Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Natasha Lomas



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Recent articles by Natasha:

Google’s Sundar Pichai doesn’t want you to be clear-eyed about AI’s dangers –

Alphabet and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, is the latest tech giant kingpin to make a public call for AI to be regulated while simultaneously encouraging lawmakers towards a dilute enabling framework that does not put any hard limits on what can be done with AI technologies. In an op-ed published in today’s Financial Times, Pichai […] → Read More

EU lawmakers are eyeing risk-based rules for AI, per leaked white paper –

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology, according to a draft proposal for regulating artificial intelligence obtained by Euroactiv. Creating rules to ensure AI is ‘trustworthy and human’ has been an early flagship policy promise of the new Commission, led by president Ursula von der Leyen. But […] → Read More

LocalGlobe partner Julia Hawkins discusses fem tech’s risks and rewards –

London-based seed fund LocalGlobe is incredibly active at the early-stage end of the startup pipeline with a broad focus across multiple sectors and areas, including health. We interviewed partner Julia Hawkins about the opportunities and risks related to fem tech investing in light of the fund’s early backing for Ferly, a female-founded startup with a […] → Read More

Privacy experts slam UK’s “disastrous” failure to tackle unlawful adtech –

The UK’s data protection regulator has been slammed by privacy experts for once again failing to take enforcement action over systematic breaches of the law linked to behaviorally targeted ads — despite warning last summer that the adtech industry is out of control. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also previously admitted it suspects the […] → Read More

Mass surveillance for national security does conflict with EU privacy rights, court advisor suggests –

Mass surveillance regimes in the UK, Belgium and France which require bulk collection of digital data for a national security purpose may be at least partially in breach of fundamental privacy rights of European Union citizens, per the opinion of an influential advisor to Europe’s top court issued today. Advocate general Campos Sánchez-Bordona’s (non-legally binding) […] → Read More

Dating and fertility apps among those snitching to “out of control” adtech, report finds –

The latest report to warn that surveillance capitalism is out of control — and ‘free’ digital services can in fact be very costly to people’s privacy and rights — comes courtesy of the Norwegian Consumer Council which has published an analysis of how popular apps are sharing user data with the behavioral ad industry. It suggests […] → Read More

Travel aggregator Omio hops over the pond to launch in North America –

Travel aggregator platform Omio, which operates a multimodal transport planning and booking platform for intercity and long distance tips, has hopped over the pond to launch in North America — its first market outside its home base of Europe. From today, consumers in the U.S. and Canada can use Omio’s website or app to compare […] → Read More

Cookie consent tools are being used to undermine EU privacy rules, study suggests –

Most cookie consent pop-ups served to Internet users in the European Union — ostensibly seeking permission to track people’s web activity — are likely to be flouting regional privacy laws, a new study by researchers at MIT, UCL and Aarhus University suggests. “The results of our empirical survey of CMPs [consent management platforms] today illustrates […] → Read More

DuckDuckGo still critical of Google’s EU Android choice screen auction, after wining a universal slot –

Google has announced which search engines have won an auction process it has devised for an Android “choice screen” — as its response to an antitrust intervention by the region’s competition regulator. The prompt is shown to users of Android smartphones in the European Union as they set up a device, asking them to choose […] → Read More

Facebook won’t ban political ads, prefers to keep screwing democracy –

It’s 2020 — a key election year in the US — and Facebook is doubling down on its policy of letting people pay it to fuck around with democracy. Despite trenchant criticism — including from US lawmakers accusing Facebook’s CEO to his face of damaging American democracy — the company is digging in, announcing as […] → Read More

Pro-privacy search engine Qwant announces more exec changes — to ‘switch focus to monetization’ –

More changes have been announced in the senior leadership of French pro-privacy search engine, Qwant. President and co-founder, Eric Leandri (pictured above), will be moving from an operational to a strategic role on January 15, the company said today — while current deputy managing director for sales and marketing, Jean-Claude Ghinozzi, is being promoted to […] → Read More

Will online privacy make a comeback in 2020? –

Last year was a landmark for online privacy in many ways, with something of a consensus emerging that consumers deserve protection from the companies that sell their attention and behavior for profit. The debate now is largely around how to regulate platforms, not whether it needs to happen. The consensus among key legislators acknowledges that […] → Read More

Facebook and eBay pledge to do more to tackle trade in fake reviews after pressure from UK regulator –

Facebook and eBay have made commitments to do more to stop fake reviews being sold on their platforms after coming under pressure from a UK markets regulator — even as fresh examples of the problem have been found on Facebook-owned Instagram. Last June the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned the two platform that they […] → Read More

Facebook bans deceptive deepfakes and some misleadingly modified media –

Facebook wants to be the arbiter of truth after all. At least when it comes to intentionally misleading deepfakes and heavily manipulated and/or synthesized media content, such as AI-generated photorealistic human faces that look like real people but aren’t. In a policy update announced late yesterday, the social network’s VP of global policy management, Monika […] → Read More

Tech-driven change a key priority for new EC president –

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made responding to technology-driven change a key priority for her five year term which began last month, setting it in the same breath as challenges posed by climate change and demographic shifts, tacitly linking all three to a rise in regional unease. Her solution, set out in […] → Read More

Union Square Ventures leads legal tech startup Juro’s $5M Series A –

Juro, a UK startup that’s using machine learning tech and user-centric design to do for contracts what Typeform does for online forms, has caught the eye of Union Square Ventures. The New York-based fund leads a $5 million Series A investment that’s being announced this morning. Also participating in the Series A are existing investors […] → Read More

Facebook data misuse and voter manipulation back in the frame with latest Cambridge Analytica leaks –

More details are emerging about the scale and scope of disgraced data company Cambridge Analytica’s activities in elections around the world — via a cache of internal documents that’s being released by former employee and self-styled whistleblower, Brittany Kaiser. The now shut down data modelling company, which infamously used stolen Facebook data to target voters […] → Read More

Twitter offers more support to researchers — to ‘keep us accountable’ –

Twitter has kicked off the New Year by taking the wraps off a new hub for academic researchers to more easily access information and support around its APIs — saying the move is in response to feedback from the research community. The new page — which it’s called ‘Twitter data for academic researchers’ — can […] → Read More

Ex-Google policy chief dumps on the tech giant for dodging human rights –

Google’s ex-head of international relations, Ross LaJeunesse — who clocked up more than a decade working government and policy related roles for the tech giant before departing last year — has become the latest (former) Googler to lay into the company for falling short of its erstwhile “don’t be evil” corporate motto. Worth noting right […] → Read More

Adtech told to keep calm and fix its ‘lawfulness’ problem –

Six months after warning that the real-time bidding (RTB) component of programmatic online advertising is wildly out of control — i.e. in a breaking the law sense — the UK’s data protection watchdog has marked half a year’s regulatory inaction with a blog post that entreats the adtech industry to come up with a solution […] → Read More