European Union to fine Google & Facebook when they break the rules - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15171547
The European Union may, in the near future, be imposing internet censorship, blocking the sites of American tech companies like Google and Facebook.
(or at least threatening to block them)

This all started with a new bill passed by the EU Parliament that would hold foreign tech companies (mainly American) accountable to EU laws, and subject them to fines, if they do not comply.
In other words, a judge in Europe can issue a fine against a company in America, despite the fact that company may have no offices or employees in Europe.
And if that company does not comply and pay the fine, the company will be completely barred from doing business in Europe.

The thing is, it is well known that this new law is specifically targeted at American tech companies, like Google and Facebook.
So what will it mean when they are not allowed to "do business" in the EU?

These companies get most of their revenue from advertising. So to block their business, their website would have to be blocked.

That entails a "Great Wall", cordoning off the EU from the internet in the rest of the world, reminiscent of Chinese-style internet control.

And no doubt all those EU-style "hate speech" laws would inevitably end up applying too, and they'd hold the tech company responsible for it, which would implicitly force the tech companies to self-censor and block certain sites or accounts in Europe.

These will be multi-million Euro fines. One of the stated purposes of this new law is to "make America pay".
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (mainly the shutdown associated with it), the EU is behind on tax revenue, and wants to make American companies pay. American companies actually don't have a very big presence in Europe, since Europe doesn't really import much from the US, in the big scheme of things. So the biggest and most conspicuous type American companies in Europe are the tech companies.
The trouble with tech companies though is you are dealing entirely with information. So how to control it? You have to put controls on the internet itself.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/18/eu-vote ... ntent.html

https://www.dw.com/en/eu-calls-for-grea ... a-53717205

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/19/eu ... -brussels/

https://www.ft.com/content/4274817a-e81 ... 065ef5fc55
Last edited by noemon on 18 May 2021 13:21, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Title amended
#15171770
Puffer Fish wrote:The European Union may, in the near future, be imposing internet censorship, blocking the sites of American tech companies like Google and Facebook.
(or at least threatening to block them)

This all started with a new bill passed by the EU Parliament that would hold foreign tech companies (mainly American) accountable to EU laws, and subject them to fines, if they do not comply.
In other words, a judge in Europe can issue a fine against a company in America, despite the fact that company may have no offices or employees in Europe.
And if that company does not comply and pay the fine, the company will be completely barred from doing business in Europe.

The thing is, it is well known that this new law is specifically targeted at American tech companies, like Google and Facebook.
So what will it mean when they are not allowed to "do business" in the EU?

These companies get most of their revenue from advertising. So to block their business, their website would have to be blocked.

That entails a "Great Wall", cordoning off the EU from the internet in the rest of the world, reminiscent of Chinese-style internet control.

And no doubt all those EU-style "hate speech" laws would inevitably end up applying too, and they'd hold the tech company responsible for it, which would implicitly force the tech companies to self-censor and block certain sites or accounts in Europe.

These will be multi-million Euro fines. One of the stated purposes of this new law is to "make America pay".
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (mainly the shutdown associated with it), the EU is behind on tax revenue, and wants to make American companies pay. American companies actually don't have a very big presence in Europe, since Europe doesn't really import much from the US, in the big scheme of things. So the biggest and most conspicuous type American companies in Europe are the tech companies.
The trouble with tech companies though is you are dealing entirely with information. So how to control it? You have to put controls on the internet itself.





It is simply law and order gradually imposing itself in cyberspace. These days when I shop on Amazon it collects taxes, which was not the case some time back. Information has value. My take is that the internet of say 2030 is gonna be a world of a way much more different from that of today. For starters, the power of Big Tech to censor is gonna be taken down in the next few years. Censorship by governments is bad enough, having private companies determine which politician in which country has a voice is too much
#15171771
@Juin @Puffer Fish

You can be guaranteed that if the EU imposes some sort of "Great Firewall of the EU" similar to the current "Great Firewall of China" that people will find a way to bypass that firewall. People already have a way to bypass the "Great Firewall of China."
#15171780
Politics_Observer wrote:@Juin @Puffer Fish

You can be guaranteed that if the EU imposes some sort of "Great Firewall of the EU" similar to the current "Great Firewall of China" that people will find a way to bypass that firewall. People already have a way to bypass the "Great Firewall of China."




