At a glance.
- House inquiry into Big Tech criticizes the Four Horsemen of the new Gilded Age.
- EU checks indiscriminate e-data collection.
- New cyber policy for Karnataka.
US House subcommittee recommends Big Tech breakup.
The Democrat-led US House Antitrust Subcommittee wrapped up its sixteen-month investigation of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple’s economic influence, concluding that the companies suppress rivals and Congress should divide them, The Wall Street Journal says. Claiming “evidence of monopolization and monopoly power,” the report contends the Big Four’s ascendancy has “diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy, weakened the vibrancy of the free and diverse press, and undermined Americans’ privacy.” The document continues, “To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” Engadget reports that Republicans don’t back the body’s recommendations, with one representative calling a breakup “the nuclear option.”
Amazon responded by saying the panel’s “fringe notions” would drive up costs, decrease selection, diminish competition, inconvenience shoppers, and snuff out small stores. Google also gainsaid the findings, with the exception of those touching “data portability,” “software interoperability,” and “comprehensive federal privacy legislation.” Joining the chorus, Apple “vehemently” rejected the subcommittee’s conclusions in a comment to MacRumors. Facebook has yet to issue a comparable statement.
EU checks “indiscriminate” e-spying.
Yesterday the European Court of Justice hemmed in EU member state intelligence bureaus’ blanket gathering of residents’ digital communications, leaving exceptions for major crimes and threats, Security Week reports. A press release says the court “confirms that EU law precludes national legislation requiring a provider of electronic communications services to carry out the general and indiscriminate transmission or retention of traffic data and location data.” Exceptions must be time-bound and overseen by an external jurisdiction, but these limitations might not satisfy privacy enthusiasts skeptical of vague escape clauses. The case follows ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of UK coordination with US data harvesting post 9-11.
Karnataka brews new cyber policy.
In response to snowballing cyberassaults, some of which the CyberWire Pro Privacy has covered recently, the Indian state of Karnataka plans to issue a cybersafety policy, according to The News Minute. Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwatha Narayana said the policy will “address the needs of the citizens, industry, students as well as the state government” following “the rapid adoption of IT solutions for delivering public services.” A US FBI report ranking India third in total cybercrimes drew his concern, while New Delhi’s National Crime Records Bureau found Karnataka to be the “worst-hit” state, with 12 thousand recorded events last year. The government is also developing cybersecurity classes for top administrators. “Cyber aware employees are the best defense against cyber risks in any organization,” the Deputy Chief Minister concluded.