Monday

30th Nov 2020

Investigation

EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal

The EU recently signed a huge contract for a US anti-corona drug which, the WHO says, might not work, but there's little transparency on how the deal was made.

Coronavirus

EU seeks new deal for '90% effective' Covid-19 vaccine

After an experimental Covid-19 vaccine developed by the American giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech was found to be more than 90 percent effective, the EU announced that it will sign a contract for up to 300 million doses.

Turkey to fine social media giants under new law

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok were fined by Turkish authoirties for failing to appoint a representative able to address complaints, as required by a new law.

EU Commission sticks to €20bn AI target, despite Covid

Despite the coronavirus crisis, the European Commission wants member states to attract more than €20bn of investment in artificial intelligence (AI) annually over the next decade to make Europe a leader of so-called 'trustworthy artificial intelligence'.

Opinion

To beat cancer, Commission must first beat chemicals lobby

The EU Commission wants to reduce cancer rates in Europe. So it's imperative this week's chemicals strategy properly regulates substances that can cause cancer - despite the efforts of the chemicals lobby, which has spent years successfully preventing tough action.

Coronavirus

EU stands by anti-Covid drug, despite WHO doubts

A panel at the World Health Organisation said the antiviral drug remdesivir was 'ineffective' in treating Covid-19. But tens of thousands of doses have already been distributed throughout the EU and a €1bn contract signed with Gilead.

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Opinion

EU vs US tech agenda under Biden

What will the new Joe Biden administration bring to the realm of digital policy, and how will it affect the relationship with the EU?

Concerned UK lawmakers push for faster Huawei 5G ban

A crossparty group of British MPs urged the government to consider removing Huawei from the country's 5G networks as soon as 2025 saying there is "clear evidence of collusion" between Huawei and the Chinese state.

Opinion

Amazon's spying on EU workers just tip of iceberg

Amazon is leading an assault on workers' rights in Europe, using big data and surveillance to crush efforts by workers to improve their conditions. It's symptomatic of a climate of impunity around breaches of privacy that benefit corporations over workers.

ECJ to clarify power of Belgian watchdog on Facebook cookies

The European Court of Justice is due to decide whether the Belgian data protection watchdog can pursue legal action against Facebook - after the social media network was found guilty of breaching Belgian privacy legislation some five years ago.

Opinion

Why am I not seeing this ad?

The micro-targeting of narrow, homogenous groups of people with very specific messages that exploit their vulnerabilities, makes it easier than ever to distort political debate, pushing people deeper into their echo chambers and stimulating single-issue voting.

EU warns tech giants 'time to go beyond self-reguation'

The European Commission has concluded that code of practice to fight disinformation fails to guarantee enough transparency and accountability from tech platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter - saying it is time to go beyond this self-regulatory mechanism.

US firms ignoring EU court ruling on data, Schrems warns

Facebook and other big US firms have no intention of respecting the landmark ruling by the EU's highest court on data transfers to the US. The court in July dramatically scrapped Privacy Shield, citing US surveillance concerns.

Coronavirus

How EU aims - hopefully - to secure vaccine by end of 2020

The European Commission hopes to have 30m doses of AstraZeneca's potential coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis among the 27 EU countries - until the 300m doses negotiated arrive.

Facebook cries foul on EU request for internal documents

Facebook, a US tech giant known for abusing its users' private data, has filed a complaint at the EU court in Luxembourg, saying the EU Commission's data request was too broad and would affect its employees' medical and financial information.

Opinion

Why EU must limit political micro-targeting

In contrast to campaign posters on the street or ads on TV, other voters have no way of knowing what paid political messaging their fellow citizens are seeing. People become siphoned off from each other and societal divides might harden.

EU top court bins 'Privacy Shield' in Schrems privacy case

The EU's top court ruled that the EU-US data-transfer pact fails to protect EU citizens' rights to privacy - following a legal challenge from Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems against Facebook. Washington said it was "deeply disappointed" with the ruling.

Column

Four tweets broke Facebook - good news for EU regulators

Facebook PR chief Nick Clegg tried to make us believe that it is comparable to a phone company. Nothing could be further from the truth. His company decides which messages users see. It literally "ranks" content.

Facial-recognition moratorium back on EU agenda

Members of the committee on civil liberties widely supported a moratorium on facial recognition for law enforcement purposes, just after the EU data watchdog backed earlier this week the ban on this technology in public spaces.

EU's landmark GDPR failing to live up to full potential

The commission's two-year review also indicates that the authorities based in Ireland and Luxembourg - European headquarters to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon - need a substantial boost in resources.

Opinion

And now some questions for China's TikTok

At the height of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests last fall, for example, hashtags relating to the protests appeared abundantly on platforms like Twitter. On TikTok, however, the same hashtags yielded scant results and almost no signs of unrest.

Coronavirus

EU wants to pay in advance for promising vaccines

EU health ministers will discuss on Friday plans to have the Commission negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of EU countries, make advaced payments and secure enough vaccines for Europeans.

Coronavirus

Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access

The EU Commission plans a vaccine stategy to make sure all citizens have access to it once it is ready, while it is also seeking to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on securing the vaccine.

Feature

Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine

'The current standard for vaccines is to be kept at two to eight degrees and that is really tough in many developing countries when it can be up to 50 degrees outside,' warn experts on the challenges facing low-income countries.

EU data protection rules abused to censor media

This week the EU's data protection rules (known as the GDPR) are two-years old. While the controversial GDPR was intended to offer greater privacy rights, it has also been abused by some authorities to muzzle a free press.

Opinion

China's cat-and mouse game blocking web content no model for EU

The angriest citizens can turn to protests or violence, leading governments to increase control and monitoring of platforms, reinforcing the problem. This painful point has to be made to stop the EU repeating China's mistake of top-down internet regulation.