Tech Brief: Apple Expected to Unveil Premium Model ‘iPhone X’ Today


Government Brief

  • A draft bill in circulation from the Senate Commerce Committee looks to improve cybersecurity in self-driving cars by outlining a number of requirements for automakers. The measure relies on cooperation between automakers and various levels of government. (Nextgov)
  • The Federal Communications Commission plans to vote Sept. 26 on whether there is “effective competition” in the wireless industry. Government data shows falling prices and a return of unlimited data, and the findings could pave the way for a big merger or looser regulations. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sent a letter to Equifax Inc. saying the company’s offer of one year of free credit monitoring following a data breach that made 143 million people potentially vulnerable to identity theft is insufficient. Schatz said there should instead be a credit security freeze, a measure Equifax is currently charging customers to implement. (TechCrunch)

Business Brief

  • Apple Inc. plans to premiere the so-called iPhone X with a starting price of $999 at a 10th anniversary iPhone event on Tuesday, joining Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd in the market for luxury smartphones. In addition to the iPhone X, which uses infrared facial recognition to unlock the device, Apple is also expected to release cheaper models of the iPhone and an updated Apple Watch, with self-contained connectivity. (The New York Times)
  • The National Transportation Safety Board will reportedly find that Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot system shares the blame for a fatal 2016 crash where the company’s Model S drove into a truck. Tuesday’s decision, which will still be subject to revision by the board, could have major implications for the regulation of autonomous vehicles. (Bloomberg)
  • Data from Adobe Analytics shows web traffic on smartphones has increased 68 percent since January 2015. With web browsing on tablets and desktops on the decline, though, web traffic on the whole hasn’t changed significantly during that time. (Recode)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday
GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas 7:30 a.m.
NATOA annual conference 8 a.m.
NTSB vote on likely cause of Tesla Autopilot crash 9:30 a.m.
NTIA meeting on IoT security upgradeability 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on 21st century trade barriers 10:15 a.m.
Wednesday
GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas 7:30 a.m.
NATOA annual conference 8 a.m.
FirstNet board and committees meet 9 a.m.
Senate Commerce Committee hearing on automated trucks 10 a.m.
FCBA Wireline Committee brown bag lunch 12:15 p.m.
Thursday
NATOA annual conference 8 a.m.
GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas 9 a.m.
FirstNet board and committees meet 9 a.m.
Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Lifeline program 10 a.m.
FCBA event on FCC and FTC enforcement priorities 3 p.m.
Friday
Newseum event on the future of online speech 9 a.m.
Seminar Group event on autonomous vehicles regulation 9 a.m.
The Department of Justice and the University of Maryland host a symposium on cybercrime 8:30 a.m.
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General

China to Shut Bitcoin Exchanges
Chao Deng and Paul Vigna, The Wall Street Journal

Chinese authorities are preparing to shut down the country’s bitcoin exchanges, according to people familiar with the matter, reflecting a growing unease with the virtual currency and its recent surge in value. The policy shift in the world’s No. 2 economy shows how nations are wrestling with bitcoin and its place in the financial system.

UK watchdog warns consumers on cryptocurrency fundraisings
Staff, Reuters

Initial coin offerings (ICOs), the practice of creating and selling digital currencies to finance start-up projects, are “very high risk” and speculative, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned on Tuesday. ICOs are a digital form of raising funds from the public using a virtual currency, with issuers accepting Bitcoin or Ether in exchange for a proprietary coin or token that is related to a specific company or project.

China’s Latest Crackdown on Message Groups Chills WeChat Users
Lulu Yilun Chen and Keith Zhai, Bloomberg

Self-censorship is kicking in fast on WeChat as China’s new rules on message groups casts a chill among the 963 million users of Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s social network. Regulations released Sept. 7 made creators of online groups responsible for managing information within their forums and the behavior of members.

Stocks Rise as Dollar Struggles to Sustain Rebound: Markets Wrap
Robert Brand, Bloomberg

European equities headed for the longest winning streak in five months after the S&P 500 Index led global stocks to a record high on Monday. The dollar struggled to build on a strong start to the week as concerns about lackluster inflation lingered before key U.S. data.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

U.S. Wireless Industry Is Finally Competitive, FCC Says
Ryan Knutson, The Wall Street Journal

Competition has officially returned to the U.S. wireless sector. For the first time since 2009, the Federal Communications Commission has concluded there is “effective competition” in the U.S. wireless market.

Toshiba still in talks over chip unit sale one day before deadline: sources
Staff, Reuters

Japan’s embattled Toshiba Corp  is still in discussions with various parties over the $18 billion sale of its memory chip business just a day before its latest, self-imposed deadline, people involved in the talks told Reuters on Tuesday. Earlier on Tuesday, the Nikkan Kogyo business daily reported without citing sources that Toshiba has agreed to sell the business to a consortium led by U.S. chipmaking partner Western Digital Corp. for about 2 trillion yen ($18.3 billion).

