55 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. content moderation to online advertising and the transparency of algorithms,

      Covering three issue areas.

    2. Asked whether Germany would pursue a similar line to France as to advocating for the potential breakup of tech giants, Jungbluth poured cold water on the idea. “Personally, I’m very reluctant to start with the ‘sharpest sword’ in terms of the breakup or structural separation of companies,” he said, adding that it had been a potential avenue of action pursued in the past by former German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who ultimately failed in convincing German Parliamentarians of this course.

      Important difference between France and Germany when it comes to monpoly of tech platforms. Is it strategic (is there need to break tech companies) or tactical difference (start with softer measures).

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    1. Treating big tech as a monopolistic monolith does not make sense when some markets are competitive. Nor does banning tech firms from entering adjacent new markets—as a recent congressional report proposed. Better for governments to ensure that users have control over their data, and then vigorously tackle the areas like search and social media where monopolies have taken hold

      be restrictive with anti-monopolies. Build anit-monopoly around protection of data.

      Cross-cutting linkage: data governance - anti-monopoly

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    1. Applee starts to develop search engine. I am always puzzled why Europe can do the same. It is not that difficult - technologically - to develop a good search engine.

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    1. A good summary of anti-trust action. One new - at least for me - apsect: it deals only with monopoly in text search.

      ||StephanieBP||||Pavlina||

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    1. This article links content policy, anti-monopoly regulation and human rights in an effective way. These issues are closely interlinked. Here are the man points from the article:

      • explaining position of main actors focusing on fake and false news and right on freedom of expression;
      • growing censorship in the Western societies (UK, France)
      • can tech executives be in charge of freedom of expression;
      • how to avoid monopolies in content - the most reasonable approach is to develop interoperability with users having possibility to switch between platforms (move data) without using its network and contacts (analogy to mobile phone number); in this scenario the social networks would become utilities.
      • internatoinal human rights law provide a solid international framework for dealing with content (reasonable balance between freedom of speech and relevant and proportionate restrictions.

      ||MarcoLotti||||Pavlina||||StephanieBP||||AndrijanaG||

    2. You could not migrate to a new network without losing the friends who stayed behind unless the platforms were interoperable, as mobile-phone networks are.

      This is a solution - to force interoperable networks

    3. On October 20th the Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged that Google ties up phone-makers, networks and browsers in deals that make it the default search engine. The department says this harms consumers, who are deprived of alternatives.

      Anti-trust move by DOJ

      ||Pavlina|| ||StephanieBP||

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    1. The U.S. Justice Department and 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the law in using its market power to fend off rivals.

      FYI ||StephanieBP|| It's in DW already

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    1. Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog

      Japan is getting more actively involved - also in Google Fitbit merger. Australia has an antitrust initiative against GAFA too, including Google - Fitbit merger, but did not join EU and US (yet) ||StephanieBP||

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    1. The Hindu text provides balanced analysis of the reaction of Facebook on the movie 'The Social Media'. On the policy side, this movie opens the question of privacy, anti-trust regulation, and mental health.

      Facebook follows its standard rhetorics by shifting discussion in the past - 'the efforts already taken' - and the future - 'we are working to change this'.

    1. because enforcers in other countries have been held back by American timidity

      Have they?! Has the EU been timid? I don't think so. Unless he's referring to some other place...

    2. Chicago School

      This is so deeply embedded in how US jurists look at antitrust, that it is one of the major obstacles to reforming antitrust law

    3. Senate Commerce Committee subpoena’d the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, with a unanimous vote, and the press barely noticed

      indeed!

    4. This pro-monopoly conventional wisdom is impossible to remember because it’s so embarrassing

      NOW it's embarrassing. But back then, the laissez-faire approach was also a way for US tech to grow, and to win the global tech race.

    5. We the people changed our minds

      Changed our minds about what? A bit too simplistic. We changed our minds, as companies grew bigger and more powerful, threatening even governments

    6. follow-on enforcement action at the agencies,

      This is supposed to be the next step... DOJ filing a case against Google

    7. imposing a presumptive ban on future acquisitions by large platforms, imposing a presumption that vertical mergers by large platforms are unlawful

      Would it be a blanket ban? Acquisition of small companies is one thing (some start-ups are created with the aim of being sold off to a Big Tech company if they are successful); acquisition of large undertakings (ex Google and Fitbit) is quite another. [Re google/fitbit, we're following separately]

    8. mergers can go through and when they can’t

      The rules are there. Making clearer rules, perhaps? Reviewing when authorities should not give the final nod?

