Tech Brief: Judge Rules Uber Can Question Alphabet CEO in Waymo Case

Washington Brief

  • President Donald Trump effectively dismissed allegations of Russian meddling and hacking in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, saying in comments following a meeting with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin that it was time to “move forward in working constructively with Russia.” Trump met with Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit to discuss cybersecurity, hacking concerns and the ongoing Syrian conflict. (The Washington Post)
  • Trump announced on Twitter that he and Putin also discussed forming a cybersecurity unit to address future hacking and cyberattack concerns, including the risk of election-related interference. The idea was quickly criticized by Republican lawmakers, and Trump later backtracked and said he did not think the cybersecurity partnership could happen. (Reuters)
  • The Pentagon will not fully migrate to automatic email encryption and updated email security protections until mid-2018. The announcement was made in a letter from the outgoing vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency that was sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). (Nextgov)

Business Brief

  • Alphabet Inc. CEO Larry Page was ordered to submit to questioning by Uber Technologies Inc. lawyers in the ongoing lawsuit with the ride-booking company over trade secrets relating to autonomous vehicle technology. A San Francisco federal judge ruled that Page can be questioned by Uber’s lawyers for as long as four hours. (Bloomberg News)
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency warned banks to be cautious about the use of financial technology, which provides consumers with more accessible options like smartphone-based online money transfers. The report said that the creation of so-called fintech firms is forcing banks to take more “strategic risks” with their technology. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said that it expects to post record numbers in its second quarter after strong earnings — estimated to hit around $12 billion — from its latest mobile phone and semiconductor business. The news comes at an important time for parent company Samsung Group, which is working to move past a series of scandals, including an ongoing corruption trial and previous issues with exploding smartphones. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee event on European data warrants 12 p.m.
Tuesday
Media Institute event with Microsoft’s Brad Smith on rural broadband 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday
Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy event on net neutrality 10:30 a.m.
Thursday
Senate subcommittee hearing on public-private partnerships in space exploration 10 a.m.
FCC monthly commissioner meeting 10:30 a.m.
Friday
No events scheduled.

 

General

Trump minimizes hacking allegations, seeks to ‘move forward’ with Russia
Philip Rucker, The Washington Post

President Trump on Sunday sought to move past allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, effectively dismissing the importance of the intelligence community’s definitive conclusion about a foreign adversary in pursuit of a collaborative partnership with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. Issuing his first public comments since sitting down with Putin in Germany, Trump vowed to “move forward in working constructively with Russia” and said the two leaders were discussing a cybersecurity unit that would protect against the kinds of illegal intrusions that U.S. intelligence agencies say Putin ordered in the United States.

Regulator Warns Banks on Use of New Technologies
Rachel Witkowski, The Wall Street Journal

Banks should be cautious about taking on new technologies for financial products, a national bank regulator said Friday in a semiannual report on risks facing the industry. So-called fintech firms have emerged in recent years as a competitor to banks by offering new ways to provide online credit and money transfer services, such as smartphone payments, to consumers.

Stocks Advance as Mood Remains Buoyant After Data: Markets Wrap
Natasha Doff, Bloomberg News

Stocks rose and the dollar was steady as investors prepare to parse second-quarter earnings for more evidence global economic growth is back on track after a positive batch of data from Europe and the U.S. Real estate and food companies led European equities higher, following a similar advance across much of Asia and in U.S. futures.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

Larry Page Ordered to Answer Questions in Uber Lawsuit
Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg News

Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Page was ordered to submit to questioning by Uber Technologies Inc. in his company’s lawsuit over trade secrets for self-driving car technology. Uber’s lawyers want to question Page in their defense against the allegations the ride-hailing company stole technology central to the development of autonomous vehicles by Alphabet’s Waymo unit.

News Outlets to Seek Bargaining Rights Against Google and Facebook
Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

Google and Facebook continue to gobble up the digital advertising market, siphoning away revenue that once paid for the quality journalism that Google and Facebook now offer for free. They are gaining increasing control over digital distribution, so newspapers that once delivered their journalism with their own trucks increasingly have to rely on these big online platforms to get their articles in front of people, fighting for attention alongside fake news, websites that lift their content, and cat videos.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

Dem warns DOJ not to politicize AT&T-Time Warner review
Ali Breland, The Hill

A Democratic senator is warning the Justice Department that politics should play no role in their review of AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner.“ Any political interference in antitrust enforcement is unacceptable,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday.

