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Cyber Law

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Posting a meme which includes characters from Futurama may very well be a thing of the past now that the European Union Parliament has voted YES on Articles 11 (link tax) and 13 (upload filter) – sweeping copyright infringement laws that will block any content one tries to upload that includes copyrighted material. Those that support the articles feel they will clean up the Internet a bit, making it more possible to control what is shared. However, those that oppose them see it as the end of a free Internet, an Internet that has kept our lives vibrant and interesting. They feel this falls very much into line with the United States’ decision to end net neutrality.

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Google, Amazon and the like are showing record profits despite protests, boycotts and, especially in the case of Google, being taken to task by the EU for abusing their power as market leader, a situation which manifested itself in a record-breaking penalty. Andrea Nahles (SPD) is backing a law that, if it can gain support and be put into effect, could strip the Californians of their place in digital capitalism.

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European antitrust regulators have fined Google a record breaking €4.34 billion for abusing the Android mobile operating system’s dominance. This fine comes from the fact that Google has imposed three types of restrictions on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. These practises deny rivals the chance to innovate and compete. European consumers are thusly denied the benefits of effective competition in the mobile sphere. Under EU antitrust rules, this is illegal.

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The European Parliament approved rules that put an end to geoblocking on e-commerce websites in Europe yesterday. European online shoppers will now be able to have wider cross-border access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals or concert tickets. With 71% of European e-shoppers making cross-border purchases, this is good news. However, critics say it isn’t being implemented fully.

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Apple has disappointed many by slowing older iPhone models down in order to prevent the phones with older batteries from shutting down suddenly. Now, it has been reported by Reuters that the company may face a legal battle in France over the practice of speeding up the aging process of their products to stimulate demand.

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What does Europe need to do to develop itself digitally? The European Council met on the 19 and 20 October to discuss important topics like the future of a digital Europe as well as the EU’s future as a whole. A series of priorities were adopted for Europe to go digital. The focus was on e-government, the Digital Single Market Strategy, infrastructure and communication networks, cyber security, online crime and the taxation system.

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