market realities.”

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year directed the FCC to take up the issue again, finding that the regulatory agency “did not adequately consider the effect its sweeping rule changes will have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities.”

FCC General Counsel Tom Johnson wrote on Twitter on Friday that the Supreme Court’s agreeing to hear the case “is great news for struggling local news outlets and American consumers.”

The National Association of Broadcasters industry group said the 3rd Circuit “has blocked common-sense changes to outdated broadcast ownership regulations to the detriment of local journalism. The time has come to allow the FCC to modernize its rules.”

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a Democrat, said that court “was right” that the commission “has repeatedly failed to consider the effect of its ownership rulings on women and minorities, which has impeded greater broadcast diversity.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing