Uber Weighs California Overhaul if Ballot Measure on Workers Fails
Preetika Rana, The Wall Street Journal
Uber Technologies Inc. is considering an overhaul of its business in California if voters reject a ballot measure that would prevent the ride-hailing company’s drivers from being classified as employees. “We are looking at all our options,” Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said, without elaborating, during The Wall Street Journal’s annual Tech Live conference, held remotely on Tuesday.
In a leaked memo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai calls for employees to keep their focus amid a new antitrust lawsuit: ‘Keep doing what you’re doing’
Hugh Langley, Business Insider Premium
The Department of Justice has hit Google with a lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its monopoly to give itself an unfair advantage in search and advertising. It’s the largest legal case Google has ever faced and has the potential to be dragged through the courts for years.
Google Antitrust Fight Thrusts Low-Key C.E.O. Into the Line of Fire
Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times
When Sundar Pichai succeeded Larry Page as the head of Google’s parent company in December, he was handed a bag of problems: Shareholders had sued the company, Alphabet, over big financial packages handed to executives accused of misconduct. An admired office culture was fraying. Most of all, antitrust regulators were circling.
Silicon Valley megadonors unleash a last-minute, $100 million barrage of ads against Trump
Theodore Schleifer, Recode
A little-known Democratic super PAC backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest donors is quietly unleashing a torrent of television spending in the final weeks of the presidential campaign in a last-minute attempt to oust President Donald Trump, Recode has learned.
A shadowy AI service has transformed thousands of women’s photos into fake nudes: ‘Make fantasy a reality’
Drew Harwell, The Washington Post
An artificial intelligence service freely available on the Web has been used to transform more than 100,000 women’s images into nude photos without the women’s knowledge or consent, triggering fears of a new wave of damaging “deepfakes” that could be used for harassment or blackmail. Users of the automated service can anonymously submit a photo of a clothed woman and receive an altered version with the clothing removed.
DOD to move 18M biometric records on ‘threat actors’ to AWS’s cloud
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop
The Department of Defense wants to modernize an 18-million-record system of biometric data on adversaries by moving it to Amazon Web Service‘s cloud, the department indicated in a request for information posted Tuesday. The Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) is already partly cloud-based, with backups hosted on AWS servers.
Amazon to Let Employees Work From Home Through June 2021
Spencer Soper, Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. will let corporate employees work from home through June 2021, the latest company to push back re-opening offices as Covid-19 cases surge again across the U.S. “We continue to prioritize the health of our employees and follow local government guidance,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in an email.
Intellectual Property and Antitrust
How the states fit into DOJ’s antitrust case against Google
Ashley Gold, Axios
When the Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, it did so without the backing of most of the state attorneys general who have also been probing the search giant. Yes, but: Those states may well swoop in later to expand the case to cover even more competition concerns.
DOJ’s Google suit meets bipartisan praise, but questions arise on its motives
Cristiano Lima, Politico
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum lauded the Justice Department for hitting Google with a major antitrust lawsuit on Tuesday, showcasing the broad bipartisan concern in Washington over the power the tech giant wields online. But scrutiny is already mounting of the Trump administration’s decision to move ahead with the legal maneuver ahead of the November election amid a broader onslaught by President Donald Trump and his Republican allies against Silicon Valley.
7 lawyers helping Google fight landmark antitrust charges in a battle that could stretch on for years, from in-house pros to DOJ veterans
Jack Newsham, Business Insider Premium
After years of scrutiny, the US Department of Justice and more than a dozen state attorneys general sued Google on Tuesday over its dominance of web search and related advertising. Twenty-seven attorneys for the federal government signed the complaint, reflecting the breadth of the investigative and prosecutorial resources that have been poured into the probe.
U.S. antitrust case against Google mirrors Microsoft battle
Michael Liedtke and Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press
The Trump administration’s legal assault on Google actually feels like a blast from the past. The U.S. Justice Department filed an equally high-profile case against a technology giant in 1998, accusing it of leveraging a monopoly position to lock customers into its products so they wouldn’t be tempted by potentially superior options from smaller rivals.
Here’s Why Google Shares Rose After the U.S. Antitrust Suit
Tom Giles and Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg
Google was hit by the biggest U.S. antitrust case in a generation on Tuesday, when the Department of Justice alleged the company is using monopoly power in the web search market to freeze out competition. The United States of America et. al. v. Google LLC could turn into a management headache that ties up lawyers in courts for years and forces the company to change how it conducts the business that makes up about 60% of sales and even more of its profit. Other cases may be filed, too.
