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Technology 25 January 2021

The Week in Internet News: Google Threatens to Leave Australia

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Google won’t pay for news: Google has threatened to end its search engine services in Australia over the government’s efforts there to require the company to pay news publishers for articles it links to, the BBC reports. The proposed Australian news code would require Google and Facebook to enter into mediated negotiations with publishers over the value of news content, if they don’t reach agreement first.

RIP, balloon-based Internet: Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is shutting down Loon, its attempt to deliver Internet service through balloons floating in the stratosphere, CNet reports. Alphabet says the business model doesn’t work, with the company unable to get costs low enough to offer services.

Judge rejects Parler: A U.S. judge has ruled that Amazon doesn’t have to reinstate Parler, the conservative Twitter competitor, after the company kicked it off its web hosing services this month, NPR reports. Amazon kicked out Parler after some members of the site threatened U.S. lawmakers and allegedly used the service to plan the 6 January attack on the U.S. Capitol. Parler has argued that Amazon’s decision threatens it with “extinction,” but the judge ruled that Amazon is under no obligation to “host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in.”

Free two-day delivery: In other Amazon news, the company has offered to help the U.S. government distribute COVID-19 vaccines, ABC reports. “We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” wrote Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer division, in a letter to President Joe Biden.

Robots take over: South Korea now has nearly 20,000 smart factories in operation, Korea Joongag Daily reports. That’s up from about 8,000 smart factories in 2018. A smart factory is defined as one where production processes are combined with digital technologies, smart computing, big data, and advanced networks to create an automated manufacturing environment.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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