What you need to know about the House’s opening bid to rein in Big Tech

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies before a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in July 2020. | Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The bills have the beginnings of bipartisan support, but will likely need even more to actually pass.

These days, it’s hard to get Democrats and Republicans in Congress to agree on anything.

So it’s notable that Democrats on the Antitrust Subcommittee announced a slew of antitrust legislation today aimed at limiting the power of the tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, specifically — with some bipartisan support from their Republican colleagues. Collectively called “A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, and Choice,” each of the five bills introduced has multiple co-sponsors, including at least one from either side of the aisle.

Broadly, the bills aim at curbing Big Tech’s power by limiting their roles as gatekeepers and their domination of digital markets. The bills also represent the culmination … Read the rest

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The Trump administration forced Apple to turn over lawmakers’ data. Democrats are outraged.

Device metadata from Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was obtained by the Department of Justice. | Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some say it’s an attack on the separation of powers.

Democratic lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the Trump administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and its use of subpoenas to obtain device metadata belonging to at least two members of Congress. They say it’s a disturbing attack on the separation of powers, the principle of keeping the operations of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches generally separate from one another.

The calls for oversight follow a New York Times report revealing that the DOJ made Apple turn over records from several people associated with the House Intelligence Committee — including Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Eric Swalwell, their staff and family, one of whom was a minor — in the midst of an investigation into … Read the rest

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JBS Foods, the meat supplier hit by a ransomware attack, admits it paid $11 million in ransom

The beef aisle of your grocery store might get a little less crowded. | Scotty Perry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, ultimately paid $11 million in ransom.

JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat supplier and a recent ransomware victim, revealed on June 9 that it paid $11 million to hackers. The chief executive of the company’s United States division, Andre Nogueira, said it was a deal to prevent future attacks.

Nogueira told the Wall Street Journal that making the payment was a “very painful” but necessary decision — even though the company was able to restore most of its systems from its own backups. The payments were made in bitcoin, as is typically the case in these attacks. The revelation comes after the CEO of Colonial Pipeline, which was attacked weeks earlier, admitted to paying roughly $4.5 million in ransom and as a spate of … Read the rest

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TikTok’s Trump problem is now TikTok’s Biden problem

President Biden reversed Trump’s executive order attempting to ban social media app TikTok. | Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Biden reversed Trump’s executive order banning TikTok, but he’s still pursuing a broader crackdown on Chinese tech.

It’s official: Biden has reversed Trump’s executive order banning TikTok in the United States, bringing to a close a period of uncertainty over the immediate fate of the wildly popular social media app. But TikTok’s problems with the US government are far from over.

On Wednesday morning, Biden issued an executive order that revoked Trump’s prior executive order banning TikTok over national security concerns. (Trump’s order never actually went into effect because US courts struck it down.) Biden’s executive order also called for a broader US government review of all apps with ties to “a foreign adversary,” like China. This means that TikTok and other Chinese-affiliated companies could potentially face more restrictions in the … Read the rest

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A company you’ve probably never heard of caused half the internet to go dark

Websites, including the New York Times and Amazon, were impacted by the Fastly outage Tuesday morning. | Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Countless websites, including major news outlets, were offline after an outage at Fastly, a cloud computing provider.

Swaths of websites went down on Tuesday morning after an outage at the cloud computing services provider Fastly. Internet users were unable to access major news outlets, e-commerce platforms, and even government websites. Everyone from Amazon to the New York Times to the White House was affected.

At around 6:30 am ET, Fastly said it applied a “fix” to the issue, and many of the websites that went down seemed to be working again as of 9 am ET. Still, the outage highlights how dependent, centralized, and susceptible the infrastructure supporting the internet — especially cloud computing providers that the average user doesn’t directly interact with — actually is. This … Read the rest

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Apple’s iOS 15 will come with better privacy for people who pay for it

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, talking about the latest round of iOS privacy features. | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The next iOS will make it harder for newsletters, marketers, and websites to track you.

Apple announced on Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that its upcoming iOS 15 update will give iPhone users even more insight and control over their own data. Among other updates, you’ll soon be able to see who your apps are sharing your data with; you’ll be able to stop trackers from detecting if and when you open emails; and you’ll be able to keep your internet activity more private. This is good news for you, but not great news for the data brokers that use your data to make money.

To illustrate just how seriously Apple takes its users’ privacy, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig … Read the rest

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Elon Musk says he’s breaking up with bitcoin

With a single tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk can move the crypto market. | Christophe Gateau/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

How Elon Musk affects bitcoin prices, in one chart.

As Elon Musk tweets go, so goes the crypto market. The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been tweeting about crypto a lot, too, sending the price of bitcoin — as well as dogecoin — up and down with fewer than 280 characters.

Musk’s tweets, while not necessarily posted for his own financial gain, can greatly affect investors in cryptocurrency. They also raise questions about the solidity of a market that can be so easily swayed, especially as retail investors increasingly flock to cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase in April became the first major cryptocurrency company to go public in the US, signifying the mainstreaming of blockchain-based currencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin.

Musk’s cryptocurrency tweets in the past few weeks … Read the rest

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Churning Out Success Stories Across Sectors, Startups, Giants

If you notice camera activity at odd hours or at times when you know that nobody is at home, it may be an indication that your system has been compromised.

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Why you can’t write for Bulletin, Facebook’s new Substack clone

Mark Zuckerberg onstage at a 2019 event. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook wants to launch its newsletter product later this month. But it doesn’t want controversial writers using it — just the ones it’s recruiting.

Substack made email newsletters buzzy — and controversial. Then Twitter bought a Substack competitor and launched its own version. Now it’s Facebook’s turn: The social network is prepping its take on subscription newsletters with something called Bulletin. It’s aiming for a launch at the end of June.

Like its competitors, Bulletin is a simple proposition: Find a writer you like who covers something you’re interested in, sign up and receive a regular stream of content in your inbox. Some version of it will be free, and there will also be a paid option at some point.

And the Facebook twist on the product is … Facebook. Specifically, Facebook’s massive reach, with 2.85 billion users … Read the rest

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What Facebook’s two-year Trump ban does and doesn’t do

This is how Donald Trump makes a “Like.” | James Devaney/GC Images

The social network says the former president will receive a two-year ban following his actions surrounding January 6.

Donald Trump’s Facebook ban will last at least two years, the company announced on Friday. Facebook said that the former president’s actions on January 6, which contributed to a violent mob storming Capitol Hill and staging an insurrection that led to five deaths, “constituted a severe violation of our rules,” and that it was enacting this policy change as part of a new approach to public figures during civil unrest.

Facebook added that the two-year sanction constitutes a time period “long enough” to be a significant deterrent to Trump and other world leaders who might make similar posts, as well as enough to allow for a “safe period of time after the acts of incitement.” However, Facebook still has not … Read the rest

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