Morning Consult Tech: Financial Backers for Facebook’s Libra Said to Be Reconsidering Involvement in the Project


Top Stories

  • A group of the Libra Association’s financial partners, including Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., are reconsidering their involvement with the Facebook Inc. digital coin project in light of American and European regulator scrutiny, according to several people familiar with the matter, who added that the partners have also declined to publicly support the project. Company representatives are expected to meet in Geneva on Oct. 14 to review a charter for the association, according to a memo, but policy executives from the more than two dozen backers are being called to Washington on Thursday ahead of the meeting as Facebook works to keep the project on track, the people said. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into an attempted hack of Voatz, West Virginia’s mobile voting app, during the 2018 midterm elections. Mike Stuart, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, said that “the integrity of votes and the election system was not compromised,” and Voatz said it had caught the bad actors and reported them to the authorities after they tried to tamper with the system. (CNN)
  • Apple Inc. said it will release a software update later this year to make it easier for people to use outside messaging applications through Siri voice assistant commands, which currently default to the pre-installed Apple apps. The announcement of the new update, which will default to the apps that people use most frequently, follows a report noting the rise of Apple apps that are set as defaults and pre-installed on its devices. (Bloomberg)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

10/02/2019
TechCrunch Disrupt 2019
Grace Hopper Celebration
The Washington Post’s Cybersecurity Summit
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters’ fall broadcast management conference
WeDC Future Forum 9:00 am
Federal Communications Bar Association’s CLE on political advertising ahead of 2020 6:00 pm
10/03/2019
TechCrunch Disrupt 2019
Grace Hopper Celebration
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters’ fall broadcast management conference
Center for Democracy and Technology’s fall press briefing 9:00 am
10/04/2019
TechCrunch Disrupt 2019
Grace Hopper Celebration
Brookings Institution’s event on the U.S.-China tech relationship 1:00 pm
10/07/2019
FTC’s workshop on COPPA update 9:00 am
New America’s “Using Tech for Good” event 1:00 pm
NYT reporter Mike Isaac talk on his book “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber” in Washington 7:00 pm
View full calendar

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General

Silicon Valley donors are ready to back Elizabeth Warren despite her pledge to break up big tech
Brian Schwartz and Alex Sherman, CNBC

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has vowed to break up big technology companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon if she becomes president. Even so, a growing contingent of Democratic donors in Silicon Valley, where many of these behemoth tech companies are located, are looking to support Warren’s 2020 campaign.

Big Tech’s eco-pledges aren’t slowing its pursuit of Big Oil
Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press

Employee activism and outside pressure have pushed big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google promising to slash their carbon emissions. But there’s another thing these tech giants aren’t cutting: Their growing business ties to the oil and gas industry.

Ahead of Warren-Zuckerberg spat, Buttigieg criticized Massachusetts senator on big tech
Ben Jacobs, Jewish Insider

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg offered veiled criticism of presidential rival Elizabeth Warren’s views on regulating big tech companies while speaking to reporters in Iowa last week, days before the Massachusetts senator engaged in a back-and-forth exchange with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over regulating the social media giant.

Alexandria, Arlington take first steps to collaborate as Amazon growth looms
Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post

Alexandria and Arlington elected officials took their first tentative steps Tuesday toward working together to address the expected growth and disruption brought by the arrival of Amazon’s second headquarters in the next decade. A two-hour joint meeting of the Alexandria City Council, the Arlington County Board and their two managers established that they’ll prioritize working together on housing affordability, workforce development and small-business assistance.

Amazon’s Grocery-Store Plan Moves Ahead With Los Angeles Leases
Esther Fung, The Wall Street Journal

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +0.07% is advancing a plan to open a chain of U.S. grocery stores with early outposts in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, according to people familiar with the matter. In the Los Angeles area, it has signed more than a dozen leases, the people said.

Airbnb Leans Toward Direct Listing Over Traditional IPO
Olivia Carville and Sonali Basak, Bloomberg

Airbnb Inc.’s long-awaited Wall Street debut is officially earmarked for 2020, but the home-share startup is charting an unconventional path to the public markets. San Francisco-based Airbnb is laying the groundwork for a direct listing rather than an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing private information.

Tech accelerator Dcode evolves to meet government need for training
Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

Large federal agencies like the Department of Defense face a bureaucratic crisis. They require dynamic, innovative technologies abundantly found in the commercial sector, but things like acquisition, policy and budget stifle their ability to procure them in a timely manner.

