GDPR enforcement teams are woefully understaffed
GDPR image by pongsakorn from the Noun Project
Good morning! This Tuesday, Microsoft pushes for privacy laws, bookstores take on Amazon, and meet your new animated Zoom avatar.
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The pandemic has made clear that big tech doesn't play by normal rules, Scott Galloway said:
Gaming is having a coronavirus-related moment, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has found:
Why do companies need retail stores? The answer is changing, Max Levchin believes:
Microsoft spent years trying to get a privacy law passed in its home state. The law would give citizens the right to access a copy of the data that companies were collecting on them, the right to correct it and delete it, and the right to restrict the processing of that data.
The Washington Privacy Act never passed. But Microsoft's still pushing:
Microsoft was an early supporter of privacy legislation among the tech giants: Execs know regulation is coming, and they want to play a role in shaping it, even if it's one state at a time.
Privacy legislation has been slow going everywhere. It's even worse now: Whatever momentum Microsoft was building in state governments seems to have been at least temporarily stalled by the onset of coronavirus.
The makers of the Brave browser filed a complaint with the EU yesterday that says 27 different EU states have failed to give their Data Protection Authorities enough resources to properly do their job.
"The GDPR is at risk of failing" as a result, Ryan wrote. Governments don't have the people, the money or the resources to actually enforce the rules.
Now's a good time to revisit Issie Lapowsky's story about Ryan, and his quest to crack down on big tech.
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It may feel like the pandemic has only served to concentrate power in the hands of companies like Amazon, but some people see the current chaos as an opportunity. Andy Hunter, CEO of Bookshop.org, certainly does.
"To change [someone's] routine is the easiest way to change their habit," he told me. Coronavirus changed everyone's routine — so habits may start to shift, too.
Bookshop launched in January as a way for indie bookstores to easily create their own digital storefronts, and put them all together to build the kind of efficient, convenient book-buying experience that could compete with Bezos.
Bookshop's early success has stoked its ambition. It's now selling audiobooks and ebooks, talking to partners about comics and magazines, and more. "I want to really change the equation for how viable bookselling is in this country, outside of Amazon," Hunter said.
Protocol's Biz Carson sends this in: Jon McNeill, former Tesla president and Lyft COO, is launching DeltaV, a different type of venture capital model that's designed to build new startups using an in-house team. (Think of it like a long-term holding company rather than a traditional venture fund.) A key criteria will be growing companies that have both product-market fit and go-to-market fit, something he said in a blog post that he found at Tesla, but not at Lyft. So far it's closed $20 million out of a $40 million goal. Joining McNeill at DeltaV are Henry Vogel, Karim Bousta, Sami Shalabi and Michael Rossiter.
Ben Horowitz is no longer on Lyft's board of directors. According to a note sent to investors yesterday, Lyft's not planning to replace him, and will have an eight-member board going forward.
Apparently today's all Lyft-related: The company hired Chris Martin, the former CTO of Pandora, as its new VP of data science and machine learning. Martin spent more than 12 years at Pandora before leaving in 2017.
Remember Samsung's AR Emoji? The handset maker's take on Apple's Memoji that never really took off, because they just seemed a bit too … creepy? Well, Loom.ai, the company that built the animated emoji tech for Samsung, now wants to help us make our quarantine Zoom calls less stressful. The company's latest app, LoomieLive, makes it possible to replace your live video feed with an animated version of yourself, complete with lip syncing. Loom.ai co-founder Mahesh Ramasubramanian told Protocol's Janko Roettgers that his team has used it internally for almost all of its calls. "It substantially reduced the visual overload for us," he said. Now when you video chat, nobody has to see your bed hair.
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