Mary Madden (@mary_madden) is a veteran technology researcher, writer and public speaker, having studied trends in American internet users’ behaviors and attitudes for more than a decade. With the support of a grant from the Digital Trust Foundation, she is currently leading a Data & Society initiative to understand the privacy and security experiences of low-socioeconomic status populations.
Mary is also an Affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University where she has collaborated with the Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Project to apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to study adolescents’ technology use and privacy management on social media. Prior to her role at Data & Society, