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Tech Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week In Review

Trump’s election and tech’s reaction

Silicon Valley executives, who contributed millions of dollars to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, reacted with disbelief and shock to the White House election results. Donations from the internet industry came in at 114 times the level for Clinton as they did for President-elect Donald Trump.

AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. shares slid following Trump’s victory, as investors are skeptical that his administration will allow the two companies to complete their proposed $85 billion merger.

Tech and telecom industry groups offered comments of congratulations Wednesday and called for Trump and congressional lawmakers in both parties to work together on issues such as broadband deployment, STEM education and intellectual property.

Cybersecurity

Yahoo Inc. said some of its employees knew of the 2014 state-sponsored hack affecting at least 500 million user accounts soon after it occurred. Yahoo also warned its investors that Verizon Communications Inc. could try renegotiate or terminate a pending $4.8 billion deal to acquire the firm’s core business because of the 2014 hack.

Individuals working at Washington-based think tanks and nongovernmental organizations were targeted the day after U.S. elections by one of the two Russian-backed hacking groups that breached Democratic National Committee networks earlier this year. The hackers sent malware-laden emails to people who worked at the Brookings Institution, the Rand Corporation, the Atlantic Council and other organizations.

Business

Three Facebook users sued the company in a federal district court over Facebook’s advertising practices that allegedly discriminate on the basis of race. The lawsuit says Facebook’s option to exclude certain racial groups from housing advertisements violates the Federal Housing Act. The company later said it will no longer permit companies to use its “ethnic affinity” tool to target housing, employment or financial advertisements based on race.

A U.S. district court ruled that Amazon must reimburse customers whose children made purchases without their permission on an Amazon app. The judge said Amazon must notify affected customers and allow them to make claims, but the court denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request to compel Amazon to pay a $26.5 million penalty.

Alphabet Inc.’s drone research unit ended a partnership with Starbucks Corp. and told its employees to look for work at other divisions in the company.The decision to slow the drone development program is part of an effort to rein in spending and focus on profitable endeavors.

Twitter Inc. is vetting offers from five companies interested in purchasing Vine, with some of the bids less coming in at less than $10 million.

What’s Ahead

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

The House is scheduled to vote on two telecom-related bills under suspension of the rules this week. One measure, H.R. 2566, would direct the Federal Communications Commission to implement standards to improve phone call reliability in rural areas. The other bill, H.R. 2669, would prohibit individuals or entities abroad from faking their caller ID when sending a call or text message to someone in the U.S. Both pieces of legislation are similar to bills in the Senate that are awaiting votes.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on rules that would impose price caps on business data services, the data lines that traffic information from ATM and retail transactions, among other uses. The rules would put price caps on the services utilizing older technology that run at slower speeds but leave newer Ethernet technology unregulated.

As Trump’s transition team begins the process of building a new administration, attention will turn to who is selected to be the new FCC chairman, and where telecom policy overall is headed under a soon-to-be Republican-led FCC. Whether it comes from the agency or the GOP-controlled Congress, the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules are under threat of being reversed.

Mark Your Calendars (All Eastern Times)

Monday
Internet Caucus Advisory Committee briefing on ransomware 12 p.m.
Freedom House and Google event on online censorship 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday
Bloomberg Government event on federal agencies’ digital enterprise strategy 8 a.m.
Phoenix Center telecom summit 9 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on self-driving cars 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday
Reps. Issa, DelBene speak at Consumer Technology Association IoT event 8 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on IoT cybersecurity 10 a.m.
House Oversight subcommittee hearing on federal IT 10 a.m.
Digital Policy Institute webinar on the video marketplace 2 p.m.
Senate Commerce Committee hearing on augmented reality 3 p.m.
Thursday
FCC monthly meeting 10:30 a.m.
Friday
Politico event on technology in the next administration 8 a.m.

 

Morning Consult Tech Top Reads

1) Trump victory clouds outlook for Time Warner-AT&T, other mergers
Diane Bartz and Olivia Oran, Reuters

2) Russian Hackers Launch Targeted Cyberattacks Hours After Trump’s Win
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice News

3) Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment
Matt Flegenheimer and Michael Barbaro, The New York Times

4) China’s Internet Controls Will Get Stricter, to Dismay of Foreign Business
Paul Mozur, The New York Times

5) Homeland Security says they remain vigilant against Election Day cyberattacks
Julia Boccagno, CBS News

6) Kornbluh, Ness Said to Top List of Clinton FCC Contenders
Kyle Daly, Bloomberg BNA

7) Thune, Walden Will Likely Be Congress’s Internet Gurus
Amir Nasr, Morning Consult

8) Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Discussed As Possible Trump Transition Chair
Michael Calderone, The Huffington Post

9) ‘We Almost Have Riots’: Tensions Flare in Silicon Valley Over Growth
David Streitfeld, The New York Times

10) Silicon Valley Reels in Wake of Trump’s Presidential Victory
Joshua Brustein and Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg News