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  1. Germany Is Considering An 18+ Rating On Video Games With Loot Boxes Pending approval from the Bundesrat There's a good chance you've seen the controversies surrounding Loot Boxes. We've discussed them on numerous occasions, and there's been a longstanding debate over whether they're seen as gambling. Shockingly, publishers tend to disagree, but they've come under frequent scrutiny from various governments. Germany is next in line. Within the Bundestag – German parliament's lower house – they've recently passed a reform to the Youth Protection Act, prot
  2. Trapped in Germany’s COVID nightmare The purported home of efficiency is lagging behind on vaccination. Has German Chancellor Angela Merkel made mistakes during the pandemic? | Pool photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images Matthew Karnitschnig is POLITICO’s chief Europe correspondent. BERLIN — As the coronavirus pandemic raged through the United States last summer, an old school friend from Arizona wrote me full of admiration for Germany’s handling of the crisis. For years, he, along with other American friends and my family, drew bou
  3. A New Day for GDPR Damages Claims in Germany? Until now, damages claims awarded by German courts pursuant to Article 82 of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) – in particular, claims for non-material damages – have been relatively low. This restrained approach thus far has been predicated primarily on the position that German law requires a serious violation of personality rights to justify higher claims for non-material damages. Two recent cases decided by regional courts illustrate and confirm this prevailing stance. However, a more recent decision issued by the Fe
  4. Germany to let citizens store ID cards on smartphone BERLIN (AP) — Germany says its citizens will be able to use smartphones to store their government-issued ID cards and prove their identity online. The move is part of a broader effort to haul Germany’s decidedly analogue bureaucracy into the 21st century. The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that from this fall, citizens will be able to use the electronic ID stored in their smartphones together with a PIN number to prove they are who they claim to be when communicating with authorities or private businesse
  5. Left 4 Dead 2 finally gets an 'uncut' update in Germany German authorities have re-evaluated Valve's gory horde shooter. (Image credit: Valve) German owners of Left 4 Dead 2 can now download a free DLC upgrading their copy to the blood-soaked "uncut" international release, following a re-evaluation from national authorities. Like Left 4 Dead 2's infamous Australian release, German copies of the game were heavily modified to remove blood, gore and offending content that would otherwise block the game from sale in those regions. In 2014, Va
  6. Germany's Federal Court of Justice has ruled that YouTube does not have to hand over the email or IP addresses of users who uploaded pirated movies to the platform. The decision is part of a long-running case that saw three YouTube users upload Scary Movie 5 and Parker to the site resulting in thousands of views in breach of copyright. With more than two billion logged-in users every month, YouTube is the world’s most dominant video platform. Every day people watch over a billion hours of videos, together generating billions of views. Over t
  7. The highest court in Germany has clarified that domain name registrars should only be held liable for pirate sites if all other options fail. The order is part of a drawn-out battle between Universal Music and domain registrar Key-Systems. Universal Music now has to show that taking direct legal action against the defunct torrent site H33t.com or its hosting company was futile. In 2013, H33T.com, one of the Internet’s most-visited torrent sites at the time, disappeared from the web. The downtime was initially shrouded in mystery but it later
  8. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. face German antitrust scrutiny over a policy that excludes independent sellers of brand products on the online market place. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the country’s antitrust regulator, is probing both companies over a policy at Amazon called “brandgating,” the authority said in an emailed statement. The policy allows makers of branded products such as iPhones to have independent sellers removed from the platform as long as Amazon can sell the items, according to the statement. “Brandgating agreements can help to protec
  9. A Higher Regional Court in Germany has confirmed an injunction handed down against Cloudflare that prevents the CDN provider from facilitating access to pirate music site DDL-Music. The music industry welcomed the development, stating that a service that helps infringers evade prosecution through anonymization also acts illegally. CDN company Cloudflare has grown to become one of the most useful and important companies on the Internet, serving millions of websites that in turn serve countless millions of users of their own. One of Cloudflare’s key aims is t
  10. German government would like to regulate what kind of routers are sold and installed across the country. The German government published at the start of the month an initial draft for rules on securing Small Office and Home Office (SOHO) routers. Published by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), the rules have been put together with input from router vendors, German telecoms, and the German hardware community. Once approved, router manufacturers don't have to abide by these requirements, but if they do, they can use a special
  11. Protesters on Saturday blocked a railway line leading to a large strip coal mine in western Germany that has become a cause celebre for environmentalists amid plans to clear part of a neighboring forest to expand the facility. Aktivist block tracks for coal transportation during a protest against the plans to clearing and grubbing the Hambach Forest for an open-pit lignite mine. Another group of about 40 people occupied an excavator at the Hambach mine near Cologne, eight of them climbing onto the machine. Activists aimed to disrupt mining operations at
  12. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a move to open up Germany's market to U.S. gas companies, following a lobbying push from President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported. Merkel told a group of lawmakers over breakfast in October that her government will co-finance a $576 million liquified natural gas (LNG) shipping terminal in northern Germany, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the meeting. The project had been stalled for years, but Trump has lobbied hard for Europe to increase LNG purchases from the U.S. while reducing their rel
  13. Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in an interview for publication Sunday he backed a global minimum fiscal regime for multinationals as Europe looks to levy tax notably on US tech giants. Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Sholz "We need a minumum tax rate valid globally which no state can get out of (applying)," Scholz, a social democrat in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government, told the "Welt am Sonntag" weekly. Europe is trying to devise a strategy to tax profits from the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook
  14. Google ordered to halt human review of voice AI recordings over privacy risks A German privacy watchdog has ordered Google to cease manual reviews of audio snippets generated by its voice AI. This follows a leak last month of scores of audio snippets from the Google Assistant service. A contractor working as a Dutch language reviewer handed more than 1,000 recordings to the Belgian news site VRT which was then able to identify some of the people in the clips. It reported being able to hear people’s addresses, discussion of
  15. BERLIN (Reuters) - More than 2,000 workers at seven Amazon (AMZN.O) sites across Germany have gone on strike over pay for at least two days, labor union Verdi said on Monday. The walkouts, under the motto ‘No more discount on our incomes”, started overnight and coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day when the U.S. online retail giant offers its ‘Prime’ customers discount deals. Germany is its second-biggest market after the United States. Amazon has faced a long-running battle with unions in Germany over better pay and conditions for logistics workers, who have s
  16. BERLIN (Reuters) - German authorities have fined Facebook 2 million euros ($2.26 million) for providing a distorted picture of the amount of illegal content on the social media platform, a violation of the country’s law on internet transparency. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Federal Office of Justice, a judicial agency, said that by publishing incomplete information regarding the complaints it had received, the web giant created a skewed picture. Faced with a global backlash over the role its platform played in election campaigns from the United S
  17. Does renewables pioneer Germany risk running out of power? FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany, a poster child for responsible energy, is renouncing nuclear and coal. The problem is, say many power producers and grid operators, it may struggle to keep the lights on. FILE PHOTO: Water vapour rises from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) in Jaenschwalde, Germany, January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo The country, the biggest electricity market in the European Union, i
  18. Speigel Online reported last week on comments by Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer proposing greater governmental access to end-to-end encrypted communications, such as those by WhatsApp and Telegram. While his comments represent merely one lawmaker's thoughts and the encryption community has vehemently objected to encryption backdoors and client application access, the reality is that at its annual conference earlier this month, Facebook previewed all of the necessary infrastructure to make Germany’s vision a reality and even alluded to the very issue
  19. Germany to Extend Electric Company Car Tax Incentives: Paper FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends a media briefing during his visit to Beijing, China, January 17, 2019. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz plans to extend tax incentives for electric company cars, he told a newspaper on Saturday, the government's latest attempt to boost demand for clean vehicles. Germany is trying to increase electric car sales in the wake of a diesel emissions cheating scandal that has engulfed
  20. Amazon’s Dash buttons have been found to breach consumer e-commerce rules in Germany. The push-to-order gizmos were debuted by Amazon in 2015 in an attempt by the e-commerce giant to shave friction off of the online shopping process by encouraging consumers to fill their homes with stick-on, account-linked buttons that trigger product-specific staple purchases when pressed — from washing powder to toilet roll to cat food. Germany was among the first international markets where Amazon launched Dash, in 2016, along with the U.K. and Austria.
  21. Vodafone Germany Blocks Popular Pirate Forum to Avoid Lawsuit Internet provider Vodafone has started to block access to the popular pirate linking forum Boerse.to in Germany. The ISP feels compelled to take this action, without a court order, to avoid a legal dispute with the local music rights group GEMA. With millions of monthly visitors, Boerse.to is one of the most popular ‘warez boards’ in Germany. The site launched in 2014, following the demise of Boerse.bz. Like its predecessor, it operates as a linking sit
  22. Tesla ordered by court to halt work on German gigafactory Tesla has been ordered by a court to halt work on its fourth gigafactory that’s set to be built in Germany. An alliance of environmentalists, called the Green League, won a court injunction yesterday against the firm which has been clearing forest land to make room for the new factory. The Green League said that it is a threat to local wildlife and water supplies. While the construction is on hold at the moment, work may resume soon as the injunction is only temporary and subject to more hearings that
  23. Tesla allowed to cut down trees for fourth gigafactory Earlier this week, it was announced that Tesla had been ordered to halt work on its gigafactory in Germany over environmental factors. A court has now said it can continue cutting down trees on forest land that it owns in order to build the new factory. Tesla had been ordered by a court to halt work clearing forest land for its new factory thanks to a legal challenge by the Green League. With today’s update, the court that oversees the region threw out the injunction meaning Tesla can continue
  24. BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - France and Germany threw their weight on Thursday behind plans to create a cloud computing ecosystem that seeks to reduce Europe’s dependence on Silicon Valley giants Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The project, dubbed Gaia-X, will establish common standards for storing and processing data on servers that are sited locally and comply with the European Union’s strict laws on data privacy. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, speaking in Berlin, described Gaia-X as a “moonshot” that would help reassert Europe’s technological
  25. German government is too dependent on "single software providers", but changing that will be difficult and costly. A report commissioned by the German government identifies strategic risks in using Microsoft software A study commissioned by the German interior ministry has confirmed what many critics have long argued: the German government is too dependent on Microsoft software. Germany's ministry of the interior asked management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, to produce a "Strategic market analysis on reducing dependence on single softwar
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