Daily Digest (10/5)

US to Appeal Judge’s Ruling on WeChat Ban; Facebook Employees Wearing AR Glasses to Be Sent Out to Record Data; Google to Cite Rivals in Possible Antitrust Lawsuit. Click “Continue reading” below.

US to Appeal Judge’s Ruling on WeChat Ban 

The U.S. Justice Department said Friday that it would appeal a judge’s decision blocking the government from barring Apple and Google from offering WeChat for download in U.S. app stores.

The agency said it would appeal the Sept. 19 preliminary junction issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler to the to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, Reuters reports.

The injunction blocked the Commerce Department’s order from last month, which would bar WeChat from app stores, making the app unusable in the U.S.

The Justice Department said that Beeler’s order was in error and “permits the continued, unfettered use of WeChat, a mobile application that the executive branch has determined constitutes a threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

Beeler told Reuters that WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim.”

Sources (all external links): 

EU Seeks Feedback on Google-Fitbit Bid

Google’s bid to win E.U. approval for its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit faces criticism, following arguments that E.U. antitrust regulators did not go far enough, two people familiar with the matter said Friday.

Google last week offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads and to monitor the process closely, Reuters reports.

The company offered to make it easier for rival makers of wearables to connect to the Android platform by offering them access to Android software (API). Third parties would continue to have access to Fitbit user’s data with user consent.

The European Commission is seeking input from rivals and customers before deciding to accept the offer.

Some rivals and customers told Reuters that they planned to tell the E.U. competition enforcer to ask for more.

“The definition of wearable API is too narrow,” one source told Reuters.


Facebook Employees Wearing AR Glasses to Be Sent Out to Record Data

Facebook said it would send 100 employees and contractors equipped with AR smartglasses to record as much audio, visual, and spatial information as possible in public and private spaces.

During the Facebook Connect livestream, the company said Wednesday that the plan was to record as much data as possible as part of “Project Aria,” a new attempt to research augmented reality, according Vice News reports.

“We built Project Aria with privacy in mind — and we’ve put provisions in place around where and how we’ll collect data, as well as how it will be processed, used, and stored,” Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook vice president, said on Twitter.

In a promotional video, the plan was described as “figuring out the right privacy and safety and policy model, long before we bring AR glasses to the world.”


Google to Cite Rivals in Possible Antitrust Lawsuit

Google is expected to defend itself in a possible antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department by citing rival actions in developing its practices.

Justice Department investigators have been investigating whether the company uses its dominance of online search, web-browser and advertising technology to unfairly block rivals and pressure businesses to buy more ads, Bloomberg Law reports.

“We don’t agree that we’re dominant,” Don Harrison, Google’s head of corporate development, told lawmakers at a Sept. 15 hearing. “We don’t agree that there isn’t a ton of choice.”

Google also has come under fire for its privacy practices because when the company changes its services, those can hurt rival businesses, Bloomberg Law reports.


— By DPN Staff