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Tag Archives: european-parliament

UK parliament’s call for Zuckerberg to testify goes next level

The UK parliament has issued an impressive ultimatum to Facebook in a last-ditch attempt to get Mark Zuckerberg to take its questions: Come and give evidence voluntarily or next time you fly to the UK you’ll get a formal summons to appear. “Following reports that he will be giving evidence to the European Parliament in May, we would like Mr Zuckerberg to come to London during his European trip. We would like the session here to place by 24 May,” the committee writes in its latest letter to the company, signed by its chair, Conservative MP Damian Collins. “It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country,” he adds. “We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.” BREAKING: This is pretty extraordinary. Parliament issues ultimatum to Facebook. Either Mark Zuckerberg comes voluntarily. Or, he'll face a summons next time he enters British territory. Facebook really couldn't have handled this much worse… pic.twitter.com/VFyJrHXWel — Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) May 1, 2018 Facebook has repeatedly ignored the DCMS committee ‘s requests that its CEO and founder appear before it — preferring to send various minions to answer questions related to its enquiry into online disinformation and the role of social media in politics and democracy. The most recent Zuckerberg alternative to appear before it was also the most senior: Facebook’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer, who claimed he had personally volunteered to make the trip to London to give evidence. However for all Schroepfer’s sweating toil to try to stand in for the company’s chief exec, his answers failed to impress UK parliamentarians. And immediately following the hearing the committee issued a press release repeating their call for Zuckerberg to testify, noting that Schroepfer had failed to provide adequate answers to as many of 40 of its questions. Schroepfer did sit through around five hours of grilling on a wide range of topics with the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal front and center — the story having morphed into a major global scandal for the company after fresh revelations were published by the Guardian in March (although the newspaper actually published its first story about Facebook data misuse by the company all the way back in December 2015) — though in last week’s hearing Schroepfer frequently fell back on claiming he didn’t know the answer and would have to “follow up”. Yet the committee has been asking Facebook for straight answers for months

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EU Parliament urges EU Commission to unbundle search engines from other commercial services (European Parliament)

The European Parliament called on EU member states and the European Commission to break down barriers to the growth of the EU's digital single market in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs also stressed the need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions by enforcing EU competition rules and unbundling search engines from other commercial services. The digital single market could generate an additional €260 billion a year for the EU economy, as well as boosting its competitiveness, says the text, which was approved by 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions. However, it warns that important challenges, such as market fragmentation, lack of interoperabilityas well as regional and demographic inequalities in access to the technology, need to be tackled in order to unlock this potential. Enforcing EU rules for online search companies   The resolution underlines that “the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market” and welcomes the Commission’s pledges to investigate further the search engines’ practices. It calls on the Commission “to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines", stressing the importance of non-discriminatory online search. "Indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent", MEPs say. Given the role of internet search engines in “commercialising secondary exploitation of obtained information” and the need to enforce EU competition rules, MEPs also call on the Commission “to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services” in the long run.  Fast track telecoms package   MEPs stress that “all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference”. Parliament urges member states to start negotiations on the telecoms package, so as to “put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality and improve consumer protection”. Common standards for cloud computing   MEPs call on the Commission “to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing” so as to ensure that it is privacy friendly, reliable, accessible, highly interoperable, secure and energy efficient. Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

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