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    Twitter lawyer quits as Musk’s legal woes expand, report says / ArsTechnica · Friday, 7 April - 17:05 · 1 minute

Twitter lawyer quits as Musk’s legal woes expand, report says

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto / Contributor | NurPhoto )

After the Federal Trade Commission launched a probe into Twitter over privacy concerns, Twitter’s negotiations with the FTC do not seem to be going very well. Last week, it was revealed that Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s request last year for a meeting with FTC Chair Lina Khan was rebuffed . Now, a senior Twitter lawyer, Christian Dowell—who was closely involved in those FTC talks—has resigned, several people familiar with the matter told The New York Times .

Dowell joined Twitter in 2020 and rose in the ranks after several of Twitter’s top lawyers exited or were fired once Musk took over the platform in the fall of 2022, Bloomberg reported . Most recently, Dowell—who has not yet confirmed his resignation—oversaw Twitter’s product legal counsel. In that role, he was “intimately involved” in the FTC negotiations, sources told the Times, including coordinating Twitter’s responses to FTC inquiries.

The FTC has overseen Twitter’s privacy practices for more than a decade after it found that the platform failed to safeguard personal information and issued a consent order in 2011. The agency launched its current probe into Twitter’s operations after Musk began mass layoffs that seemed to introduce new security concerns, AP News reported . The Times reported that the FTC's investigation intensified after security executives quit Twitter over concerns that Musk might be violating the FTC's privacy decree.

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    “Click-to-cancel” rule would penalize companies that make you cancel by phone / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 23 March - 18:06

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan standing on a stage.

Enlarge / Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan listens during a President Biden speech on the economy on October 26, 2022, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Anna Moneymaker )

Canceling a subscription should be just as easy as signing up for the service, the Federal Trade Commission said in a proposed "click-to-cancel" rule announced today . If approved, the plan "would put an end to companies requiring you to call customer service to cancel an account that you opened on their website," FTC commissioners said.

The FTC said the click-to-cancel rule would require sellers "to make it as easy for consumers to cancel their enrollment as it was to sign up," and "go a long way to rescuing consumers from seemingly never-ending struggles to cancel unwanted subscription payment plans for everything from cosmetics to newspapers to gym memberships."

The FTC said the proposed rule would be enforced with civil penalties and let the commission return money to harmed consumers.

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    Judge dismisses gamers’ claims that Microsoft/Activision merger will spoil gaming / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 21 March - 19:53

Judge dismisses gamers’ claims that Microsoft/Activision merger will spoil gaming

Enlarge (credit: INA FASSBENDER / Contributor | AFP )

Last December, Call of Duty gamers sued Microsoft , seeking to block its merger with Activision, partly because they alleged that the merger would set up Microsoft to dominate industry rivals, drive up prices, and reduce consumer choice. Yesterday, a California judge, Jacqueline Corley, granted Microsoft’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying that the gamers didn’t “plausibly allege” that the merger “creates a reasonable probability of anticompetitive effects in any relevant market.”

Gamers suing don’t plan to give up this fight that easily, though. They have 20 days to amend their complaint to include more evidence that demonstrates those anticompetitive effects are likely to harm them personally.

The gamers' lawyer, Joseph Alioto, told Ars that he believes they have ample evidence to satisfy the judge in this case. He confirmed that gamers intend to file their amended complaint as soon as possible. Rather than being discouraged by the judge’s dismissal, Alioto told Ars that the gamers were pleased by Corley’s order.

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    FTC aims to counter the “massive scale” of online data collection / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August, 2022 - 18:09 · 1 minute

FTC Chair Lina Khan said the commission intends to act on commercial data collection, which happens at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts."

Enlarge / FTC Chair Lina Khan said the commission intends to act on commercial data collection, which happens at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts." (credit: Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission has kicked off the rulemaking process for privacy regulations that could restrict online surveillance and punish bad data-security practices. It's a move that some privacy advocates say is long overdue, as similar Congressional efforts face endless uncertainty.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking , approved on a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, was spurred by commercial data collection, which occurs at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a press release . Companies surveil online activity, friend networks, browsing and purchase history, location data, and other details; analyze it with opaque algorithms; and sell it through "the massive, opaque market for consumer data," Khan said.

