Policy Wrap: Google revises Android license agreements in line with EU ruling to allow device manufacturers to sell phones with or without Google mobile services, and more
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Google revises Android license agreements in line with EU ruling to allow device manufacturers to sell phones with or without Google mobile services
Google was slapped with one of the biggest antitrust penalties by the European Union in 2018 for abusing its dominant position in the market in the Android ecosystem. They appealed to a lower court back in September, which only reduced the penalty by a minute degree. So, Google is putting forward an appeal to the union’s top court.
Due to this verdict by the EU, Google had to make revisions to its Android license agreements to enable device manufacturers to sell their phones in the EEA with or without the Google Play Store and related services.
Google has filed a second appeal with the European Court of Justice in an effort to have a €2.4 billion punishment imposed against it for its Google Shopping service's alleged antitrust violations overturned. In addition to this, the Federal Trade Commission has been pursuing sanctions against the business since October of this year over allegedly misleading Pixel 4 advertisements.
Amazon-EU deal to ensure equal treatment for the e-commerce group’s competitors on its website
Amazon and EU antitrust regulators has finalized a deal over concerns of use of the behemoth’s data which undermined its rivals. The e-commerce giant has agreed to increase the visibility of its rivals’ products and to treat them equally on Amazon’s “buy box”, which is a source of majority of purchases on the website. It has also agreed to create an alternative featured offer for buyers in cases where delivery speed is not the primary factor.
The deal is set to be announced on the 20th of December, unless there are any last-minute changes. The commitments have been “market tested” and agreed by EU officials and will remain in effect for the next five years.
This deal effectively is a big win for the EU and can be hailed as a blueprint for the company’s compliance with the new Digital Markets Act, which was aimed at keeping a check on the power of big techs. Compliance with the deal also means the Amazon will avoid penalties to the degree of up to 10% of its global revenues.
The Amazon-EU deal comes 3 years after EU antitrust watchdogs started a probe into the group’s alleged anti-competitive practices regarding data usage and handling of its competitors.
EU upholds people’s ‘Right to be forgotten’; directs Google to remove search results if such information is manifestly inaccurate
According to Thursday's ruling by Europe's top court, Google must erase information from online search results if users can demonstrate that it is false.
People's "right to be forgotten" online, which refers to their ability to delete their digital footprints from the internet, has caused conflict between proponents of free speech and privacy rights in recent years.
The case concerned two executives before the Court of Justice of the European Union, who had asked Google to remove results on search related to a few of their articles, and their thumbnail photos.
"The operator of a search engine must de-reference information found in the referenced content where the person requesting de-referencing proves that such information is manifestly inaccurate," the Court of Justice of the European Union said.
Amazon being sued for stealing delivery driver tips to bring down costs and increase profits in the US
Last week, the District of Columbia announced that it was taking legal action against Amazon for allegedly stealing tips from its Flex service delivery drivers in order to lower labour costs and increase profits.
The action, which was filed despite the fact that Amazon had already paid out drivers as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, accuses the corporation of violating local laws governing deceptive business practises.
In the lawsuit against Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics, it is alleged that between late 2016 and mid-2019, the e-commerce giant deceived customers into believing tips were being given to Flex service drivers when in reality, they were being used to lower operational expenses.
“Top court” board slams Meta for preferential treatment of high-profile users
A watchdog group claimed on Tuesday that Facebook and Instagram prioritised commerce over human rights when they gave preferential treatment on rule-breaking posts by public figures including politicians, celebrities, and other high-profile users.
After a year-long investigation, an independent "top court" established by the tech company recommended changing the "cross-check" system, which shields influential individuals from Facebook's content policies. Although Meta informed the board that cross-check aimed to further Meta's commitments to human rights, the panel determined that the initiative appeared to be more directly oriented to address business issues.
The board claims that cross-check is carried out in a manner that does not adhere to Meta's obligations with regard to human rights. According to the article, this has led to posts that would have been promptly deleted remaining up during a review process that might take days or months. The board stated that Meta failed to assess whether the procedure had led to more precise determinations regarding content removal.
Panel of finance ministers deliberating on taxation of online gaming companies
A panel of Indian state ministers are in the process of submitting a report on taxation of the online gaming sector. Deliberation on how online gaming companies need to be taxed and whether federal tax needs to be imposed on the profits or the entire amount collected from participants, has been a subject for discussion for the past few weeks.
Official reports indicate that it is highly unlikely that the panel will announce a reform by the end of this month.
In addition to this, India is drafting federal rules for the gaming industry, which the research firm Redseeer predicts would be worth $7 billion by 2026 and be dominated by real-money games.
According to Reuters, after the prime minister's office rejected a suggestion to merely regulate games of skill and exclude games of chance, the proposed restrictions would now apply to all real-money games.
India considers monitoring algorithms used by social media and internet companies
According to sources, the union administration is mulling a proposal to hold internet and social media companies "accountable" for the "algorithms" they employ to customise material based on users' individual browsing histories and profiles. If the proposal is included in the upcoming Digital India Act (DIA), India will be one of the first few countries to opt for legislative monitoring of these proprietary codes.
It is expected that the draught rules might include measures governing the use of cutting-edge technology such as sophisticated quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse. The reason for this is to prevent misuse of citizen’s data through powerful algorithms. The DIA will also have rules governing how big internet companies handle data processing. This should prohibit them from identifying a specific user from an anonymized dataset.
Initiative by Samsung for startups to work in government’s Digital India Stack
Samsung is seeking entrepreneurs to develop on technology related to the government's Digital India stack and on industries such as wallets, health, and fitness where goods can be integrated into the business's ecosystem.
Applications including UPI, Digilocker, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), and Unified Health Interface (UHI), among others, have repositories in the Digital India stack, which is managed by the government.
Startups from the fintech, health tech, and e-commerce industries were present at the event and will receive technical mentoring from Samsung experts as well as advice on how to secure their intellectual property.
In order to help some of the startups scale their ideas even further, Samsung will also consider providing funding support on a case-to-case basis.
Startup funding dips 35% as compared to last year: Tracxn report
According to a report by startup data platform Tracxn, the Indian startup ecosystem has seen a 35% year-over-year decline in total funding so far in 2022 (until December 5) at $24.7 billion, with the retail and fintech industries among the worst-affected.
According to the report, the amount of money raised in the retail and fintech sectors fell by 57% and 41%, respectively, in 2022. However, these two industries, together with business applications, continued to be the leading fundraisers throughout the year.
As valuations realised during exits became more modest, the report also noted a decline in investor exits throughout the year. 11 startups conducted initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2022 compared to 16 the previous year.
According to Tracxn cofounder and CEO Neha Singh, a pattern that has evolved over the past few years is that both Indian new-age enterprises and legacy corporates are taking part in startup M&A activity.
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