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Two-minute Recap of Platform Law Developments – September 2023

The Irish Commission imposes EUR 345 million fine against TikTok

The Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC“) has imposed a fine amounting to approximately EUR 345 million against Tiktok for processing the personal data of its underaged users between 31 July 2020 and 31 December 2020. The DPC determined that TikTok, upon registration, configured children’s accounts to a public setting by default. Consequently, this rendered the videos and other personal data of minors publicly accessible. The DPC has also ordered Tiktok to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation regarding its data processing activities within three months.

NOYB files complaints for unlawful personal data collection and sharing

The European Center for Digital Rights (“NOYB“) has lodged complaints against French companies-electronics retailer Fnac, real estate app SeLoger, and fitness app MyFitnessPal- alleging that they unlawfully access users’ personal data and share it to third parties for advanced analytics immediately upon opening the apps. NOYB has requested that the French Data Protection Authority delete all data that is improperly processed by MyFitnessPal, Fnac and SeLoger, and has also sought to ensure that all recipients of the complainants’ data are informed about the deletion request concerning all links, copies or replications of the complainants’ personal data.

Six gatekeepers designated under the DMA

The European Commission has designated Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft as gatekeepers for the first time under the Digital Markets Act (“DMA“). As such, they must ensure full compliance with the DMA within the next six months.

FTC sues Amazon for illegally maintaining its dominant position

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC“) has alleged that Amazon has illegally maintained monopoly power in the online superstore and online marketplace services markets by blocking its competitors and the sellers on its platform from lowering prices, by charging exorbitant fees from sellers, by decreasing quality, by disrupting innovation, and by preventing its competitors from fairly competing with Amazon.

California lawmakers pass the Delete Act

The state legislature of California has enacted the “Delete Act”, granting consumers the right to demand the comprehensive removal of their personal data from data brokers in a single request. Data brokers, encompassing a wide range of companies that collect and market consumers’ personal information, including spending patterns, will be required to delete all consumers’ personal data at least once every 45 days, effective from August 2026.

U.S. sues eBay over violations of environmental laws

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DoJ“) has filed a complaint against eBay for violating environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act. The DoJ alleged that eBay allowed the release of products harmful to the environment, resulting in violations. Among the charges, the DoJ contends that eBay sold and distributed products containing prohibited chemicals and illegal devices that override pollution controls on motor vehicles.

Google is in trouble over audio patents

A Delaware district judge has ruled in favour of Google, overturning a USD 15 million verdict in an audio patent case. The judge concluded that there was inadequate evidence to establish a direct infringement of the American patent holding company Personal Audio’s audio technology patents. This decision comes after a June ruling in which a Delaware jury found Google liable for infringing two of Personal Audio’s patents related to its playlist technology used in Google Play Music.

Game of Thrones authors sue ChatGPT owner OpenAI

The lawsuit, filed by the authors George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult and John Grisham, alleges that their copyrighted works, including Martin’s acclaimed fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones, were used without their permission to improve ChatGPT. One of the main concerns of the authors suing is that AI will replace human-created content.

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