Difference between revisions of "Week in Review for the Week of 2/10/20"

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Latest revision as of 18:57, 22 March 2020

Week in Review for the Week of 2/10/20
Number 1050
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 15, 2020
Episode Length 5:41
Hosts Rich Stroffolino

US Senator Josh Hawley publishes a plan to remake the Federal Trade Commission, a US District judge approves the Sprint T-Mobile merger, and Samsung announces the Galaxy Z Flip.


US Senator Josh Hawley published a plan to remake the Federal Trade Commission to provide for more direct congressional oversight as well as better scrutinize big tech, calling out Google and Facebook as instances of the FTC failing to protect consumers. The plan would put the FTC within the Department of Justice, and replace the five commissioner panel with a single Senate-confirmed director. It would also create a “digital market research section” of the FTC to specifically look at big tech. Hawley also called for new legislation to give the FTC the power to levy fines on first-time civil penalties, authority to enforce data portability and interoperability standards, and to give state Attorneys General the authority to enforce the same laws as the FTC.
The Israeli publication Haaretz reports that the Elector app, used by the country's Likud political party, contained a misconfiguration that could allow anyone to access Israel's entire voter registry. Viewing source on the apps' homepage showed usernames and passwords of all admins, allowing anyone to login and download the information. The voter registry contained full names, identity card numbers, addresses and gender of all 6.4 million eligible voters in Israel. The developer of the app confirmed the vulnerability, stating it was a “one-off incident that was immediately dealt with."
A U.S. District judge has ruled in favor of Sprint’s $26 billion deal to merge with T-Mobile, which now only needs the California Public Utilities Commission's approval to go forward. Attorneys General from a dozen states sought to block the deal, arguing that combining the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. carriers would stifle competition and create higher prices for consumers. The companies said the merger would help them compete against AT&T and Verizon, and build a nationwide 5G network more quickly.
The US Federal Trade Commission has requested information from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft about mergers that were too small to report to antitrust agencies. The companies are asked to provide terms, scope, structure and purpose for each transaction made between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. They will also be asked to provide details on post-acquisition integration, product development and pricing as well as how data was treated. The FTC said the request was part of a study of the issue of companies buying potential competitors to reduce competition. The results of the study are intended to inform future policy.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Flip, a clamshell smartphone that unfolds to a 6.7-inch screen. A display on the cover shows notifications, time and battery life when the phone is closed, and can also be used as a viewfinder for photos. The Galaxy Z Flip comes in Purple, Black and in some markets Gold, for $1380. For a full breakdown of the announcements from Samsung's Unpacked event, check out Daily Tech Headlines from February 12th.
WhatsApp announced it now has 2 billion users, up from 1.5 billion two years ago. Its' parent company's Facebook app has 2.5 billion. In a blog post about the number WhatsApp wrote, "Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe."
Mobile World Congress was canceled this week for the first time in its 33 years. Spanish health officials said there was no reason to cancel but GSMA CEO John Hoffman told Bloomberg, "... the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event."
Nextdoor launched a new app called Nextdoor for Public Agencies, designed to allow police and fire departments, public schools, and City Hall agencies to post updates, push geo-targeted alerts, and read messages. According to NextDoor's head of product Tatyana Mamut, development of the app was in response to years of requests from public agencies. The app integrates with the Forward to Police feature found on the Crime and Safety tab of the main NextDoor App, allowing departments to access these notices on mobile devices.
Bloomberg reports that, according to sources, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is expected to publish previously proposed new rules for social media and messaging companies later this month. The proposed rules would require blanket cooperation with government inquiries, requiring platforms to help the government trace the origins of posts within 72 hours, preserve records for 180 days, and establish a physical presence in India with appointed grievance officers and a government liaison. Browsers, operating systems, online repositories of knowledge, and software development platforms would be exempt from the rules.
The US filed a superseding indictment against Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou charging them with conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and conspiring to steal trade secrets. It also contained new allegations regarding violation of sanctions against North Korea and Iran. Among the allegations are using confidentiality agreements with US companies to obtain things like router source code and then misappropriate that property, aka use it in Huawei's own routers. The indictment lists other concrete examples like distributing confidential slide decks to its engineers and a person taking pictures of the interior of devices after hours at a trade show in Chicago. Other charges involve lying to federal investigators and hiding employment status with Huawei.


Preceded by:
"Google Removes Over 500 Ad-Fraud Chrome Extensions"
Week in Review for the Week of 2/10/20
Followed by:
"Zuckerberg Discusses Framework for Regulating Social Media Content"