With the goal of protecting the European Union (EU) from child pornographers and other unsavory and illegal activity, the Digital Services Act, a regulatory act aimed at making the internet a safer place, is on its way to cracking down on Big Tech.
Big Tech Could Be Facing Big Fines If Companies Don’t Comply
Beginning in 2024, the new EU law will fine companies like Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google, Meta Platform Inc.’s META, Facebook and WhatsApp, Twitter Inc. TWTR and Apple Inc. AAPL up to 6% of their global revenue if they are caught violating the strict new rules.
Companies like Meta could be looking at fines as high as $7 billion if it decides to ignore the new rules. Companies with repeat violations could eventually be banned from doing business in the EU.
The law is a means of cracking down on advertising aimed at children as well as ads that target private information such as religion, gender and political opinions. The rules also give EU governmental entities the right to take down what they deem as illegal content, including any viewed as promoting terrorism, child sex abuse, hate speech or commercial scams.
Additionally, online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. AMZN must adhere to the law by implementing similar protections for what governments view as suspect products, such as counterfeit items or unsafe children’s toys.
The EU laws follow the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission's move to file antitrust actions against Google and Facebook. In a statement released by Google, the company says, “As the (EU) law is finalized and implemented, the details will matter. We look forward to working with policymakers to get the remaining technical details right to ensure the law works for everyone.”
Swiss - Hosted Privacy Company Rolls Out EU Regulation-Immune Chat Tool
Alain Ghiai, CEO at Swiss-hosted privacy and cybersecurity company Sekur Private Data Ltd. SWISF, is among those skeptical of the new laws on Big Tech's effect and intent. He sees the law as a government data grab.
“This is not unlike China, where everything you do and post online is public property of the EU government, which will be scanning everything. When people use free (chat) applications like WhatsApp, Gmail and Signal and others, they basically force those providers to give them that information,” he said. “The question is whether what they’re doing is pure intent, or is there something else behind it? A lot of people think the new EU regulations are a new way to exercise full control over people’s privacy, and they’re very angry about it.”
Taking advantage of the concern with EU government entities snooping on chat and email, Ghiai has been making the media rounds discussing his company’s newest encrypted feature on SekurMessenger, "Chat-by-Invite". The chat tool is Sekur’s latest instant-messaging tool, letting Sekur users invite non-Sekur users by sending a SMS notification invite, and is now available in 25 countries, covering a population of 1.18 billion people, including SMS invite notifications coverage in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and most of Latin America and Europe. It says it gives subscribers complete privacy to chat with non-Sekur users, without the non-Sekur users having to register to, or download, Sekur.
Chat-by-Invite reports that it protects Sekur subscribers’ instant messages which, when sent to a recipient, open into a private, secure platform hosted in Switzerland, through its proprietary HeliX connection. The chat is essentially occurring on Swiss servers owned and controlled by Sekur. Sekur says that once the instant messaging is completed, the messages disappear and hackers will be unaware of the conversation because of Sekur’s highly private and secure encrypted military technology, which is operating behind it.
Though the country pays annual fees to do business with the EU, Switzerland is still independent of the union and is believed to have some of the best and strictest data privacy laws in the world.
“Thank God, we’re in Switzerland, and we don’t have such a law (like the EU),” Ghiai said. “It’s not just that the government can go in and read your stuff. The danger is what happens when they get hacked?”
With Sekur, there is no direct messaging on open-source platforms, making them invulnerable to cybersecurity breaches. The company reports it has developed or is rolling out products including SekurMail, SekurMessenger, SekurVPN, SekurVoice and SekurPro video conferencing, among others. The SekurMessenger with Chat-by-Invite app is now available on any web browsers, on iOS and Android.
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