The internet is a work in progress. It is not that I am advocating any one particular solution. Without any doubt it is dawning on many that internet is not just something out there for couch potatoes to play with. For example how do we solve the question of censorship? The US has to address that issue. There was a popular push to censor Trump. I suspect you backed that. Yet the question is more than just about Trump. Is it a normal state of affairs to have private businesses censor expressions on what is becoming the preferred platforms for expressions? I dont think it should be up to Twitter, Facebook, etc to censor speech. Law and regularly constituted authorities should set the boundaries of what is allowed, or not allowed.
#15171955
Juin wrote:Is it a normal state of affairs to have private businesses censor expressions on what is becoming the preferred platforms for expressions?


Of course it is. Or if its not, it should be.

What you describe as private business "censorship" is nothing more than privately owned platforms having the right to decide who they do and who they don't allow to broadcast their views on their platform.

You seem to be equating this to passing laws to make it illegal to say certain things, but the two are totally different.

Twitter banning me, or Trump from posting on their platform in no way "censors" me or Trump - as in curbing our freedom of speech. That is simply twitter exercising their right to not publish our views. It is absolutely right and proper that they have this right. But governments passing laws to dictate what you cannot say (on any platform) is obviously a far far greater threat to our rights and freedom. Its chalk and cheese.
#15171970
GandalfTheGrey wrote:Of course it is. Or if its not, it should be.

What you describe as private business "censorship" is nothing more than privately owned platforms having the right to decide who they do and who they don't allow to broadcast their views on their platform.

You seem to be equating this to passing laws to make it illegal to say certain things, but the two are totally different.

Twitter banning me, or Trump from posting on their platform in no way "censors" me or Trump - as in curbing our freedom of speech. That is simply twitter exercising their right to not publish our views. It is absolutely right and proper that they have this right. But governments passing laws to dictate what you cannot say (on any platform) is obviously a far far greater threat to our rights and freedom. Its chalk and cheese.




You are not issuing a ruling. My view is that the internet is a work in progress. There will be many fights over rights and privileges on the internet, and many more rulings will emerge from courts, parliaments around the world will weigh in, depending on how loudly some of their citizens quil over what they perceive as unfair treatment. Dictators and totalitarians will also weigh in, in various devious ways, mainly over why somehow a foreign big tech companies is the Censor in their realms.

I am more fascinated as to how the harnessing and regulation of the internet evolves than in what direction it heeads.
#15172098
Juin wrote:It is simply law and order gradually imposing itself in cyberspace.

The issue is, what we're really talking about is information. The EU would not simply be controlling the flow of money or sale of goods, it would be trying to control what people read and what advertisements they can see.

But I guess you don't see any problem with that.
It's all the same to you.

If you see blocking websites and implementing borderline Chinese style censorship as being equal to laws that control what you can buy and sell, and the collection of taxes, then I guess you would not see any problem here.
#15172115
Puffer Fish wrote:The issue is, what we're really talking about is information. The EU would not simply be controlling the flow of money or sale of goods, it would be trying to control what people read and what advertisements they can see.

But I guess you don't see any problem with that.
It's all the same to you.

If you see blocking websites and implementing borderline Chinese style censorship as being equal to laws that control what you can buy and sell, and the collection of taxes, then I guess you would not see any problem here.





Oh, did I mention that I am a Trumpista? So I am quite used to censorship by Facebook, Twitter. The collusion by Big Tech to strangle Parler to death. So I can say I am quite used to censorship. My suspicion is that I will in all likelihood find EU censorship grate less severely on my nerves than the censorship of Twitter or Facebook.
#15172906
Juin wrote:You are not issuing a ruling. My view is that the internet is a work in progress. There will be many fights over rights and privileges on the internet, and many more rulings will emerge from courts, parliaments around the world will weigh in, depending on how loudly some of their citizens quil over what they perceive as unfair treatment. Dictators and totalitarians will also weigh in, in various devious ways, mainly over why somehow a foreign big tech companies is the Censor in their realms.

