Europe’s Big Tech Laws, FCC’s Precision Ag Task Force, Frequency Testing at 6 GHz

Europeans can now turn off artificial intelligence-recommended videos and content.

Europe’s Big Tech Laws, FCC’s Precision Ag Task Force, Frequency Testing at 6 GHz
Photo of Nick Clegg by Jonathan Hordle

On Friday, the 27-nation European Union adopted the Digital Services Act that will subject a new set of digital regulations on big tech companies.

Users in the EU will be able to alter some of what shows up when they interact with online social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook as well as other tech giants like Google and Amazon, many of which are American based. Companies have had months since the passage of the law to prepare for its provisions.

The Digital Services Act aims to protect European users by placing regulations to protect privacy, improve transparency and remove harmful or illegal content. Large online platforms must provide data to third-party researchers for the purpose of ensuring DSA compliance.

Following the implementation of the law, Europeans can now turn off artificial intelligence-recommended videos and content. Search results will be based only on the words they type, not personalized based on the user’s previous activities, said Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg.

Algorithmic recommendations have been blamed for creating filter bubbles and pushing social media users to increasingly extreme posts.

Users should also find it easier to report a post for violating the platform rules or for other illegal content. Chinese-based TikTok started to give users an additional reporting option that users can use to flag content, including advertising, they believe is illegal. This will include fake products.

Additionally, social media platforms will adopt transparency measures that will clearly express why certain posts are taken down.

“If we decide a video is ineligible for recommendation because it contains unverified claims about an election that is still unfolding, we will let users know,” TikTok said. “We will also share more detail about these decisions, including whether the action was taken by automated technology, and we will explain how both content creators and those who file a report can appeal a decision.”

A large portion of the law is dedicated to protecting children online. Social media companies have begun to adopt policies that will restrict their ability to target ads for children and teenagers.

FCC calls for diverse involvement in Precision Agriculture Task Force

The Federal Communications Commission’s chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called for representatives from diverse and underrepresented communities to apply for membership on the agency’s Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force that was rechartered last week.

The FCC asked that socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers join the task force. It wants the working groups to research how connectivity impacts production and sustainability challenges for agricultural and food systems.

The Task force was first established under the 2018 Farm Bill and is intended to advise the FCC, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on how to deploy broadband service on unserved agricultural land to promote precision agriculture.

It is set to conclude its work in 2025. Nominations are open until September 20.

“Today’s farmers and ranchers rely on high-speed internet to make the best use of connected tools to efficiently run their businesses and meet the demand for food to sustain our communities,” Rosenworcel said. “I am calling on the Task Force to look closely at the link between connectivity and agricultural sustainability, to see how best to leverage innovation to improve food production for the future.”

FCC approves automated frequency coordination testing in 6 GigaHertz band

The Federal Communications Commission approved the testing of automated frequency coordination systems for the 6 GigaHertz (Hz) spectrum band last week.

Automated Frequency Coordination is a spectrum use coordination system for the frequencies on which service providers transmit mobile internet connection. The system is designed to enable spectrum in the band to be shared with existing radio astronomy and point-to-point microwave users by protecting them from interference. The 6 GHz band will be available for commercial full-power outdoor use when one or more AFC systems have been approved for use.

Thirteen entities have been conditionally approved to operate AFC systems, Broadcom, Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Key Bridge Wireless, Nokia Innovations, Federated Wireless, the Wireless Broadband Alliance, the Wi-Fi Alliance, Qualcomm, Plume Design and RED Technologies.

The Wireless Innovation Forum said in a press release that it is “confident that the lab test results consistent with the test vectors will provide assurance that the AFC systems have been implemented in accordance with the Commission’s rules.”

“This is a significant and material step towards the opening of the 6 GHz band to shared use for standard power outdoor uses in conjunction with AFC system protections of 6 GHz licensees,” added Richard Bernhardt, senior director of spectrum and industry at WISPA and chair of the WInnForum Functional Specifications Working Group.

The FCC made spectrum in the 6 GHz band available on an unlicensed basis in 2020, but it has been limited to indoor low-power use. When the AFC systems are approved, manufacturers will be able to sell standard-power equipment for outdoor use.

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