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Tag: European Union (EU)

EU to introduce ‘right to repair’ legislation that will force electronics manufacturers to create products that last longer, include as many recycled materials as possible, and are easier to reuse, repair, and recycle

Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian »

The European commission wants to drastically increase recycling of electronic goods, which are often difficult to repair, replace batteries or upgrade. Less than 40% of electronic waste in the EU is thought to be recycled.

Billed as “the right to repair”, the European commission will extend an eco-design law to cover phones, tablets and laptops, setting technical standards so these goods consist of changeable and repairable parts. The current eco-design directive sets energy efficiency standards for computers, TVs, dishwashers and washing machines.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European commissioner for the environment, said the “circular economy” plan was a new economic model for the continent.

“The linear growth model of ‘take, make, use discard’ has reached its limits,” he told reporters. “With the growth of the world population and consumption, this linear model pushes us closer and closer to a resource crisis. The only way ahead is decoupling economic growth from extraction of primary resources and their environmental impacts.”

More » Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge, XDA-Developers

Now that UK is no longer part of the EU, Google plans to move UK user data and accounts out of EU and into the US where data protection is weaker

Another consequence of Brexit.

Joseph Menn, Reuters »

The shift, prompted by Britain’s exit from the EU, will leave the sensitive personal information of tens of millions with less protection and within easier reach of British law enforcement.

The change was described to Reuters by three people familiar with its plans. Google intends to require its British users to acknowledge new terms of service including the new jurisdiction.

Ireland, where Google and other U.S. tech companies have their European headquarters, is staying in the EU, which has one of the world’s most aggressive data protection rules, the General Data Protection Regulation.

More » The Register

EU to investigate Google over data collection practices

Antitrust regulators in the European Union are investigating Google’s data collection practices, according to “exclusive” reporting at Reuters

Over the last couple of years, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager  has handed down fines totalling more than €8 billion (~ C$11 billion) to Google and ordered it to change its business ways.

Foo Yun Chee, writing for Reuters »

“The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices relating to Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is ongoing,” the EU regulator told Reuters in an email.

Read the whole article on the Reuters web site »

More » The Guardian, CNN, International Business Times, Business Insider, The Mercury News

EU’s top court rules Facebook can be forced to remove illegal content worldwide (Updated)

The ruling means social media platforms, like Facebook, now have the added responsibility of patrolling their own sites and networks for content ruled illegal.

Foo Yun Chee, writing for Reuters »

Facebook can be ordered to police and remove illegal content worldwide, Europe’s top court said on Thursday, in a landmark ruling that rights advocates say could allow authoritarian regimes to silence critics.

The ruling came just a week after the same court told Google that it does not have to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law globally, garnering praise from freedom of speech advocates as courts try and figure out just how much responsibility for content platforms should have.

Adam Satariano at the NY Times writes »

Europe’s top court said on Thursday that an individual country can order Facebook to take down posts, photographs and videos and restrict global access to that material, in a ruling that has implications for how countries can expand content bans beyond their borders.

The European Court of Justice’s decision came after a former Austrian politician sought to have Facebook remove disparaging comments about her that had been posted on an individual’s personal page, as well as “equivalent” messages posted by others. The politician, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, a former leader of Austria’s Green Party, argued that Facebook needed to delete the material in the country and limit worldwide access.

American tech giants often don’t appreciate that free-speech is regulated against hate, racism, homophobia, harassment, nudity, etc… in many countries outside the USA. So this decision will be met with a lot of resistance in the USA. However, it will be welcomed in many other parts of the world.

At the same time, it’s difficult to see how European rules can be enforceable outside of their jurisdiction, unless, perhaps, when the offending content originated from within European jurisdiction.

More » Bloomberg, Gizmodo, The Hollywood Reporter, Engadget


Zuckerberg says Facebook will sue to stop EU’s global content takedowns » TechCrunch


Google is investing €3 billion (US$3.3B / CDN$4.4B) over the next two years to expand its renewable energy projects and update data centres across Europe

» Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, writes in the Google Blog »

Today I’m announcing that nearly half of the megawatts produced will be here in Europe, through the launch of 10 renewable energy projects. These agreements will spur the construction of more than 1 billion euros in new energy infrastructure in the EU, ranging from a new offshore wind project in Belgium, to five solar energy projects in Denmark, and two wind energy projects in Sweden. In Finland, we are committing to two new wind energy projects that will more than double our renewable energy capacity in the country, and ensure we continue to match almost all of the electricity consumption at our Finnish data center with local carbon-free sources, even as we grow our operations.

More: TechCrunch, The Register, Engadget, 9to5Google, Axios

Google was fined by the EU, but Apple deserves the same

Bloomberg (paywall):

If Google is at fault for its de facto monopoly in Android app stores, Apple should be held to account for a similar violation. Although an Android user can easily shop in a few alternative stores (though none is a match for the Google Play Store), an iPhone user cannot go outside Apple’s App Store without “jailbreaking” the phone, a process that disables operating system updates. That makes Apple a monopoly in the truest sense of the word, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a suit challenging this super-dominant position on behalf of consumers who have no choice but to pay Apple’s 30 percent commission for developers as part of every app’s price.

Like Google, Apple makes its preinstalled browser impossible to delete from a phone. Google, however, allows users to choose their own default applications, including the browser and maps. Apple doesn’t do that; you can, for example, install Google’s Chrome browser and Google Maps on an iPhone, but they won’t launch by default when you click on a link in an email or another app. That’s even more anticompetitive than simply preinstalling one’s own software and hoping users will keep it because it’s good enough.

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