Archive for October, 2020
After years of building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines.
The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers. “If you want to talk about a history of using gatekeeper power to harm competitors, there are few better examples,” says Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania has blocked a Trump administration order that would have banned TikTok from operating inside the United States as of November 12, finding that content creators who use the short-form video platform to make a living would suffer "irreparable harm" if the ban were to go through.
The "significant and unrecoverable economic loss caused by the shutdown of the TikTok platform" was grounds for granting an injunction, Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania wrote in a ruling (PDF) today.
President Donald Trump in August issued an executive order declaring TikTok (as well as another China-based app, WeChat) to be a national emergency. That order gave the Department of Commerce 45 days to put a list of banned actions into place. Commerce did so, prohibiting new TikTok downloads after September 20 and banning nearly every other TikTok feature after November 12.
A significant number of people infected with the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, are experiencing long-term symptoms and taking many weeks or months to fully recover, the World Health Organization emphasized in a press conference today.
“I have heard first hand from people who face mid- to long-term effects of COVID-19 infection,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “What’s really concerning is the vast spectrum of symptoms that fluctuate over time, often overlap, and can affect any system in the body.”
While there have long been reports of COVID-19 long-haulers, the WHO worked to raise awareness of the problem today. It’s still unclear what proportion of infected people go on to have mid- to long-term health problems, Tedros noted. But, it's clear that "this is not just a virus that kills people." And with more than 45 million cases globally—and counting—even a small percentage will mean a large number of people will have long-term disability.
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