Tech Brief: Equifax Hires New CTO to Oversee Company’s Information Security


Top Stories

  • Credit reporting firm Equifax Inc., which came under fire after disclosing last year that a data breach exposed personal information from more than 145 million people, has named a new technology chief to oversee the company’s information security. Bryson Koehler, who served as the chief technology officer of International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson and Cloud Computing Platform, will take on the tech chief position at Equifax, where he will play a critical role in helping to strengthen the firm’s data security. (Washington Examiner)
  • AT&T Inc. completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. hours after the Justice Department decided not to request a legal delay while antitrust officials determine whether or not to appeal a federal court decision allowing the deal to move forward. Although the government did not block the deal from closing this week, it is reserving the right to appeal the case and try to break up the merged company at a later date. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Alphabet Inc.’s Google released its annual diversity report, which found that black and Latino employees leave the company more often than white and Asian employees. Black employees make up just 2.5 percent of Google’s U.S. workforce, while Latino employees represent 3.6 percent, and the tech giant said that it’s working to make the company more diverse because “feeling included is associated with lower attrition.” (The Verge)

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General

Bitcoin and ether shouldn’t be regulated like stocks and bonds, a top SEC official says
Brian Fung, The Washington Post

Two of the world’s biggest virtual currencies need not be regulated like stocks and bonds, a top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday, putting to rest months of uncertainty about how the financial regulator views bitcoin and ether, the cryptocurrency behind Ethereum. Speaking at an industry conference in San Francisco, William Hinman, the SEC’s director of corporate finance, said the two top cryptocurrencies don’t meet the criteria for regulation that the agency typically applies to traditional securities.

The Hidden Cost of Trying to Land Amazon’s HQ2
Shayndi Raice and Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal

When semiconductor-maker Micron Technology Inc. approached economic-development officials in Virginia about a tax-incentive package for a $1 billion expansion of its Manassas site, it got the cold shoulder. The state was too busy preparing its bid for Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters project, according to a person involved in the discussions.

Stocks Slide on Trade War Worries; Bonds Advance: Markets Wrap
Joe Easton, Bloomberg

Stocks fell and bonds gained as trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalated, while investors weighed diverging monetary policies from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. Futures on the S&P 500 dropped and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index edged lower, erasing an earlier advance, after a mixed session in Asia.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

AT&T Closes Time Warner Deal After Judge’s Ruling
Drew FitzGerald and Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal

AT&T Inc. Thursday completed its purchase of Time Warner Inc., as U.S. District Judge Richard Leon authorized it to do so after the Justice Department decided not to request a delay that could have held up the combination. On Tuesday, Judge Leon denied the Justice Department’s attempt to block the deal and said the companies should be allowed to close their transaction before a June 20 deadline, which entitled Time Warner to a $500 million payment if missed.

Chinese regulators approve Qualcomm purchase of NXP for US$44 billion, sources say
Jodi Xu Klein and Robert Delaney, South China Morning Post

Chinese regulators have approved US semiconductor company Qualcomm’s proposed US$44 billion acquisition of Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductors, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The decision by China’s Ministry of Commerce, or “Mofcom”, clears a months-long antitrust roadblock caused by trade tensions between the US and Beijing and will allow the takeover to proceed.

Broadcom lays off 1,100 employees after Brocade merger
Steven Musil, CNET

Broadcom said Thursday it’s cut about 1,100 employees to reduce costs since completing its $5.5 billion acquisition of network gear maker Brocade in November. Broadcom said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it may terminate more positions after further evaluation of its resources.

New York threatens to revoke Charter’s purchase of Time Warner Cable
Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

The New York State Public Service Commission today ordered Charter Communications to pay a $2 million fine and complete network construction that was required as a condition of Charter’s purchase of Time Warner Cable. If Charter doesn’t meet its merger-related obligations, the company will “face the risk of having the merger revoked,” the commission said in an announcement.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

FCC’s Pai Won’t Commit to Delaying Sinclair Decision for Court Ruling
John Eggerton, Multichannel News

FCC chair Ajit Pai wasn’t predicting when the FCC’s vetting of the Sinclair-Tribune deal would be complete, but suggested at a Hill hearing Thursday (April 26) that the FCC had not yet had a chance to fully evaluate it. Sinclair filed its latest, and expected to be last, amendment to the deal earlier this week.

Why This 5G Leader Could Get Shut Out of a Major Rollout
Rob Taylor and Dan Strumpf, The Wall Street Journal

Australia is looking at barring Huawei Technologies Co. from taking part in the rollout of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure, which would deal a blow to the Chinese company’s global ambitions to be a leader in the technology. Australia’s security agencies are pushing for Huawei to be locked out of supplying equipment to the latest mobile communications networks because of cyberspying fears.

