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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Australia on Friday said it would form a dedicated department to keep check on Facebook and Google as part of reforms to protect privacy of consumers and ensure antitrust laws are respected in the country.

The measure to control the market dominance of the technology giants and police their activities was recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the antitrust watchdog for protection of consumer rights and rein in illegal anti-competitive behaviour.


It comes in the context of concerns over the power the technology companies have in the market and the influence over the people through collection of personal data of consumers, Efe news reported.

On Friday, the ACCC released 23 recommendations along with its final report on the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and digital content aggregators on the state of competition in media and advertising services markets.

The study was commissioned by the government in 2017.

Among other measure, the watchdog has recommended establishment of a special branch of the ACCC “to pro-actively monitor and investigate potentially anti-competitive conduct by digital platforms”.


Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

“Make no mistake, these companies are among the most powerful and valuable in the world,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said as he released the report on regulating of digital platforms.

Frydenberg said these multinationals needed to be “held to account and their activities need to be more transparent”.

The government also emphasized that digital platforms collect and use a large amount of personal information about consumers who need to be informed about the data collected as well as by whom and how it is being used.

Frydenberg said there was a need to develop a media regulatory framework to “ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets”.

Also Read: No Environment Immune to Cyber Attacks: Check Point

ACCC chair Rod Sims in a statement said that the recommendations were “comprehensive and forward looking and deal with the many competition, consumer, privacy and news media issues we have identified throughout the course of this inquiry”.

However, Sunita Bose, Managing Director of Digital Industry Group, which represents Google, Facebook and Twitter, urged caution to the government.

“We’re closely reviewing these recommendations to ensure they don’t bring unintended consequences to all digital businesses and the choice of digital products available to Australian consumers,” she said in a statement. (IANS)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)