U.S. Sanctions Hacking Groups Linked to WannaCry Ransomware Attacks

The U.S. government sanctioned three hacking groups that allegedly carried out several high-profile cyberattacks under orders from the North Korean government, the Treasury Department said. The groups' exploits allegedly include the WannaCry ransomware attacks and a hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as the theft of millions of dollars from the Central Bank of Bangladesh and similar attempts on banks around the world.

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French Finance Minister Says France Will Block Facebook's Cryptocurrency

Facebook, already dealing with scrutiny and concerns from U.S. lawmakers about its plans for its Libra cryptocurrency, now is facing some hostility from financial corners in Europe. At a financial policy forum in Paris, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France will move to block Facebook from developing Libra in Europe on the grounds that “the monetary sovereignty of (European) countries” is a stake if the tech giant is allowed to proceed with its cryptocurrency plans.

Twitter Deletes Tweet from Lawmaker for Making Violent Threats

Twitter took down a tweet from a Republican state lawmaker in Texas who wrote that his “AR is ready” for former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), the Democratic presidential candidate who at a debate said, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15s." Twitter told The Hill the tweet from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain violated its rules against making violent threats and that it had removed the tweet.

Lawmakers Ask Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google to Disclose Documents

A congressional antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google entered a new phase after lawmakers called on each of the tech giants to turn over a trove of sensitive documents, including top executives’ private communications. The requests sent by Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee ask the companies to share detailed information about their internal operations, including financial data about their products and services, private discussions about potential merger targets and records related to “any prior investigation” they have faced on competition grounds.

Microsoft Lawyer Says Tech Companies Changing Response to User Content

Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said that technology companies are likely to change how they moderate online platforms in response to new laws from foreign governments, regardless of whether U.S. lawmakers act to change a U.S. law that has allowed social media platforms to flourish. Smith said that Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, which says that tech companies cannot be sued for what users of their online platforms say, was a needed law in the late 1990s when it first passed but that technology companies are now more mature and should have a “new level of responsibility” for what is said on their sites.

Facebook Suspends Chatbot on Netanyahu's Page, Citing Hate Speech

Facebook has suspended a chatbot on Benjamin Netanyahu’s official page after it breached hate speech policy by sending visitors a message warning of Arabs who “want to destroy us all.” Battling a tight election race in the run-up to the September 17 polls, the Israeli prime minister has sought to appeal to far-right religious and nationalist voters who fear the political influence of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Apple Reverses Course on New Privacy Rules for Children's Apps

Apple rolled back privacy rules that developers of apps for children had said would hurt their ability to make money and improve their products. The rules, which were originally announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, would have prohibited apps marketed to children from using external analytics software that collects detailed information about who is using the app and would have barred the apps from displaying ads.

Google to Pay $1.1 Billion to Settle Fiscal Fraud Probe in France

Google agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros ($1.10 billion) to French authorities to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago in a deal that may create a legal precedent for other large tech companies present in the country. French investigators have been seeking to establish whether Google, whose European headquarters are based in Dublin, failed to pay its dues to the state by avoiding to declare parts of its activities in the country.

Switzerland Says Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency Faces Extra Regulations

Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency suffered another setback when Switzerland said the proposed payments system could face strict rules that typically apply to banks, on top of tough anti-money laundering laws. The world’s largest social media network announced plans in June to launch the new currency as it expands into e-commerce but Libra has come under fire from regulators around the world who fear it could destabilize the global financial system.

FTC Investigators Interview Small Businesses Selling on Amazon

A team of Federal Trade Commission investigators has begun interviewing small businesses that sell products on Amazon.com Inc. to determine whether the e-commerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition. Several attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting interviews that typically last about 90 minutes and cover a range of topics, according to three merchants.

Senate Panel to Hear from Google, Facebook, Twitter About Terrorism

Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc will testify before a U.S. Senate panel on efforts by social media firms to remove violent content from online platforms, the panel said in a statement. The Sept. 18 hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee follows growing concern in Congress about the use of social media by people committing mass shootings and other violent acts.

Cloudflare Says It May Have Violated U.S. Economic, Trade Sanctions

Cloudflare Inc., a provider of cloud-based networking and cybersecurity services, may have violated U.S. economic and trade sanctions regulations, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing. The San Francisco-based technology company, which is expected to go public as early as this week, has voluntarily disclosed potential economic and trade sanctions violations to the Treasury Department, the company said in documents that declared the company’s intention to go public.

Australia Takes Lead in Denying Terrorists an Online Platform

Australia, spurred to act after one of its citizens was charged in the Christchurch attacks, has gone further than almost any other country in ways to stem the loathsome tide of conspiracy theorists and racist manifestos online.The government is now using the threat of fines and jail time to pressure platforms like Facebook to be more responsible, and it is moving to identify and block entire websites that hold even a single piece of illegal content.

Consumer Watchdog Files FTC Complaint Over YouTube Channel Ryan ToysReview

The mega-popular kids YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview has been accused of tricking preschoolers into watching ads in a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission by a consumer watchdog. The channel stars Ryan, a 7-year-old who has been YouTubing since 2015. His account is run by his parents, who began filming their son playing with and unboxing toys when he was a toddler.

Internet Groups Push Lawmakers to Pass Updated N. American Trade Pact

The U.S. tech industry is pushing Congress to pass President Trump's revised North American trade pact, arguing the stalled legislation would modernize trade law to accommodate the digital economy. A broad coalition of tech trade groups in a letter argued the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rewrite includes language that would "set a new, global standard for rules that will benefit digital trade and e-commerce."

Business Roundtable Asks Congress for Federal Privacy Legislation

In a letter signed by more than 50 CEOs, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and AT&T's Randall Stephenson, the industry leaders called for federal privacy legislation that would "strengthen consumer trust and establish a stable policy environment." The letter came from the CEO group Business Roundtable, and was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

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