Trump pledges to ‘look’ at $10B Pentagon contract amid complaints about Amazon


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President Donald Trump pledged to "take a very strong look" at the $10 billion cloud computing contract the Pentagon plans to award later this year after receiving complaints that the bidding process appeared to be tailored for Amazon.

Trump told reporters Thursday that companies competing against Amazon lodged "tremendous complaints" with the administration over the contract. Oracle, IBM and Microsoft were among the players in an at-times bitter battle for the 10-year contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. Oracle and IBM were eliminated from bidding after failing to meet technical criteria earlier this year, while Microsoft is Amazon’s sole remaining rival in the contest.

"They are saying it wasn’t competitively bid," Trump said at the White House. "Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it."

Oracle has been the most vocal about its issues with the contracting process and brought a Continue reading “Trump pledges to ‘look’ at $10B Pentagon contract amid complaints about Amazon”

Twitter outage strikes amid White House social media summit


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Twitter experienced an outage this afternoon just as the White House gathered right-wing personalities for a summit focused on allegations of social media bias against conservatives.

"We are currently investigating issues people are having accessing Twitter, and we’ll keep you updated on what’s happening," a company spokesperson told POLITICO.

Before the outage, attendees had been tweeting selfies and observations as they waited for the White House program to start.

The White House is convening some of Twitter’s most vocal critics, who contend the company punishes conservative users through "shadow banning" by making their accounts more difficult to follow and their posts more difficult to find.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

Twitter outage strikes amid White House social media summit


This post is by Steven Overly from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post





Twitter experienced an outage this afternoon just as the White House gathered right-wing personalities for a summit focused on allegations of social media bias against conservatives.

"We are currently investigating issues people are having accessing Twitter, and we’ll keep you updated on what’s happening," a company spokesperson told POLITICO.

Before the outage, attendees had been tweeting selfies and observations as they waited for the White House program to start.

The White House is convening some of Twitter’s most vocal critics, who contend the company punishes conservative users through "shadow banning" by making their accounts more difficult to follow and their posts more difficult to find.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

Social media gadflies gather for airing of grievances with Trump


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President Donald Trump is bringing some of social media’s most divisive right-wing personalities to the White House on Thursday to air their complaints against the same online platforms he wields so often.

Nobody from Facebook, Twitter or Google has been invited to attend the gathering— raising doubts that any serious change will result from what the White House has billed as a discussion of “opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.” Instead, the guests confirmed so far are prominent boosters of the allegation that social media platforms systematically blacklist and stifle conservative voices, a theme that Trump himself has increasingly sounded as the 2020 election has begun to heat up.

"A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies," Trump said Thursday morning via Twitter — one of the Silicon Valley giants he has Continue reading “Social media gadflies gather for airing of grievances with Trump”

Facebook unveils plans to fight misinformation about census


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Facebook on Sunday announced it’s developing a plan to stop misinformation aimed at keeping people from participating in the 2020 census, the results of which will shape American political districting for a decade.

The company said it will release a policy this fall that prohibits users from misrepresenting "census requirements, methods or logistics," and will deploy algorithms to detect and delete census-related misinformation. It will also appoint a manager to oversee its "census interference policy" and train staff to specifically handle census-related ads and content. Facebook detailed its plans in a 26-page update to an ongoing civil rights audit published Sunday, part of a broader effort to tackle civil rights concerns that advocates have raised about the social network.

"It’s important to this census in particular because it’s going to be a digital census, so people are just going to be going online to get information about it," Laura Murphy, Continue reading “Facebook unveils plans to fight misinformation about census”

Huawei sues Commerce Department over seized equipment


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Chinese telecom giant Huawei has filed a civil lawsuit against the U.S. government accusing the Commerce Department of mishandling equipment that it seized from the company in 2017.

According to the complaint filed Friday, the U.S. government took possession of several pieces of equipment, which were being shipped from an independent testing facility in the United States to China, in order to determine if the technology was subject to export controls.

Huawei contends it provided the necessary documentation and was told such disputes are usually resolved in 45 days. Nearly two years later, Huawei believes the equipment is still sitting in an Alaskan warehouse, according to the complaint.

Huawei is not seeking financial compensation but instead wants the court to force the Commerce Department to decide whether export control clearance is necessary and, if not, release the equipment.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department did not immediately respond Continue reading “Huawei sues Commerce Department over seized equipment”

Apple fights to spare iPhone from Trump’s tariffs


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Apple wants U.S. trade officials to exclude the iPhone from President Donald Trump’s latest round of proposed tariffs on Chinese-made goods, as the Silicon Valley giant looks to shield its core product from Trump’s trade war with Beijing.

Apple contends that a tariff on the iPhone and its other devices, such as tablets and computers, would harm its standing in both the U.S. and around the world. In written remarks sent to the U.S. Trade Representative, Apple says it’s responsible for 2 million jobs across the United States and reminds the government it pledged to invest $350 billion in the U.S. over five years after Trump passed corporate tax reform in 2017.

"U.S. tariffs on Apple’s products would result in a reduction of Apple’s U.S. economic contribution" and "weigh on Apple’s global competitiveness," the company wrote in the comments, which were made public Thursday.

