Google faces new multi-billion advertising lawsuit
A lawsuit has been filed against Google to seek £3.4bn ($4.2bn) in compensation for publishers for lost revenue.
The claim, by ex-Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur, alleges Google unlawfully used a dominant position in online adverts in a way that reduced what publishers could make from them.
Google said it would fight the “speculative and opportunistic” action vigorously.
It is the second such lawsuit, after a similar case was launched in November.
That was brought by former Ofcom director Claudio Pollack, who is looking for up to £13.6bn in damages from the tech giant.
The cases concern advertising technology – adtech – that decides in a fraction of a second which online adverts consumers will see, how much they will cost, and how much publishers will earn.
Online display advertising is the main source of income for many websites.
The UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), is also investigating Google’s dominance in advertising technology.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, Mr Arthur claims that because of Google’s abuse of its position, the prices of adtech services were inflated, and ad sales revenues of publishers were unlawfully reduced.
“The CMA is currently investigating Google’s anti-competitive conduct in adtech, but they don’t have the power to make Google compensate those who have lost out. We can only right that wrong through the courts, which is why I am bringing this claim,” he wrote. BBC
ChatGPT banned in Italy over privacy concerns
Italy has become the first Western country to block advanced chatbot ChatGPT.
The Italian data-protection authority said there were privacy concerns relating to the model, which was created by US start-up OpenAI and is backed by Microsoft.
The regulator said it would ban and investigate OpenAI “with immediate effect”.
OpenAI told the BBC it complied with privacy laws.
Millions of people have used ChatGPT since it launched in November 2022.
It can answer questions using natural, human-like language and it can also mimic other writing styles, using the internet as it was in 2021 as its database.
Microsoft has spent billions of dollars on it and it was added to Bing last month.
It has also said that it will embed a version of the technology in its Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
There have been concerns over the potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI), including its threat to jobs and the spreading of misinformation and bias.
Earlier this week key figures in tech, including Elon Musk, called for these types of AI systems to be suspended amid fears the race to develop them was out of control.
The Italian watchdog said that not only would it block OpenAI’s chatbot but it would also investigate whether it complied with General Data Protection Regulation. BBC
The New York Times loses its blue tick on Twitter
Twitter has started removing verification badges from accounts which already had a blue tick, after announcing they would be part of a paid subscription from 1 April.
The New York Times, along with several other organisations and celebrities, said they would not pay for the tick.
It prompted Elon Musk to launch a volley of insults at the newspaper.
“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting”, Mr Musk, who owns Twitter, wrote on the platform.
“Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable,” he added.
There has been no official comment from Twitter and the New York Times has not responded to Mr Musk’s comments.
Under Twitter’s new rules, blue ticks which once showed official, verified accounts, will start to be removed from accounts which do not pay for it.
Organisations seeking verification badges instead have to pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (£810) to receive a gold verification tick, while individual accounts must pay $8 (£6.40) a month for a blue one. BBC
Japan aims to treble sales of domestically made microchips by 2030
Japan’s industry ministry said on Monday it aimed to treble sales of semiconductors made in Japan to 15 trillion yen ($112.55 billion) by 2030 as Tokyo strives to boost domestic microchip production following global supply chain snarls.
Japan sees microchips as strategic products to strengthen its economic security and is providing hefty subsidies to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and others to build plants tin o Japan or have them expand existing facilities.
The ministry plans to put the sales target in Japan’s semiconductor and digital industry strategy, which will be updated by the middle of the year.
Japan has seen its share in the global microchip market tumble from 50% in the late 1980s to around 10%, outperformed by nimbler rivals with deep pockets such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. Reuters
Russian satellites to offer internet access in Arctic by 2026
People in the North Pole will have access to the Internet in 2026 thanks to the Russian spacecraft Skif, TASS news agency reported on Friday.
Starting 2026, the Skif satellites of the Sphere project will provide Internet access in the Arctic, the press service of the Sphere Congress said. According to the press service, there is practically no Internet at the North Pole. People can access the Internet using American satellite phones, but such access to the global network is slow and expensive. In October 2022, Russia successfully launched a Skif-D satellite into orbit using the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle. In the future, eight Skif satellites are expected to go into orbit to form a multi-satellite orbital constellation. Xinhua