Home Big Tech The Best Of Tech 2021: April 13th – 20th

The Best Of Tech 2021: April 13th – 20th

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Best of Tech highlights this week will look at Turkey banning cryptocurrency payments, Google penalized in Australia after the regulatory battle that goes back to 2019, investors excited for NFTs, the leak of the EU proposed regulation on AI, the aftermath of the Alibaba fine for the other Chinese tech giants, Russia sanctioned by the U.S. on the basis of cybersecurity, Facebook users urged to take actions against the tech giants after the massive data leak and more.

Tukey Bans Cryptocurrency Payments And Bitcoin Reacts 

On Friday, it was announced that the Turkish central bank is banning the use of cryptocurrencies in payments for goods and services. 

Lately, Turkish citizens were using cryptocurrencies to protect their savings from inflation and the volatility of the Turkish currency. 

The Turkish central bank issued a statement in which it has explained cryptocurrencies present “irrevocable” risks and are “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority. Their market values can be excessively volatile.”

“Payment service providers cannot develop business models in a way that crypto assets are used directly or indirectly in the provision of payment services and electronic money issuance, and cannot provide any services related to such business models,” according to the new regulation.

“It is considered the use in payments may cause non-recoverable losses for the parties to the transactions due to the above-listed factors and they include elements that may undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments,” it said.

Bitcoin fell after the decision was announced, slipping 4% to $60,902. Ether fell by 3.9%

The restrictions will come into effect on the last day of April. Meanwhile, other countries are also introducing or considering strict measures on cryptocurrencies.

Google Breaks Australian Law By Misleading Data Collection Rules 

On Friday, the Australian court held that Google broke the law by misleading information about personal location data collected through their Android mobile devices. 

The Federal Court decision is coming as a huge win for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is the nation’s fair trade watchdog. The Commission has been haunting Google for a number of breaches to consumer law since 2019. 

The court ruled that the violation of the consumer law occurred between January 2017 and December 2018. 

“This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” Commission Chair Rod Sims said in a statement “We are extremely pleased with the outcome in this world-first case.” 

Google has commented on the news, saying that it is considering to appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court. 

“The court rejected many of the ACCC’s broad claims,” a Google statement said. “We disagree with the remaining findings and are currently reviewing our options, including a possible appeal.” 

According to the decision, when a new Google account was set up on the Android device, 

Google misrepresented that the “Location History” setting was the only Google account setting that affected whether Google collected, kept or used personally identifiable data about their location.

Do you want to learn more about big tech giants? Related:

Governments Ramp-up Regulations to Curb Big Tech Excesses

Is BigTech Getting Too Big?

What the WeChat Ban Could Mean For Apple And Google?

Investors Gobbling Up As Many NFTs As Possible 

After the recent spike of interest in the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), their position on the digital asset market is growing. The virtual asset that has its ownership status and authenticity verified by blockchain has exploded in 2021 and it does not look like the prices will go down anytime soon. 

Just last month, the Singapore-based Metakovan bought the digital artwork “Everyday: The First 5000 Days” by the American artist Beeple at Christie’s for $69 million. 

Art is not the only blockchain-based virtual asset that is becoming a part of the new economy. Buildings, names, lands, and avatars can all be purchased and sold as NFTs. 

Metakovan who is the self-proclaimed biggest NFT investor currency holds $189 million worth of NFTs and crypto assets in his Metapurse fund. He has some ambitious plans on how to capitalize on the NFT room.

“The current Cambrian explosion of NFTs that you see is all about acquisition – people want to buy up NFTs, gobble as many of them as they can,” said Anand Venkateswaran, aka Twobadour, who runs the Metapurse fund with Metakovan. “But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real explosion will happen when they’re able to … experience these NFTs as they were intended. If it’s a plot of virtual land, you ought to move around in it, have an immersive experience in it.”

EU Adds Several AI Systems To Their Blacklist Under New Regulation

Last week, the long-awaited details of the new proposed EU regulations on Artificial Intelligence (AI) were leaked. The leaks revealed that the EU is toughening up its stand on the use of AI, banning several AI systems and proposing strict regulations. 

