(Speaking of islands… is anyone else itching for a tropical paradise? 🏝)
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
-M. Scott Peck
🇪🇺 The EU Tackles Big Tech
The European Union’s executive arm proposed two new pieces of legislation on Tuesday aimed at big tech companies. They would empower regulators to impose fines of up to 6% or 10% of annual revenue for violations.
The Digital Services Act requires tech platforms reaching at least 10% of the EU’s 450M consumers each month to take an active role in mitigating risks from illegal content and goods on their service (under the guiding principle ‘what is illegal offline is illegal online’). The platforms would be required to submit to yearly independent risk audits and adhere to new transparency requirements.
The Digital Markets Act preemptively bans certain anti-competitive behavior from large platforms acting as digital “gatekeepers” – serving as a gateway between businesses and consumers (i.e. businesses selling via Amazon/App Store/Google Play Store).
💬 Relevant Quote: “We will never say that we believe that this company or that company is too big, but we will say that the bigger they are, the more obligations they have to fulfill.” -Thierry Breton, European commissioner for the internal market
The EU now begins months or years of debate regarding the scope and details of the two proposals, similar to the four-year process prior to the GDPR’s passage.
🇺🇸 Closer to Home While the EU’s proposals don’t single out any individual company, one or both would likely apply to several U.S. tech giants – Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook.
The FTC & 48 attorneys generalfiled separate antitrust lawsuits against Facebook last week, accusing the tech giant of anti-competitive behavior over its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
The Justice Department & 11 attorneys generalsued Google in October, alleging the company violated antitrust laws by maintaining monopolies in search and search advertising.
The Boston Tea Party’s Warning for Facebook and Google
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🏫 Boko Haram Attacks
Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram claimed responsibility Tuesday for the kidnapping of more than 300 students from a boarding school in Katsina, a small town in northwestern Nigeria (we covered the kidnapping Monday – it involved motorcycles and a forest gun battle). The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said the attack was carried out “to promote Islam” and was motivated by the school’s Western style of education.
More: Boko Haram is also responsible for a similar mass kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, six years ago. (The story of their rescue.)
🌐 Posted online documentsanalyzing the safety and effectiveness of Moderna’s vaccine ahead of tomorrow’s advisory committee meeting to vote on a recommendation to the agency.
📝 Issued a guidance that advises monitoring people who receive Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna’s vaccine for potential cases of Bell’s palsy. Seven people developed the condition out of 73k combined participants in the companies’ large-scale trials.
🇲🇽 Mexico Amends National Security Law
Mexico’s lower house voted to amend its national security law to restrict foreign law enforcement’s presence in the country on Tuesday, despite objections from the U.S. The move comes after U.S. officials arrested Mexico’s former defense minister, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, in October on drug trafficking and corruption charges. AG Bill Barr later dropped the case due to foreign policy concerns.
⚖️ Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygård was arrested in Canada on Monday and extradited to the U.S., where he appeared in court Tuesday facing charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. The nine-count indictment accuses Nygård of using his influence and businesses to “recruit and maintain” victims in the U.S., Canada, and the Bahamas to sexually gratify himself and his associates since 1995.
📱 Facebook Adds Ads
Facebook will lift its temporary ban on political advertising this morning in Georgia only. The move comes ahead of the state’s two upcoming Senate runoff elections that will determine which political party controls a majority in the chamber.
More: Facebook plans to maintain its temporary nationwide ban on political ads (outside of Georgia, obviously), which came into effect after polls closed in November. The company has not provided an official end date.
The major U.S. stock indexes rose more than 1% yesterday, with the Nasdaq surging 1.25% to close at an all-time high (Dow: +1.13% | S&P: +1.29%). Apple was the top boost to all three U.S. benchmarks, with its share price closing up 5% on the day after announcing plans to increase iPhone production by 30% in the first half of 2021.
More: The four majority and minority leaders of Congress (Sen. McConnell (R), Rep. Pelosi (D), Sen. Schumer (D), & Rep. McCarthy (R)) met in-person yesterday evening to discuss a potential coronavirus stimulus measure for the first time in months. No formal agreement was reached.
👀 Private Eyes
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission issued a $547k fine to Twitter for failing to quickly declare and properly document a personal data breach under the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU’s online privacy law. The move marks the first time a financial penalty was imposed on a U.S. company under the GDPR (which the EU adopted in 2016).
More: Twitter is shutting down Periscope – which it acquired in 2015 – due to declining usage and high support costs. The streaming app will be removed from app stores by March 2021.
🎨 Paint by Number$
Guy Philoche, a 43-year-old painter from NYC, is a successful artist – often fetching up to $120,000 for his paintings. However, he spent nearly two decades struggling to make ends meet.
Recognizing the pandemic has strained up-and-coming artists’ ability to sell his work, Guy spent ~$65,000 purchasing pieces from craftspeople worldwide over the past nine months so that they can continue to afford necessities.
🏠 Build a Better Future
Patricia and Tony Walsh, owners of Walsh Colour Print in County Kerry, Ireland, employ almost 120 people. With housing options limited in the region, in 2017, the Walshes found that many of their employees could not afford to pay rent.
So Patricia and Tony built a complex of not-for-profit homes on the land by their headquarters, offering housing to their workers for ~$36,500 below market value. This month, the first three families will move into their new homes.
🚛 Sanitation Inspiration
Malachi Stohr, a two-year-old from Seattle, loves to watch local sanitation workers collect the trash in his neighborhood every Tuesday morning. Born with spina bifida – a congenital disability causing the spine to not develop correctly – Malachi spends these special mornings mesmerized by the garbage collectors’ work.
The area’s waste management team surprised Malachi during a route last month, greeting their fan with a personalized sign and a basket of toys.
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🚀💻 Space Race… Amazon Web Services’ new space division is working to enhance the data collection, distribution, and analysis capabilities of space companies. Where cloud computing meets space.
🛣️ Under the Sea… the world’s first underwater roundabout – connecting two of the Faroe Islands (~200 miles northwest of Scotland) – will open beneath the Atlantic Ocean this Saturday.
🚗 Uber’s App Trap… a former Uber engineer shares the story of how the company barely avoided disaster after deciding to rewrite the entire app in 2016. The Twitter thread. (Warning: technical jargon ahead)
🚶 Walk This Way… for your daily dose of outside the box, check out this video of a Japanese precision walking competition, held annually at Nippon Sports Science University since 1966.
🏅 Put a Ring On It
Which of these colors is not present in the Olympic flag?
A) Green B) Yellow C) Red D) Orange
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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The five interlocking rings on the Olympic flag – colored red, black, blue, green, & yellow – symbolize the five continents on Earth. Factoring in the white background, the six colors present in the Olympic flag can be used to reproduce all the national flags of the world.