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The Irish data commissioner has launched investigations into TikTok over its handling of children’s data and alleged transfer of user information to China, marking the latest regulatory concerns over the popular video app.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which oversees the enforcement of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in the country, announced on Tuesday that it would examine the company’s processing of personal data for under 18-year-olds, including the company’s age-verification measures for under-13s.
A second inquiry will examine TikTok’s alleged transfers of personal data to China.
Companies can be fined up to 4 per cent of annual global revenues, or €20m, for GDPR breaches. ByteDance reported annual revenues of $34.3bn in 2020, an increase of 111 per cent from the previous year. TikTok is in the process of opening an EU headquarters in Dublin.
“We’ve implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clause,” the company said, adding that it would co-operate with the Irish regulator.
The investigations came as TikTok, which soared in popularity among teenagers during pandemic-related lockdowns, battles national security and privacy concerns worldwide.
Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing former president Donald Trump’s efforts to ban the app as a threat to national security amid wider fears that Chinese companies could share American citizens’ data with Beijing for espionage purposes.
TikTok has said it does not share American user data with the Chinese government. ByteDance held talks last year with several companies, including Microsoft and Oracle, over a potential sale of its US operations in an effort to resolve its tensions with Washington.
Separately, TikTok has been sued for several billion pounds for allegedly illegally collecting the personal information of millions of children in the UK and Europe. The claim, which is backed by Anne Longfield, the former children’s commissioner of England, argues that children’s data was collected without sufficient consent — which for underage users would need to be given by an adult — or transparency.
TikTok denied the claims, arguing that it had “robust policies” in place to “protect all users, and our teenage users in particular”.
The app has also faced child privacy complaints in the US. ByteDance was fined $5.7m in 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission for illegally collecting children’s data.
In July, TikTok was fined €750,000 by the Dutch Data Protection Authority for violating the privacy of child users. The regulator argued that by not publishing its privacy policies in Dutch, the app failed to provide “an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data” for younger users who do not speak English.
The platform has also been under investigation by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office since 2019 over its handling of children’s data. TikTok said it would work with the investigation.
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Senses Fail Wins With Joshua Tree Sessions Film Project
Senses Fail has been a band for twenty years. They are a classic four piece band whose sound is post-hard core or emo, similar to My Chemical Romance. Buddy Neilsen is their lead singer and for the past six years the primary songwriter for the band. The band members include Nielsen, bassist/guitarist Gavin Caswell, drummer Steve Carey, bassist Greg Styliades and guitarist Jason Milbank. Typically Senses Fail plays in rooms which seat 1,500 – 3,000 people.
Like all musicians who have been forced to pivot because of Covid-19, Senses Fail has begun to find new ways to connect with fans, deliver music and create revenue for themselves. The past year has shown a new willingness for fans to purchase livestreams when going to in person events is more challenging than it was prior to Covid. Even outside of pandemic, the band’s fans are now mostly millennials in their 30’s now having children and don’t necessarily want to go out. From this lens, the band saw a new opportunity to connect with their fans who were reluctant to go out and decided to pivot.
Senses Fail recently did something bold. They took the money lent them by the Small Business Administration as part of their EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) and filmed a live performance in Joshua Tree. This project, The Joshua Tree Sessions, was the single most expensive outlay ever made by the band. They hired a director utilizing a film crew with 12 Blackmagic cameras. The intention was to deliver a high quality one time single view event, rather than just another streamed concert. The intention was to deliver something more than what the viewer was expecting. For these reasons, the band took a significant upfront financial risk. Just the rental of the cameras cost more than a car. The project worked exactly as was intended by the SBA’s EIDL program: the band used the money to create a product, which they then sold at a profit – attracting approximately 3,000 purchases of the live stream.
For Buddy Neilsen, Joshua Tree, CA has been the touchstone for many significant live events. It was there he found out his wife was pregnant with their first child, and there where he was a first responder to a terrible rock climbing accident. Witnessing that accident was transformative for Buddy changing both the path of his life and inspiring him to fully commit himself to Senses Fail. Because of this connection he has to Joshua Tree, and the many life altering events which happened there for him, it made sense to use that location to make new art.
But, building a concert in the desert is not easy. It requires bringing in everything. It’s often said there’s a lot of holes in the desert. What’s less often said is that you can’t do much with a hole. Senses Fail had to bring in everything from generators to create power, to mixing consoles, gear, lighting, trusses and even porta potties. This is where art can get complicated. Christo used to string miles of canvas across open land and over rivers, or wrap floating islands at sea. Any vision can be executed with proper planning and budgeting.
Senses Fail planned a spectacle, with full production, and complex backdrops so they could film live performances of their 2004 debut Let It Enfold You and their next album Still Searching. They played these two albums in full at Joshua Tree. These performances constituted the Joshua Tree Sessions which were then made available by stream.
By offering their Joshua Tree Sessions to fans over a very short period of time, Sense Fail created both scarcity and urgency. The end result is Senses Fail recreated community among its fans who all had to show up within the limited window the concert was available, or miss it forever. The band is not going to replay the show. It’s gone. This is much like the model at a music festival where the headliner only plays when they play. If they’re truly massive, like Foo Fighters or Green Day, nearly the entire population of the festival masses together, with most listening to the live music but essentially watching it performed on the screens because of their distance from the stage.