The use of facial recognition for surveillance and algorithms that manipulate human behavior will both be banned. There is also a variety of strict regulation for what is considered high-risk AI by the European Union. 

According to the new regulation, if an AI is considered as high risk, member states will have to apply significantly more oversight and a company that would fail to comply would face fines of up to 4% of their global revenue, which compares to the GDPR breaches fines. 

But what is deemed as high-risk AI? Well, this includes systems that establish priority in the dispatching of emergency services, systems determining access to or assigning people to educational institutes, recruitment algorithms, those that evaluate creditworthiness, those for making individual risk assessments, or crime-predicting algorithms.

European policy analyst Daniel Leufer said that this should “be expanded to include all public sector AI systems, regardless of their assigned risk level”.

“This is because people typically do not have a choice about whether or not to interact with an AI system in the public sector,” he explained. 

The EC is also proposing for high-risk AI to have the “kill switch” that will enable humans to instantly turn of the system if such a need occurs. 

The suggested list of banned AI systems in the proposed regulation includes:

  • Those designed or used in a manner that manipulates human behavior, opinions or decisions …causing a person to behave, form an opinion, or make a decision to their detriment
  • AI systems used for indiscriminate surveillance applied in a generalized manner
  • AI systems used for social scoring
  • Those that exploit information or predictions and a person or group of persons in order to target their vulnerabilities

However, The European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law, which had contributed to the European Commission’s White Paper on AI, told the BBC that the legislation was sloppy and involved a lot of vagueness and loopholes. 

“The EU’s approach to binary-defining high versus low risk is sloppy at best and dangerous at worst, as it lacks context and nuances needed for the complex AI ecosystem already existing today,” they say.  “First, the commission should consider risks of AI systems within a rights-based framework – as risks they pose to human rights, rule of law and democracy. Second, the commission should reject an oversimplified low-high risk structure and consider a tier-based approach on the levels of AI risk.”

Do you want to know more about AI Regulations and other tech regulations? Related:

Are The Current AI Regulations A Necessary Measure? Or Do They Slow Down The Growth?

Are Global Financial Regulators Intrigued By NFTs Just Like Digital Arts Nerds? We discuss The Potential New Regulations For NFTs

Does EU Blockchain Ecosystem Need More Support From The Regulators?

Is The Alibaba Fine A Warning Sign For Chinese Techs? 

Last week, Alibaba was fined with one of the biggest fined we have ever seen, being slapped with $2.8 billion by the Chinese regulators who have said Alibaba abused its market position for years. 

Following, on Monday, the Chinese digital payments company Ant Group which is the affiliate of Alibaba announced a drastic restructuring strategy as the regulators force the company to act like a bank rather than a tech. 

Just a day after Ant Group’s announced, 34 Chinese tech companies were summoned by the officials and warned that Alibaba is a wake up call and a cautionary tale for the rest of Chinese tech giants. 

Companies like Tencent, JD.com, Meituan, Bytedance, and Pinduoduo are all looking at Alibaba’s experience, and trying to avoid crossing any red lines set by Beijing.

“If you read the laws, Chinese regulators are trying to be more forward-looking and think ahead, in an attempt to regulate an industry that is moving so fast,” says Rui Ma, a China tech analyst and co-host of the podcast Tech Buzz China. “They are including the use of algorithms, not just market share. They are trying to understand the platform economy and trying to be in line with what more developed economies are doing.”

Biden Administration To Sanction Russia On The Basis Of Cybersecurity

On Thursday, The US announced sanctions against Russia. The sanctions come as a response to a series of alleged cyber-attacks and hostile acts. 

The statement issued by the White House says that Russian intelligence stands behind the “SolarWinds” hack of last year. It also says Moscow interfered in the 2020 election. 

The sanctions are detailed in an executive order that was signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday. 

“I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so,” Mr Biden told reporters. “The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.”

Biden added that he hopes it will pave the path forward, through “thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process”.

A statement from the White House said the new sanctions show the US “will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia” if it continues its “destabilizing international action”.

Russia has denied all of the allegations. 