Companies can also fail to secure that data or use it to make services addictive to children. They can also potentially discriminate against customers based on legally protected statuses like race, gender, religion, and age, the FTC said. What's more, the release said, some companies make taking part in their "commercial surveillance" required for service or charge a premium to avoid it, employing dark patterns to keep the systems in place.

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    Facebook pourrait être forcé de revendre WhatsApp ou Instagram / Numerama · Thursday, 10 December, 2020 - 13:44

Avis de gros temps pour Facebook. Les autorités américaines ont lancé des poursuites contre le réseau social pour des pratiques illicites en matière de monopole. L'acquisition de WhatsApp et Instagram pourrait être remise en cause. [Lire la suite]

Voitures, vélos, scooters... : la mobilité de demain se lit sur Vroom !

L'article Facebook pourrait être forcé de revendre WhatsApp ou Instagram est apparu en premier sur Numerama .

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    FTC divided on how to sue Facebook for antitrust violations, reports find / ArsTechnica · Monday, 30 November, 2020 - 20:32

Giant monitors displaying the Facebook logo hang from the ceiling of an empty convention center.

Enlarge / All Facebook, no matter which way you look. (credit: Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images )

After well over a year spent investigating Facebook, state and federal regulators are more than ready to start launching a slate of cases against Facebook, new reports say—that is, as soon as the agencies can agree on how they actually want to do it.

New suits against Facebook should come before the end of January, The Wall Street Journal writes. Both the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of attorneys general for 47 states and territories are expected to take some kind of action.

The state and the federal probes are basically looking into two overall buckets of potentially anticompetitive behavior. The first has to do with Facebook's effects on other businesses that could or do compete with it. That's the investigation that delves into mergers and acquisitions, both large and small , as well as Facebook's behavior toward companies that refuse a buyout .

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    Burger King brags about exploiting Twitch to advertise to kids for cheap / ArsTechnica · Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 18:33 · 1 minute

Ogilvy boasted about its ad campaign with the following claim. We have edited it slightly.

Enlarge / Ogilvy boasted about its ad campaign with the following claim. We have edited it slightly. (credit: Ogilvy / Ars Technica)

Earlier this week, an advertising agency emerged with a video bragging about an ad-campaign concept : We'll invade gaming-filled Twitch chat rooms and post ads for your brand for cheap. The attached video was exactly the kind of cringe you might expect from "brand engages with video game culture," with edgy, inoffensive quotes, footage of fake games, and digitally altered voices.

But what looked like a fake ad concept has turned out to be very real—and after examining how Twitch works, the whole thing looks like a possible FTC violation.

More like, king of steaming-mad Twitch users

The ad campaign, run by the Ogilvy agency on behalf of Burger King, relied on a common Twitch trope of donating to game-streaming hosts. "Affiliate" Twitch users are eligible to receive cash from viewers, either in the form of flat-rate subscriptions or variable one-time donations, and hosts often encourage this by adding voice-to-text automation to the process. Meaning, if you pay a certain amount, a voice will read your statement out loud—and hosts usually retroactively react to weird and offensive statements made by these systems instead of pre-screening them. (They're busy playing a game, after all.)

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    Antitrust 101: Why everyone is probing Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 November, 2019 - 12:00 · 1 minute

Maybe this textbook is from the Ma Bell era? <a class=#ThanksStockGettyImages" src="" />

Enlarge / Maybe this textbook is from the Ma Bell era? #ThanksStockGettyImages (credit: designer491 / Getty Images)

Once upon a time, there was a phone company—or rather, the phone company. AT&T Corp., the venerable "Ma Bell," provided nearly all telephone service to nearly all Americans for decades... until it didn't. The company infamously broke up on New Year's Day in 1984, splitting into the seven "Baby Bells," regional carriers that could compete with other long-distance providers for consumer dollars.

The split wasn't just for funsies. The baby Bells were the ultimate result of a settlement between AT&T and the Justice Department, the culmination of an antitrust case that began nearly a decade earlier. It was the first time the feds broke up a communications company for antitrust reasons—and 35 years later, it retains the dubious distinction of being the last.

The decades of deregulation since the Reagan administration have brought us to a whole new era of massive corporate consolidation and the rise of a new wave of conglomerates in sectors that didn't even exist 40 years ago. The growth at the top in tech has been particularly stratospheric: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and a handful of others that have risen since the turn of the century now dominate our economy and our communications in a powerful way.

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