Executive Briefing October 4, 2018


Financial Times Big tech changes tack on US privacy regulation
In a striking change of approach, executives from Google, Amazon, Twitter and others asked a Senate committee last week for regulation. After the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and, more significantly, new California privacy rules, big tech has decided it wants US politicians to impose a national privacy law.

Reuters Trump administration rejects states’ argument on net neutrality
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai rejected arguments Monday that states should be able to impose their own net neutrality protections after the Trump administration in December withdrew them. The Trump administration late on Sunday filed suit seeking a preliminary injunction to block California’s state net neutrality law from taking effect in January. The court filing came soon after Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation.


ZDNet Microsoft’s efforts for a Digital Geneva Convention get underway
On Saturday, September 29, Microsoft launched the Digital Peace Now initiative, a campaign that aims to get governments around the world to agree on rules for the use of state-sponsored cyber-weapons. Along with the on-stage announcement, Microsoft also launched an online portal where users from all over the world can sign a petition (https://digitalpeace.microsoft.com/) in support of Microsoft’s efforts. Read more about the launch at Microsoft On The Issues.

On MSFT Microsoft adds another TV White Space partner – Redline Communications to offer low cost radio technology
Today, Microsoft has officially announced that they are partnering with Redline Communications, a company focused on bringing broadband to more rural areas in the United States. The Redmond tech giant plans to use vacant television broadcasting frequencies, known as TV White Space, to create a much-faster broadband internet connection to areas that currently don’t have the infrastructure.

Daily Yonder Could TV Whitespace Get Real with Microsoft Initiative?
A year ago Microsoft announced its Airband Initiative, an effort to move TV whitespaces from a good idea to a working technology. The project coordinates smaller Internet service providers, manufacturers, and software vendors around the new technology. Some early signs hint at future successes.

The Hill Protecting online privacy is a nonpartisan no-brainer
Hardly a day goes by that we don’t read or hear about another breach or attack on our sensitive online information. It is, of course, a rare issue that brings together Democrats and Republicans in today’s era of cage-match partisan politics. Yet, the need for a national privacy law is starting to look like one such issue that maybe — just maybe — can bring both parties together in a rare showing of bipartisanship.

Forbes Facebook Faces Class Action Over Security Breach That Affected 50 Million Users
The class action lawsuit, filed by lead plaintiffs Carla Echavarria and Derrick Walker in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that a flaw in Facebook’s code and its “grossly inadequate” security measures have made affected users more susceptible to identity theft. More specifically, the complaint claims that the security breach “allowed hackers and other nefarious users to take over user accounts and siphon off Personal Information for unsavory and illegal purposes.”

The Atlantic ANALYSIS: Tech Was Supposed to Be Society’s Great Equalizer. What Happened?
In the last few years, the most successful tech companies have built a new economy that often accentuates the worst parts of the old world they were bent on replacing. Facebook’s platform amplifies pre-existing biases—both of ideology and race—and political propaganda. Amazon’s dominion over online retail has allowed it to squash competition, not unlike the railroad monopolies of the 19th century. And Apple, in designing the most profitable product in modern history, has also designed another instrument of harmful behavioral addiction.


New America

  • Blog on FCC Section 706 Review: On Monday, OTI submitted reply comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proceeding to determine whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely manner. This review is crucial, as the findings from this process dictate how the FCC approaches policy-making while also providing data to inform the federal government’s decision to allocate funds for broadband deployment. (New America blog – OTI Submits Reply Comments Urging FCC To Strengthen Section 706 Review Process, Oct. 4, 2018)

American Enterprise Institute

  • Blog on US cybersecurity policy: The purpose of this blog, however, is not to debate the merits of the new Trump cyber strategy. It is rather to place the document in the broader context of the larger debate over how the US, its allies, and its adversaries should respond to the technological and strategic challenges of conflicts in cyberspace. (American Enterprise Institute blog – The high-stakes trade-offs for US cybersecurity policy, Oct. 1, 2018)


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