Today’s Cache | Canadian PM slams Facebook; U.S. denies AI art copyrights; Meta seeks to stop privacy breach fine  

Updated - August 23, 2023 09:12 am IST

Published - August 22, 2023 04:22 pm IST

A file photo of the Facebook logo.

A file photo of the Facebook logo. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Canadian PM slams Facebook

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Facebook of putting profits over people’s safety during emergencies created by Canada’s record wildfire season by blocking news on the Meta-owned social networks that include news articles, videos and audio posted by outlets inside or outside of the country.

While wildfires in Canada have pushed tens of thousands of people from their homes and threatened cities, Meta has stood by its decision to block news. The company, however, in a statement said that people in Canada can continue “to access reputable information, including content from official government agencies, emergency services, and non-governmental organisations.” Government ministries meanwhile have called on Meta to lift its ban on news it implemented in response to a new law that requires tech giants to pay publishers for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online.

U.S. denies AI art copyrights

A U.S. court in Washington ruled that a work of art created by artificial intelligence without any human input cannot be copyrighted under the country’s laws. Only works with human authors can receive copyrights affirming the Copyright Office’s rejection of an application filed by computer scientist Stephen Thaler on behalf of his DABUS system.

The decision follows losses for Thaler on bids for U.S. patents covering inventions created by DABUS, short for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience. Thaler has also applied for DABUS-generated patents in other countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and Saudi Arabia with limited success. The Copyright Office has also rejected an artist’s bid for copyrights on images generated through the AI system Midjourney despite the artist’s argument that the system was part of their creative process.

Meta seeks to stop privacy breach fine

Meta Platforms will ask a court in Norway to stop a fine the country’s regulator imposed on the owner of Facebook and Instagram for breaching user’s privacy, in a case that could have wider European implications.

Since 14 August, Meta Platforms has been fined 1 million crowns ($94,313) per day for harvesting users’ data and using it to target advertising at them without proper consent in a method called behavioural advertising, a business model common to Big Tech. Meanwhile, the Norwegian regulator said it was unclear, when and how Meta would seek consent from users and that it could make the fine permanent by referring its decision to the European Data Protection Board, which has the power to do so if it agrees with the Norwegian regulator’s decision.

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