FCC Announcement on Net Neutrality Reignites Debate

The Federal Communications Commission announced that it planned to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet, clearing the way for companies to charge more and block access to some websites. The action immediately reignited a loud and furious fight over free speech and the control of the internet, pitting telecom giants like AT&T against Internet giants like Google and Amazon, who warn against powerful telecom gatekeepers. 

Apple Removes Skype from Store in China to Comply with Law

Apple Inc. said it has removed several apps including Skype, Microsoft Corp.’s Internet phone call and messaging service, from its app store in China after the country’s government pointed to violations of local laws. “We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China,” an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters.

Hackers Stole Data on 57M Customers at Uber, Which Hid Theft

Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year. This week, the ride-hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers.

More Travelers Say TripAdvisor Silenced Reports of Crime

An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — published Nov. 1 — revealed that TripAdvisor had deleted reports of rapes, blackouts and other injuries and deaths among travelers vacationing in Mexico. Since then, dozens of more people who have traveled around the world have told the Journal Sentinel that TripAdvisor silenced their reports of disturbing, sometimes terrifying experiences.

Kremlin May Pursue Google if Russian News Sites Ranked Lower

The Kremlin will take action against Alphabet Inc.’s Google if articles from Russian news websites Sputnik and Russia Today are placed lower in search results, the Interfax news service cited Russia’s chief media regulator as saying. Alexander Zharov, head of media regulator Roskomnadzor, said his agency sent a letter to Google requesting clarification on comments Saturday by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt about how the Russian websites would be treated in search, according to Interfax.

Harvard Project Encourages Steps to Prevent Election Hacking

A bipartisan Harvard University project aimed at protecting elections from hacking and propaganda will release its first set of recommendations on how U.S. elections can be defended from hacking attacks. The 27-page guidebook calls for campaign leaders to emphasize security from the start and insist on practices such as two-factor authentication for access to email and documents and fully encrypted messaging via services including Signal and Wickr.

FCC to Unveil Rules Reversing Obama Rules on Net Neutrality

Federal regulators are expected to unveil their plans for reversing Obama-era rules that require Internet-service providers to treat all web traffic equally, a move that could fundamentally reshape the internet economy and consumers’ online experience. The changes, expected to be adopted at the Federal Communications Commission meeting in mid-December, would open the door to a wide range of new opportunities for internet providers, such as forming alliances with content firms to serve up their webpages or video at higher speeds and quality than those without such deals.

Texas Ranger Gets Search Warrant for Church Shooter's iPhone

Texas Rangers investigating the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs have served a search warrant on Silicon Valley giant Apple Inc. and are seeking digital photos, messages, documents and other types of data that might have been stored by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, who was found with an iPhone after he killed himself. Court records obtained by the San Antonio Express-News show Texas Ranger Kevin Wright obtained search warrants on Nov. 9 for files stored on Kelley’s iPhone, a second mobile phone found near his body and for files stored in Kelley’s iCloud account -- Apple’s digital archive that can sync iPhone files.

Tech Companies Increase Lobbying After Hearings on Russia

Major tech companies are beefing up their lobbying amid scrutiny from Congress over their handling of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before lawmakers this month about Russian actors using their platforms to influence the vote and tried to reassure them they were taking steps to address the issue.

Germany’s Telecommunication Agency Bans Smartwatches for Kids

Germany’s telecommunication agency, the Bundesnetzagentur, has banned smartwatches for kids, and is asking parents to destroy them. According to Bleeping Computer, (via Gizmodo) the regulators have deemed smartwatches targeted at kids “prohibitive listening devices” and are asking parents to destroy any smartwatches their kids have and advising schools to pay closer attention to kids with them.

FCC Chair Plans Final Vote on Reversing Net Neutrality Order

The head of the Federal Communications Commission is set to unveil plans for a final vote to reverse a landmark 2015 net neutrality order barring the blocking or slowing of web content, two people briefed on the plans said. In May, the FCC voted 2-1 to advance Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to withdraw the former Obama administration’s order reclassifying internet service providers as if they were utilities.

Amazon Warns Merchants About Changes to Sales Tax Collections

Amazon recently warned its sellers that the company, as of Jan. 1, would be collecting sales tax from merchants who ship orders to its home state, Washington, as it seeks to comply with a state law signed in July. That will be the first time Amazon has collected a state sales tax for the merchants known as marketplace sellers on its site.

White House Releases Rules for When to Disclose Cyber Security Flaws

The Trump administration publicly released its rules for deciding whether to disclose cyber security flaws or keep them secret, in an effort to bring more transparency to a process that has long been cloaked in mystery. The move is an attempt by the U.S. government to address criticism that it too often jeopardizes internet security by stockpiling the cyber vulnerabilities it detects in order to preserve its ability to launch its own attacks on computer systems.

Tech Trade Groups Concerned About Copyright in NAFTA Talks

The technology industry is mobilizing to push the Trump administration over concerns on copyright matters in discussions to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Top technology trade associations, which lobby on behalf technology firms’ political interests, say in a letter they’re concerned that NAFTA renegotiation discussions are going in the wrong direction on copyright provisions.

Trump Adviser Insists Tech Companies Engaging with White House

A top adviser to President Trump says that despite appearances, technology firms are actually interacting with the administration more than they let on. Reed Cordish, who advises Trump on tech policy, said that even though the administration has decreased its “photo opportunity ‘council meetings,’” with top firms, businesses are still talking one-on-one meetings to advise the president on specific policy issues.