ISPs and Cable Groups Sue to Stop California Net Neutrality

Four groups representing Internet providers and cable companies filed a lawsuit to block’s California’s new law to restore net neutrality to the state. The American Cable Association, CTIA – The Wireless Association, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, and USTelecom – The Broadband Association, which together represent AT&T, Verizon Communications, Comcast, Charter Communications and many other such companies, filed their lawsuit after the U.S. Justice Department filed its own. Continue reading ISPs and Cable Groups Sue to Stop California Net Neutrality

Justice Department Accuses Russian Spies of Cyberattacks

The Justice Department’s National Security Division claims that seven hackers suspected of working with Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit were part of a conspiracy to hack multiple organizations including the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Democratic National Committee, a nuclear energy company and several media outlets. The Fancy Bear cyber espionage group, also known as Sofacy or APT28, is accused of launching a disinformation campaign leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and “hacking to obtain non-public, health information about athletes and others in the files of anti-doping agencies in multiple countries.” Continue reading Justice Department Accuses Russian Spies of Cyberattacks

California Restores Net Neutrality Rules, Justice Dept. Sues

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law restoring net neutrality rules that the Trump administration had repealed. The law prevents broadband and wireless companies from blocking or throttling access to Internet content or charging for faster speeds to favor one website over another. The Department of Justice quickly stated it would sue California to block the new law, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions adding that, “under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does.” Continue reading California Restores Net Neutrality Rules, Justice Dept. Sues

State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

In a meeting of nine state officials and representatives of five other states led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the market dominance and privacy practices of large tech companies were discussed, as well as the possibility of a joint investigation of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and others. Attorney General Doug Peterson (R-Nebraska) said his state is examining just such a multi-state inquiry into antitrust and consumer protection issues. Potential political bias, a previously raised topic, was barely touched. Continue reading State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

FTC Ponders New Antitrust, Consumer Protection Regulations

The Federal Trade Commission has begun a series of 15 to 20 hearings scheduled over the next few months to address whether companies based on new technologies should spur changes in its competition and consumer protection policies. FTC chair Joseph Simmons noted that the “broad antitrust consensus” in existence for 25 years is now being challenged, and that he will approach the topic with an open mind. The Justice Department may also start investigations into whether Google and other social media sites are biased against conservative voices. Continue reading FTC Ponders New Antitrust, Consumer Protection Regulations

Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

In Washington DC, as Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey were concluding testimony on efforts to repel foreign interference ahead of the midterm elections, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped a bombshell. He stated plans to convene state attorneys general on September 25 to look at what the Justice Department said is the intentional “stifling [of] the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.” Google, which had been invited to testify, did not send a representative. Continue reading Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

AT&T Buys Chernin Group’s Controlling Stake in Otter Media

In 2013, Chernin Group chair/chief executive Peter Chernin and company president Jesse Jacobs, believing streaming media was the future, bought Crunchyroll, which specialized in anime, for $75 million. They then added other new media startups including Fullscreen, an ad agency for YouTube stars, Rooster Teeth, a video producer aimed at gamers and VRV’s 11 niche channels, creating Otter Media. On Tuesday, in a move that was long expected by analysts, the Chernin Group sold controlling interest in Otter Media to joint-venture partner AT&T in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. Continue reading AT&T Buys Chernin Group’s Controlling Stake in Otter Media

Facebook Faces First Fine for Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) levied the toughest fine possible — 500,000 pounds (or about $660,000) — against Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal data of millions of people without their consent. The ICO, the agency that enforces the United Kingdom’s data protection laws, began investigating Facebook’s possible misuse of personal data in May 2017, but revelations of the Cambridge Analytica incident spurred it to complete its examination. Continue reading Facebook Faces First Fine for Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Apple Closing Loophole That Lets Authorities Hack iPhones

Since Apple’s publicized showdown with the FBI following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, after the company refused to unlock a suspected killer’s iPhone, law enforcement agencies have been turning to third parties in order to access information from iPhones. Now Apple has indicated an upcoming software update, designed to enhance security, will block access to an iPhone’s Lightning port one hour after it is locked. Some authorities believe the update also impacts their ability to access phone data in criminal investigations, which could reignite the privacy debate that followed San Bernardino. Continue reading Apple Closing Loophole That Lets Authorities Hack iPhones

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington has approved the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department’s claim that the deal would stifle competition. Judge Leon ruled the Justice Department did not prove that AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner would result in fewer consumer choices and higher prices for Internet and TV services. While AT&T aims to move forward with the transaction, the DOJ is reportedly considering its options. The decision is expected to impact the future of media and telecom industries, and spur additional mergers and related deals. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

FBI Requests That We Reboot All Routers to Disrupt Malware

According to Cisco’s threat intelligence division Talos, an estimated 500,000 routers in 54 countries have been infected by malware that the FBI and cybersecurity experts refer to as VPNFilter. The Justice Department has warned that routers are already under control of the Sofacy Group, which is reportedly directed by Russia’s military intelligence agency. Devices from Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, QNAP and TP-Link are believed to be among the affected equipment. The FBI has requested that owners of home and office routers turn them off and turn them back on. Rebooting the routers will disrupt the malware if present. Users are also encouraged to upgrade firmware, disable remote-management settings, and select a new password. Continue reading FBI Requests That We Reboot All Routers to Disrupt Malware

Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

Congress is advancing a bill that would put more power in the hands of the federal government to block deals between U.S. and Chinese companies deemed to risk national security. Tensions between the two countries are high as each threatens and seeks to negotiate with the other. President Trump and Chinese vice premier Liu He met to discuss potential concessions as the U.S. ramps up threats of tariffs, while China’s antitrust division just lifted a many-month delay on Bain Capital’s $18 billion deal with Toshiba’s memory chip unit. Continue reading Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

Facebook Suspends Quiz App Linked to Cambridge University

Facebook is scrutinizing another quiz app, myPersonality, created by University of Cambridge academics following the Cambridge Analytica debacle. According to New Scientist, the myPersonality app collected data from six million people, about 40 percent of whom agreed to share their Facebook information. The app creator countered that Facebook had known about myPersonality for years. But the app is also being investigated by Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office for whether the data was properly anonymized. Continue reading Facebook Suspends Quiz App Linked to Cambridge University

U.S. Supreme Court Rules States Can Allow Sports Gambling

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law stipulating that states could not “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize” sports gambling. The ruling, which sided with a challenge brought by New Jersey, now opens the door for states to allow legal gambling, upending an over-25 year ban. The major sports leagues have responded positively and enthusiastically to the new status quo. Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court Rules States Can Allow Sports Gambling

New Legislation Increases Government Access to Online Data

Congress quietly passed controversial legislation last week that was folded into the massive $1.3 trillion spending deal signed by President Trump. The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) enables U.S. investigators to access information stored on overseas cloud servers. New legislation could bring an end to the ongoing battle between law enforcement and major tech players. However, a number of civil liberty and privacy rights groups believe the law could also make it easier for other governments to spy on dissidents and collect data on U.S. citizens. Continue reading New Legislation Increases Government Access to Online Data

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