THE WEEK THAT WAS: the 7 things you need to know

Week 37
THE WEEK THAT WAS: the 7 things you need to know

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her state-of-the-union speech at the European parliament stressed the importance of dealing with the lack of semiconductors that is a threat to productivity in many sectors. “We will present a new European Chips Act. We need to link together our world-class research, design and testing capacities. We need to coordinate EU and national investment along the value chain.”

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused big tech companies of using buy-or-bury scheme to maintain their dominance.  STC chair Lina M Khan said a study “highlights the systematic nature of their acquisition strategies. It captures the extent to which these firms have devoted tremendous resources to acquiring start-ups, patent portfolios, and entire teams of technologists—and how they were able to do so largely outside of our purview.”

Apple issued a software patch to block “zero-click” spyware that could infect all Apple devices. Researchers at Citizen Lab at Toronto University said the glitch allows hackers to access devices via the iMessages service also without users clicking on a file or a link. Citizen Lab said it had high confidence that the Israeli firm NSO Group was behind the attack. NSO was recently pointed out as provider of hacker software used by governments to spy on politicians, journalists and activists.

As social media have failed to self-regulate, the US government needs to act.  Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are not the original or main cause of the rising political polarization, but the use of those platforms intensifies divisiveness and thus contributes to its corrosive consequences, according to a study from New York University, Stem center for business and human rights.

Two men in Northern Ireland were charged with the murder of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee. She was shot in April 2019 when she was covering riots in Derry. She wrote for several publications about the consequences of the so called Troubles.

Teenagers blame Instagram for increased levels of anxiety, according to an unpublished survey by Facebook and its Instagram. The Wall Street Journal reported the survey has been kept secret. Instagram said the newspaper “story focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light.” Instagram did not dispute the findings as reported by the newspaper.

The European Commission has published its first-ever recommendation to protect journalists’ and other media professionals’ safety in the EU. However, associations are skeptical whether all Member States will implement the guidelines since they are non-binding, and stress the need to put in place a mechanism to thoroughly monitor their action towards this end.

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