Daily Digest (11/13)

Over 1.3M Claims Filed in Facebook Privacy Settlement; US Appeals Order Blocking TikTok Ban; White House Bars Investments in Firms Tied to Chinese Military; Group of 165 Google Critics Call for Tough EU Antitrust Action.

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Over 1.3M Claims Filed in Facebook Privacy Settlement

More than 1.3 million Illinois residents have filed claims for as much as $400 each from Facebook in its $650 million settlement for violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Known as Patel vs. Facebook, the case initially was brought by plaintiffs in the Northern District of California in San Francisco, alleging the company had violated BIPA, Courthouse News Service (CNS) reports.

According to a Tuesday filing to an Illinois court cited in a CNS feed on Twitter, only one objection came forth in the case, which accused Facebook of facial data-harvesting.

The deadline to file claims is Nov. 23.

Illinois residents of at least six months and who had created and stored a face template on Facebook after June 7, 2011, are eligible for payouts of $200 to $400.

According to CNS, the number of claimants makes the Facebook settlement the largest involving data privacy — surpassing, for instance, the $117 million settlement involving the 2016 Yahoo data breach.

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US Appeals Order Blocking TikTok Ban

The Justice Department has appealed a Pennsylvania judge’s order from last month that blocked the government from imposing restrictions on the Chinese-owned TikTok app that were to take effect later Thursday.

The Commerce Department’s August order would have barred transactions with TikTok, which owner ByteDance had warned would effectively prohibit the video-sharing app’s use in the United States, Reuters reports.

The Justice Department on Thursday appealed the Oct. 30 ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone to the U.S. Third Circuit in Philadelphia

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department said that it would comply with Beetlestone’s order blocking the ban, though the agency would “vigorously defend” its actions.

Beetlestone had enjoined the agency from barring data-hosting within the country for TikTok, its content-delivery services and other technical transactions.

Citing national security concerns, the White House issued an executive order to prohibit TikTok from being downloaded from U.S. Google and Apple app stores.

The Trump administration argued that the personal data collected on 100 million Americans who used the app could be obtained by China’s government.

TikTok has denied the allegations.

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White House Bars Investments in Firms Tied to Chinese Military

The White House released an executive order Thursday barring U.S. investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by Beijing’s military, Reuters reports.

The order could affect some of China’s biggest companies, including firms China Telecom Corp., China Mobile Ltd. and surveillance-equipment maker Hikvision.

The move is designed to deter U.S. investment firms, pension funds and others from buying and selling the shares of 31 Chinese companies designated by the Defense Department as backed by the Chinese military earlier this year, according to Reuters.

Starting Jan. 11, the order will prohibit any transaction by U.S. investors in the securities of the companies. It also bans Americans from buying and selling securities in a Chinese company 60 days after it is designated as a Chinese military company.

“China is increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence and other security apparatuses,” said the order released by the White House.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters reports.

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Group of 165 Google Critics Call for Tough EU Antitrust Action

A coalition of 165 companies and industry organizations called on EU antitrust enforcers Thursday to take a tougher approach against Google.

In a letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, the group argued that Google was giving its own services preferential placement in its search results and urged swift action to stop the practice, Reuters reports. 

Google has refuted the assertions, with a representative telling Reuters: “People expect Google to give them the most relevant, high-quality search results that they can trust.

“They do not expect us to preference specific companies or commercial rivals over others, or to stop launching helpful services which create more choice and competition for Europeans.”

In the past three years, Vestager has fined Google $9.7 billion for abusing its market power, according to Reuters.

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By DPN Staff