Tech Brief: Lyft Expands Service Coverage to 40 States


Government Brief

  • Led by Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, about 300 tech companies and other businesses sent a letter to President Donald Trump imploring him to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows children brought to the U.S. illegally to obtain and renew work permits. The president is expected to end the program on Friday. (Recode)
  • A U.S. district judge ruled that Oath Inc., previously known as Yahoo, will face a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 1 billion people whose personal information was jeopardized during a series of data breaches between 2013 and 2016. (Financial Times)
  • The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc., suggesting that a confidential agreement workers there sign could bar them from talking about working conditions. Tesla has denied allegations of worker intimidation and harassment, which the NLRB is also investigating, and has until Sept. 14 to submit its official reply. (Reuters)

Business Brief

  • Lyft Inc. is expanding service to locations not covered by rival Uber Technologies Inc., including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move also increases Lyft’s presence nationally to full coverage in 40 states. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Facebook Inc. plans to launch new video area Watch within the next few days, which will give users across the United States access to original content, including live shows and sporting events. The move is seen as a bid to start competing with the likes of Netflix Inc. and Youtube LLC on video streaming. (Business Insider)
  • A U.K. Freedom of Information request filed by health data privacy advocate medConfidential yielded evidence that Google Inc.’s DeepMind intended to use patient medical records obtained from its partnership with the Royal Free National Health Service Trust to train artificial intelligence. The partners had told U.K. data protection investigators the patient data was not going to be used for that purpose. (TechCrunch)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Friday
Colorado 700 and 800 MHz Regional Planning committees meeting 1 p.m.

General

Apple, Facebook, Google and scores of businesses are imploring President Trump to protect the Dreamers
Tony Romm, Recode

The chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google joined roughly 300 business leaders urging President Donald Trump late Thursday to continue protecting children brought illegally to the United States from being deported. Since 2012, the U.S. government has allowed those children — young adults now known as Dreamers — to continue living in the country as long as they obtain and renew work permits under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Diners at a KFC store in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou will have a new way to pay for their meal. Just smile.
Staff, Reuters

Diners at a KFC store in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou will have a new way to pay for their meal. Just smile.

European Shares Climb With Metals Before Jobs Data: Markets Wrap
Eddie Van Der Walt, Bloomberg

European shares advanced, with mining companies extending gains as industrial metals continued a rally fueled by positive economic data surprises this week. The dollar and Treasuries were steady as investors await a U.S. jobs report for clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy-tightening path.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

Western Digital CEO apologized to Toshiba for friction over chip unit sale
Makiko Yamazaki, Reuters

Western Digital Corp’s CEO apologized to his counterpart at Toshiba Corp for strained ties after the U.S. firm sued to keep their chip joint venture from being sold to rival bidders, according to an Aug. 11 letter. The embattled Japanese conglomerate has put its chip unit, – worth between $17 billion to $18 billion, up for sale as it scrambles to cover liabilities at its bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

Comcast sues Vermont to avoid building 550 miles of new cable lines
Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

Comcast has sued the state of Vermont to try to avoid a requirement to build 550 miles of new cable lines. Comcast’s lawsuit against the Vermont Public Utility Commission (VPUC) was filed Monday in US District Court in Vermont and challenges several provisions in the cable company’s new 11-year permit to offer services in the state.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Lyft now picks up anywhere in 40 states, grabbing areas Uber doesn’t cover
David Pierson, Los Angeles Times

There are only a few dozen residents and one general store in the remote community of Deadhorse, Alaska, but starting Thursday you can request a Lyft driver to shuttle you around the frosty outpost. That’s because, in a bid to raise ridership and grab market share from rival Uber, Lyft announced that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 U.S. states accessible by road, including hard-to-reach rural areas.

Facebook is expanding access to Watch, its new video hub for original shows
Alex Heath, Business Insider

Here comes Facebook TV. After unveiling its shows initiative earlier this month, Facebook will be making its new hub for videos available to most of its US users over the next few days.

U.S. labor board files complaint against Tesla over worker rights
Staff, Reuters

The U.S. agency in charge of enforcing labor law on Thursday filed a complaint against electric carmaker Tesla Inc., saying it found merit to workers’ complaints about unfair labor practices. According to the National Labor Relations Board complaint, Tesla violated workers’ rights by requiring them to sign a confidentiality agreement that could bar them from talking about their working conditions and safety issues at the company’s facility in Fremont, California.

Uber catches a break in lawsuit involving alleged ‘Hell’ program
Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a lawsuit involving Uber’s alleged use of a program called “Hell.” The lawsuit was originally filed in April by Michael Gonzales, who drove for Lyft during the time Uber allegedly used the software.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

Documents detail DeepMind’s plan to apply AI to NHS data in 2015
Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

More details have emerged about a controversial 2015 patient data-sharing arrangement between Google DeepMind and a UK National Health Service Trust which paint a contrasting picture vs the pair’s public narrative about their intended use of 1.6 million citizens’ medical records. DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust signed their initial information sharing agreement (ISA) in September 2015 — ostensibly to co-develop a clinical task management app, called Streams, for early detection of an acute kidney condition using an NHS algorithm.

Judge says Yahoo must face litigation over data breaches
Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times

Yahoo must face litigation on behalf of more than a billion users whose personal information was compromised in a massive data breach, a US judge has ruled. The internet company now known as Oath, after it was bought by Verizon for $4.5bn this year, was attacked by hackers between 2013 and 2016, exposing the data of customers of its services.

FCC “apology” shows anything can be posted to agency site using insecure API
Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica

The Federal Communications Commission’s website already gets a lot of traffic—sometimes more than it can handle. But thanks to a weakness in the interface that the FCC published for citizens to file comments on proposed rule changes, there’s a lot more interesting—and potentially malicious—content now flowing onto one FCC domain.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition: 

Taking a road trip to escape the heat this summer? Watch out for skimmers at gas stations, which can steal your card data-including PINs-and cause you a headache during your vacation. Learn more from EPC.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

How the FCC Redefined the Internet
Bruce P. Mehlman, The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Communications Commission received more than 21 million comments—including many from actual humans—on its plan to reconsider the Obama administration’s internet regulations. Most advocates on both sides voice indignant, moralistic conclusions about the plight of innovation, the future of the internet, and the fate of the world if they don’t get their way.

American Workers Need a New Kind of Labor Union
Oren Cass, The Wall Street Journal

To a union leader, the question “What’s in it for the employer?” might seem bizarre. The point of organizing is to improve labor’s position against management.

Apple’s Real Reason for Finally Joining the Net Neutrality Fight
Klint Finley, WIRED

Over the past few months, as the Federal Communications Commission has moved closer to weakening net neutrality protections, countless tech companies have signaled their support for a strong and open internet. The lone voice missing through the debate: Apple.

In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers
Dan Lyons, The New York Times

Silicon Valley prides itself on “thinking different.” So maybe it makes sense that just as a lot of industries have begun paying more attention to work-life balance, Silicon Valley is taking the opposite approach — and branding workaholism as a desirable lifestyle choice.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition: 

$2 BILLION! That’s how much theft from gas station skimmers cost consumers in 2014. The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) has tips to help you protect yourself when you’re filling up at home or traveling far and wide this summer

Research Reports

TCPA Litigation Sprawl: A Study of the Sources and Targets of Recent TCPA Lawsuits
Becca Wahlquist, Snell & Wilmer LLP and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

In October 2013, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform released a paper entitled The Juggernaut of TCPA Litigation: The Problems With Uncapped Statutory Damages. That paper warned American businesses about the increasing amount of litigation brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), highlighted the emerging trends towards litigation abuse, and called for recommended reforms.