I am more fascinated as to how the harnessing and regulation of the internet evolves than in what direction it heeads.


How on earth does google or facebook become the censor in anyone's realm?

Democracies and totalitarians alike can tell the tech giants where to go, and if enough of them reject their operating policies, then the tech giants will be forced to compromise. Or, if a given realm wants, they can easily create their own alternate platform that adheres to the wills and values of that realm.

Bottom line, no tech giant determines what people in any given country can or cannot say. The notion is absurd.
#15173010
GandalfTheGrey wrote:How on earth does google or facebook become the censor in anyone's realm?

Democracies and totalitarians alike can tell the tech giants where to go, and if enough of them reject their operating policies, then the tech giants will be forced to compromise. Or, if a given realm wants, they can easily create their own alternate platform that adheres to the wills and values of that realm.

Bottom line, no tech giant determines what people in any given country can or cannot say. The notion is absurd.




All those issues may have already been resolved in your book, I do not see that they have been. This thread itself is a case in point of what the EU may chose to do to American Big Tech companies. A month or so ago it was Australia in dispute with big tech over payments to users, with Facebook briefly banning Australian news items. In the run up to elections in an African country I cannot recall, it was Twitter squealing over the government shutting it down for the duration....

All those matters appear to have been resolved in your book, apparently that memo never got to Aussies.





Facebook vs Australia and the new battle to cut big tech down to size

The public spat between Facebook and Australia earlier this year presages a new effort to regulate big tech companies – but could that threaten the whole future of the web?

STAND-OFFS between nations are nothing new. But a very public spat between a government and a commercial company, in which each accused the other of taking citizens hostage and threatened sanctions, certainly seemed novel when it broke out this February.

This was the case of Facebook versus Australia, in which the tech giant briefly cut off access to some parts of the web through its platform for its 17 million Australian users, in response to a proposed law that would force it to pay for linking to news stories. Opinions are still divided on the rights and wrongs – but this skirmish looks like just a foretaste of bigger battles to come.

Across the world, governments are concluding that tech giants such as Facebook and Google exercise too much power and are undermining the public good by allowing hate speech and misinformation to proliferate. Not only in Australia, but also in the UK, the US, the EU and elsewhere, plans are afoot to bring them to heel.



Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg ... z6vAXpjAiz

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg ... z6vAXgM9lv
#15173059
Fasces wrote:Controversial opinion: Foreign multinational conglomerates should be beholden to the laws of the nations they operate in and subject to democratic oversight.


Nothing controversial about it, it's the status quo. American tech companies, like any other, have been "forced" to do stuff by the EU or individual countries, e.g. to implement "the right to be forgotten" or to pay billion-dollar fines for violating competition rules.
#15173161
Juin wrote:All those issues may have already been resolved in your book, I do not see that they have been. This thread itself is a case in point of what the EU may chose to do to American Big Tech companies. A month or so ago it was Australia in dispute with big tech over payments to users, with Facebook briefly banning Australian news items. In the run up to elections in an African country I cannot recall, it was Twitter squealing over the government shutting it down for the duration....

All those matters appear to have been resolved in your book, apparently that memo never got to Aussies.


what memo?

I agree that governments dictating what can and can't be said on social media is a concern in relation to censorship. Although, as faeces points out, much of this is merely requiring tech companies to abide by local laws - which is fair enough.

But at the risk of repeating myself, tech giants reserving the right to decide who they do and don't allow to broadcast on their own private platforms - is not censorship, and should not be seen as an attack on free speech.

