Posted inNews

Spotify responds to protests against speech-recognition patent

Earlier this year, a controversy broke out over a Spotify patent involving using speech recognition technology to analyse a listener’s “emotional state, gender, age, or accent” and recommend them music accordingly. This month, more than 180 artists and human rights organisations wrote to Spotify to protest against the technology, and the streaming service has now responded.

The letter was organised by Access Now and Fight for the Future, working with the US Union of Musicians and Allied Workers – which is also running the Justice at Spotify campaign calling for higher royalties; user-centric payouts; an end to “payola” on the service; and abandoning the DSP’s appeal against new songwriter royalty rates in the US.

The letter outlined a number of concerns about Spotify’s patent. “This technology is dangerous, a violation of privacy and other human rights, and should be abandoned.” Tom Morello, Talib Kweli and Laura Jane Grace were among the musicians signing it, alongside human rights groups like Amnesty International and Color of Change.

Posted inNews

Ticketmaster fined in the UK over 2018 customer data breach

A £1.25m fine for Ticketmaster is very small beans compared to the money that its parent company Live Nation has lost this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the fine, levied by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is still a serious matter. It’s for failing to keep customers’ personal data secure, leading to a data breach in 2018 that potentially affected 9.4 million Ticketmaster users.

“Investigators found that, as a result of the breach, 60,000 payment cards belonging to Barclays Bank customers had been subjected to known fraud,” reported the ICO as it announced the fine. “Another 6,000 cards were replaced by Monzo Bank after it suspected fraudulent use.”

Posted inNews

Facebook warns that it could pull out of Europe altogether

American TikTokers have been grappling with the existential (in app terms) question of what they’d do if the app was banned. Now imagine the rumpus if Facebook and Instagram were suddenly unavailable across the whole of Europe.

It could happen.

Well, Facebook is claiming that it could happen, as part of its fightback against a recent decision by the Irish Data Protection Commission – the regulator that oversees Facebook in Europe – that the social network must stop sending user data to the US.

Posted inNews

After India ban, TikTok could face further sanctions in US

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been hit by a ban in India as part of a wider crackdown on apps of Chinese origin.

But there may be trouble brewing for the companies in the US, too, due both to the political jockeying around hardball trade negotiations between the US and China, and specific regulatory issues with TikTok in the US.

Speaking to Fox News this week, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if the US might ban TikTok and other social media apps from China.

“We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” he said. “We have worked on this very issue for a long time.”

Pompeo went on to bracket the issue with previous measures taken against Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE: “With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too.”

Posted inSandbox

Sandbox Issue 247: All Triller, No Filler: Music’s next big launchpad?

Lead: Triller is not a TikTok killer – but it is certainly proving to be a hearty contender. At the moment, it is strongest in the US and it skews heavily towards hip-hop as its in-built soundtrack. Its ambitions are, however, more global and the genres it covers will naturally expand as it grows internationally. […]

To access this post, you must subscribe. If you are already a subscriber, log in here.