EU's Vestager to Take Lead Role on Digital Affairs, in Addition to Antitrust

Margrethe Vestager was picked by EU Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to be her executive vice president in charge of the bloc’s digital affairs –- a post that will hand the Dane oversight of issues relating to artificial intelligence, big data, innovation and cybersecurity. Even more concerning for those hoping to avoid billion-dollar fines, Vestager, 51, will also keep her job as one of the most feared antitrust regulators.

Report Accuses Apple, Foxconn of Labor Violations in China

A report released by China Labor Watch, a nonprofit advocacy group, accused Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn of a litany of labor violations, including withholding bonus payments, rolling back safety training and employing more temporary workers than China’s laws allow. The report was based on observations and documents gathered by undercover investigators working at China’s biggest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou.

U.S. Charges Chinese Professor in Texas Accused of Stealing for Huawei

The U.S. has filed criminal charges against a Chinese professor in Texas who had earlier been accused in a civil suit of stealing a U.S. startup’s technology for China’s Huawei Technologies Co., marking an escalation of the Justice Department investigations into issues related to the telecom giant. The criminal complaint against Bo Mao doesn’t mention Huawei by name, but the case it lays out closely parallels a civil suit filed by Silicon Valley’s CNEX Labs Inc. against Huawei.

State Attorneys General Announce Investigations of Google, Facebook

The state attorneys general from four dozen states officially declared that they were beginning investigations into the market power and corporate behavior of big tech companies. The formal declaration, delivered from the steps of the United States Supreme Court by a bipartisan group of state officials, adds investigative muscle and political momentum to the intensifying scrutiny of the tech giants by federal watchdog agencies and Congress.

Judge Orders Facebook to Face Lawsuit Over Third-Party Data Viewing

A federal judge ordered Facebook to face most of a nationwide lawsuit seeking damages for letting third parties such as Cambridge Analytica access users’ private data, calling the social media company’s views on privacy “so wrong.” While dismissing some claims, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said users could try to hold Facebook liable under various federal and state laws for letting app developers and business partners harvest their personal data without their consent on a “widespread” basis.

Russia Says Google, Facebook Allowed Political Ads Despite Ban

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said tech giants Google and Facebook had allowed political advertising during regional elections despite being asked to ban such publicity. “Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation”, the watchdog said on its website.

Apple Accuses Google of 'Stoking Fear Among all iPhone Users'

Apple says that the iPhone vulnerabilities disclosed by Google were targeted at the Uighur ethnic group, an oppressed minority in China, and were not as widespread as the Internet search giant had claimed. Apple criticized its rival Google for “stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised,” noting that the revelation came six months after Apple had patched its software.

Eight States, D.C. Disclose Antitrust Investigation of Facebook

Facebook is under antitrust investigation by the attorneys general of eight states and Washington, D.C., the second such probe it is facing amid a growing backlash against U.S. tech giants — and likely among the first in a wave of upcoming announcements about similar actions. New York Attorney General Letitia James said that she is leading the investigation.

Justice Department Requests Documents from Google in Antitrust Probe

Google said that the Justice Department has requested records related to its prior antitrust investigations, marking the tech giant’s first major acknowledgment that it’s a subject of a federal competition probe. The civil-investigative demand — acknowledged in a securities filing and a blog post — comes weeks after Justice Department officials said they would open a broad review of big tech, including search.

Web Server Exposes Data on Job Applicants, Including from Monster

An exposed web server storing résumés of job seekers — including from recruitment site Monster — has been found online. The server contained résumés and CVs for job applicants spanning 2014 and 2017, many of which included private information like phone numbers and home addresses, but also email addresses and a person’s prior work experience.

Senator Raises Privacy Concerns About Ring Doorbell Sharing with Police

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is seeking answers from the doorbell-camera firm Ring about its hundreds of video-sharing partnerships with U.S. police agencies, citing “serious privacy and civil liberties concerns” that he said could put people at risk. In a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, whose company bought Ring last year, Markey requested details on the company’s coordination with law enforcement, its marketing to consumers and the more than 400 police partnerships it has across the country.

419 Million Facebook Records Exposed on Unprotected Server

Hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts have been found online. The exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.

Federal Law Enforcement Officials Meet with Tech Firms to Discuss Election

Federal law enforcement officials huddled with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter to discuss election security ahead of the 2020 presidential race, according to several U.S. and industry sources, amid heightened concerns that social-media sites are still vulnerable to the spread of disinformation online. The meeting at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley included security officials from each of the four tech companies as well as representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI, the sources said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting on record.

Google Agrees to $170 Million Fine for YouTube Children's Privacy Violations

Google agreed to pay a record $170 million fine and make changes to protect children’s privacy on YouTube, as regulators said the video site had knowingly and illegally harvested personal information from children and used it to profit by targeting them with ads. Critics denounced the agreement, dismissing the fine as paltry and the required changes as inadequate for protecting children’s privacy.

Competition Commissioner Says EU Examining Facebook's Cryptocurrency

EU regulators are examining Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency to see if it harms competition, Europe’s antitrust regulator said, the latest watchdog to voice concerns about the social network’s move into financial services. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said scrutiny was justified even though the new digital coin, to be backed by four official currencies and available to billions of Facebook’s users around the world, has yet to be launched.