    9. Cicilline suggests writing statutes to overrule a host of Supreme Court precedents that have unreasonably crippled antitrust laws on things like pricing below cost or abusing one’s dominant position as a platform

      He makes a good point, and with strong bipartisan support and agreement, this is not a farfetched proposition

    10. (1) a legislative break-up and restructuring of big tech platforms to restore competition online (2) a strengthening of laws against monopolies and mergers, (3) institutional reforms to fix and fund the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ Antitrust Division, and (4) restoring the ability of ordinary citizens to take monopolists to court on their own.

      This summarises the report's recommendations. On 1, this is probably the best route. On 2, weak enforcement makes the law useless, no matter how strong it is. On 3, first they are criticised, then they are sugarcoated with the promise of funds. What DOJ needs is to get on with it, ie, what AG Barr is pushing for. On 4, is there a Max Schrems equivalent in the US? Doubt it.

    11. whether they simply treat lawbreaking as a cost of business

      This is part of the problem of being too big (or too rich). Fines and penalties are often insignificant. It's why the EU does not hesitate to impose hefty fines

    12. attacks the way that these corporations finance think tanks and academics

      The fact that the Congressman describes how the Big Tech have been financing think tanks and shaping policy does not make the document more political...

    13. Federal Trade Commission and Antitrust Division for refusing to enforce monopolization laws and failing to stop mergers, even when they had evidence that such mergers were anti-competitive

      Ouch indeed. Basically, the Congressman is attacking the FTC, and the Justice Department - the same department which is about to launch an antitrust case against Google ("this week or next week")

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    1. Facebook Says Government Breakup of Instagram, WhatsApp Would Be ‘Complete Nonstarter’

      FB is arguing that the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were approved by the FTC leading to massive investments and tech integration and now are so intertwined that it is impossible to unwind the deals. ||StephanieBP||

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    1. This is an interesting court case which Apple is likely to win. But, it opens an important issue of the US anti-trust policy which takes care only of immediate issue: how does monopoly affects consumers (Chicago school on anti-trust). However, this approach overlooks long-term risks of tech monopolies.

      ||Pavlina|| could you put it on your radar? ||StephanieBP|| this development could go in our Weekly Digest ||AndrijanaG|| who is covering competiton/anti-trust policy

    2. “It is important enough to understand what real people think,” said Rogers. “Do these security issues concern people or not?”

      Continuation of the US anti-trust policy dealing only on immediate effect of consumers (Chicago school of anti-trust). They do not consider how future monopolies can become 'too big to fail' and move beyond anti-trust control.

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  2. Sep 2020
    1. EU's Digital Services Act (DSA) is getting contour from EU commissioner Thierry Breton in the interview with Financial Times. The main elements are:

      1. tech companies with monopolistic power could be:
      • forced to break up or sell of their European operators ('TikTok clause);
      • exclude large tech companies from the EU market.
      1. introduction of a rating system for allow the public and stakeholders to control behaviour of tech companies (tax compliance, content control).

      2. EU will remain with limited liability of tech platforms for content (stay with Section 230 logic).

      Mr. Breton compares tech companies to big banks before the financial crisis 2008. Thus, one can expect that EU's tech policy will be inspired via analogy to the regulation of financial sector.

      ||StephanieBP|| ||Jovan||

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  3. Aug 2020
    1. My mom, Jackie, had me when she was a 17-year-old high school student in Albuquerque, New Mexico

      The personal story

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    1. exclusivity agreement is an agreement in which a firm requires its customers to buy exclusively from it

      Non-price dimension #4: exclusivity agreements - where a company obliges users to buy exclusively from it - WHEN the aim is for a dominant company to diminish or stop competing companies from entering or growing in the market. Although this is US law, the 3 anti-trust complaints filed by the European Commission against Apple (the App Store cases) in June 2020 are examples of this.

    2. Collusion is sometimes the easiest type of anticompetitive conduct to identify, especially per se offenses like price-fixing, bid-rigging, and market allocations

      Non-price dimension #3: collusion, which includes behaviour like price-fixing, bid-rigging, and market allocations

    3. coordinated conduct that creates or enhances market power

      Non-price dimension #2: coordinated conduct that increases market power. Yahoo and Google agreed to coordinate their ad strategy, but were stopped by the DoJ.

    4. Consider, for example, a product that never reaches the market or is withdrawn from the market due to an unlawful acquisition.  The antitrust laws should protect the competition that would be lost in that scenario as well

      Non-price dimension #1: lost competition due to unlawful acquisition. Facebook is currently accused of the "copy, acquire, kill" strategy to eliminate competition

    5. competition has price and non-price dimensions.

