This is a rundown of last week’s news updates on Privacy and Antitrust:
ZOOM to ‘breakout’ the bank, decides to settle US privacy class action for $85 million
Zoom, a leading virtual conferencing app, has decided to end a privacy infringement class action suit filed against it by users who alleged that Zoom’s sharing of users’ personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn resulted in violation of their privacy. While maintaining that they had committed no wrongdoing in the alleged action, however they reiterated their commitment to improving their security protocols. They intend to set up a fund of $85 million to pay out $25 to each member who had purchased a subscription, and pay out $15 to every other user who had not taken a subscription. The settlement is yet to receive the assent of US District Judge Lucy Koh, before whom the case lies.
A missing structure of its own? New DNA data bill comes lacking specific safeguards for privacy
The DNA Technology Regulation Bill, tabled in Parliament in February 2021 and expected to be passed in the current monsoon session, may come with too wide an ambit to serve its purpose, which is to assist in the profiling of victims, the accused, and those reported missing, and therein maintain data storage in national and regional data banks. However, a lack of clarity on what data may be stored and how the data may be used could put marginalised communities at risk of abuse by the system. Jairam Ramesh, head of the parliamentary committee that reviewed the bill, though concedes that more safeguards should be added with the development of technology and its experience.
Journalists swoop in on Pegasus, file petitions before the Supreme Court citing privacy violations by the Government
Five journalists who were targeted by the Government through spyware Pegasus have now filed writ petitions before the Supreme Court alleging violations of their fundamental rights. The use of the Pegasus spyware, confirmed by Amnesty International, an internationally renowned human rights organisation, revealed that the Government of India had violated their privacy, which would then trickle down to dissuading whistleblowers and informants from revealing the wrongdoings of governmental agencies. The petitions are listed before a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, and prays for the setting up of an oversight mechanism to look into privacy complaints against the Government.
Amazon’s million euro prime day? Regulatory filings reveal a €746 million fine levied by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD)
In an unknown violation of European Union General Data Protection Regulation’s for processing personal data, Amazon has disclosed a €746 million fine imposed by the CNPD for reportedly engaging in mass privacy violations. The EU GDPR is a comprehensive legislation detailing the obligations of companies for dealing with personal data. Industry experts believe that the sheer size of the fine points to a significant and long-lasting violation of privacy law. Amazon however intends to appeal the decision, stating that the CNPD’s decision was made without merit, as “There has been no breach, and customer information was not exposed to any third party.”
Google meets Microsoft in court, issues a subpoena against Microsoft for additional documents in its antitrust case
Microsoft has teamed-up with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in an antitrust case against Google for anti-competitive behaviour in search and search advertising. Google is now seeking the provision of 400,000 documents from Microsoft that were earlier shared with the DOJ, as part of its discovery strategy to evaluate whether Microsoft had been restrained by Google from participating in the market, or if it had merely unsuccessfully competed on the merits. The suit by the DOJ alleges that Google capitalised on its dominance in the web search and advertising market to stem competition and cause adverse effects to consumers.
Competition Commission of India to examine whether current practices of the film distribution industry are anti-competitive
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced that it intends to study the practices of the film distribution industry in India, including agreements between producers, distributors and exhibitors. Over-the-top (OTT) platforms have also been included in the study. The main allegations deal with the withholding of films due to staggered releases, and cartelisation between the three, leading to a monopoly on release dates. The CCI intends to examine such practices to decide whether intervention is necessary, and has issued a placatory footnote providing immunity to industry players for sharing information.
Amazon’s and Flipkart’s ‘Everything Must Stop’ sale: Ecommerce giants ask Supreme Court to restrain CCI’s queries
In unpublished court documents, Amazon and Flipkart has sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to stop the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from accessing sensitive business information pertaining to top sellers lists, online discounts and agreements with smartphone manufacturers. Both companies allege that the information sought could damage their reputation and goodwill, and have asked that both the information request and the overall investigation be put on hold. This comes after the Karnataka High Court chided the companies for not being open to facing an inquiry. The CCI had intended on speeding up the investigation, by stipulating a response by July 30 in a communique sent on July 15.
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