Meta and Alphabet on the Frontlines of Big Tech News Battle

Big Tech’s battle with news publishers has moved to the U.S. where Congress is considering legislation to help publishers collectively negotiate compensation from social media sites disseminating their copyrighted content. Meta Platforms reacted strongly to the bill, called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. “If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions,” the company tweeted. Continue reading Meta and Alphabet on the Frontlines of Big Tech News Battle

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Determined to Solve Data Issues

TikTok is taking steps to ensure U.S. user data is secure and that young people will be protected from harmful content, company CEO Shou Zi Chew said at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit. “We have very rigorous data-access protocols,” the executive said Wednesday, addressing concerns expressed by members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. Chew said TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, plans to work with Oracle as its data storage provider based in large part on the company’s strong security protocols. Continue reading TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Determined to Solve Data Issues

Cryptocurrency Implosion Continues with BlockFi Bankruptcy

The fallout from cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s implosion continues, as BlockFi becomes the latest crypto lender to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in the wake of similar moves by Voyager and Celsius. BlockFi, which was to have been acquired by FTX, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey indicating more than 100,000 creditors, and liabilities combined with assets that range from $1 billion to $10 billion. An outstanding loan to Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt American division FTX US for $275 million was among the liabilities. Continue reading Cryptocurrency Implosion Continues with BlockFi Bankruptcy

IAB Says FTC Digital Ad Inquiry May End Up Costing Billions

The advertising industry is pushing back against the Federal Trade Commission’s exploration of rulemaking as relates to collecting personal data to serve ads, which the FTC is calling a crackdown on “commercial surveillance.” The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says the FTC’s definition of that loaded term is “so broad” that any resultant rulemaking “could criminalize the Internet itself” as well as potentially reduce digital ad spending by billions of dollars. FTC chair Lina Khan says “potentially unlawful practices may be prevalent” in the “endless hoovering up of sensitive user data” that has become common practice in ad targeting. Continue reading IAB Says FTC Digital Ad Inquiry May End Up Costing Billions

FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, is continuing his efforts to have TikTok banned, telling the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. in his strongest language to date that the viral short-form video app is, as a result of consumer adoption, becoming a part of the nation’s critical information infrastructure, and thus presents a national security risk due to Chinese ownership. TikTok is reportedly back in negotiations with the CFIUS, an interagency committee that reviews foreign investment, about a change of ownership that would smooth the path to ongoing U.S. operations. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Samsung wants to dominate the global market for advanced semiconductors, unveiling plans to begin producing chips with a 2-nanometer spec in 2025 and launching into the even more advanced 1.4-nanometer market in 2027. The timeline takes the South Korean company beyond the 3-nanometer chip production it began in June. Samsung says it will more than triple production capacity in five years, positioning it to challenge Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of volume, and potentially surpass it in the high-end market for “smart chips.” TSMC said it will mass produce 3nm chips this year and start 2nm production by 2025. Continue reading Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

President Biden welcomed guests to the White House last week for the inaugural United We Stand Summit, an event to combat hate speech and violence. “There are core values that should bring us together as Americans, and one of them is standing together against hate, racism, bigotry, and violence that have long haunted and plagued our nation,” Biden told the bipartisan group. Participants gave the president a standing ovation when he specified that he will work to “hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate.” “I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements,” Biden said. Continue reading Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act into law last week, making his state the first in the nation to adopt online child safety measures. The bipartisan legislation requires online platforms to default to privacy and safety settings that protect children’s mental and physical health. The new law, cosponsored by Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks (D-15th District) and Jordan Cunningham (R-35th District), prohibits companies that provide online services and products in California from using a child’s personal information and forbids collecting, selling, or retaining a child’s geolocation, among other things. Continue reading California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

TikTok on the Hot Seat at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

Executives from four social media giants defended the privacy, security and content moderation protocols of their platforms to the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday. In her first appearance before Congress, TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas was grilled on whether the short-form video app shares data about American citizens with the Chinese government. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is based in Beijing, and its potential censorship of user content was another area of concern. Questions for the group — which included representatives from Meta Platforms, YouTube and Twitter — ranged from extremists to biometrics. Continue reading TikTok on the Hot Seat at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

This past year, Big Tech has invested more than $95 million in lobbying initiatives designed to kill the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which seeks to rebalance the power between consumers and major technology companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Meta Platforms. In two years, the bill has advanced further than any similar U.S. legislative effort, but time is running out before midterm elections and the unknown of a potential shift in control of the House and/or Senate. Supporters of the measure say they currently have the votes needed for passage. Continue reading Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

A former Twitter security chief may be Elon Musk’s white knight in the billionaire’s effort to get out of his contract to purchase Twitter for $54.20 per share ($44 billion). Peiter Zatko filed a whistleblower disclosure to Congress and federal agencies claiming Twitter not only deceived shareholders and the public by misrepresenting its bot count and security measures, but also alleging “that one or more current employees may be working for a foreign intelligence service,” according to CNN. If true, the allegations would violate a 2011 agreement between Twitter and the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

Congress Leaves Key Tech Legislation on Table Over Recess

After a big victory passing CHIPS-plus, Congress recessed on Saturday with several technology goals pending. Among the outstanding items is a bipartisan antitrust bill that seeks to rein in the industry’s heavyweight players, a consumer privacy bill and confirmation of Gigi Sohn, a Biden administration nominee to the FCC, where net neutrality hangs in the balance. Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has promised to fast track those votes immediately upon return September 6, the clock is winding down as November’s midterm elections may push Democrats out of power in one or both houses. Continue reading Congress Leaves Key Tech Legislation on Table Over Recess

How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

The nation’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House, was in federal court this week to defend itself against the Justice Department, which filed an antitrust lawsuit to block its acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The DOJ has been increasingly focused on antitrust and is hiring more trial lawyers in preparation for an action against Alphabet’s Google for its dominance in search and digital advertising. Although ostensibly on trial for threatening to shrink the number of American mass-market publishers from five to four, the Penguin suit also involves examination of the retail power of Amazon. Continue reading How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan tech and science funding bill in a 64-33 vote. The CHIPS and Science Act commits $280 billion to be spent over five years in what is being called the largest manufacturing, research and development initiative of its kind. The largest single area of investment is $76 billion to fund domestic semiconductor production, which includes $24 billion in new tax incentives. Yesterday, the bill passed in a 243-187 House vote and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation aims to bolster national security by making the U.S. chip independent and boosting competition against China. Continue reading Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research