Also, in the facebook vs Australian government stash you cited, facebook was in the right IMO. This was a case of old media insisting that facebook pay them a fee for promoting old media's news articles on facebook. Yes it really is as stupid as it sounds. Its like if I owned a coffee shop and I posted free advertising material on my windows for another business - and that business demand I pay them a fee for doing it. But big media lobbied the government to make a law enforcing their ridiculous demand - because they can. And of course they succeeded. Yes there were free speech implications in this case - but probably not the ones you were thinking of. What you should be complaining about in this instance is a democratic government being held hostage by big media, and curbing free speech (in the sense of imposing on facebook prohibitive conditions for the publication of free speech) - purely in the interests of big business profits.
#15175650
Puffer Fish wrote:That entails a "Great Wall", cordoning off the EU from the internet in the rest of the world, reminiscent of Chinese-style internet control.

No! That would be a terrible mistake!

There are alternatives, like banning EU companies from buying advertising on those networks. Or subjecting to penalties certain US companies that operate within the EU, so that the US gov. takes measures. The main concern should be censorship by the networks, which should be drastically limited(just to insults, threats, spammy adverts or leakage of personal data and perhaps off-topic discussion if there is a topic)

GandalfTheGrey wrote:How on earth does google or facebook become the censor in anyone's realm?

Fairly simple: they own a sizeable part of the virtual "real estate" where people congregate, discuss ideas. Companies are supposed to obey certain rules when they provide services to the public. Like when they're forced to obey certain sanitary and safety norms if they operate, say, restaurants. If they operate a place where people discuss, exchange ideas, they should NOT interfere with those ideas, except in very exceptional and neutral circumstances related to serious and direct dangers/threats and absolutely never to impose political and ideological views, alleged "truths" and so on.
#15176303
ccdan wrote:Fairly simple: they own a sizeable part of the virtual "real estate" where people congregate, discuss ideas. Companies are supposed to obey certain rules when they provide services to the public. Like when they're forced to obey certain sanitary and safety norms if they operate, say, restaurants. If they operate a place where people discuss, exchange ideas, they should NOT interfere with those ideas, except in very exceptional and neutral circumstances related to serious and direct dangers/threats and absolutely never to impose political and ideological views, alleged "truths" and so on.


Look, I get the point about these companies monopolising the virtual real estate that is so central to our modern discourses - and its therefore naive to assume there are no free speech implications associated with that reality...

and yet...

the point remains - you are literally demanding that privately owned publishing platforms must not have any ability to choose what they do and don't publish. You wouldn't march up to a book publisher and insist they must publish every draft that is sent to them - yet you are demanding the same of social media companies - which are really just another type of publishing company. Yes, the scales are vastly different, but the principle is the same.

So you should see the irony here - in dictating publisher's own publishing terms seemingly in the name of free speech - you are actually the one threatening free speech - ie the freedom of publishers to make their own publishing choices.
#15176389
GandalfTheGrey wrote:Look, I get the point about these companies monopolising the virtual real estate that is so central to our modern discourses - and its therefore naive to assume there are no free speech implications associated with that reality...

and yet...

the point remains - you are literally demanding that privately owned publishing platforms must not have any ability to choose what they do and don't publish. You wouldn't march up to a book publisher and insist they must publish every draft that is sent to them - yet you are demanding the same of social media companies - which are really just another type of publishing company. Yes, the scales are vastly different, but the principle is the same.

So you should see the irony here - in dictating publisher's own publishing terms seemingly in the name of free speech - you are actually the one threatening free speech - ie the freedom of publishers to make their own publishing choices.




Therein lies the problem. Are Big Tech platforms or publishing platforms?

If they are publishing platforms, then they can be held liable for whatever users post on their platforms. That is not the preferred situation for Big Tech. And in the case of the US a Section 230 protects them from being held liable for what users post.

If they are just platforms, then it is users who are the publishers. They are not, or should not be publishing companies; or at the very least that is the challenge Big Tech is increasingly facing around the world. India has been reading the Riot Act to Twitter: basically India is telling Twitter, you cannot operate in India as a sovereign body, Twitter's rules cannot have primacy over Indian Law
#15176401
@Juin

Juin wrote: For example how do we solve the question of censorship?


