Google violated U.S. labor laws in clampdown on worker organizing, regulator says

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint on Wednesday accusing Alphabet Inc’s Google of unlawfully monitoring and questioning several workers who were then fired for protesting against company policies and trying to organize a union.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. Picture taken January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The U.S. labor regulator found Google unlawfully placed employees on administrative leave and terminated them for accessing documents related to how the company polices internal forums, according to the complaint. The agency also found unlawful Google policies for accessing documents and meetings rooms as well as its tactics for investigating employees because all of the efforts were aimed at deterring workplace organizing, the complaint said.

Google said it was confident it acted legally.

“Google has always worked to support a culture of internal discussion, and we place immense

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European regulator hits Apple with a fine over iPhone water-resistance claims

The iPhone 11 Pro Max
Enlarge / The iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Samuel Axon

Italy has again hit Apple with a fine for what the country’s regulators deem to be misleading marketing claims, though the fine is only €10 million ($12 million)—a pittance from a company like Apple.

This time around, Italy’s Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) claims that Apple told consumers that many iPhone models are water resistant but that the iPhones are not as resistant as Apple says. In one example, Apple claimed the iPhone 8 was rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, meaning the phone could survive for up to 30 minutes under three feet of water. But the Italian regulator says that’s only true under special lab conditions with static and pure water conditions.

An announcement by the AGCM specifically names the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone

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what powers will new UK tech regulator have?

The government has unveiled its first tentative steps towards the regulation of digital monopolies, following an investigation by the competition watchdog into the digital advertising industry.



logo: Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images



logo: The focus on digital advertising could narrow the regulator’s scope to just two companies: Google and Facebook.


© Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images
The focus on digital advertising could narrow the regulator’s scope to just two companies: Google and Facebook.

A new body, the Digital Markets Unit, will be established to lead the effort. But what it will do, what powers it will have, and who it will cover, are still unclear.

Which companies are being regulated?

Officially, the answer isn’t settled. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended in its review that the new regulations only cover platforms funded by digital advertising, and designated as having “strategic market status”.

Related: New UK tech regulator to limit power of Google and Facebook

It is “highly likely” that Google and Facebook will be given

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Google to Face a New Regulator as U.K. Plans Tech-Focused Agency

(Bloomberg) — The U.K. government approved plans for a separate regulatory program for companies including Facebook Inc. and Google, saying the new competition unit would be given powers to impose fines to rein in the dominance of the largest tech companies.



a flat screen television: The Facebook Inc. logo sits on screens ahead of the global launch event of "Workplace" at the Facebook Inc. offices in London, U.K., on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Workplace is meant to help employees collaborate with one another on products, listen to their bosses speak on Facebook Live and post updates on their work in the News Feed.


© Bloomberg
The Facebook Inc. logo sits on screens ahead of the global launch event of “Workplace” at the Facebook Inc. offices in London, U.K., on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Workplace is meant to help employees collaborate with one another on products, listen to their bosses speak on Facebook Live and post updates on their work in the News Feed.

The Digital Markets Unit will be housed inside the antitrust regulator from April, with powers to enforce a new code of conduct and potentially “suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants,” the U.K government said Friday.

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The move comes after the Competition and Markets Authority called

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New UK tech regulator to limit power of Google and Facebook

A new tech regulator will work to limit the power of Google, Facebook and other tech platforms, the government has announced, in an effort to ensure a level playing field for smaller competitors and a fair market for consumers.



Alok Sharma wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Under the plans, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will gain a dedicated Digital Markets Unit, empowered to write and enforce a new code of practice on technology companies which will set out the limits of acceptable behaviour.

The code will only affect those companies deemed to have “strategic market status”, though it has not yet been decided what that means, nor what restrictions will be imposed.

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Digital platforms like Google and Facebook make a significant contribution to our economy and play a massive role in our day-to-day lives – whether it’s helping us stay in

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Parasitic worms offer ‘the missing link’ on the dual nature of a key immune regulator — ScienceDaily

De’Broski Herbert has a philosophy that’s guided his career researching helminths, or parasitic worms, and their interaction with their hosts’ immune systems: “Follow the worm.”

“The mantra of my lab since its inception has been that parasitic worms manipulate their hosts in very interesting ways to maintain their survival,” says Herbert, an associate professor of pathobiology in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t care about staying in your body very long because it is transmitted so easily. Worms aren’t spread so easily, so they have to figure out how to persist.”

That focus has revealed a key insight about an immune signaling molecule, the cytokine IL-33, that is important not only in parasite infections, but in a range of other health conditions, such as asthma, obesity, and eczema. In a new study published in Science Immunology, Herbert and colleagues made insights that explain how IL-33 can both help

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Italian regulator investigates Google over digital ads

ROME (AP) — Italian regulators opened an investigation Wednesday into Google over alleged abuse of its dominant role in the country’s online ad market, adding to the global scrutiny that the Silicon Valley company is facing.

The Italian Competition Authority said it suspects the U.S. tech giant of using the vast amounts of data it collects through its various services to prevent rivals in the digital advertising market from competing effectively.

The watchdog said it carried out a joint inspection of Google’s offices with Italian tax police on Tuesday.

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.


Italian authorities are focusing on the availability and use of data for display ads — the space that publishers and website owners make available to sell advertising content.

Google allegedly used tracking elements that allowed its ad broker services “to achieve a targeting capability that some equally efficient competitors are unable to replicate,”

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Norway’s oil and gas exploration drops sharply, regulator says

OSLO (Reuters) – Oil firms are expected to drill just 30 exploration wells off the coast of Norway this year, the lowest level in 14 years as companies seek to manage spending amid a pandemic, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea, January 7, 2020. Carina Johansen/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS

The search for new oil and gas reserves has dropped from 57 wells drilled in 2019 and lags original projections of around 50 wells.

“The decline in demand for oil and lower prices have led oil companies to reduce their exploration budgets for the year and postpone a number of exploration wells,” the NPD said in a statement.

Norway, which last year marked the 50th anniversary of its first oil discovery, has doubled down on a strategy to extend the industry’s lifespan, offering vast new acreage for

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Tesla’s release of new ‘self-driving’ software closely watched by U.S. regulator

(Reuters) – The U.S. auto safety regulator said on Thursday it was closely watching Tesla Inc’s release of a software version intended to allow its cars to drive themselves, saying it stood ready to protect the public against safety risks.

Tesla on Tuesday night released a beta, or test version, of what it calls a “Full Self Driving” software upgrade to an undisclosed number of “expert, careful” drivers. The release prompted online posts by excited recipients who shared video snippets of their car driving apparently autonomously on city streets at night.

During a Tesla earnings call on Wednesday, Chief Executive Elon Musk said the latest upgrade was planned to be widely released by the end of this year, with the system becoming more robust as it collected more data.

“NHTSA has been briefed on Tesla’s new feature, which represents an expansion of its existing driver

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Forget Antitrust Laws. To Limit Tech, Some Say a New Regulator Is Needed.

For decades, America’s antitrust laws — originally designed to curb the power of 19th-century corporate giants in railroads, oil and steel — have been hailed as “the Magna Carta of free enterprise” and have proved remarkably durable and adaptable.

But even as the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Google on Tuesday for unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in search and search advertising, a growing number of legal experts and economists have started questioning whether traditional antitrust is up to the task of addressing the competitive concerns raised by today’s digital behemoths. Further help, they said, is needed.

Antitrust cases typically proceed at the stately pace of the courts, with trials and appeals that can drag on for years. Those delays, the legal experts and economists said, would give Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple a free hand to become even more entrenched in the markets they dominate.

A more rapid-response

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