Tech Check Digest - October 1, 2021

On the radar for Tech Check - big moves by and against Google, Amazon tries to make surveillance look cute, and more on the Wall Street Journal's excoriating exposés on Facebook:


  • The ACCC finds Google's dominance in adtech harms businesses and consumers (via ACCC). In the final report of its Digital Advertising Services Inquiry, the ACCC confirms how Google's vertical integration and market power in adtech is bad news for Australians. The ACCC is looking for broader reform and the ability to develop sector-specific regulations to address this market issue. The Centre for Responsible Technology has urged the government to enact the ACCC's recommendations.
  • Youtube announces it will block all anti-vaccine content (via SBS News). Youtube, after years of inaction on misinformation including during the pandemic, announces it will block all anti-vaccine content on its platform. With growing criticism against the tech giants and their refusal to address content harms, it appears Youtube has finally started to listen, but is it too little, too late?
  • Amazon unveiled a new robot called Astro, which tracks everything in your home (via Vice). Amazon's unapologetic strategy of surveillance gets a new face as it launches Astro - a robot "home assistant" that can set up reminders, turn on TV shows and control smart devices around your home. It can also integrate with Amazon security products like Ring to alert you of possible break-ins or fires. Leaked internal documents show how Astro "tracks everything" and developers who worked on the product described it as "flawed".