House passes anti-online sex trafficking bill, allows targeting of websites like Backpage.com
Tom Jackman, The Washington Post
The House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that gives prosecutors, state attorneys general and sex trafficking victims a clearer route to pursue legal action against websites hosting advertisements for prostitutes, which advocates have long argued are a hive for trafficking children. The bill now goes to the Senate, which already has passed a similar version out of committee.
Flying Taxis May Be Years Away, but the Groundwork Is Accelerating
Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times
Flying cars are just starting to inch their way out of science fiction. But that is not stopping some companies from planning for flying taxi services. A growing collection of tech companies, aircraft manufacturers, automakers and investors are betting that fleets of battery-powered aircraft will give rise to air taxi services, perhaps as soon as the next decade.
Pentagon’s $1 Billion Cloud Deal May Signal New Era in Government Buying
Frank Konkel, Nextgov
In early February, a small Virginia-based company—REAN Cloud—that partners with Amazon Web Services announced a nearly $1 billion deal to provide cloud computing services for the Defense Department. The contract caught many industry players by surprise, in part due to the $950 million value and partly because it was awarded without a traditional government procurement.
Conservative groups urge Congress to oppose online sales tax bill
Naomi Jagoda, The Hill
A group of right-leaning organizations are urging Congress members to reject bipartisan legislation that would require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes. The groups — including the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform and Heritage Action for America — are speaking out against a House bill called the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA), as well as similar measures.
Stocks Slide After Powell; Dollar Steady With Oil: Markets Wrap
Robert Brand, Bloomberg
Shares in Europe fell as disappointing Chinese data added to a perceived hawkish tilt in U.S. Federal Reserve policy that weighed on equities in Asia. Benchmark Treasury yields held near a four-year high and the dollar was steady after Tuesday’s jump.
Intellectual Property and Antitrust
The FTC settles with Venmo over a series of privacy and security violations
Sarah Perez, TechCrunch
The FTC announced today it has settled with PayPal over a complaint about the company’s handling of privacy disclosures in its peer-to-peer payments app Venmo, its lack of disclosure over the speed with which customers could access funds, as well as other issues related to the security and privacy of customer transactions. News that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into Venmo’s business were disclosed back in spring 2016, when PayPal revealed through an SEC filing that it was under investigation.
High Court Grapples With Case of Emails Stored Abroad
Brent Kendall and Nicole Hong, The Wall Street Journal
Supreme Court justices voiced concern Tuesday that Microsoft Corp.’s resistance to U.S. search warrants for customer emails stored overseas would hamper criminal investigations, in a case that pits leading tech companies against law enforcement. During an hourlong oral argument, the court considered whether email providers like Microsoft, Yahoo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have to comply with warrants if the government is seeking email messages and other digital files that are stored on computer servers outside the U.S.
Telecom, Wireless and TV
T-Mobile to launch 5G in 30 cities this year, including New York and LA
Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge
T-Mobile will start building out its 5G network this year and plans to be in 30 cities by the end of 2018. The first four of those are being announced today: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas.
Comcast Seeks Control of Broadcaster Sky, Countering Murdoch and Disney
Chad Bray and Michael J. de la Merced, The New York Times
Comcast may have found a way to disrupt Walt Disney Company’s plan to buy most of 21st Century Fox: topping Fox’s bid to buy the British satellite broadcaster Sky with its own $31 billion takeover offer. The bid, plans for which were announced on Tuesday, seizes upon 21st Century Fox’s difficulties buying the piece of Sky that it does not already own.
Moon to get first mobile phone network
Paul Sandle and Eric Auchard, Reuters
The moon will get its first mobile phone network next year, enabling high-definition streaming from the lunar landscape back to earth, part of a project to back the first privately funded moon mission. Vodafone Germany, network equipment maker Nokia and carmaker Audi said on Tuesday they were working together to support the mission, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the moon.
Mobile Technology and Social Media
Facebook Says Trump Paid Slightly Higher Ad Prices Than Clinton
Sarah Frier, Bloomberg
Facebook Inc. wants to set the record straight: presidential candidate Donald Trump spent slightly more per ad on the site than his rival Hillary Clinton did ahead of the general election in 2016. The revelation comes after a former employee wrote an article for Wired that posited a theory: since Facebook ads are sold through a bidding system, and Trump was targeting people in more rural areas, he likely paid less per ad to reach those people.
Amazon buys smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion
Eugene Kim, CNBC
Amazon is buying smart doorbell maker Ring, a deal that will allow the company to expand its home security and in-house delivery services. In an email statement to CNBC, Ring’s spokesperson confirmed the deal, saying: “We’ll be able to achieve even more by partnering with an inventive, customer-centric company like Amazon. We look forward to being a part of the Amazon team as we work toward our vision for safer neighborhoods.”
Facebook’s vaguely worded face recognition “announcement” coincided with a legal setback
Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company
Perhaps you saw a post this morning on your Facebook feed touting face recognition for “more features.” According to the social network, this ability to analyze users’ faces–which before only helped users tag photos–is becoming even more widespread.
Ford Targets Miami to Test Driverless Food Delivery
Tim Higgins, The Wall Street Journal
Ford Motor Co., which is focusing its entry into the driverless-car business on around-town deliveries, has picked Florida’s Miami-Dade County as its first test-bed. Delivery vehicles employed in the test, announced Tuesday, will be dropping off for Domino’s Pizza and for Postmates, a food-delivery service.
California now allows driverless cars without a human behind the wheel
Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica
On Monday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved new rules that would allow self-driving cars to hit the road without a human behind the wheel, ready to take over at any time. The new regulations, which take effect as of April 2, will pave the way for companies like Waymo, Uber, GM, and others to continue autonomous vehicle (AV) testing on the roads of the Golden State and likely will lead to the technology becoming mainstream.
In Japan, Twitter sees a surge of users – and revenue
Sam Nussey and David Ingram, Reuters
Riding a wave of new users, improved advertising options and an embrace of video content by users and advertisers alike, Twitter Inc’s revenue has leaped in Japan, helping lead the company to its first quarterly profit. Earlier this month Twitter reported that sales in Japan jumped 34 percent in the last three months of 2017, compared with a year earlier, to $106 million.
Cybersecurity and Privacy
U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election
Cynthia McFadden et al., NBC News
The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials. Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.
Palantir Has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Its Predictive Policing Technology
Ali Winston, The Verge
In May and June 2013, when New Orleans’ murder rate was the sixth-highest in the United States, the Orleans Parish district attorney handed down two landmark racketeering indictments against dozens of men accused of membership in two violent Central City drug trafficking gangs, 3NG and the 110ers. Members of both gangs stood accused of committing 25 murders as well as several attempted killings and armed robberies.
How government data is at risk
Chase Gunter, FCW
Open data advocates and former government employees have concerns about the fate of open government data, given budget and staffing cuts and the politicization of science and health care policy. At a Feb. 27 event hosted by the nonprofit Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation, Paul Farber, the managing director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Program in the Environmental Humanities, characterized the federal stances on data to date as “a mixed bag.”
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
It’s Time for Congress to Enact Bipartisan Legislation to Secure a Free & Open Internet
Cinnamon Rogers, Morning Consult
While many opinions exist about the Federal Communications Commission’s recent action on net neutrality, nearly everyone seems to agree that members of Congress should work together to resolve this issue once and for all. And now, with the “clock” for judicial review just having been triggered by the FCC’s publication of the new rules, the need for legislative action is growing more urgent.
Apple and Google are letting Iran’s cyber surveillance go unchecked
Amir Basiri, Washington Examiner
For years, the Iranian regime has been struggling to rein-in access to Internet services because it knows full-well providing unharnessed access to the Internet will defeat its censorship machine. The mullahs ruling Iran had a first-hand experience of what the Internet can do in 2009, when images and videos of the regime’s brutality toward peaceful protesters were broadcast worldwide on social media networks.
On Net Neutrality, Forget Blocking And Throttling; The Bigger Challenge Is Information Abundance
Bret Swanson, Forbes
Does anyone, especially the activists urging a Day of Action today, even remember what net neutrality was all about? Whatever substance once animated the movement appears long gone.
Cybersecurity policymaking is out of focus. Bureaucracy hackers can help.
Lisa Wiswell, CyberScoop
The cybersecurity industry is in desperate need of more “bureaucracy hackers” — individuals within federal and state governments who are authorities on the intricacies of policy creation and the nature of today’s rapidly-evolving technology and threat landscapes. To understand why, look no further than Georgia State Bill 315: Introduced in the Georgia state senate earlier this month, the bill has the entire cybersecurity community shaking its head in disbelief.
Insider Threat Predictions for 2018
Haystax Technology Inc. and Crowd Research Partners
This is the season for predic ons, the me when we start imagining how our companies, technologies and market dynamics will evolve in the year to come. Many of the current crop of Top-5 or Top-10 predic on lists are focused on the growing impact of insider threats — those trusted individuals who through malice or negligence or even carelessness cause harm to their organiza on’s nances, IT systems and intellectual property.