Continue reading “Apple fights to spare iPhone from Trump’s tariffs”

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Trump as tariffs loom


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President Donald Trump told reporters he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the White House today, though it was not immediately clear what the pair discussed.

Cook’s visit comes as Trump is threatening to impose tariffs on roughly $300 billion worth of goods imported from China, including Apple’s flagship iPhone. The U.S. trade representative is currently in the process of determining what products will be spared.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, praised Cook during a separate White House gathering today for his participation in the administration’s workforce development initiatives, saying “he’s been a real force on both the advisory board and in his commitment to lifelong learning generally."

Cook has emerged as Apple’s highest profile and most effective lobbyist since Trump took office. The soft-spoken CEO has been willing to engage directly and publicly with Trump and his top advisers in a fashion that Continue reading “Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Trump as tariffs loom”

Why breaking up Facebook won’t be easy


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The idea of breaking up Facebook is gaining attention like never before — from the campaigns of presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to the stunning proposal from Chris Hughes, one of the social network’s cofounders, to split the company apart to curb its “monopoly” power.

But busting up the nation’s tech giants would be much harder than making a campaign pledge. Corporate breakups are a huge, and rare, undertaking for the government, and a social media company like Facebook presents unique challenges that didn’t exist with past antitrust successes like the dismembering of AT&T in the 1980s.

Here are some of the obstacles standing in the way of turning this rallying cry into reality:

1) Proving Facebook is a monopoly

The social network is certainly big and powerful — with more than 2 billion users worldwide, a huge share of online advertising revenue and tentacles that include Continue reading “Why breaking up Facebook won’t be easy”

How Silicon Valley gamed the world’s toughest privacy rules


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When Europe’s tough privacy rules came into force on May 25, 2018, policymakers and industry executives expected a series of dominoes would soon start to fall.

Global technology giants like Facebook would feel the heat of fines of up to 4 percent of their total yearly revenue. Companies like Google would think twice before pushing ahead with aggressive new ways of collecting people’s data. Smaller rivals would be given greater space to compete.

But a year later, none of those dominoes has yet fallen, according to interviews with senior policymakers, tech executives and privacy campaigners.

Big fines and sweeping enforcement actions have been largely absent, as under-resourced European regulators struggle to define their mission — and take time to build investigations that will probably end up in court.

New forms of data collection, including Facebook’s reintroduction of its facial recognition technology in Europe and Google’s efforts to harvest information on Continue reading “How Silicon Valley gamed the world’s toughest privacy rules”

Trump solicits examples of political bias on social media


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The Trump administration is asking social media users to report directly to the White House if they believe companies like Facebook and Twitter have punished them for their political views.

In an online form shared with the White House’s 18.5 million Twitter followers, the administration asks people to "share your story" of political bias directly with the president.

"SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies," the website declares.

What follows is a form asking your name, citizenship, age and contact information, then a description of how you’ve been targeted by social media platforms and a link to the relevant account, as well as screenshots of communication from the companies. It then asks if the administration can follow up with the user via email.

Neither the form nor the White Continue reading “Trump solicits examples of political bias on social media”

Supreme Court rules against Apple in dispute over app prices


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The Supreme Court delivered a legal blow to Apple Monday morning in a ruling that states consumers who have made purchases through the company’s App Store can sue the iPhone maker for possible antitrust violations.

The consumers who brought the case, Apple v. Pepper, argue they pay artificially inflated prices for apps because Apple requires developers to sell them through its App Store, then collects a 30 percent cut of each purchase. For its part, Apple argued that developers alone set app prices and the company cannot be held responsible for them — a position that was backed by the Trump administration.

In a 5-4 split, the Supreme Court determined that Apple’s arguments did not withstand legal scrutiny. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the bench’s more liberal associate justices, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, in the court’s ruling.

The decision could expose Apple, Continue reading “Supreme Court rules against Apple in dispute over app prices”

Facebook co-founder calls on the government to break up the company


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A Facebook co-founder in a New York Times editorial today declared the social networking giant has become a monopoly with too much unchecked power and said the federal government needs to break up the company.

The lengthy and pointed criticism from Chris Hughes, who left the company in 2007 and no longer owns stock, makes him the most high-profile Facebook veteran to call attention to the shortcomings of the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

"We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American," Hughes writes. "It is time to break up Facebook."

Hughes proposes spinning off Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp into separate companies, unwinding mergers he argues the Federal Trade Commission should never have allowed. Facebook should also be banned from making additional acquisitions for several years, he Continue reading “Facebook co-founder calls on the government to break up the company”

Why Facebook hired a Patriot Act author and privacy activist


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Facebook’s hiring spree in Washington is causing a serious case of whiplash.

The embattled company this week tapped both a Trump administration official known for helping to write the PATRIOT Act and a privacy advocate who vigorously opposed the law’s expansion of government surveillance — sending mixed signals as it tries to reassure regulators and lawmakers about its handling of data on its more than 2 billion users.

