Daily Digest (9/29)

Google’s Market Grows Despite $2.8M Fine, Study Says; US Continues to Redact Information Over TikTok Security Concerns; Democrats Confront Facebook Over Misinformation, Hate Speech; Judge Dismisses New Mexico’s Privacy Claims Against Google. Click “Continue reading” below.

Google’s Market Grows Despite $2.8M Fine, Study Says

Google’s market power has grown significantly since European Union antitrust enforcers ordered the tech giant to stop favoring its own price-comparison shopping service, according to a study released Monday.

Three years ago, the EU fined Google $2.8 million, forcing the company to bid out advertising space to channel traffic to competitors’ sites, Reuters reports.

Rivals urged Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, to sanction Google because the order was ineffective.

“This is not because the commission imposed the wrong remedy,” the study’s author, Thomas Hoppner, told Reuters. “It is because Google’s chosen compliance mechanism fails to comply with the remedy imposed.”

Hoppner told Reuters that the EU’s solution only strengthened Google’s position in national markets, calling on the commission to force the tech company to propose a more effective solution.

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US Continues to Redact Information Over TikTok Security Concerns

The U.S. has warned Americans that TikTok is a major privacy threat to national security, but the Justice Department remains quiet on how the Chinese government will obtain user data.

In a Friday court filing by the federal agency, officials redacted specific information on how the Chinese government could take Americans’ data, CNet News reports.

Redactions in government documents keep information hidden from the public, even if the data isn’t necessarily classified.

When the Commerce Department’s initial decision memo redacted information about TikTok’s back-up servers in Singapore, those details were later revealed in a court filing on Sunday, CNet reports.

The filing said the servers were owned by Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

TikTok countered that it refused to comply with the Chinese government’s demand for American data because the information was not stored in China.

“The cloud storage that we rent in Singapore is protected by our own encryption and technology, which is implemented by our U.S.-led security team,” TikTok told CNet in a statement.

“Our proposal is to move 100% of U.S. user data to the Oracle storage system,” the company said.

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Democrats Confront Facebook Over Misinformation, Hate Speech

Two Capitol Hill Democrats have urged Facebook to take a stronger approach against voter suppression and misinformation amid the 2020 election season.

U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Wash., and David Cicilline, R.I., accused Facebook in a letter of failing to ignore false election claims and to censor right-wing militias and white supremacists, The Associated Press reports.

“With the election less than 50 days away, the lack of concerted action by Facebook to address this threat to our democracy is a grave concern,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“We are at the precipice of a democratic crisis, and Facebook must take all immediate steps within Facebook’s power to avert this crisis,” they said.

Congress has not increased oversight of social media companies — and officials have allowed companies to set their own policies regarding hate speech and misinformation, according to AP.

In response, Facebook said it was facing pressure from both parties to address the issue.

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Judge Dismisses New Mexico’s Privacy Claims Against Google

A federal judge has dismissed New Mexico’s privacy claims against Google because of privacy concerns.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Santa Fe ruled that New Mexico did not state a claim that Google violated the law by relying on schools to provide notice and secure consent from students’ families, nor put forth a claim alleging “inadequate notice and lack of authorization,” The Las Cruces Sun News reports.

Attorney General Hector Balderas accused the company of violating federal law by tracking New Mexico schoolchildren under the age of 13 “across the internet, across devices, in their homes, and well outside the education sphere, all without obtaining verifiable parental consent.”

Balderas alleged that evidence gathered through Google’s “G-Suite for Education” software, distributed to children via Chromebook laptop computers, showed that the tech giant collected extensive data about children and their families, according to the report.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said Monday that the company was pleased with the ruling, while Balderas vowed to continue efforts protect child-privacy rights.

“The law is clear that Google must protect our children’s privacy, and we strongly disagree with the court’s ruling,” Balderas told The Associated Press.

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— By DPN Staff