For Senses Fail, or any similar band, there are presently five streams of revenue: live performance, streamed performance, merchandise including recorded music, publishing and sponsorship or advertising. Senses Fail will release a vinyl album of their concert, but their plan does not contemplate future viewings of the video. And, because of the quality of the production, Senses Fail was able to get a distribution deal for the album. The album was recorded on their own label NAME*** , but Senses Fail has now partnered with a distributor as a result of the live stream while continuing to own their own content and masters.
The band is currently on a club tour in support of Bayside, a band celebrating their own 20th anniversary. Senses Fail plans to release their new album Prose early next year. This album is a more literary project, a modern commentary on the frailty and momentariness of life and what it’s like to live in current society as a parent during these times. Half of the record is based on T.S. Elliot’s Wasteland, the other half is based on Walt Whitman’s poem To Think Of Time.
Their upcoming projects include a new vinyl box set made out of recyclable content which can be put into the soil and ultimately grow into a plant. They are also making a version of their album where the vinyl has pressed flowers within. These items, show the care in which Senses Fail creates the offerings for their fans. They go way in depth in thinking out the possible options. Senses Fail’s strategy with merchandise is to go build different tiers and lots of choices. By making that extra effort, the band continues to build community and engagement with their fans while driving revenue.
Here is our conversation in both video and audio podcast formats:
I found Buddy Neilsen to be endearing as we discussed his approach to the band, the process of song creation and the ways in which Joshua Tree has impacted his life. There’s a certain literary aspect to the way in which he creates songs, and it shows in his manner of speaking and in the work he produces.
Ultimately, in a competitive world like music, the winner is always those whose projects emanate from the arts and those creators who prioritize their art. Senses Fail is a misnomer. In the way this group approaches its own business and what they offer their fans, their more accurate description would be Senses Succeed. I’m intrigued to see what they produce next.
UK set for most widespread pay rises in over a decade – CBI By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers walk to work during the morning rush hour in the financial district of Canary Wharf in London, Britain, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo
By David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – More British employers are planning pay rises than at any time since the global financial crisis as they struggle to recruit staff following the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, data from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Monday.
The CBI said 44% of businesses intended to raise pay in line with inflation and 24% planned above-inflation pay rises, the highest combined percentage since it started surveying businesses about this in 2009.
“Pay intentions are rising across the board as firms reopen and the economy recovers,” Matthew Percival, the CBI’s director of skills and inclusion said.
However he warned that businesses were likely to pass on higher wage bills to their customers unless productivity improved, especially as many also needed to repay loans taken out last year during the pandemic.
The prospect of higher prices is likely to concern the Bank of England as its policymakers meet this week. The BoE expects a short-term rise in inflation due to higher oil prices and supply-chain bottlenecks, but so far has said it does not expect lasting inflationary pressure from the job market.
Just over three quarters of the 422 firms polled by the CBI and recruiters Pertemps Network in late August said labour shortages were hurting competitiveness, the highest proportion in over five years.
The CBI renewed its call for the government to ease post-Brexit visa restrictions on European Union workers with in-demand skills.
Separately, manufacturing trade body Make UK said its members were seeing the fastest output growth in more than 30 years and expected output to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, sooner than previously forecast.
“Growth prospects continue to accelerate for manufacturers as economies at home and abroad continue to open up. However, supply chain shortages and the rapidly escalating increase in shipping costs are threatening to put roadblocks on the road to faster growth,” Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said.
Make UK also criticised a recent government decision to raise employers’ social security contributions.
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Stock futures dip after Dow notches three straight losing weeks for first time in 2021
A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, August 27, 2021.
U.S. stock futures dipped in overnight trading Sunday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned in three straight weeks of losses for the first time since September 2020.
Futures on the Dow shed 114 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 futures fell 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures ticked 0.2% lower.
Stocks have struggled in September, a seasonally weak month for the market.
The Dow closed Friday’s regular session 166.44 points, or 0.5%, lower at 34,584.88. The S&P 500 shed 0.9% to 4,432.99 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.9% to close at 15,043.97.
The S&P 500 saw its biggest trading volume Friday since July 19, more than doubling its 30-day average volume. Friday coincided with the expiration of stock options, index options, stock futures and index futures — a quarterly event known as “quadruple witching.”
All three major averages are negative for the month, but still sit less than 3% below their all-time highs.
The Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated September meeting is set to occur this week. Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference Wednesday at the conclusion of the two-day meeting. Investors are awaiting insights about the Fed’s tapering of its easy monetary policy.
Powell has said the so-called tapering could occur this year, but investors are waiting for more specifics, particularly after mixed economic data released since Powell’s last comments.
“Factors to build a ‘wall of worry’ are present (i.e., China, supply chain issues, Fed policy, debt ceiling, infrastructure/tax bill), though markets are not too disturbed for now. Normal pullbacks and volatility are to be expected, and we would use these periods as opportunities,” Raymond James Chief Investment Officer Larry Adam said in a note.
Investors also await a number of major quarterly earnings reports this week with Adobe, FedEx, Darden Restaurants, Nike and Costco posting financial results.
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