Appeals Court upholds FCC effective competition ruling
Daniel Frankel, FierceCable

The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a 2015 FCC decision ending the ability of states, cities and other local authorities to force cable operators to prove they have competition in their market in order to avoid rate regulation on video services. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) and the local Minnesota Franchise Authority filed suit in federal court two years ago seeking to stop the FCC’s “effective competition” ruling, which presumes competition for cable operators in every market.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Samsung, Seeking to Move Past Scandals, Forecasts Record Profit
Amie Tsang, The New York Times

As Samsung Group tries to move past a series of scandals, the giant Korean conglomerate is finding a point of pride in its profit. One of the conglomerate’s companies, Samsung Electronics, said on Friday that it expected to post record earnings in the second quarter, driven by a booming semiconductor business and positive reviews of its latest mobile phone.

Amazon Prime is on pace to become more popular than cable TV
Jason Del Rey and Rani Molla, Recode

Someday soon, more U.S. households will be subscribers of Amazon Prime than cable or satellite TV, according to recent estimates of Amazon’s popular shipping and entertainment service. According to estimates from Morningstar, nearly 79 million U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership, up from around 66 million at the end of last year.

Why the next iPhone may ditch its fingerprint reader, and other rumors
Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post

As the expected fall debut of Apple’s new phones nears, rumors have taken hold about the new models this week, based on new reports from analysts and leaks from Apple’s supply chain. As with all speculative reports, it’s best to take this information with a grain (or shaker) of salt.

Apple’s iTunes Falls Short in Battle for Video Viewers
Ben Fritz and Tripp Mickle, The Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store—already struggling against rising competition for music listeners—is losing the battle for video viewers as well.The company’s market share for renting and selling movies has been falling for several years, tumbling to between 20% and 35% from well over 50% as recently as 2012, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Trump backtracks on cyber unit with Russia after harsh criticism
Phil Stewart and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday backtracked on his push for a cyber security unit with Russia, tweeting that he did not think it could happen, hours after his proposal was harshly criticized by Republicans who said Moscow could not be trusted. Trump said on Twitter early on Sunday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed on Friday forming “an impenetrable Cyber Security unit” to address issues like the risk of cyber meddling in elections.

DoD Won’t Automatically Encrypt External Emails Until 2018
Joseph Marks, Nextgov

The Pentagon expects to be fully migrated by mid-2018 to an updated email gateway that will ramp up security protections, including automatically encrypting emails between Defense Department accounts and other organizations, according to a DOD official’s correspondence. DOD computers currently use the protection, called STARTTLS, on a case-by-case basis but not as a default, according to a Wednesday letter from Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, outgoing vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Germany says cyber threat greater than expected, more firms affected
Andrea Shalal, Reuters

Germany’s BSI federal cyber agency said on Friday that the threat posed to German firms by recent cyber attacks launched via a Ukrainian auditing software was greater than expected, and some German firms had seen production halted for over a week. Analyses by computer experts showed that waves of attacks had been launched via software updates of the M.E.Doc accounting software since April, the BSI said in a statement.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Combating a Real Threat to Election Integrity
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election may not have altered the outcome of any races, but it showed that America’s voting system is far more vulnerable to attack than most people realized. Whether the attackers are hostile nations like Russia (which could well try it again even though President Trump has raised the issue with President Vladimir Putin of Russia) or hostile groups like ISIS, the threat is very real.

How Antitrust Undermines Press Freedom
David Chavern, The Wall Street Journal

Whenever President Trump attacks CNN or berates the Washington Post, journalists and free-speech advocates rise up to defend the media and the First Amendment. Meanwhile, a greater threat to America’s news industry looms mostly unnoticed: Google and Facebook’s duopolistic dominance of online advertising, which could do far more damage to the free press than anything the president posts on Twitter.The rapid growth of digital connectivity has pushed demand for information to unprecedented heights.

Research Reports

Enabling Customer-Driven Innovation in the Federal Government
Robert D. Atkinson et al., Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Some might call “innovation in the federal government enterprise” an oxymoron, given the substantial constraints on innovation facing most federal managers, including procurement rules, personnel rigidities, and budgeting restrictions. To be sure, the federal government has played a key role in supporting innovation in the commercial sector throughout U.S. history, but that is different than ensuring that the federal enterprise itself is innovative.