The EU is often at the forefront of consumer protection when it comes to privacy laws like the GDPR. But now it looks like the Council of the European Union might undermine all of this with a move to cancel secure end-to-end encryption as we know it, the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) reports.
Google has faced a lot of scrutiny in Europe. Whether it's finding fault with Google being the default search provider on Android phones to considering a ban on face recognition in public spaces, the EU generally takes a very pro-consumer focus on things. Now a series of working documents have surfaced that indicate the European Commission is considering a number of proposals that affect big tech — including a requirement that users be allowed to remove any pre-installed applications on a device.
Google has announced the winners of this quarter's auction for default search engine options on Android devices in the Europe. In most of the EEA plus the U.K., users setting up their new phone or tablet starting October 1 will likely have to choose between using Google, Bing, GMX, Info.com, or Yandex.
Back in June, EU members agreed that their coronavirus tracing apps would need to be interoperable to make it easier to travel during the summer, hoping that this would help to trace contacts across borders to prevent a second wave. While that timeline hasn't quite worked out (summer holidays are over in most countries), the European Commission today has announced that it's finally setting up a standardized interoperability gateway for tracing apps.
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Google may have announced its intention to purchase Fitbit last year, but deals between large corporations like this move slowly. Regulators in both the US and EU have expressed concern about the world's largest ad company gaining access to potentially sensitive health data gathered by Fitbit's wearable devices, and Google's reassurances haven't helped. After an initial review by the European Commission, it has decided to press ahead with an in-depth investigation into the merger that is expected to be completed by December 9.
Google set out to acquire fitness company Fitbit in November of last year, but the deal hasn't gone through all the required regulatory approvals yet. There have been concerns that the acquisition could lead to reduced competition and Google extending its apparatus of data-collecting for targeted advertisements, and now advocacy groups around the world are urging governments to closely investigate the deal.
For various reasons, Google restricts access to Google Play depending on what region you're browsing from. This means that the apps, games, and other content in the Play Store vary by country, and you can't even see an app listing if it's not available for purchase in your area. Now, it looks like Google is loosening up a bit, as users in the European Union are able to see Google Play content from other countries in the EEA (European Economic Area) region.
The EU is hoping to enact its own "right to repair" for phones, tablets, and laptops in the region by 2021. Details are very sparse right now, and this goal only been revealed as one component of the so-called Circular Economy Action Plan, a part of the European Green Deal, a roadmap that hopes to make the region carbon neutral by 2050.
Just when you think the post-Brexit situation can't get any worse for us poor sods in the UK, another depressing tidbit rears its ugly head. This time, it's news that Google users in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will no longer be protected by GDPR and will instead be at the mercy of the privacy regulations of the United States.
The European Union will soon hold a vote to decide if it will enforce a mandatory, universal charging connector for all smartphones and other similar, small electronic devices. Arguments in favor of the new legislation include a reduction of e-waste and easy, interoperable charging for end-users. The introduction of USB Type-C has energized standardization talks as it incorporates many of the advantages (reversibility of connection, data transmission rates, and charging speeds) used to justify the existence of proprietary charging connectors.