Telecom, Wireless and TV

AT&T workers plan protest at Apple’s iPhone launch event
Seung Lee, Silicon Beat

Around 100 AT&T workers will protest in front of the new Apple campus on Tuesday morning to stop the telecommunication giant from offshoring retail and call center jobs abroad. Targeting the much-anticipated Apple product launch event, the AT&T workers organized by the Communications Workers of America union hoped Apple can help pressure AT&T to the bargaining table.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Apple’s New iPhone Release: What to Expect
Brian X. Chen et al., The New York Times

Apple is holding an event on Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. Pacific time, at the new Steve Jobs Theater at its new campus in Cupertino, Calif., to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Here’s what you can expect to see, from products to pricing.

Senate’s Self-Driving Car Bill Encourages Bug Disclosure Program
Joseph Marks, Nextgov

Makers of self-driving cars would have 18 months to develop plans to mitigate the cybersecurity risks facing those cars, under discussion draft legislation being floated by the Senate Commerce Committee. The plans should include ways to isolate and segment the cars’ critical digital systems and methods to detect and respond to cyber vulnerabilities when they occur, according to the bill draft obtained by Nextgov.

Smartphones are driving all growth in web traffic
Rani Molla, Recode

Smartphones are driving all growth in U.S. web traffic, while tablets and computer web access has declined, according to new data from Adobe Analytics. Since January 2015, there has been a 68 percent increase in smartphone web traffic in the U.S., while desktop and tablet both saw declines.

NTSB Staff to Say Tesla Autopilot Should Share Blame for 2016 Crash
Alan Levin, Bloomberg

Federal accident investigators are poised to find that Tesla Inc.’s auto-driving system should share blame for a fatal 2016 crash in which a Model S sedan drove itself into the side of a truck. The investigative staff of U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, in its first probe of the wave of autonomous driving systems being introduced by carmakers, has recommended that Tesla’s Autopilot system be declared a contributing factor in the crash because it allowed the driver to go for long periods without steering or apparently even looking at the road, according to a person briefed on the findings.

Japan trials driverless cars in bid to keep rural elderly on the move
Naomi Tajitsu, Reuters

As the annual rice harvest begins this month in the Japanese town of Nishikata, the combines that usually putter along the sleepy roads lining its rice fields are giving way to a vehicle residents have never before seen, a driverless shuttle bus. Japan is starting to experiment with self-driving buses in rural communities such as Nishikata, 115 km (71 miles) north of the capital, Tokyo, where elderly residents struggle with fewer bus and taxi services as the population ages and shrinks.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Senator says Equifax should offer customers free credit security freezes
Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

Equifax’s handling of the massive data breach that affected 143 million people has been ineffective, Senator Brian Schatz wrote in a letter today (embedded at bottom of post) to Equifax. He says what Equifax has offered customers, a one-year complimentary subscription to credit monitoring, is “inadequate for several reasons.”

Senators press for answers on Equifax executives who sold stock after breach
Ali Breland, The Hill

The Senate Finance Committee wants answers from Equifax on when three of its executives, who sold almost $2 million in stock, learned of a massive cybersecurity breach the company experienced in July. The sale has raised eyebrows among some observers who are concerned about potential insider trading violations.

Equifax Lobbied for Easier Regulation Before Data Breach
Michael Rapoport and AnnaMaria Andriotis, The Wall Street Journal

Equifax Inc. was lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies to ease up on regulation of credit-reporting companies in the months before its massive data breach. Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017, according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports.

Lawsuits against Equifax pile up after massive data breach
Staff, Reuters

More than 30 lawsuits have been filed in the United States against Equifax Inc after the credit reporting company said thieves may have stolen personal information for 143 million Americans in one of the largest hackings ever. At least 25 lawsuits had been filed in federal courts by Sunday, including at least one accusing the company of securities fraud, court records show.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Self-Driving Truck Technology Is the Answer to Safer Roads
Gary Shapiro, Morning Consult

Over a century ago, trains moved freight across our nation. When technology changed and cabooses no longer played a role in train safety, railmen fought for laws to require cabooses to be manned with unnecessary workers.

Equifax’s Maddening Unaccountability
Zeynep Tufekci, The New York Times

Last week, Americans woke up to news of yet another mass breach of their personal data. The consumer credit reporting agency Equifax revealed that as many as 143 million Americans’ Social Security numbers, dates of birth, names and addresses may have been stolen from its files — just the kind of information that allows for identity theft and other cybercrimes.

Research Reports

U.S. Post Office: Application Programming Interface Strategy
Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service’s Web Tools Application Programming Interfaces (API) provide a means for web developers and customers to integrate online Postal Service information and services into their websites. For example, ecommerce companies can help their customers track orders shipped by the Postal Service directly from their own websites.

Avast Reports 40% Increase in Mobile Cyberattacks
Avast

Avast’s research reveals an increase in mobile cyberattacks of 40%, from an average of 1.2 million to 1.7 million attacks per month. Researchers tracked an average of 788 variations of viruses per month, up 22.2 percent from Q2/2016.