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By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The author of proposed Australian laws to make Facebook and Google pay for journalism said Thursday his draft legislation will be altered to allay some of the digital giants’ concerns, but remain fundamentally unchanged.

Australia’s fair trade regulator Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said he would give his final draft of the laws to make Facebook and Google pay Australian media companies for the news content they use by early October.

Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.

Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”

Sims said he is discussing the draft of his bill with the U.S. social media platforms. It could be introduced into Parliament in late October.

“Google has got concerns about it, some of it is that they just don’t like it, others are things that we’re happily going to engage with them on,” Sims told a webinar hosted by The Australia Institute, an independent think-tank.

“We’ll make changes to address some of those issues -- not all, but some,” Sims said.

Among the concerns is a fear that under the so-called News Media Bargaining Code, news businesses “will be able to somehow control their algorithms,” Sims said.

“We’ll engage with them and clarify that so that there’s no way that the news media businesses can interfere with the algorithms of Google or Facebook,” Sims said.

He said he would also clarify that the platforms would not have to disclose more data about users than they already share.

“There’s nothing in the code that forces Google or Facebook to share the data from individuals,” Sims said.

Sims was not prepared to negotiate the “core” of the code, which he described as the “bits of glue that hold the code together, that make it workable.”

These included an arbitrator to address the bargaining imbalance between the tech giants and news businesses. If a platform and a news outlet can’t reach an agreement on price, an arbitrator would be appointed to make a binding decision.

Another core aspect was a non-discrimination clause to prevent the platforms from prioritizing Australia’s state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Special Broadcasting Service, whose news content will remain free.

Sims said he did not know whether Facebook would act on its threat and block Australian news, but he suspected that to do so would “weaken” the platform.

Spain and France and have both failed to make Facebook and Google pay for news through copyright law. Sims said he has spoken about Australia’s approach through fair trading laws to regulators in the United States and Europe.

“They’re all wrestling with the same problem,” Sims said.

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Pixel 4A 5G images leak, showing dual rear cameras and a headphone jack

UK retailer John Lewis has accidentally posted images of Google’s Pixel 4A 5G a little early, giving us a detailed look at the new mid-range phone’s design. The images, fist spotted by 9to5Google, are accidentally on display on the retailer’s Pixel 4A 4G LTE listing, where they show a 5G logo in the phone’s status bar and a rear camera layout that doesn’t match the Pixel 4A’s. The images confirm several of the Pixel 4A 5G specs that leaked yesterday, including a second rear camera and the headphone jack that carries over from the Pixel 4A.

The Pixel 4A 5G is one of the two phones Google pre-announced for this fall, the other one being the Pixel 5. Recent leaks for the two devices claim the Pixel 4A 5G’s specs will position it somewhere between the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4A in Google’s 2020 smartphone lineup. The specs match the Pixel 5 in some areas, the 4A in others, and split the difference across the rest.

The device shown has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, just like the Pixel 4A, and there’s a headphone-jack shaped cutout visible on its top.Image: John Lewis

Around the front you can see its hole-punch notch.Image: John Lewis

For example, the 4A 5G will reportedly have a Snapdragon 765G processor and dual rear cameras (including a 12.2-megapixel wide-angle and 16-megapixel ultrawide) like the Pixel 5, but it will have 6 rather than 8GB of RAM and no IP-rating for dust or water resistance like the 4A. Then, in terms of battery, its 3,885mAh capacity puts it between the Pixel 4A’s 3,140mAh and the Pixel 5’s reported 4,080mAh.

Based on the leaks, the one area the Pixel 4A 5G could beat out both the 4A and the 5 is in screen size. Although it has the same 2340 x 1080 resolution as both the Pixel 5 and the 4A, it’s bigger than both of them at 6.2 inches. It reportedly only has a 60Hz refresh rate though, while the Pixel 5 is expected to have a 90Hz display.

Otherwise this is a very similar looking device to the Pixel 4A. There’s a hole-punch notch cutout for its selfie camera on the top-left of the screen, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Google has already announced that the new Pixel 4A 5G will cost $499 when it releases this fall. With a Google event scheduled for September 30th, we won’t have long to wait to have these details officially confirmed.

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