Facebook Users Urged To Take Legal Action Against The Tech Giant

Facebook users who had their data compromised because of the massive data leak are now being urged to take legal action.

More than 500 million people had a part of their personal information, such as phone numbers, leaked. Now, a digital privacy group is preparing to take the case to the Irish courts on behalf of the EU citizens who were victims of the data leak. 

Meanwhile, Facebook denies any wrongdoing and claims that the data was “scraped” from what was publicly available information displayed on the site. 

Antoin Ó Lachtnain, director of Digital Rights Ireland (DRI), warned other tech giants its move could be the beginning of a domino effect.

“This will be the first mass action of its kind but we’re sure it won’t be the last,” he said “The scale of this breach, and the depth of personal information compromised, is gob-smacking.”

“The laws are there to protect consumers and their personal data and it’s time these technology giants wake up to the reality that protection of personal data must be taken seriously,” he added.

The data leak was discovered back in 2019, but recently, it became easily available for free. 

The DRI said that the individual users could hope for a compensation of up to €12,000 

“If successful this could well set a precedent and open the door to further class action down the line,” Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, told the BBC. “Big Tech might then find that being made to compensate individual users is a strong reminder to work harder on privacy compliance,” he added.

On Thursday, the Irish Data Protection Commission said it will investigate the leak, deciding on whether any part of the  GDPR or Data Protection Act 2018 were infringed by Facebook.

If a breach is detected, Facebook is risking a fine that can amount to up to 4% of its turnover. 

“We understand people’s concerns, which is why we continue to strengthen our systems to make scraping from Facebook without our permission more difficult and go after the people behind it,” a Facebook spokesman said in response to the DRI’s legal case.  “As LinkedIn and Clubhouse have shown, no company can completely eliminate scraping or prevent data sets like these from appearing. That’s why we devote substantial resources to combat it and will continue to build out our capabilities to help stay ahead of this challenge,” he said.

Cyber Insurance Market Procurement Intelligence Report With The Covid-19 Impact 

The Cyber Insurance market will see an incremental spend of approximately $13.97 Billion, growing at a CAGR of 26.70% during the five-year forecast period, according to the newest report issued by SpendEdge. SpendEdge also includes the market impact and possibilities that were indirectly created through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

SpendEdge is a procurement market intelligence partner for more than 120 of the Fortune 500 companies and a number of other leading companies in various sectors. In their newest  procurement market intelligence report, some of the highlights include: 

Information on how to identify strategic and tactical negotiation levels that will help achieve the best prices, information on relevant pricing methods, methods to engage with the right suppliers and discover KPI’s, insights into buyer strategies and tactical negotiation levers, favorable opportunities in Cyber Insurance TCO, key drivers and trends that fuel the market growth and more 

Some of the top Cyber Insurance suppliers listed in this report:

The top supplies that have been included in the report include Baker Hughes Co., BASF SE, Halliburt Schlumberger Ltd., Akzo Nobel NV, ExxonMobil, Croda International Plc, Clariant, Solvay, and Lubrizol Corp.

Metropolis Partners With Premier Parking To Deploy AI Platform Nationwide

The leading AI-powered autonomous commerce platform Metropolis announced a partnership with the parking industry leader Premier Parking. 

Metropolis’ proprietary computer vision technology and mobile platform will be deployed across Premier’s portfolio, which consists of more than 100,000 parking spaces across 500 locations in 40 cities, by the end of the year.

“We are changing how people think about parking and making the process safer, easier and more enjoyable,” said Premier CEO Ryan Hunt. “By integrating with Metropolis, we are providing our customers with a seamless, first-of-its-kind parking experience to power the future of parking. This partnership combines Premier’s large national market presence with Metropolis’ advanced technology systems, creating a compelling and competitive offering unlike anything currently available.”

For more news about AI regulations, cryptocurrency, new technologies, big tech, Chinese companies, and more, please look at:

Schweitzer Laboratories And CipherTrace Make Cryptocurrency Campaign Contributions Compliance Easy

Future of Crypto Regulation in the EU: Towards Greater Adoption of Crypto Assets

The 3 Most Interesting Developments in Crypto in 2020

AI Makes Huge Progress In Improving MRI Scans



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