Europe Policy Makers vs. Silicon Valley Companies: Next Rounds of Legal Battle

    European policy makers are going after the big U.S. tech firms.

1.Google. Europe’s competition regulator…could kick off the EU’s highest-profile antitrust suit since its campaign against Microsoft…are also planning a “Google tax” on copyright and overseas tax issues… 2.Uber…filed complaints with regulators in Brussels against EU governments that it claims have violated the bloc’s laws by seeking to ban some of its services…3.Facebook…privacy practices, doubling the number of European countries involved. The investigations could lead to formal orders to change business practices, and possibly also fines… 4.Amazon’s tax arrangements in Luxembourg may give…an illegal advantage over competitors, EU regulators said…5.Apple. The EU…authorities are probing Apple’s agreements with record labels as Apple prepares to launch a subscription music-streaming service. –Silicon Valley Companies Europe Is Gunning For

Europe’s highest court will today examine a complaint that United States technology companies and their Dublin-based subsidiaries participate in a global data dragnet in breach of European Union law. In a case with far-reaching consequences for EU-US relations, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will hear arguments arising from a complaint filed in Ireland last year with the High Court, demanding the State’s data-protection commissioner investigate whether Facebook was in breach of EU law for allegedly passing European user data to US intelligence services.
Facebook data privacy case opens in European court


U.S. companies’ ability to process personal information from European Union citizens will be challenged in the European Union’s highest court on Tuesday. At stake is the Safe Harbor Framework allowing U.S. companies to self-certify that they meet tough EU rules on the processing of personal information. A decision to revoke the deal could have serious consequences for U.S. companies that process EU citizens’ data in the U.S. Earlier this month, Twitter warned that a revocation of the deal could seriously hurt its business.
Case that could overturn EU-US data exchange deal

US tech companies now liable in UK courts. Now there is a precedent and all of the internet giants face the same fact: they are liable before the courts of the UK, for their actions in the UK, irrespective of their corporate base or origin. UK users of Apple’s Safari browser have been given the green light to sue Google in the UK for bypassing privacy settings in the browser… In essence, the claimants against Google say that, using a setting on the Safari programme, Google tracked and collected information on their internet use in 2011 and 2012 without their knowledge.
Google appeal ruling should send shivers through US tech companies


Silicon Valley & Wall Street: Contradictive Alliance

      East is East, and West is West,
      and never the twain shall meet …

      -Rudyard Kipling

Silicon Valley has always had an uneasy relationship with Wall Street… The banking industry has tried to befriend — or, at times, wished it could colonize — Silicon Valley… Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have done their best to avoid letting Wall Street too far inside their club… It now appears that a new sort of symbiotic relationship has finally begun to develop as the latest Digital Gold Rush presses on…

The money at stake for all sides is huge. Last year, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs collected more than $1 billion in fees from managing initial public offerings worldwide… Today, the hierarchy of power in Silicon Valley is still up for grabs as financial institutions do just about anything to gain entree to sought-after tech clients… Read more:


Will Apple Cap Exceed $1tn ?

It would also mean Apple would be worth 2.6 times as much as Google, the second most valuable company in the US, with a market valuation of $383bn. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said he thought Apple was worth that much because of its continued strong performance in China, where sales are increasing by 70% year-on-year, and the introduction of the Apple Watch, its first new type of product in five years. Read more:

Google controls what we buy, the news we read and … our government policies


    On Election Night …. [Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman] was in our boiler room in Chicago,” Obama lieutenant David Plouffe told Bloomberg News, in a story that revealed that for the campaign, Schmidt “helped recruit talent, choose technology and coach the campaign manager, Jim Messina, on the finer points of leading a large organization.” Schmidt was especially fond of a madcap corner of the Obama campaign office known as “the Cave,” where, at 4:30 every day, staffers would dance madly under a disco ball to the tune of a mashup of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and an automated campaign phone call made to prospective voters.

    Favors beget favors … the FTC, in 2012, ignored the recommendations of its own staffers, which accused Google of abusive trade practices for burying competitors in their search results and recommended a lawsuit. Instead, the FTC dropped its inquiry. Google enjoys 67 percent market share, 83 percent in mobile. No biggie, declared the FTC. Google lobbyists have been pushing for implementation of “net neutrality” regulations, particularly a “Title II” provision that would benefit Google. President Obama helpfully came out in support of the plan, including Title II, which was slightly embarrassing because Obama’s FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, had favored a different approach. Wheeler promptly reversed course and backed the Obama-Google plan. Right before the FCC report was due, but before it was made public, the FCC pulled another odd reversal, removing 15 pages of policy Google apparently found out about but didn’t like. Google has the power to bump an article it doesn’t like off the table and under the rug. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said that the changes came about after “a last-minute submission from a major California-based company”…

    newly launched ObamaCare website … was plagued by evil spirits, guess which company was sent to fix it? Google’s proton packs helped kill off the ObamaCare site’s goblins… Read more:

See also: Why Google Antitrust Case was Dismissed