Stories from Abroad

Since 2010, the Benton Foundation and the New America Foundation have partnered to highlight telecommunications debates from countries outside the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with Microsoft data privacy fight

Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.

Announcing the Expansion of the Clean Network to Safeguard America’s Assets

The Clean Network program is the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). I am announcing the launch of five new lines of effort to protect America’s critical telecommunications and technology infrastructure.

Slack Accuses Microsoft of Illegally Crushing Competition

Slack filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission, accusing the tech giant of using its market power to try to crush the upstart rival. Slack claims that Microsoft has illegally tied its collaboration software, Microsoft Teams, to its dominant suite of productivity programs, Microsoft Office, which includes Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. That bundling tactic, Slack contends, is part of a pattern of anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft. Slack’s complaint is just a first step. The European Commission must decide if a formal investigation is warranted.

Appeals court blocks staffing changes from Trump Administration's new head of the Voice of America

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a rare emergency injunction July 21, blocking staffing changes that the Trump Administration’s new head of the Voice of America made to a US organization that protects digital speech worldwide. In a bluntly worded two-page order, the panel warned that actions taken by Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker and associate of former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, could endanger activists under repressive governments who rely on the Open Technology Fund to combat Internet censorship and surveillance.

Top EU court ruling throws transatlantic digital commerce into disarray over privacy concerns

The European Union's top court threw a large portion of transatlantic digital commerce into disarray, ruling that data of EU residents is not sufficiently protected from government surveillance when it is transferred to the United States. The European Court of Justice ruled that a commonly-used data protection agreement known as Privacy Shield did not adequately uphold EU privacy law. US security authorities have far-reaching access to personal data stored on US territory that “are not circumscribed” in a way that is equivalent to EU rules, the court ruled. The court said that it was

Secretary of State Pompeo imposes visa restrictions on Huawei, other Chinese tech companies, citing human rights abuses

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will impose visa restrictions on Chinese technology firms, the latest move expected to strain relations between Washington and Beijing. “State Department will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese tech companies like Huawei, that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally,” Sec Pompeo said.

Apple wins landmark court battle with EU over €14.3bn of tax payments

European Union judges have quashed a European Commission order for Apple to pay back €14.3 billion in taxes to Ireland in a landmark ruling that deals a big blow to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to crack down on low-tax regimes in the bloc.  The ruling hands a big legal victory to Apple and reduces the prospect of opening up other low-tax arrangements for multinationals around the EU to state aid scrutiny by Brussels.  The EU’s second-highest court said that Brussels did not succeed in “showing to the requisite legal standard” that the tech giant had received an ille

Fiber vs. vectoring: Limiting technology choices in broadband expansion

The upgrade of legacy infrastructure is a challenging undertaking in general. The underlying issues are especially prominent for telecommunications networks outside of urban areas. Using German micro-level data, we identify the structural determinants for fiber optics deployment and its extent. We also measure the role of technology competition from the existing infrastructures, VDSL-Vectoring and TV-Cable.

The gap not only closes: Resistance and reverse shifts in the digital divide in Russia

The reduction of the digital divide due to the availability of the Internet and the improvement of skills is accompanied by reverse and resistance trends associated with the influence of socio-demographic and economic characteristics of users. In this paper, we estimate the volume and dynamics of the digital divide in access and use of the Internet in Russia by key social groups according to a longitudinal survey for 2008–2018. We found that along with the reducing of the digital divide, its gaps still remain.

Britain to bar Huawei from its 5G wireless networks, part of a growing shift away from the Chinese tech giant

Apparently, Britain will bar new deployments of Huawei equipment in its fledgling high-speed 5G network, in what is a major blow to the Chinese technology giant and a significant win for the Trump administration, which has been pressing allies to shun the firm. The British decision, expected to be announced July 14, is part of a growing shift away from China in the global 5G competition, especially among advanced democracies increasingly concerned that the firm’s ties to the Communist government create an unacceptable security risk.