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U.S. Congress examines Amazon testimony, Senate introduces bill

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Members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee confronted Sunday Amazon’s lead executives in a letter accusing them of misleading the Congress and potentially lying about the e-commerce giant’s business habits.

The letter, signed by five Committee members, is taking into consideration “whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate.” The writing addresses some of the company’s top executives, as well as founder Jess Bezos.

Following an investigative report by Reuters last week, some of the recorded claims revealed that the e-commerce mogul was indulging in an organized operation to manufacture knockoff products while manipulating search outcomes to heighten demand on its own products in India.

It seems that some of the content reported by Reuters showcases a direct contradiction to testimonies given by Amazon officials to the House Judiciary Committee in its antitrust examination, according to Congress members.

In 2019 and 2020, the company’s chief executives were asked to submit their testimonials before the antitrust subcommittee. The executives testified that Amazon has never made use of certain seller data to develop its private brand merchandise nor to generate a higher sale rate.

One of these highly ranked executives is founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos, who also submitted his testimony stating that the giant’s search generator is not developed to favor Amazon products.

“At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee. At worst, it demonstrates that they may have lied to the Congress in possible violation of federal criminal law,” five Congress members wrote in the letter addressed to current CEO, Andy Jassy.

Taking into account how committee members were misled by these testimonies, the letter gave the company till November first to provide documented justification. It demands explanation from all officials who submitted their contradictory statements by presenting official papers, in addition to other evidence, to support Amazon’s previous testimonies.

In parallel, committee members included in the letter that it was contemplating whether the Department of Justice should take over the investigation to reshape it into a criminal one due to Amazon’s alleged deceptive and false statements.

Bearing in mind how these tech companies are intentionally deceiving prominent chamber representatives, U.S. senators from both parties officially submitted on Monday a bill fixated at curbing Big Tech influence in favoring their company’s products and services over smaller businesses.

The bill will strictly address Big Tech platforms, with Amazon being in the spotlight, with Apple, Google, and Facebook also targeted by the bill.

Any tech company setting its mind on seizing market power will be susceptible to the bill’s authority. Legislating the bill as a law will heighten scrutiny on these power-driven firms. It will encourage antitrust supporters to submit resources, a move that will empower the bill with evidence to pass it as a law.

In the bill, senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley will forbid tech firms from obliging companies harnessing their platforms to buy the site’s own merchandise or services, in addition to prohibiting tech companies’ from manipulating search results to favor the platform.

Once the bill passes by the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will be finally legislated as law and in full effect.

As for the Big Tech giants approached by the bill, Amazon and Google did not refrain from vocalizing their concerns, stating that it will unleash damaging consequences.

The e-commerce company disclosed in a statement that if the bill becomes a law, it would “harm consumers and the more than 500,000 U.S. small and medium-sized businesses that sell in the Amazon Store, and it would put at risk the more than 1 million jobs, created by those businesses.”

Similarly, the search engine mogul also outlined its opinion on the matter by saying that the bill’s policies will complicate companies’ free service offers – since Google’s search and maps are free platforms – by making “those services less safe, less private and less secure.”

While the bill will not dismantle Big Tech companies or even drive them to give up on providing services, what it will do is impose control on their misconduct, influencing other businesses that are counting on their platforms to make a living.

Daryn is a technical writer with thorough history and experience in both academic and digital writing fields.

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OneWeb, Hughes to provide satellite broadband connections in India

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Satellite communication companies, OneWeb and Hughes, offered high-speed, low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband connectivity across India.  

The agreement between OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd. (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel Limited, follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the companies in September 2021.  

“OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to the Northeast and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies, and maritime customers,” said Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb.  

Through its parent company EchoStar, Hughes is a well-established and supportive OneWeb shareholder. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, creating gateway electronics – including those in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu – and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system.  

The main contractor also agrees with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using OneWeb capacity in the Arctic region.  

“This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defense organizations, domestic airlines, and offshore vessel operators,” Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCIPL, said.  

“They are eagerly anticipating the arrival of new high performing satcom services. We look forward to bringing them high-speed, low-latency services from HCIPL using OneWeb capacity—and catapulting India to the cutting edge of connectivity,” he added.  

Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, commented: “OneWeb is delighted to partner with Hughes to offer high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband solutions and contribute to the Digital India vision. OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari, from Gujarat to the Northeast, and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies, and maritime customers. OneWeb will invest in setting up enabling infrastructure such as Gateways and PoPs in India to light up the services.”  

OneWeb’s latest satellite launch on 27 December 2021 brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, over 60 percent of the planned 648 LEO satellite fleet.  

It plans to begin global service by the end of 2022 as demand continues from telecommunications providers, aviation and maritime markets, ISPs, and governments worldwide for its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services. 

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Yemen’s internet service returns after four-day outage following air strike

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Internet services were largely restored in Yemen on Tuesday, residents said, after a four-day outage https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/yemenis-struggle-without-internet-third-day-after-air-strikes-2022-01-23 following air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition on the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, which damaged telecoms infrastructure.

The Iran-aligned Houthi group’s deputy foreign minister, Hussein al-Ezzi, in a Twitter post praised efforts to repair the damage and restore services.

“To all friends and loved ones: We missed you,” he said.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said at 1000 p.m. GMT Monday that services were starting to be restored.

Seven years of conflict have divided Yemen between an internationally recognised government based in the southern city of Aden, and the Houthi group that largely controls the north.

The coalition had said its strikes on Friday were aimed at Houthi military capabilities in Hodeidah, the main landing point for the country’s undersea web connection.

The outage hindered money transfers by Yemenis outside the country. The war and ensuing economic collapse has pushed millions into poverty and parts of Yemen to the brink of famine.

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Thailand to introduce data center campus by Etix

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A new data center is expected to be rolled out by IT service management company ETIX Everywhere, which has acquired a 67 percent interest in Genesis data center in Bang Chalong, 30 km from Bangkok’s historical center.   

This data center will create a new data center campus, which will be jointly developed with its local partner Interlink Telecom.  

As such, Louis Blanchot, Group CEO ETIX Everywhere, said: “We are very excited to announce our expansion into Asia starting with this acquisition in Bangkok, one of the most dynamic markets in the zone. This first step in Asia is a major milestone in ETIX’s strategy to support our global customers providing them our best-in-class colocation services wherever they need”.  

According to a press release, the Genesis data center – renamed ETIX Bangkok #1 – began working with 2.4 MW of IT power. The future development of the campus will offer significant additional capacity.   

In addition, this data center campus is the first of its kind in the market, offering such a high level of severance with four diverse routes for fiber access and power supply coming from two separate substations.  

On his part, Nuttanai Anuntarumporn, CEO of Interlink Telecom PLC, said: “We are very pleased to have a strong partner like ETIX Everywhere with experience in this industry. We believe that our partnership will support the booming Southeast Asia data center and cloud industry and lead us to common success.”  

Thailand has a large population, and remarkable internet penetration is an important growth market for the public cloud and OTT service providers.  

They need to bring their data as close as possible to the end-users to deliver better service, driving demand for colocation services.  

“Telehouse Bangkok will be the first data center of its kind in Bangkok and will come at a time when we expect the data center market in the country to see robust growth owing to the boom in the digital economy,” said Kenichi Miyashita, managing director, Telehouse Thailand.   

“It aims to provide the best environment for all the Internet-related customers, such as cloud service providers, content providers, telecoms and ISPs, to connect with one another with minimal latency.”  

The company, established in 1988 and owned by Japanese telco KDDI, has operations in 15 cities globally, including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan. 

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