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Australian parliamentary committee summons Facebook, Google over abuse on platforms

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Indian Parliamentary Committees are not the only ones that are taking American tech giants to the task. Earlier today, the Australian House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs heard from representatives of Google and Facebook during its inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence. As the parliamentarians grilled the two companies about whether their measures to protect users from abusive content were adequate, both Google and Facebook defended their data disclosure practices, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Both companies reportedly said that they rejected about 20% of all data disclosure requests from Australian law enforcement agencies in 2019 as they were either too broad or had no legal basis. This is because either the law enforcement agency had not given Google the relevant information needed to disclose the data or it had requested data about a Google user who was neither a citizen nor a resident of Australia, Samantha Yorke, from Google Australia’s head of government affairs and public policy department, reportedly said. This appears to be a problem that afflicts Big Tech across borders. In Madras High Court, Facebook had said that it had fulfilled only 50% of content takedown requests because government requests were either not in the correct format, or they were missing FIR numbers, or they had not been mandated by court. Identity verification by pvt companies raises privacy issues Inman Grant, the Australian eSafety Commissioner who is a part of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, raised concerns around abusers using multiple…

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