Samsung announces a push for renewable energy
Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Samsung has announced that it will use 100 percent renewable energy for all its factories and offices in the U.S., Europe and China. This is the first time Samsung has announced a public commitment for renewable energy.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Google is having trouble retaining black and Latinx employees
Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Google released its annual diversity report today, and among the data is a new section detailing attrition rates — that is, how often employees leave the company. And it points to a key problem that Google has in creating a more diverse and representative workforce: black and Latinx employees leave more often than white and Asian employees.

Facebook’s New Political Algorithms Increase Tension With Publishers
Ben Sisario, The New York Times

News publishers have long had a fraught relationship with Facebook. But tensions have become more public in recent weeks, with news organizations openly criticizing the tech giant for new policies that they say are harmful to journalism.

Meet Apple’s Security Headache: The GrayKey, a Startup’s iPhone-Hacking Box
Robert McMillan, The Wall Street Journal

At a conference of law-enforcement forensics officials last week, someone asked David Miles what would happen if Apple Inc. tried to ruin his business. Mr. Miles heads an Atlanta startup called Grayshift LLC that sells a $15,000 iPhone-unlocking box to police and other authorities in the U.S.

Workers aren’t buying the idea that robots are going to destroy their jobs
Dan Kopf, Quartz

American workers know the truth. Their jobs aren’t going anywhere.

Apple Is Close to a Deal for an Animated Movie
Anousha Sakoui et al., Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has decided on its next Hollywood act: making feature films. A deal is near for the rights to an animated movie as part of its upcoming slate of original video offerings, according to people familiar with the matter.

Top Dem blasts Facebook for failing to answer questions from April hearing
Harper Neidig, The Hill

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee says that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has failed to follow up with the panel to answer questions that he couldn’t during an April hearing. “It has been nine weeks since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and we are still waiting for answers to our outstanding questions,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement, adding that the company also hasn’t followed up on a closed-door briefing it gave the panel prior to the hearing.

Dropbox sees best day since going public on massive trading volume
Sara Salinas, CNBC

Dropbox saw its best day since going public Thursday, with massive trading volumes sending shares up roughly 20 percent at their peak. The stock closed 14 percent up at $36.12, after hitting an all-time high of $38.09 earlier in the day.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Equifax names new tech chief after government scrutiny of huge hack
Daniel Strauss, Washington Examiner

Equifax Inc., the credit-reporting firm that landed in congressional sights after a data breach that exposed personal data for nearly half the country, has has named a new technology chief who will oversee information security. Bryson Koehler will join Equifax after serving as the chief technology officer of IBM’s Watson and Cloud Computing Platform.

Nearly All Major Agencies Are on Governmentwide Cyber Threat Dashboard
Joseph Marks, Nextgov

A Homeland Security Department dashboard designed to collect and analyze cybersecurity information from across the government is now receiving data from 20 out of 23 major civilian agencies, a department official said Wednesday. The final three agencies will be plugged into the dashboard by the end of July, said Kevin Cox who leads Homeland Security’s continuous diagnostics and mitigation program.

Chinese cyber attacks on Taiwan government becoming harder to detect: source
Jess Macy Yu, Reuters

Cyber attacks from China on Taiwan’s government computers are becoming more difficult to detect, a source close to government discussions said, as hackers increasingly use online platforms such as search engines to break into systems. While the frequency of attacks by China’s cyber army has declined, the success rate of such incursions is rising, the source said.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

The Dangerous ‘Bigness’ of the AT&T-Time Warner Merger
Tim Wu, The New York Times

When Congress enacted the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, the law by which American courts still adjudge corporate mergers, it did so with the repeatedly stated goal of fighting excessive economic concentration. The “dominant” concern, as the Supreme Court wrote in a 1962 merger case that analyzed the law, was about “a rising tide of economic concentration in the American economy.”

Trump must still hold North Korea accountable for cyberattacks
Mathew Ha and Trevor Logan, The Hill

President Trump concluded his first summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore. In recent weeks, the president stated he is no longer interested in a maximum pressure strategy and Kim Jong Un has temporarily halted ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests as part of his charm offensive.

Bitcoin’s Greater Fools Go Into Hiding
Lionel Laurent, Bloomberg

Bitcoin’s price was supposed to go to the moon. Yet over the past six months, from high to low, the linchpin of the entire cryptocurrency craze has shed 66 percent of its value.

Research Reports

Google diversity annual report 2018
Danielle Brown, Google LLC

The data in this report shows that despite signi cant effort, and some pockets of success, we need to do more to achieve our desired diversity and inclusion outcomes. We care deep- ly about improving workforce representation and creating an inclusive culture for everyone.

Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future
Jonathan Woetzel et al., McKinsey & Company

Until recently, city leaders thought of smart technologies primarily as tools for becoming more efficient behind the scenes. Now technology is being injected more directly into the lives of residents.

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