Europe’s top court sides with Google

September 25, 2019

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Today, sea taxis are testing on the Seine and synthetic DNA is getting cheaper by the bin, but first…

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European court sides with Google in ‘right to be forgotten’ case

Permission to be wiped from the world’s leading search engine… Fuggetaboutit.

Yesterday, Google won a years-long legal battle in Europe over the EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling, allowing the search giant to refrain from filtering search results for Europeans outside of the continent.

In case you forgot…

The ruling follows 2014’s “right to be forgotten” act in Europe that allows European citizens the right to ask search engines to remove “sensitive” or “outdated” skeletons from their digital closets.

The case was brought to the European Court of Justice after the French data watchdog, CNIL, ordered Google to nix all search results for people who wanted their history scrubbed from Google searches, not only in France or the EU but globally.

Google wasn’t down with CNIL veering from its lane, and, as of yesterday, European justice officials agreed with Google’s level of hatorade. 

A ruling to remember

Europe’s top court ruled that EU law requires Google to scrap the outdated or irrelevant search results about a user only within the EU.

The ruling states, “The operator of a search engine is not required to carry out a de-referencing on all versions of its search engine… It is, however, required to carry out that de-referencing on the versions corresponding to all the Member States…”

That could’ve been an indelible can o’worms

As of March 2018, Google had received a grand total of 655k requests from individuals demanding the removal of more than 2.4m links in Europe alone — and it wasn’t just from your European conspiracy theorist uncle. A large percentage of those requests came from corporations, politicians, and public figures.

The decision is a big victory for free-speech advocates, who struggled to see the line of such censorship. 

Had the court not sided with Google, many feared that it could’ve resulted in a global domino effect of countries dictating all search results for their citizens.

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As synthetic DNA becomes more accessible, biosecurity becomes challenging

Genetic programming has taken off in recent years. But as NPR reports, demand for this technology strains the limits of the safety measures meant to shield the world from bioterrorism.

It takes DNA to make DNA

At Ginkgo Bioworks, scientists synthesize more than 10k genes each month — primarily for clients in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, and food industries.

Gene shops like Ginkgo use so much DNA that they have to buy it from other companies. To ensure it’s not used maliciously — scientists have shown it’s possible to “build” deadly viruses like Ebola — biotech companies screen customers and analyze each requested DNA sequence for possible misuses. If something looks amiss, they can refuse the sale.

But when time is money, safety precautions can seem costly

While the cost of DNA programming is going down, screening costs have remained stagnant. With these procedures eating up bigger portions of budgets — and taking up valuable time — some companies see them as a real pain in the enzyme. 

Meanwhile, many in the industry have pointed out that technology advanced so quickly that the biosecurity guidelines issued a decade ago by the US government are no longer sufficient. 

With this in mind, federal officials are mulling new measures to ensure this increasingly common technology doesn’t create an actual zombie apocalypse.

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Twitch co-founder’s flashy new startup is a… lawyer rental service?

With an eye on keeping legal fees affordable, the 2-year-old startup Atrium “rents” lawyers to burgeoning businesses.

Hey, we get it. It’s like the WeWork of lawyer rentals! *Cue cheers, lights, ticker tape*

He’s not a lawyer, nor did he play one on TV…

But CEO Justin Kan did star in an online reality show, Justin.TV. The project morphed into the video game streaming service Twitch, which Amazon bought for $1B.

Having worked on several startups since, Kan noticed the beaucoup bucks spent on legal fees and the fact that many billable hours go toward time sucks like preparing documents. 

By building a software platform to automate mundane tasks and luring attorneys from big firms by matching their standardized salaries, Kan created a WeWork-esque legal service.    

Startups purchase a $500/month “membership” that grants them basic access to corporate attorneys, and major projects can be completed for a flat fee that is cheaper than what most law firms charge.

Question is: Kan Atrium make a profit?  

Despite raising $75m in funding and amassing 400+ clients, the way Atrium is structured, it eats the cost when deals become more complicated than what the flat fee covers. 

And recession rumblings could spell trouble. When venture capitalists ink fewer deals, demand for legal services drops. However, because Atrium can shave 5 hours — thus thousands of dollars — off the amount of time it takes a conventional law firm to complete a startup’s financing paperwork, it could be sitting pretty.

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Here comes bubble: French company plans to introduce ‘flying’ water taxis 

And they are in(Seine). 

No, literally. SeaBubbles, the creators of the battery-powered watercraft, hopes to provide a sustainable, aquatic alternative to traffic-congested roadway travel with their four-person “flying taxi.”

The vehicles (or “bubbles) will offer shared rides up and down the Seine River, silently doing the electric glide a couple of feet above the water — so you can leave your motion sickness patches at home.

The on-demand travel market is getting increasingly congested 

Companies are racing to provide sustainable traffic solutions. In recent years, tech improvements have empowered established rideshare giants and new startups alike to scan the skies, bike paths, and tunnels in search of innovative mobility solutions. But so far no one’s really been able to crack the code.

SeaBubbles hopes to lead the way

The company’s plan is to enter 50 cities globally in the next 5 years. Parisians may even be able to open the mobile app by next year and order a glide.

Let’s just hope no bubbles get blown away by the epic break dancing we’re going to see during the 2024 Summer Olympics.

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