21 members have voted
Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
By Jay Bonggolto
Google vows to let UK's competition regulators oversee its online tracking changes
by Jay Bonggolto
Google tried to assuage growing online privacy concerns in 2019 by introducing new web standards that would put limits to how advertisers access user data to target their ads as part of the Privacy Sandbox project. The goal was to control third-party cookies that allow unauthorized tracking on the web with new digital advertising tools. Earlier this year, though, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the project.
Now, the CMA has announced that it has secured Google's commitments to limit how it uses data in order to address privacy and competition concerns. The competition watchdog is now seeking feedback from interested third parties before it accepts Google’s commitments.
Privacy Sandbox involves assigning users to a cohort based on their interests while keeping their identity private. This method lets a browser analyze the users' habits on-device without sending them to a server. The changes, however, have sparked concerns that Google's replacement for third-party cookies could hamper competition in the digital advertising space.
As part of its commitment, the search giant vows to not access synced Chrome browsing histories once third-party cookies are eliminated. This will presumably prevent Google from favoring its own advertising business or websites at the expense of its rivals.
In addition, the company promised to give regulators a say on the results of its testing of alternatives. The CMA can request a "standstill period" of two months if Google fails to address any of their outstanding concerns. During this period, they can reopen an investigation and implement interim measures.
The CMA and the Information Commissioner's Office will consult on Google's commitments until July 8 with input from third parties. The regulators also noted that these commitments will be legally binding if accepted.
Voters in California say gig economy drivers are contractors
by Paul Hill
While most people’s attention has been on the Presidential election, voters in California got to vote on something called Proposition 22 too. It asked voters whether app-based drivers should continue to be classified as contractors or whether they should be considered employees and gain extra rights; 58.42% said they should continue to be classified as contractors while 41.58% were in favour of changing their status.
Unsurprisingly, the big tech firms with a stake in the measure such as Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash backed the bid to classify workers as contractors. The firms were so invested in keeping their costs low, in fact, that they invested more than $200 million, which is a record, trying to convince people to vote in their favour.
Drivers and unions were hoping the public would vote the other way. Nicole Moore, a driver and organiser at Rideshare Drivers United, said that tech firms outspent the competition by 20:1 but ultimately, the decision will not stop workers and unions from demanding better working conditions. Had drivers been classified as employees, they would have been eligible for the minimum wage, unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
While the result is not what a lot of drivers wanted, Proposition 22 still requires some concessions from the likes of Uber and Lyft. They will have to provide some benefits such as vouchers to access subsidised health insurance and guarantee hourly earnings. The companies will also bolster safety by performing more background checks on drivers.
Source: The Guardian
Samsung launches competition to win Xbox Series X, Cyberpunk 2077, and a TV
by Paul Hill
Samsung has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft and CD Project RED to offer winners of a competition a Samsung QLED Limited Edition Cyberpunk 2077 TV, an Xbox Series X, and a copy of Cyberpunk 2077. The competition will be in the form of a scavenger hunt where entrants will be whittled down to five finalists who then face off in a final puzzle.
The hunt is an alternate reality game called Samsung QLEDecode and brings players “on a journey through the corners of the internet.” Players will have to solve mysterious posts, clues and puzzles to work their way through to the final task. Judging by Samsung’s announcement, there are already a few clues in the wild just waiting to be found.
Samsung has not provided an expansive description of the limited edition TV but it says that it’s QLED and supports 4K HDR at 120Hz with a low ms response time, variable refresh rate, and offers sharp graphics and capabilities specifically with the latest generation of games in mind.
According to a countdown on the QLEDecode competition page, it’ll start around mid-November. If you’re lucky enough to win the prize you’ll be saving yourself hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, but you will face a lot of tough competition as Samsung raises awareness of the competition.
Twitter begins U.S. voter registration campaign
by Paul Hill
Twitter has announced that it has formed a partnership with National Voter Registration Day to encourage more Americans to register for the upcoming presidential election. Users will be encouraged by various means on Twitter to register to vote or confirm their registration.
Users that are located in the United States will see a new prompt on their home timeline encouraging them to register to vote or confirm their registration using a service called TurboVote run by Democracy Works, a non-partisan and non-profit organization. This will help to ensure nobody who wants to vote gets turned away at the polling station.
Other measures being taken to encourage voting include:
A push alert being displayed that directs users to a page full of voter registration information. It will be available in more than 40 languages depending on each person’s app settings. A promoted campaign run by @TwitterGov will take over today’s U.S. Promoted Trend Spotlight with registration resources from TurboVote. A new Twitter hashtag emoji is being introduced with #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and #VoteReady is being introduced to “empower civic conversation” across the country. Going forward, Twitter says it will publish additional voting-related notices as the election gets closer. By ensuring people are registered to vote, the firm is helping to make sure that everyone in the country entitled to a vote gets their say.
Slack has filed a complaint against Microsoft over Teams
by João Carrasqueira
Ever since Microsoft introduced Teams, an enterprise communication tool to rival Slack, the two companies have had something of a back-and-forth regarding the competition between the two services. Upon launching Teams, Microsoft said that "little companies come and go" while referring to Slack, while adding that Microsoft offered a wider range of business products. More recently, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said that Slack doesn't see Teams as a threat.
Despite that, however, Slack announced today that it has filed a complaint to the European Commission, accusing Microsoft of "illegal and anti-competitive" behavior with its approach to Teams. Specifically, the company calls out Microsoft for bundling Teams with its Microsoft 365 suite of products, forcing it to be installed on many machines with no way to remove it by itself, all while "hiding the true cost to enterprise customers".
Jonathan Prince, Vice President of Communications and Policy at Slack, said that the company's product threatens Microsoft's presence in the enterprise space as whole, since it helps replace traditional email, which Slack refers to as "the cornerstone of Office". He added:
David Schellhase, General Counsel at Slack, stated that Slack simply wants competition to be fair and to have a level playing field, while accusing Microsoft of "reverting to past behavior".
With the complaint now filed to the European Commission, it's up to the agency to decide whether it needs to open a formal investigation on Microsoft's practices with Teams.