U.S. Futures Fall With Europe Stocks; Dollar Rises: Markets Wrap
Todd White, Bloomberg

U.S. stock-index futures retreated with Asian shares while equities sank across Europe as miserable manufacturing data from the world’s largest economy kept reverberating around markets. The dollar advanced.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

Amazon sellers say online retail giant is trying to help itself, not consumers
Jay Greene, The Washington Post

When Jeff Peterson’s Amazon seller account was hacked recently, he frantically tried to reach Amazon’s customer service for help restoring access to his sports memorabilia store. As nearly 4,000 fraudulent orders rang up, the Garden Grove, Calif.-based seller called Amazon’s seller support line, phoned its main customer service number, reached out via a separate account on its Canadian site, and even sent an email to chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

Huawei Phones Had Bootleg Access to Google Apps. Not Anymore
Vlad Savov, Bloomberg

One of Huawei Technologies Co.’s biggest trade war headaches has just gotten worse, as an unofficial workaround to the Trump administration ban on using Google apps and services has been quashed.

Sanders rolls out seven-figure ad spot in Iowa
Max Greenwood, The Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) placed the first television ad buy of his 2020 presidential campaign on Tuesday, a seven-figure spot in Iowa that casts the senator as a “fighter” capable of taking on President Trump.

Affils Give FCC Earful on C-Band
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

Affiliates were applying a full-court press last week to press upon the FCC the need to protect the C-band spectrum they use to receive programming from the networks. Affiliate association representatives from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC–including Nexstar president Perry Sook representing CBS affiliates–met with all the commissioners, including the chairman, and their staffers in meetings over two days, according to an FCC document.

Where the net neutrality fight goes next
Kim Hart, Axios

Court rulings often bring clarity to thorny policy issues — but a mixed decision yesterday on the FCC’s handling of net neutrality rules only deepens a bitter internet policy debate that’s been raging in Washington for over a decade.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Google announces three new ways to hide your personal activity from Google
Chris Welch, The Verge

Google is kicking off Cybersecurity Awareness Month by rolling out new tools that give customers greater control over their privacy when using Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant. The company has confirmed that it’s launching incognito mode for Maps, which will debut on Android this month before expanding to iOS “soon.”

Democratic National Committee slams Facebook for letting Trump ‘mislead’ Americans ‘unimpeded’
Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

The Democratic National Committee slammed Facebook on Tuesday, claiming the company is allowing President Donald Trump “to mislead the American people on their platform unimpeded.” The comments made by DNC CEO Seema Nanda to CNN came after Facebook confirmed last week it would not fact-check posts or advertisements from politicians.

Facebook’s “I Voted” Button Could Be Trump’s Secret Turnout Weapon In 2020
Scott Lucas, BuzzFeed News

The news Tuesday that Mark Zuckerberg is preparing to fight Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s policies has returned the spotlight to an uncomfortable fact about Facebook’s scale and power: Its actions could help determine whether Warren, Donald Trump, or someone else is sworn into office in January 2021. Facebook’s power to promote or block stories, lies, and personalities has been a central story over the last four years.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Congress and Trump Agreed They Want a National Privacy Law. It Is Nowhere in Sight.
David McCabe, The New York Times

A rare thing emerged in Washington early this year: agreement. Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as the Trump White House, all said they wanted a new federal law to protect people’s online privacy. Numerous tech companies urged them on.

Andrew Yang proposes that your digital data be considered personal property
Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang may not be at the top of the race when it comes to polling (Politico currently has him ranked as the 7th most-popular Democratic contender), but his policies, including support for universal basic income, have made him popular among a subset of young, liberal-leaning, tech-savvy voters. Yang’s latest proposal, too, is sure to strike a chord with them.

U.S. Warns Cybersecurity Flaws Could Impact Medical Devices
William Turton, Bloomberg

U.S. government officials on Tuesday issued a warning about cybersecurity vulnerabilities in operating systems that power a variety of medical devices. Computer security researchers discovered 11 vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to take control of medical devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in an “urgent” advisory along with the Department of Homeland Security.

France Wants to Harvest Facebook Data to Catch Tax Fraudsters
Helene Fouquet, Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron is planning to give tax authorities the power to harvest data from Facebook, Instagram and other social media to help detect fraud. The government wants parliament to include an article in the 2020 budget law granting the new powers to officials from the tax and customs administrations.

Zynga data breach exposed 200 million Words with Friends players
Oscar Gonzalez, CNET

A hacker is reportedly claiming responsibility for a September data breach of popular mobile game Words with Friends that may have resulted in the theft of information from more than 200 million players accounts, including names, email addresses, login IDs and more.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Trump Is Too Dangerous for Twitter
Kara Swisher, The New York Times

It’s almost as if Donald Trump is trying to get impeached. By Twitter, I mean.

Zuckerberg misunderstands the huge threat of TikTok
Josh Constine, TechCrunch

“It’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in leaked audio of him describing TikTok during an all-hands meeting.

Amazon Wants to Surveil Your Dog
Charlie Warzel, The New York Times

We’re in the middle of a digital privacy reckoning. Even the tech companies are taking notice.

Research Reports

Inadequate Patch in Hewlett Packard Enterprise iMC 7.3 E0703
Chris Lyne, Tenable

On March 20, 2019, we released a research advisory detailing two vulnerabilities in HPE iMC 7.3 E0605P06 that could reward a remote, unauthenticated attacker with admin access. We first reported the bugs to HPE on December 14, 2018.

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