Telecom, Wireless and TV
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Dish submit C-band applications
Monica Alleven, FierceWireless
A lot of the usual suspects are among the applicants for the FCC’s C-band auction, set to start on December 8. The FCC on Monday released the list of 74 short-form applicants signing up to participate in the auction. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are among those registering, as well as U.S. Cellular, C Spire and Dish Network.
Mobile Technology and Social Media
TikTok explicitly calls out white nationalism, white genocide theory, and male supremacy as hate speech
Chris Stokel-Walker, Business Insider
TikTok has strengthened its community guidelines to better tackle coded language and symbols that help spread hate speech. The company announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that it “will stem the spread of coded language and symbols that can normalize hateful speech and behavior.”
House Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs
Rebecca Klar, The Hill
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are urging the panel’s Democratic chairman to hold a hearing with the CEOs of big tech companies regarding censorship and a law that grants the firms a liability shield. The Republicans in a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) called for a hearing with Twitter, Google and Facebook CEOs regarding censorship and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Snap Sales Beat Estimates on Rebound in Digital Ad Spending
Sarah Frier, Bloomberg
Snap Inc. surged more than 20% after the social-media company reported quarterly revenue and user growth that topped estimates, lifted by advertisers’ stepped-up spending and consumers’ increased use of their phones for messaging and entertainment during the pandemic.
Cybersecurity and Privacy
NSA warns defense contractors of recent Chinese government-backed hacking
Shannon Vavra, CyberScoop
U.S. defense contractors should be wary of Chinese government-backed hackers who are actively exploiting a multitude of known vulnerabilities to target — and successfully breach — victim networks, the National Security Agency said in an advisory Tuesday.
Microsoft disables most of cybercriminals’ control over massive computer network
Joseph Menn, Reuters
Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it had disabled more than 90% of the machines used by a gang of Russian-speaking cyber criminals to control a massive network of computers with a potential to disrupt the U.S. election. Aided by a series of U.S. court orders and relationships with technology providers in other countries, Microsoft said it its weeklong campaign against the gang running the Trickbot network was heading off a possible source of disruption to the Nov. 3 U.S. vote.
The Police Can Probably Break Into Your iPhone
Jack Nicas, The New York Times
At least 2,000 law enforcement agencies have tools to get into encrypted smartphones, according to new research, and they are using them far more than previously known.
‘Proud Boys’ Emails Threatening Florida Voters Appear to Use Spoofed Email Address
Tess Owen and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard
Some Democratic voters in Florida have been receiving unsolicited emails purportedly from the Proud Boys, a far-right street-fighting gang. The emails are threatening: “Vote for Trump or else!” the subject line says.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Wireless Nationalization and the Big Lie
Declan Ganley, Morning Consult
In recent days we’ve seen an all-out push to defeat the phantom menace of wireless “nationalization.” Democrats in the House have called for investigations. Republicans in the Senate have pledged to defeat this evil, and introduced legislation intended to block it.
The Justice Dept.’s Lawsuit Against Google: Too Little, Too Late
Kara Swisher, The New York Times
It might seem a Silicon Valley cliché, but it was a garage — a pretty dumpy one for those who got to visit it just over two decades ago — that served as the birthplace of what the U.S. government today is calling a crippler of competition, a reducer of consumer choice and a stifler of innovation.
Google in the Antitrust Dock
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department on Tuesday rolled out its first major antitrust lawsuit against Big Tech, and target one is Google. The search giant makes a ripe political target, but on the evidence in the lawsuit the government’s claims will be hard to prove.
If Google Is Violating Antitrust Laws, What’s the Right Remedy?
Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek
This morning the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which Bloomberg News notes “started out as a college research project in the late 1990s” and “now generates about $100 billion in highly profitable revenue each year.” The accusations are strong and numerous but the remedies sought are vague and few.
The Right’s Disinformation Machine Is Getting Ready for Trump to Lose
Renée DiResta, The Atlantic
Whether President Donald Trump wins or loses, some version of QAnon is going to survive the election. On the day of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, the individual or group known as “Q” sent out a flurry of posts.
Confidentiality and Data Access: A User’s Perspective
Congressional Budget Office
Presentation by Molly Dahl, Chief of the Long-Term Analysis Unit in CBO’s Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division, to the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.