      Anti-competitive behaviour has price and non-price dimensions. Price dimensions are clear

    6. we already have in our possession the tools we need to enforce the antitrust laws in cases involving digital technologies.  U.S. antitrust law is flexible enough to be applied to markets old and new

      Does the US need new or updated antitrust law? Assistant AG says NO

    7. The company defended its practices and its “integrated” structure by arguing that it offered the public superior price, performance, and innovation

      AT&T's defence in the 1974 antitrust case. Its claim that it offered the public superior price, performance, and innovation, did not fly.

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    1. Cicilline laid out common patterns across the four companies

      This is the Judiciary Committee's main strategy in this hearing: to find common strategy that justifies updating current competition rules

    2. our economy and our democracy

      Nuances: Our economy = Dem's concerns Our democracy = Rep's concerns

    3. House Judiciary Committee

      Who is conducting investigations? July's USA hearings were before the House Judiciary Committee

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    1. Wednesday’s hearing ends the Judiciary Committee’s probe into Big Tech, it’s only the beginning of future regulatory or legislative action. What the executives say during the hearing could provide evidence for a new antitrust probe from law enforcement or provide the foundation for bills aimed at regulating the industry from Congress

      Judiciary Committee's work is done. What antitrust campaigners are hoping for is either a new investigation, or bills from Congress

    2. to show how anti-competitive behavior is an industry-wide pattern

      US context: Democrat lawyers want to show that this is an industry-wide problem. The law cannot be changed for one company, but there is more leverage if it can be shown that every Big Tech company is involved in anti-competitive behaviour

    3. While Democrats push the antitrust case, Republicans have their own set of concerns and may try to veer Wednesday’s conversation toward content moderation

      US context: Democrats concerned about antitrust. Republicans about content moderation

    4. Facebook’s history of troublesome acquisitions, including Instagram, that have largely avoided regulatory scrutiny

      Issue with Facebook: acquisitions such as Instagram, which have largely avoided scrutiny

    5. Google will likely be asked to address its dominance as a search engine

      Issue with Google: dominant search engine

    6. Apple is facing active antitrust inquiries in both the US and EU over its app store policies, particularly the flat 30 percent cut the company collects for fees paid through the store. Last month, Cicilline told The Verge that the fees Apple charges equate to “highway robbery.

      Issue with Apple (US & EU investigations): sellers have to pay 30% of their fees to the iStore, which amounts to daylight robbery

    7. But in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon employees used independent seller data to guide the development of Amazon’s own products. According to the Journal, employees allegedly analyzed the sales and profit margins of products like a car trunk organizer sold by a third-party seller before launching its own competing product. After the report was published, the House Judiciary Committee called on Bezos to testify in light of the story. It’s a good bet that Bezos will be asked about the Journal piece specifically and be forced to explain what the company is doing

      A second problem is that CEOs have been telling half-truths. Who is right?

    8. dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement

      Explained even better. The key issue is the Big Tech's dominance, and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement

    9. how the executives’ respective companies have avoided liability under current antitrust laws because those competition rules were never crafted with the tech industry’s behaviors in mind

      This is the key issue. Current US competition rules are not adequate to tackle the Big Tech's behaviour

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    1. House subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, which is a subset of the broader House Judiciary Committee.

      Who is conducting investigations? July's US hearing is before the House subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Admin Law (falling under the House Judiciary Committee)

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  4. Jul 2020
    1. For our coverage on anti-monopoly we should analyse both the US Congress hearing and this initiative of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

      ||AndrijanaG|| who is covering anti-monopoly at DW ||sorina|| we should have anti-monopoly survey in the next issue of DW newsletter

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    1. Facebook has made Instagram and WhatsApp successfulas part of our family of apps. Instagram and WhatsApp have been able to grow and operate theirservices using Facebook’s bespoke, lower-cost infrastructure and tackle spam and harmful content with Facebook’s integrity teams and technology. Following its acquisition, Instagram was able to get help stabilizing infrastructure and controllingrunaway spam. It also benefited from the ability to plug into Facebook’s self-serve ads system, sales team and existing advertiser relationships to drive monetization, and was able to build products including IG Direct and IG Video that used Facebook’s technology and infrastructure.Before it was acquired, WhatsApp was a paid app with a reputation for secure communications;together we built on that by introducing end-to-end encryption and making it free to use.Since its acquisition, WhatsApp has also been able to develop products such as voice and video calling that were built on Facebook’s technology stack. Thesebenefits came about as a result of our acquisition of those companies, and would not have happened had we not made those acquisitions. We have developed new products for Instagram and WhatsApp, and we have learned from those companies to bring new ideas to Facebook. The end result is better servicesthat provide more value to people and advertisers, which is a core goal of Facebook’s acquisition strategy.

      IN this section Zuckerberg tries to rationalise reasons why acquisition and mergers are good for everybody and, in particular, consumers. He further pushes the argument - forget monopolies when consumers are happy.

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