The social networking giant on Monday brought on Jennifer Newstead, a Trump-appointed State Department official whose long record in Washington includes shepherding the George W. Bush-era PATRIOT Act through Congress. The law greatly expanded the government’s ability to access records on Americans in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — ushering in a sweeping surveillance regime that later came under fierce criticism from civil liberties groups.

On Tuesday, Kevin Bankston, the executive director of the left-leaning Open Technology Institute, joined

Continue reading “Why Facebook hired a Patriot Act author and privacy activist”

Bezos keeps control of Amazon stock, Washington Post in divorce agreement


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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will keep control over his stock in the e-commerce giant, as well as the Washington Post and space flight company Blue Origin, under the terms of his divorce agreement.

In social media posts, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos outlined the terms of the deal. Jeff Bezos will retain 75 percent of the couple’s stock and have voting rights over the remaining shares that go to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Those terms, which were also described in an SEC filing, lay to rest key questions about how the high-profile divorce will affect the companies that Bezos oversees.

"Excited about my own plans," MacKenzie Bezos tweeted. "Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next."

The pair in January announced their split after 25 years of marriage, pledging in a tweet to "remain cherished friends." It later emerged in a National Enquirer report that Jeff Continue reading “Bezos keeps control of Amazon stock, Washington Post in divorce agreement”

Trump: Google CEO ‘totally committed’ to U.S., not Chinese, military


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President Donald Trump met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai Wednesday amid growing Pentagon criticism that the company is pursuing research projects in China while withdrawing from work with the U.S. Defense Department.

"Just met with @sundarpichai, President of @Google, who is obviously doing quite well," Trump tweeted. "He stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military…."

Google has faced sharp criticism in recent days from Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for pulling back from Defense Department work, particularly involving artificial intelligence, while continuing to pursue AI research interests in China. Dunford and Pichai were also slated to meet Wednesday.

Trump has spent months amplifying GOP criticism of Google, Facebook and Twitter for allegedly being biased against conservative views — a charge the companies deny. Some Republicans have accused Google of suppressing search results that show Continue reading “Trump: Google CEO ‘totally committed’ to U.S., not Chinese, military”

Zuckerberg teases privacy-focused overhaul for Facebook


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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today disclosed plans to make the various platforms the sprawling social media giant operates more private and secure in the wake of multiple data privacy scandals that have prompted calls for regulation from lawmakers around the globe.

The changes will include giving people more ways to communicate privately and encrypting messages so that even Facebook cannot read them, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. Facebook already offers individual and small-group communication through Messenger and WhatsApp, and Zuckerberg said he expects those to "become the main ways people communicate on the Facebook network."

But encryption also makes the digital communication of bad actors less visible, Zuckerberg acknowledged. That could complicate the company’s efforts to root out disinformation, harassment and other ills being amplified on the social network.

"Finding the right ways to protect both privacy and safety is something societies have historically grappled with," he wrote. Continue reading “Zuckerberg teases privacy-focused overhaul for Facebook”

Canada approves extradition process for Huawei executive


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Canada said Friday it would launch proceedings to extradite a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei to the United States — setting the stage for a lengthy diplomatic dust-up among the three countries and threatening to throw a wrench into U.S.-China trade talks.

The Justice Department has accused Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran by deliberately misleading banks about the company’s business dealings there. Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

Canadian officials conducted a "thorough and diligent review of the evidence" and determined it was sufficient to present the case to a judge for extradition, the Canadian Justice Department said in a news release. The move does not reflect a judgment that Meng is either guilty or innocent, the government said.

The case has stoked tensions among the U.S., Canada and China since Meng was Continue reading “Canada approves extradition process for Huawei executive”

Trump says Huawei charges on the table in China trade talks


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President Donald Trump on Friday suggested that criminal charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei and one of its top executives could be used as a bargaining chip in his administration’s ongoing trade negotiations with China.

“We’re going to be discussing all of that during the course of the next couple of weeks," Trump told reporters at the White House. "We’ll be talking to the U.S. attorneys. We’ll be talking to the attorney general. We’ll be making that decision. Right now, it’s not something we’ve discussed."

Chinese officials have been in Washington this week trying to hammer out a deal that would eliminate the tariffs Trump has imposed on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

In January, the Justice Department accused Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and stealing intellectual property from U.S. companies. Meng, the daughter of Continue reading “Trump says Huawei charges on the table in China trade talks”

Netflix in advanced talks to join major Hollywood lobbying group


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Netflix is in advanced talks to join the Motion Picture Association of America as the streaming video giant rapidly expands the number of original television series and feature films it is producing around the globe, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

The addition would mark the first time an internet-based service will join the 97-year-old trade association, which represents six legacy Hollywood studios. The move will likely surprise many observers as the traditional media and tech industries have a longstanding and politically hostile feud over copyright protections.

But MPAA would in many ways be a natural fit for Netflix, which has dramatically expanded its production arm in recent years. The streaming service now creates hundreds of television programs and movies each year in markets around the globe, distributing them to a growing subscriber base that now includes nearly 140 million paid streaming customers.

In that way, Netflix and Continue reading “Netflix in advanced talks to join major Hollywood lobbying group”