Republican Sens. Roger Wicker (Miss.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) introduced a bill to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act by requiring online platforms to have an “objectively reasonable belief” that content up for removal has violated a specific policy in its content moderation guidelines, or risk losing their liability protections for moderation enforcement actions. The bill, which follows another measure from Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and John Thune (R-S.D.) targeting Section 230, would also replace language in the existing statute that is seen as vague with more direct descriptions of the kind of content that online platforms can remove without fear of a lawsuit. (The Verge)
Apple Inc. filed counterclaims against Fortnite creator Epic Games Inc. for breach of contract and is seeking restitution for all of the payments the mobile game app collected when it established its own in-app payments system to bypass the App Store. Apple also alleges that Epic has earned over $600 million from working with the App Store and that the lawsuit challenging the store’s commission fees is “nothing more than a basic disagreement over money.” (CNBC)
Ashok Chandwaney, a Facebook Inc. software engineer, became the latest employee to quit over how the company enforces its policies against hate speech, saying in a letter posted on the company’s internal messaging board that “I can no longer stomach contributing to an organization that is profiting off hate in the U.S. and globally.” Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said the company doesn’t “benefit from hate,” and instead has invested “billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and are in deep partnership with outside experts to review and update our policies.” (The Washington Post)
As students and teachers across the country went online for the first day of classes, many faced a mix of technical glitches and cyberattacks that disrupted their lessons: Blackboard, a popular online learning platform that had four times as many users on average compared to the year before by 8 a.m. Tuesday, said it experienced loading issues with one of its learning products, while in Hartford, Conn., the first day of school was postponed after a ransomware attack. (The Associated Press)
Correction: A previous version of this newsletter misspelled the first name of Sen. Brian Schatz.
In his new book out today, former FBI agent Peter Strzok eschewed the traditional complementary blurbs from famous friends for a different tack. The back cover of Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump relies instead on some very famous criticism: Trump calling Strzok a “fraud.”
TechNet, a trade group consisting of tech executives, will hold its virtual fly-in this week to connect its members like Google, Apple, eBay, DoorDash and NASDAQ, with lawmakers. The fly-in will take place Wednesday through Friday and members are slated to meet virtually with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Amazon is continuing to fight the Department of Defense over a $10 billion contract, as the Pentagon has completed its review of the deal and determined once again that it was correct to award the entire project to Microsoft. The DOD launched bidding for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project, a massive cloud-computing contract, in 2019.
Bradley Tusk, a former political strategist and founder of venture capital firm Tusk Ventures, has formed a special-purpose acquisition company focused on the leisure, gaming and hospitality sector. The blank check company, called IG Acquisition Corp., plans to raise $300 million to acquire a company with an enterprise value exceeding $750 million, according to an SEC filing.
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Intuit and its marketing of TurboTax products, following ProPublica’s reporting that the Silicon Valley company deceived tax filers into paying when they could have filed for free. The FTC probe, run out of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, centers on whether Intuit violated the law against unfair and deceptive practices in commerce.
Uber Technologies Inc on Tuesday said every vehicle on its global ride-hailing platform will be electric by 2040, and it vowed to contribute $800 million through 2025 to help drivers switch to battery-powered vehicles, including discounts for vehicles bought or leased from partner automakers. Uber, which as of early February said it had 5 million drivers worldwide, said it formed partnerships with General Motors and the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance.
Apple Inc. said it will hold an online event Sept. 15, where the company is expected to unveil its latest Apple Watch. The event will be streamed from the company’s website starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, and his wife Wendy Schmidt purchased a large estate in Montecito, Calif., for $30.8 million this summer, according to people familiar with the deal. The property had been on and off the market since 2012, when it first listed for $57.5 million, and had been listed by several different agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Apple and Google have been copping quite a bit of flack over their app store practices lately, and Australia has come to join the party. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is going to examine the experiences that Australians have with these app stores – from consumers to developers.
President Trump’s deadline for a TikTok deal is one week from today, as certainty continues to drain from the voices of sources close to the process. The big question now is what happens if no deal is struck.
Huawei Technologies is expected to respond on Thursday to the latest salvo of U.S. technology restrictions against it and share its progress on developing a system that is seen as its best bet to replace Google’s Android mobile operating system. Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business group, will deliver a keynote speech at its annual developers conference in Dongguan, in what is expected to mark the company’s first official response to the Trump administration’s efforts to bar its access to chips.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany asked Twitter to fact check a misleading video circulating on the social media network where she argued the Trump administration is facilitating a coronavirus vaccine more effectively than the Obama administration did during the swine flu. “This is a blatant LIE,” McEnany responded to a tweet that mischaracterized statements she made on Fox News.
Mark Zuckerberg told “Axios on HBO” that Facebook currently doesn’t plan to take the same kind of strong action against anti-vaccination misinformation that it has for the coronavirus pandemic. Why it matters: “Anti-vaxx” movements could disrupt efforts to build public immunity against the coronavirus when a vaccine is developed.
Australian regulators have ruled out prosecuting TikTok over an apparent suicide video under tough new laws prohibiting some forms of violent online images, but the prime minister urged social media companies on Wednesday to take more responsibility for offensive content. The Chinese-owned social media platform says it is working to remove videos of a man apparently taking his own life with a gun and banning users who keep trying to spread the clips through the app.
Samuel’sSamuel’s journey to America took six months, and it wasn’t even where he wanted to go. After fleeing Cameroon for Ghana in January 2019, his plan was to stay put: go back to school, maybe get a job.
TikTok, WeChat and Huawei Technologies Co. are just the beginning. What comes next has the potential to reshape the global economy for decades to come.President Donald Trump’s moves to prevent some of China’s biggest companies from accessing the private data of Americans — restrictions set to take effect this month — are part of a broader effort to create “clean networks” the Communist Party can’t touch.
The official leading the effort to protect U.S. elections from foreign hacking said on Tuesday he had seen no signs of infiltration on computer systems used to record and tabulate votes. “The technical stuff on networks, we’re not seeing,” said Chris Krebs, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “It gives me a little bit of confidence.”
Six months ago, as professional sports were postponed indefinitely, schools were shuttering, Tom Hanks was the poster boy for COVID-19, and President Donald Trump addressed a nervous nation, people at the highest levels of the U.S. government became laser-focused on one idea: Coronavirus vaccine research needed to be defended from hacking attempts.
The Supreme Court is considering whether to adopt a broad reading of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that critics say could criminalize some types of independent security research and create legal uncertainty for many security researchers. Voatz, an online voting vendor whose software was used by West Virginia for overseas military voters in the 2018 election, argues that this wouldn’t be a problem.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock — which in 2020 actually sounds soothing — you’ve probably heard there’s a new cellphone technology called 5G. Any iPhone or Galaxy owner knows the law of Gs: Every additional G makes downloads faster. 3G sent pictures. 4G streamed video.
At their own discretion, defense contractors can conduct research and development projects of potential interest to DOD and may be reimbursed for some or all of this work. This kind of independent research and development in high-tech areas can help the U.S. military keep a technological edge.