Tech Brief: House Democrats Request Answers From Equifax on Data Breach

Government Brief

  • Led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), all 24 Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Equifax Inc. CEO Richard Smith expressing concerns that it took more than a month for the company to reveal the massive data breach it said took place from mid-May through July, and about the scale and extent of the breach. The signers asked Smith to address these concerns prior to a planned hearing on the issue. (The Hill)
  • Customs and Border Protection officials have decided on the technology component of a barrier along the border with Mexico. Consultation with Israeli security officials for how to make a “smart wall” yielded ideas such as underground motion sensors and unmanned aerial systems. (FCW)
  • In addition to finding Tesla Inc. partially responsible for a 2016 fatal crash of its Model S, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report with seven safety recommendations requiring automakers to take measures to prevent automated controls from being used outside of situations for which they were designed. (BBC News)

Business Brief

  • Google Inc. is ending its “first click free” program, which allows users to access some subscription content for free, according to News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson. The move, which will allow publishers to choose how users access their sites from the search engine, would be a boon to those who have decried Google penalizing them in search results for not participating in the program. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Apple Inc.’s new iPhone X will unlock the device by recognizing its user’s face. Facial recognition technology also enables animated emojis for messaging known as animoji, which track the user’s facial expressions and movement, and can even include audio. (TechCrunch)
  • New Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will need to find a new chief legal officer as General Counsel Salle Yoo reportedly plans on leaving the company. Yoo, who has been at Uber since 2012, is expected to stay on until Khosrowshahi finds her replacement. (Reuters)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

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.
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 CLE on FCC and FTC enforcement priorities 3 p.m.
Newseum event on the future of online speech 9 a.m.
Seminar Group event on autonomous vehicles regulation 9 a.m.

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Google Offers Olive Branch to Publishers by Relaxing Policy on Subscription Sites
Jack Nicas and Lukas I. Alpert, The Wall Street Journal

Google Inc. is planning to end its “first click free” policy that enables users of its search engine to bypass paywalls on news websites, a move that could help publishers boost subscriptions, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said Tuesday. Google for years has encouraged publishers to be part of the program, which allows search users to access a limited amount of content on subscription-based news sites free of charge.

CBP’s border wall plans integrate tech
Chase Gunter, FCW

Even with funding for President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the southern border looming as a flash point in December budget negotiations, Customs and Border Protection is moving ahead with designs for a technological and physical barrier. “Planning is very much underway” for the hybrid barrier, said CBP chief Ronald Vitiello at a Sept. 12 AFCEA event.

How 3-D Printing Is Changing Health Care
Aili McCannon, The Wall Street Journal

A year ago, an 11-year-old girl named London Secor had surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove a rare tumor located in her pelvis. In the past, surgeons would have considered amputating one of Ms. Secor’s legs, given that the tumor had spread to the bone and nerves of her sacrum and was encroaching on her hip socket.

JPMorgan’s Dimon says bitcoin ‘is a fraud’
David Henry and Anna Irrera, Reuters

Bitcoin “is a fraud” and will blow up, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, said on Tuesday. Speaking at a bank investor conference in New York, Dimon said, “The currency isn’t going to work. You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart.”

Apple’s Asian Suppliers Sink as Pricey New iPhone Underwhelms

Shares of Apple Inc.’s suppliers across Greater China greeted the company’s latest product line-up, including its most-expensive ever iPhone, with losses. While there were a few exceptions, the lack of any major surprises in Tim Cook’s much-anticipated unveiling weighed on stocks from Taiwan’s Pegatron Corp., an iPhone assembler, to South Korean screen-maker LG Display Co.

Stock Rally Eases as Dollar Edges Lower; Oil Gains: Markets Wrap
Robert Brand, Bloomberg

The equities rally that pushed stocks to records around the globe eased on Wednesday as some investors cautioned that gains had gone too far, too fast. The dollar snapped a two-day advance as Treasury yields inched lower.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

CenturyLink delays Level 3 acquisition
Mark Rockwell, FCW

To accommodate an upcoming California Public Utilities Commission meeting, CenturyLink will delay the close of its acquisition of Level 3 Communications until mid-October. The two companies were among the 10 prime contractors named by the General Services Administration in August for its $50 next-generation telecommunications contract.

Yelp Claims Google Broke Promise to Antitrust Regulators
Nitasha Tiku, WIRED

Yelp is accusing Google, its longtime rival in local search, of scraping photographs of local businesses from Yelp and other sites for use in Google search results, violating promises that Google made in 2012 as part of a settlement to end a Federal Trade Commission investigation. In a letter to FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen, Yelp urges the agency to “take action and remedy these violations.”

Bain Signs Letter of Intent to Buy Toshiba’s Chip Business
Dana Mattioli and Takashi Mochizuki, The Wall Street Journal

U.S. private-equity firm Bain Capital signed a memorandum of understanding with Toshiba Corp. Wednesday saying it intends to reach a deal to buy the Japanese conglomerate’s memory-chip business by the end of September, Toshiba said. The nonbinding letter was the latest twist in a contentious sale process that is likely far from over.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

Apple has upgraded its Apple TV box, but it’s not yet reinventing TV
Peter Kafka, Recode

The most recent version of Apple’s Apple TV box hasn’t been a game-changer, for the company or its customers. So now it’s trying an upgrade: The new box will support 4K — super-high-definition — movies and TV shows.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

The iPhone X will include animoji, emojis animated based on your facial expressions
Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

Apple demonstrated a new type of emoji today at its press event unveiling the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The iPhone X includes a new facial camera system that allows for practical applications like unlocking your phone (and payments) with your face.

Tesla Autopilot ‘partly to blame’ for crash
BBC News

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that Tesla’s Autopilot system was partly to blame for a fatal accident in which a Model S collided with a lorry. Federal investigators say Tesla “lacked understanding” of the semi-autonomous Autopilot’s limitations.

Uber chief legal officer Yoo plans to leave in near future: memo
Staff, Reuters

Uber Technologies Inc chief legal officer and general counsel Salle Yoo is planning to leave the company in the near future, according to a note seen by Reuters. The note sent by Yoo to Uber’s legal team says that she will continue to serve until the company’s recently appointed chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, names a replacement.

Facebook pays millions for reality show on NFL’s Marshawn Lynch
Jessica Toonkel, Reuters

Facebook Inc is paying Time Warner Inc’s Bleacher Report millions of dollars for a reality show on NFL player Marshawn Lynch, the sports site told Reuters – a sign that the social media firm is willing to pay top dollar to lure viewers and ads to its Watch video service. The reality show about the Oakland Raiders running back, called “No Script,” launches at a time when Facebook and other web giants including Inc and Netflix Inc are spending billions on original content in a pitched battle for viewers.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

House Dems demand answers from Equifax CEO
Harper Neidig, The Hill

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from the CEO of Equifax about the company’s data breach that left the personal information of 143 million people exposed. All 24 minority members of the committee signed a letter to the Equifax executive, Richard Smith, calling on him to come forward with more information about his handling of the crisis.

China sets up first ‘commercial’ quantum network for secure communications
Staff, Reuters

China has set up its first “commercial” quantum network in its northern province of Shandong, state media said, the country’s latest step in advancing a technology expected to enable “hack proof” communications. China touts that it is at the forefront of developing quantum technology.

After the Equifax Hack, LifeLock Sign-ups Jump Tenfold
Polly Mosendz, Bloomberg

Shortly before Equifax Inc. revealed last week that it had been hacked, Fran Rosch got a call. The Symantec Corp. executive was vacationing in Maine, visiting his parents, when an Equifax representative telephoned to say sensitive information about 143 million Americans had been put at risk.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

The Terrifying Power of Internet Censors
Kate Klonick, The New York Times

After the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last month where a man drove a car into a crowd, killing a counter-demonstrator, the American neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a long, hate-riddled post mocking the victim. Outcry over the article led its domain registrar, GoDaddy, to end The Daily Stormer’s service.

Research Reports

Sam Ransbotham et al., MIT Sloan Management Review

Expectations for artificial intelligence (AI) are sky-high, but what are businesses actually doing now? The goal of this report is to present a realistic baseline that allows companies to compare their AI ambitions and efforts.