Xandr Accused of EU Privacy Breaches; DOJ Publishes Witness List for Google Antitrust Trial; Microsoft and Apple Leave OpenAI Board Observer Roles 

On today’s news digest: Xandr Accused of EU Privacy Breaches; DOJ Publishes Witness List for Google Antitrust Trial; Microsoft and Apple Leave OpenAI Board Observer Roles 

Xandr, the Microsoft-owned ad tech business, has been accused of EU privacy breaches in a complaint backed by European privacy advocacy group noyb. The non-profit group is supporting a claim from an unnamed individual in Italy, alongside Italy’s data protection authority. Filed under the EU’s GDPR, the complaint accuses Xandr of inadequate transparency and breaches of data access rights for people in the region whose information is processed for targeted advertising. The complaint requests the data authority to investigate the claim. If Xandr is found in breach of the regulation, Microsoft could be made to pay fines of up to 4% of its global annual turnover. 

More in the legal landscape: the Department of Justice has published the witness list for its upcoming antitrust trial against Google which accuses the tech titan of monopolising the digital advertising market. From the 68 names announced, some will testify live during the trial on 9th September, while others will submit testimonies via deposition. Google wriggled out of having a jury trial – which the DOJ had wanted – thanks to a $2.3m (£1.79m) cheque made out to the government last month. Essentially, the payment covered possible damages allegedly suffered by US government agencies which had been overcharged by Google for ad buys. The witness list is extensive, including many former and current Google employees, members of SSPs and DSPs, publishers, platforms, agency buyers and advertisers, in addition to academics, researchers and analysts.  

Looking at the latest in the world of AI, Microsoft and Apple have given up their positions as OpenAI board observers. Microsoft has decided to give up its seat, while Apple – which was due to take up the position – has decided against it. Instead, OpenAI intends to hold regular meetings with partners (including Microsoft and Apple) and investors as part of a new approach to informing and engaging key strategic partners. This follows growing scrutiny from global regulators concerning big tech’s colossal investments in AI companies. Concerns have been raised in the UK, EU, and US. 

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