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Tech Team

Dear readers,

I’m Angelica Viggiano, the editor of this week’s TechAways! In the past year, I’ve been following the Commission’s work on the Digital Services Act package and the new competition tool quite closely – you may have seen my DSA pocket guide. Like many of you, I’m eagerly waiting for the Commission to present its new platform regulation masterpieces next Tuesday! The DSA and DMA have caused such a stir in the bubble that an anti-leak protocol was established to TRY to keep (some) secrets among the lucky few.

With the DSA, the Commission will set up a new legal framework to ensure users are better protected from illegal content on social media and online marketplaces. On the other hand, the DMA looks at tech companies’ market power and will present a list of dos and don’ts for companies that are or could become gatekeepers i.e. responsible for market distortions because they’re too big, too powerful, or too American 🇺🇸 (pun intended).

After several delays, both proposals are expected to be presented on 15 December. If Madame Vestager and Monsieur Breton decide to delay it AGAIN, you’ll find the two proposals wrapped in Santa Claus-themed paper under your Christmas tree.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the interesting techy news below. TechAways will be back in January with the first 2021 edition!

The fall of an empire? [Gizmodo 

After losing its partnership with PayPal last year, MindGeek, the Canadian adult content megacorp behind Pornhub, has now lost Mastercard while Visa is reassessing its partnership over allegations of hosting videos containing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and nonconsensual sexual violence on its platforms. But the problem goes far beyond one company. CSAM also appears on mainstream platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In July, the European Commission said that the EU had become the largest host of child sexual abuse material in the world. But for certain MEPs, tools to detect and remove online child sexual abuse raise privacy concerns. Until CSAM can be efficiently regulated, you can buy and consume adult content from independent production companies or better, directly from performers themselves.

Planting trees from the sky 🌳 [CNN 

Fast track reforestation is now a possibility thanks to drones’ heavy lifting. Seattle-based DroneSeed uses fleets of drones known as drone swarms to help replant burned forests from mid-air. Flying on pre-programmed routes, automated drones can cover 50 acres a day (compared to 2 by humans) and carry 57 pounds of seed vessels to pre-determined spots. Like pure sci-fi, the seeds are launched in a little private life vessel to help it take root more effectively. Each vessel combines fertilizers, nutrients and pest deterrents. Most importantly it is squirrel proof. Imagine having your favourite candy raining down on you! No self-respecting squirrel could resist.

The carbon footprint of the digital world [BBC 

A report from UK’s Royal Society says that the contribution of digital technology to global emissions range from 1.4% to 5.9% of the global total. The good news is that everyone can contribute to reducing those emissions. HD video streaming on your phone creates eight times more emissions than standard definition streaming. A first step should be to switch to standard definition when possible – on a small phone screen you won’t even notice the difference. Speaking of your phone, the emissions created for developing a new device are significant. Try to keep your phone for a longer period of time or buy a second-hand device instead of chasing after the newest phones every two years.  

Robot-riders delivering ready-to-eat meals 🤖 🍲 [Reuters 

The Yandex.Eats app, owned by the Russian internet and technology company Yandex, is offering customers around the White Square, Moscow’s business district, the option to have orders delivered by a robot instead of a human. The driverless robot buggies, called the Yandex.Rover, collect the order at the venue and deliver it to the customer who can follow the delivery path on the app. The robot can deliver ready-to-eat meals, groceries and orders from online stores. When the robot gets to the customer, the robot is easily unlocked with the smartphone and the food can be collected. A covid-friendly delivery experience! 

About this week’s editor, Angelica Viggiano

I’ve been at Cambre for two years, advising clients working in the tech sphere and focusing on platform regulation, privacy and competition policy. I love tech so much that I read all the small print ‘terms and conditions’ of four tech companies before and after the GDPR to check if they were compliant. Outside of tech, one of my biggest passions is fashion, just to add to the already well-established stereotypes about Italians 🇮🇹 and fashion! I love the sound of brand-new shoes, the smell of leather bags and of course I like to spot the best deals in town. For tech-related questions or if you want to know where to buy the perfect Christmas gifts, feel free to reach out.  

In case you haven’t had enough… 

Zoom, murder hornets, Among Us, and Joe Biden topped Google trending searches in 2020 [The Verge] 

They Found Community, and Then Love, in Online Games [Wired] 

A new Facebook cloud game mixes Telltale writing and reality TV. Users will decide the story. [Washington Post] 

This is the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way ever made [MIT Technology Review] 

A Mission to Make Virtual Parties Actually Fun [Wired]