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Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Senate Bill Targets App Store Payments; Facebook/Giphy Merger Worries UK Regulator

Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing global scrutiny.

US Senate Bill Focuses On App Store Payment System Rules

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced legislation Wednesday (Aug. 11) to allow app developers to use third-party payments services and stores as well as set rules governing the portals themselves.

The proposed bill would establish the Open Markets App Act, which will be used to fight Big Tech monopolies. Google and Apple have both recently been criticized for the cumbersome rules they make developers follow to sell apps in their stores. The legislation would set enforceable rules that protect competition and strengthen consumer protections.

Bipartisan Open App Markets Act Targets Google, Apple App Stores

The U.S. House of Representatives has joined the U.S. Senate in support of a bipartisan bill that targets the app stores run by Google and Apple, according to multiple news reports Friday (Aug. 13).

If passed, the Open App Markets Act would give app developers the chance to reach out to consumers regarding pricing and would encourage competition for third-party app stores and payments.

Facebook/Giphy Merger Worries UK Competition Watchdog

The U.K.’s Competition Market Authority (CMA) has raised some concerns about Facebook’s merger with GIF provider Giphy that could scuttle the agreement. The CMA said Thursday (Aug. 12) that its early findings suggest the merger would harm social media platform competition and would remove a display ad challenger from the market.

If the CMA’s concerns are confirmed in the ongoing review, the authority could require Facebook to cancel the merger and sell Giphy.

US Senators Press Amazon On Palm-Recognition Security

Three U.S. senators —Klobuchar, Dr. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Jon Ossoff of Georgia — want Amazon to give them more information about privacy and security protections for its new Amazon One palm print-recognition system.

Amazon One customers use their palms to confirm their identities when making purchases at brick-and-mortar retail locations, including Whole Foods and Amazon retail locations.

China Cracks Down On Online Insurance Companies

A China regulatory watchdog group has turned its focus to its insurance technology platforms as the banking and insurance watchdog continues its crack down on businesses in several vertical markets.

The regulatory group’s latest order says insurance companies and local agencies must stop improper marketing and pricing practices and strengthen user privacy protection. Companies must address these issues or face “severe punishment,” according to a report.

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