The first court hearing in the case between a Polish NGO and Meta took place before the Warsaw District Court on 7 February 2023. The hearing was conducted almost four years after the organisation sued the internet giant for deleting its accounts and groups without a prior warning or an explanation.
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Winter 2022/2023 seems to be a spectacular time in the history of Artificial Intelligence. It is so even though the current hype is an effect of mass popularization rather than a real scientific revolution, which in this field began quite a while ago. With the rapid growth of new users of products based on generative AI (or GP AI), its potential to wreak havoc raises an increasing number of serious concerns.
Data retention obligation will not be further extended in Polish law on electronic communication. However, the current, unlawful scope of telecommunication data retention remains unchanged. Our advocacy effort proved successful.
On 27 September the hearing was held at the European Court of Human Rights, following the application against Poland lodged by activists from Poland’s Panoptykon Foundation and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, joined by a human rights attorney. The group alleges that the state violated their right to privacy by allowing the intelligence agencies to act beyond scrutiny. Their case has been supported by the United Nations special rapporteur, Polish Ombudsman and the European Criminal Bar Association, attending the Strasbourg hearing as well.
European officials urged Big Tech to ban Kremlin-related accounts in the effort to tackle the propaganda online, as the Internet – and particularly the social media – became an important front of Russian invasion on Ukraine. But such “digital sanctions” are just a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. Yet again we call therefore for robust platform regulations in the Digital Services Act instead. The current crisis only confirms how badly overdue systemic solutions are.
Following a number of complaints filed in 2018 and 2019, including by Panoptykon and Bits of Freedom, and coordinated by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Belgian Data Protection Authority has found that the consent system developed and managed by the adtech industry body IAB Europe, and used by many websites in the EU, is illegal under the GDPR.
Following Panoptykon’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) complaint against one of the biggest Polish news website, Interia.pl – the Polish Data Protection Authority has confirmed that online publishers should give users access to their advertising profiles generated for the purposes of delivering behavioural ads.
“We don’t have to manipulate our customers or exploit their vulnerabilities to scale up” – European entrepreneurs and social organizations appeal to the MEPs to put an end to invasive and privacy-hostile practices related to surveillance-based advertising and thus open the market to ethical and innovative online ads, which respect users’ rights and their choices. On the opposite bench – the Big Tech lobby fights for the status quo to remain – despite the well-documented social and individual harms caused by the current ads ecosystem.
Facebook Files provided yet another confirmation that the company's extremely profitable recommender systems come at a high price paid by vulnerable individuals and our societies. Algorithms optimised for engagement amplify toxic content, such as hate speech or disinformation, and target humans based on their vulnerabilities.