Meta Threatens to Pull Instagram and Facebook Out of Europe Over Data Sharing Ruling

The EU court declared the US law does not provide an adequate guarantee of user privacy. Additionally, there’s no mechanism for users in Europe to seek redress from the US government over a violation.

The true surprise is how this was ever not illegal in the first place. Meta can whine all it wants but Europeans providing their data for safekeeping and then having no way to legally challenge a company’s handling of them is, or at least should be, unacceptable.

Yanis Varoufakis on Crypto & the Left, and Techno-Feudalism

When I worked with Valve, ten years ago, there were thousands of young people in China, in Kazakhstan, and elsewhere making a mint out of providing services to members of Valve’s gaming communities. Gifted players made good money paid by other players keen to watch them play. So, there is nothing new to the idea of a parallel economy that allows people in poorer countries or regions to earn as they play, or from offering in-game services.

Was that a good or a bad thing? Of course, it was good for a young person in Shenzhen who managed to earn $60k a year designing digital hats on his PC – instead of destroying his body in a sweatshop. The question, however, is: Could all workers in Shenzhen (and beyond) be rescued from sweatshops by migrating to a metaverse? The answer is: Not before we have robots working for all of us so that we can reproduce the material conditions of our lives. As long as we do not have these mechanical slaves catering for humanity as a whole (and not just producing commodities owned by the 1% of the 1%), the idea that people must now play like robots to earn a living so as to be human in their spare time is, indeed, the apotheosis of misanthropy.

It’s a long read and both interviewer and interviewee are very aware and unapologetic over their particular left leanings but Varoufakis provides food for thought here, no matter what your personal leanings are (or your personal experience and view of his stint as Greek finance minister). Give this a chance. At the very least, you’ll end up fuelling some thoughts on where capitalism starts and where it ends, not in terms of ethics but in practice.

Xiaomi sharpens focus on high-end smartphones to challenge Apple

I remember when everyone was pushing Apple to make a cheap iPhone. But most profit was in premium phones then as it is now. And on by one, companies that thrived, nay, defined themselves as the value-for-money champions, the flagship-killer purveyors that would show everyone how it’s done without charging people an arm and a leg, are now turning to the high end to get some of those sweet profits.

Privacy Preserving Attribution for Advertising | The Mozilla Blog

Everyone is having a go and this really is the only way to leave a bad (privacy-wise) system and end up with something better. Imagine if Meta hadn’t wasted time, money and energy on anti-Apple/anti-ATT campaigns. We would have been closer still. Google is felling the pressure, after proposing the FLoC system which met with enough resistancee to be abandoned and is now pushing Privacy Sandbox for Android and the web as a non-destructive alternative to Apple’s ATT. If you read through the announcement though, Google promises nothing specific and hardly commits to a timeline, does find the time for snark though, even if Apple isn’t mentioned by name in there. So this is posturing, no matter where it leads. At this moment in time, it’s just posturing after a prior failure. You can read more on why this is but ask yourself this: would this kind of momentum even exist right now had Apple not set the ad world on fire first? No fire should be needed but no one seemed to care much for change before that either.

EU Chips Act: Europe’s plan to regain global leadership in semiconductors

The what?

Europe cannot miss out in the technological race for the semiconductors of the future.

Glad you noticed.

To be attractive, we adapt through the Chips Act the state aid rules to the particular case of semiconductors and their industrial, economic and strategic challenges.

This is the interesting part. As a rule, state (financial) aid to private companies is generally prohibited, especially if used to give a European company a leg up on another European company, thus hampering competition at the expense of European companies.

An example that was initially recognised as illegal state aid (decision was reversed), one you might have heard of at least, was the special tax relationship the Republic Of Ireland has been offering to Apple to retain their local business and presence.

So, long story short, if state aid is given to push European semiconductor businesses specifically, it’s considered exempt from all the other rules governing state aid. That’s how you now the EU means business but that’s how you also know it was asleep at the wheel for the longest damn time.