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Russia fines Reddit for first time over ‘banned content’

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Russia fines Reddit for first time over 'banned content'

 Russia on Tuesday fined social media site Reddit for the first time for not deleting “banned content” that it said contained “fake” information about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, RIA reported on Tuesday, citing a Moscow court.

Reddit joins a list of sites under scrutiny in Russia for failing to remove content that Moscow deems illegal, including Wikimedia, streaming service Twitch, and Google (GOOGL.O).

RIA said the court had fined Reddit 2 million roubles ($20,365). Reddit did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Also on Tuesday, the court fined the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, 2 million roubles, for failing to delete “fakes” about what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Interfax reported.

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Since invading Ukraine last year, Russia has tightened controls over coverage of the conflict by media and bloggers, introducing tougher punishments for “discrediting” the actions of its armed forces or publishing false information about them.

Wikimedia has previously said information that Russian authorities complained about was well-sourced and in line with Wikipedia standards.

Wikipedia is one of the few surviving independent sources of information in Russia since a state crackdown on online content intensified after Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine.

Russia has said it was not planning to block Wikipedia, but has repeatedly fined the online encyclopaedia.

Wikimedia has previously criticised the penalties as “part of an ongoing effort by the Russian government to limit the spread of reliable, well-sourced information in the country”. 

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UK competition regulator lays out AI principles

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UK competition regulator lays out AI principles

Britain’s competition regulator proposed principles to govern new artificial intelligence (AI) models on Monday, including accountability, access and transparency, as it seeks to foster competitive growth in the fast-moving technology.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started looking at the impact of generative AI applications such as ChatGPT in May to try to ensure the technology benefited businesses and consumers.

The CMA’s chief executive Sarah Cardell said there was real potential for the technology to turbocharge productivity and make millions of everyday tasks easier – but a positive future could not be taken for granted.

“That’s why we have today proposed these new principles and launched a broad programme of engagement to help ensure the development and use of foundation models evolves in a way that promotes competition and protects consumers,” she said.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has touted the UK as a global leader in AI regulation and the country will host an AI safety summit in November.

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China’s industry ministry to work on standards for the metaverse

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China's industry ministry to work on standards for the metaverse

 China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)said on Monday that it will form a working group to establish standards for the metaverse sector as Beijing seeks to be a global standards-setter for new technology.

The ministry released a draft proposal to form a working group for the metaverse, shared virtual worlds accessible via the internet, on Monday. The proposal said that the metaverse is one of the nine emerging tech sectors which China should strive to establish standards for.

The metaverse has become one of the hottest tech trends since 2021, but there is yet to be consensus on what qualifies as a metaverse despite the hype, an issue the MIIT highlighted in the proposal.

“[The metaverse industry] faces many challenges,” the MIIT said, “It is urgent to promote healthy and orderly development of the metaverse industry through standardization and guidance.”

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It added that the metaverse industry suffers from a lack of clear definitions, which had allowed some capitalists and companies to drum up speculation in the market.

The MIIT also described the metaverse as “an integrated innovation combining various cutting-edge technologies”. It said that the metaverse will spur many innovative business models, new business opportunities and growth for the digital economy. 

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BoE official says public need reassurance on digital pound and privacy

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BoE official says public need reassurance on digital pound and privacy

 A “national conversation” is needed to assuage public fears that a digital version of the pound would allow the government to spy on them, Bank of England deputy governor designate Sarah Breeden said on Tuesday.

The BoE and Britain’s finance ministry have been consulting on whether and how to introduce a digital pound, probably in the second half of this decade.

But critics of the concept say a digital currency could be used by governments to track what people spend their money on, and make it harder to make payments and purchases using cash.

European Union policymakers have already sought to reassure the public that a digital euro is not a “Big Brother” surveillance project.

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“I think on the back of that we need to start a national conversation, actually, because while I’m supportive of that technology, as was apparent in the responses we got to the discussion paper there’s a lot of concern about privacy,” Breeden told a hearing in parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on her appointment.

A digital pound would be the anchor for all money in the digital world to ensure trust in money, she said.

“So analytically, it’s the right thing – I can see a case for it. How you manage the privacy challenges, the role of the state – I think we are at the start of the debate on that,” Breeden said.

“The privacy concerns about programmability, I recognise those as real concerns, and what we need to do … is reassure the public on how privacy is going to be delivered, terms and conditions set in legislation, we must not assume trust in practice,” she told lawmakers.

There should be equal focus on privacy in private-sector digital currencies as well, said Breeden, who is currently an executive director at the BoE.

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Eleven countries have already launched digital versions of their currencies and, like the European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve is considering doing so.

Breeden said the impact on financial stability is also a concern for her and responses to the public consultation will be published towards the end of the year.

Breeden rejected suggestions by critics of a digital currency that it would force out the availability of cash. 

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