Issue 1272 - Wednesday 16th December, 2020

In Today's Issue

The News

EU lays down the law to digital platforms and markets with strong regulation proposals

The European Union has dropped a chunky draft of two new laws - the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. The DSA's goal is create harmonised EU-wide rules for how digital services behave, with additional oversight for platforms with more than 10% of the EU's population (around 45m users). The DMA "addresses the negative consequences arising from certain behaviours by platforms acting as digital 'gatekeepers' to the single market", but only for "search engines, social networks or online intermediation services" - what the EU is defining as "gatekeepers". There's a fair bit going on in these two laws, so its worth having a read of the EU's press release to get a rough idea what's going on. Ultimately it's the EU having enough of Facebook and Google's bullshit and trying to even the playing field for competitors whilst giving individuals some sort of control over how these companies treat us.

Devs apologise for Cyberpunk 2077 bugs, tell gamers to get a refund if unhappy

The developers of much hyped game, Cyberpunk 2077, have formally apologised for making a game so full of bugs it is almost unplayable and told their customers to get refunds if they're unhappy. It really is a shitshow with bugs on all platforms, with players experiencing awful performance on consoles, crashing, weird NPC actions, shit driving AI and loose penises. CD Projekt Red said they'll release an "update in the next seven days, one more in January and another one in February". In Australia, EB Games and JB Hi-Fi have said they'll accept all refunds, even on collectors editions that came with unreturnable DLC. Hooray for Australian Consumer Law! I was planning to spend some time with Cyberpunk 2077 over the holidays, but I don't think I'll bother with it for a few months so CD Projekt Red can get their shit together.

ACCC takes on Facebook's dodgy Onavo Protect VPN that spied on users instead of protecting them

Facebook is back in the ACCC's crosshairs, with the ACCC alleging that Facebook "misled Australian consumers by representing that the Onavo Protect app would keep users' personal activity data private, protected and secret, and that the data would not be used for any purpose other than providing Onavo Protect's products". Onavo, if you forgot, was a VPN service Facebook provided that allowed Facebook to have a direct line into every single thing you do on the Internet, as you were feeding data directly into Facebook's veins. The ACCC reckons Onavo data was used "support Facebook's market research activities, including identifying potential future acquisition targets". TechCrunch's article from almost 2 years ago goes into detail about the shady stuff Facebook did with Onavo.

Something I Saw On The Internet

CSIRO's latest GenCost report shows renewable energy cheapest, even including storage & transmission costs

CSIRO released a draft to their regular GenCost report this week. It keeps track of the costs involved to generate electricity using a method called LCOE (levelised cost of energy), comparing the various technologies out there like solar, wind, gas, coal, nuclear so so on. This year's report is important because "previous GenCost reports added arbitrary amounts of storage costs, but this year we used a model of the electricity system that optimises the amount of storage needed, and also includes additional transmission expenditure". The good news is that "even taking into account these extra system integration costs, solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind continue to be the cheapest new sources of electricity for any expected share of renewables in the grid". The trope that renewable energy is expensive is bullshit - spread the word! Here's the draft report.

Bargains

The End

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