Arizona House advances bill targeting Apple, Google mobile app stores

The Arizona State Capitol museum, flanked by the House of Representatives building (R) and a cactus (L).

Enlarge / The Arizona State Capitol museum, flanked by the House of Representatives building (R) and a cactus (L). (credit: mixmotive | Getty Images)

The Arizona state House of Representatives this week passed a landmark bill that would, if adopted, require Google and Apple to allow Arizona-based app developers to choose their own alternate payment systems.

The House voted 31-29 in favor of the bill (PDF), which does not directly mention either major mobile platform but nonetheless squarely targets both, as the text specifically applies to any “digital application distribution platform” that has more than 1 million cumulative downloads in a calendar year from Arizona users.

The text prohibits those platforms from locking either Arizona-based developers or Arizona-based users into using proprietary first-party in-app payment systems. It also prohibits platforms from retaliating against Arizona consumers or developers for opting into using a payment system “that is not owned by, operated by or affiliated with the provider.”

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#apple, #arizona, #coalition-for-app-fairness, #epic, #epic-games, #google, #laws, #policy, #state-laws, #states

Facebook to reverse Australia news ban after lawmakers alter bill

Facebook logo on a street sign outside a wooded campus.

Enlarge / Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. (credit: Jason Doiy | Getty Images)

Facebook has apparently emerged victorious from its standoff with the entire nation of Australia, as lawmakers in that country have agreed to amend a proposed law that would have required Facebook to pay publishers for news content linked on its platform.

The social networking giant last week banned all news posts both in and from Australia to protest a bill under discussion in Parliament. Users inside Australia became unable to share news links of any kind from any source, and users outside Australia became unable to share links from Australian media. Facebook at the time argued that the proposed law “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”

Facebook’s ban turned out to be an extremely blunt instrument, blocking sharing not only of news inside Australia but also of public communications from the government, pages for nonprofit organizations and charities, and other Australian organizations that tried to share links to off-Facebook sites. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison blasted Facebook over the ban, saying last week, “We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code.”

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#australia, #bills, #facebook, #games-of-chicken, #laws, #news, #policy

Virginia is about to get a major California-style data privacy law

A white neoclassical building.

Enlarge / The Virginia state Capitol building at twilight, in prepandemic times. (credit: traveler1116 | Getty Images)

Virginia is poised to follow in California’s footsteps any minute now and become the second state in the country to adopt a comprehensive online data protection law for consumers.

If adopted, the Consumer Data Protection Act would apply to entities of a certain size that do business in Virginia or have users based in Virginia. The bill enjoys broad popular support among state lawmakers; it passed 89-9 in the Virginia House and unanimously (39-0) in the state Senate, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is widely expected to sign it into law without issue in the coming days.

In the absence of a general-purpose federal privacy framework, states all over the nation are very slowly stepping in with their own solutions. The Virginia law is somewhat modeled on California’s landmark Consumer Privacy Act, which was signed into law in 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. Legislatures in several other states—including Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington—have some kind of data privacy bills currently under consideration.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#bills, #california-consumer-privacy-act, #ccpa, #cdpa, #consumer-data-protection-act, #consumer-privacy, #data-privacy, #laws, #policy, #privacy, #virginia

Draft EU data rules target Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon

Draft EU data rules target Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon

Enlarge (credit: Walter Zerla | Getty Images)

European regulators once again have the behavior of the biggest US tech companies—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google among them—squarely in their sights as they move forward with a proposal to reform how digital marketplaces and data sharing operate.

An early draft of the Digital Services Act, under consideration by the European Parliament, would not only require tech forms to share data with smaller rivals but would also limit the ways companies can use customer data they’ve already collected, the Financial Times was first to report.

Under the proposal, tech firms with the potential to act as gatekeepers “shall not pre-install exclusively their own applications nor require from any third-party operating system developers or hardware manufacturers to pre-install exclusively gatekeepers’ own application,” according to Reuters. The draft also mandates that gatekeeper companies will also not be permitted to use data collected on their platforms to target users unless that data is also shared with rival firms.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#antitrust, #competition, #europe, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #european-union, #laws, #policy, #regulation

Justice Dep’t. sends its Section 230 rewrite to Congress

Cartoon hands hold out a band-aid over the words Section 230.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

The Department of Justice today dropped a proposed “recalibration” of one of the most important laws governing the US Internet into Congress’s lap and urged legislators to act to remove a liability protection on which nearly every website and app currently relies.

Attorney General Bill Barr sent the proposed legislation—an extension of his June wish list—to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence (in his role as President of the Senate) this morning.

“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” Barr said in a written statement. “Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open, and competitive environment is vitally important to America,” he added. “We therefore urge Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and begin to hold online platforms accountable both when they unlawfully censor speech and when they knowingly facilitate criminal activity online.”

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#congress, #department-of-justice, #doj, #justice-department, #laws, #legislative-proposal, #policy, #section-230

Portland adopts strictest facial recognition ban in nation to date

A helpful neon sign in Portland, Ore.

Enlarge / A helpful neon sign in Portland, Ore. (credit: Seth K. Hughes | Getty Images)

City leaders in Portland, Oregon, yesterday adopted the most sweeping ban on facial recognition technology passed anywhere in the United States so far.

The Portland City Council voted on two ordinances related to facial recognition: one prohibiting use by public entities, including the police, and the other limiting its use by private entities. Both measures passed unanimously, according to local NPR and PBS affiliate Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The first ordinance (PDF) bans the “acquisition and use” of facial recognition technologies by any bureau of the city of Portland. The second (PDF) prohibits private entities from using facial recognition technologies “in places of public accommodation” in the city.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#face-recognition, #facial-recognition, #laws, #oregon, #policy, #portland, #privacy, #racism, #surveillance