European Regulators and Watchdogs Increase Investigation of “Technology Giants”
European Union officials have taken steps to increase pressure on U.S. technology companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google, on a range of matters including privacy and competition. European watchdogs in France, Spain, and Italy have escalated scrutiny of Facebook’s privacy controls, following the footsteps of Dutch, Belgian, and German officials. Privacy watchdogs in those countries have joined a group looking into the company’s access to and use of personal information from its millions of users in Europe. In connection with Apple’s plans to market a subscription-based music streaming service, European competition officials sent questionnaires to record labels for information into agreements with Apple. Officials are concerned whether Apple, using its clout in the music industry, may attempt to persuade labels to use its service over others. The recent surge of privacy and competition investigations suggests a trend toward more aggressive stances on these issues in Europe.
Snapchat Published Transparency Report Revealing Government Data Sharing
On April 2, 2015, Snapchat published its first-ever transparency report, revealing its sharing of data with the government. During the reporting period of November 2014 and February 2015, Snapchat received 375 criminal legal requests for user information by U.S. law enforcement, and produced at least some data in 92% of those requests. The majority of the requests came in the form of search warrants and subpoenas. The report shows during the same period, Snapchat received a total of 28 requests for such information from government entities outside the United States.