(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)
Google’s antitrust trial explained
In what is being described as the most important case about the future Internet, the U.S. District Court of Columbia has started hearing arguments from the U.S. Department of Justice and several U.S. States to the effect that Google used illegal tactics to maintain a monopoly in online search. The key allegation in the case is that Google’s arrangements” with Apple and other companies to be the default search engine on their devices, is unlawful monopoly building.
While Google argues the reason it controls 91% of the global search market is that it provides better quality of services, rather than a lack of competition. The case has the potential to redefine how anti-trust laws are wielded in the technology era against business models.
Australia wants improved safety on dating apps
The Australian government said the online dating industry must improve safety standards or be forced to make changes through legislation. The move comes in response to research that says three in four Australian users suffer some form of sexual violence through the platforms.
Online dating platforms have been given time till 30 June to develop a voluntary code of conduct that addresses user safety concerns. However, if the code developed by platforms that include Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge do not sufficiently improve user safety, the government will use regulations and legislation to force change. The code could include improving engagement with law enforcement, supporting at-risk users, improving safety policies and practices, and providing greater transparency about harm.
U.S. judge blocks California child safety law
A federal judge blocked California from enforcing a law meant to protect children when they use the internet, saying the law’s commercial speech restrictions likely violate the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment. The judge further said that while she was aware of the harm that may befall children on the internet, California’s law swept too broadly.
The law, known as the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, was passed unanimously last September by the state legislature and requires platforms, before releasing any online products and services, to assess whether their offerings could harm children. The law also requires businesses to estimate the ages of child users and configure privacy settings for them, or else provide high settings for everyone.