Dont break up big tech regulate data access, says EU antitrust chief

Breaking up tech giants should be a measure of last resort, the European Union’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has suggested. “To break up a company, to break up private property would be very far reaching and you would need to have a very strong case that it would produce better results for consumers in the marketplace than what you could do with more mainstream tools,” she warned this weekend, speaking in a SXSW interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher. “We’re dealing with private property. Businesses that are built and invested in and become successful because of their innovation.” Vestager has built a reputation for being feared by tech giants, thanks to a number of major (and often expensive) interventions since she …

Facebook finally bans UK far right activist, Tommy Robinson

Facebook has taken the decision to remove the Facebook page and Instagram profile of far right activist, Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. Twitter permanently banned the founder of the far right English Defence League almost a year ago. In a blog post announcing the decision Facebook says Yaxley-Lennon repeatedly broke its community standards. It writes: Tommy Robinson’s Facebook Page has repeatedly broken these standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims. He has also behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate. As a result, in accordance with our policies, we have removed Tommy Robinson’s official Facebook Page and Instagram profile. This is not a decision we take lightly, …

Facebook adds new background location privacy controls to its Android app

Facebook is updating its privacy settings on Android to make it easier for users to control what location data is sent to and stored by the company. In its announcement, Facebook acknowledged that Android users have expressed concern over the app’s ability to continuously log location data in the background. Due to Android’s all-or-nothing system of location permissions relative to iOS, the Facebook app has historically had the green light for collecting location data whether a user is actively in the app or not.

Facebook will shut down its spyware VPN app Onavo

Facebook will end its unpaid market research programs and proactively take its Onavo VPN app off the Google Play store in the wake of backlash following TechCrunch’s investigation about Onavo code being used in a Facebook Research app the sucked up data about teens. The Onavo Protect app will eventually shut down, and will immediately cease pulling in data from users for market research, though it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network in the short-term to allow users to find a replacement. Facebook has also ceased to recruit new users for the Facebook Research app that still runs on Android but was forced off of iOS by Apple after we reported that it violated Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program …

What business leaders can learn from Jeff Bezos leaked texts

Joel Wallenstrom The ‘below the belt selfie’ media circus surrounding Jeff Bezos has made encrypted communications top of mind among nervous executive handlers. Their assumption is that a product with serious cryptography like Wickr – where I work – or Signal could have helped help Mr. Bezos and Amazon avoid this drama. I worry that moments like these will drag serious cryptography down to the level of the National Enquirer. I’m concerned that this media cycle may lead people to view privacy and cryptography as a safety net for billionaires rather than a transformative solution for data minimization and privacy. We cannot let this media cycle pass without recognizing that when corporate executives take a laissez-faire approach to digital privacy, …

Facebook may face a record-setting multi-billion-dollar fine from the FTC

The Washington Post is reporting that Facebook’s row with the FTC could result in fines an order of magnitude larger than any levied against a tech company by the regulatory body before. While the talks appear to be ongoing, The Washington Post spoke with two people familiar with the situation who said the FTC is negotiating with Facebook over a possible “multi-billion dollar fine” — an amount more in line with the FTC’s massive $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen over emissions cheating in 2016. In 2012, Google paid a record-setting $22.5 million to settle with the FTC over its own privacy infractions, an amount that is hardly a drop in the bucket by today’s terms. As we’ve previously reported, an …