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Technology 22 February 2021

The Week in Internet News: Facebook Blocks News from Australia

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

No news for you: Facebook has blocked Australians from viewing or sharing news on its site in response to a proposed law that would require social media sites and other online services to pay news publishers, the BBC reports. The “power play” may backfire, however, “given how concerned many governments have grown about the company’s unchecked influence over society, democracy and political discourse,” The Associated Press says.

SpaceX rejected: A village in France is not interested in becoming the site of a ground station for SpaceX’s satellite-based broadband service, Yahoo Finance says. Residents of Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron are concerned about the impact of the antennas on the health of residents, said Noemie Brault, deputy mayor in the village. Still, many supporters of the SpaceX Starlink project see major benefits, including expanded Internet access to low-income nations, writes Larry Press, an information systems professor at California State University. Press writes on CircleID.com that connections to India, for example, are likely to serve community organizations, clinics, schools, and businesses.

No pictures, please: Facial recognition startup Clearview AI is in trouble in Canada for collecting photos of the country’s residents without their permission, TechCrunch reports. Collecting the photos violated Canadian privacy regulations, the country’s privacy watchdog has ruled. The New York company claimed it has collected more than 3 billion photos of people’s faces while playing up its connections to law enforcement agencies.

High in fiber: A Texas city has begun construction of a citywide fiber network, Broadband Communities reports. The city of Dayton plans for the city-owned DayNet broadband network to offer gigabit internet speeds to residents by late 2021.

The splinternet is here: The New York Times talks about issues related to the splintering of the Internet. “Should every country also decide its own bounds for appropriate online expression? If you have a quick answer, let me ask you to think again. We probably don’t want internet companies deciding on the freedoms of billions of people, but we may not want governments to have unquestioned authority, either.”

How do you know if a policy, technology, or trend will impact the foundation that makes the Internet work for everyone? The Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit starts with five questions.

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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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