Well, I can think of several solutions to that problem. For example, to get around the censorship of the "Great Firewall of China" in China you can use the Shadowsocks protocol to circumvent internet censorship. :lol: Truth is, somebody will find a way around any sort of internet censorship.
#15176409
Juin wrote:
All those issues may have already been resolved in your book, I do not see that they have been. This thread itself is a case in point of what the EU may chose to do to American Big Tech companies. A month or so ago it was Australia in dispute with big tech over payments to users, with Facebook briefly banning Australian news items. In the run up to elections in an African country I cannot recall, it was Twitter squealing over the government shutting it down for the duration....

All those matters appear to have been resolved in your book, apparently that memo never got to Aussies.



GandalfTheGrey wrote:what memo?
I agree that governments dictating what can and can't be said on social media is a concern in relation to censorship. Although, as faeces points out, much of this is merely requiring tech companies to abide by local laws - which is fair enough.



But are they abiding by "local laws"? How was Twitter abiding by Nigerian Law when it censored the tweet of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari? Twitter is in a spat with India over similar issues as well. Both countries are accusing Twitter as basically behaving as sovereign over them.



GandalfTheGrey << But at the risk of repeating myself, tech giants reserving the right to decide who they do and don't allow to broadcast on their own private platforms - is not censorship, and should not be seen as an attack on free speech.<<


Their private platforms? Maybe that, in essence, is what the dispute is all about. I will like to compare it to as akin to a landlord and tenant situation. Does a landlord have the absolute right to decide who he accepts or rejects as tenant?




GandalfTheGrey << Also, in the facebook vs Australian government stash you cited, facebook was in the right IMO. This was a case of old media insisting that facebook pay them a fee for promoting old media's news articles on facebook. Yes it really is as stupid as it sounds. Its like if I owned a coffee shop and I posted free advertising material on my windows for another business - and that business demand I pay them a fee for doing it. But big media lobbied the government to make a law enforcing their ridiculous demand - because they can. And of course they succeeded. Yes there were free speech implications in this case - but probably not the ones you were thinking of. What you should be complaining about in this instance is a democratic government being held hostage by big media, and curbing free speech (in the sense of imposing on facebook prohibitive conditions for the publication of free speech) - purely in the interests of big business profits<<


As to the coffee shop analogy, I like it. But I see it a little differently. If some of the coffee shop's profits are as a result of what you consider posting of free ads of other businesses on its windows, then those other businesses, it will seem to me, have a good case for demanding a cut.

But what is of interest to me is not whether Facebook or Australia was right in the particular case. I see it more as another chapter in the development of that real estate we call cyberspace. I find it fascinating actually. I will say it is kind of like an ongoing battle to bring Law and Order to this new Wild West we call cyberspace. At the beginning stuff you bought online had no taxes; then governments started wisening up; and now anytime I purchase something on Amazon it collects taxes.
#15176473
Juin wrote:Therein lies the problem. Are Big Tech platforms or publishing platforms?

If they are publishing platforms, then they can be held liable for whatever users post on their platforms. That is not the preferred situation for Big Tech. And in the case of the US a Section 230 protects them from being held liable for what users post.


But really they are behaving as if they consider themselves responsible for user's posts. Thats my point: they go around "censoring" users precisely *because* they are terrified they will be held liable for hosting illegal and even morally dubious content. Thats their motivation - not some megalomaniacal desire to control and restrict everyone's free speech. I don't know anything about this Section 230, but it doesn't seem to me that it is having much effect - in terms of allaying their fears about being held liable for user's content.

India has been reading the Riot Act to Twitter: basically India is telling Twitter, you cannot operate in India as a sovereign body, Twitter's rules cannot have primacy over Indian Law


Are you referring to this?:

All four accounts, like several others that the Indian government ordered to be blocked in the country earlier this year, had protested New Delhi’s agriculture reforms and some had posted other tweets that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seven years of governance in India, an analysis by TechCrunch found.

https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/07/twitt ... l-request/

To which twitter complied.

But surely you are not saying this is a good thing?

India is supposedly a democracy, and I would assume would have laws in place that should protect the protestor's right to criticise the government. I think its pretty obvious where the problem of censorship lies in this particular case - and its not the fact that twitter initially allowed these people to freely post on their platform.

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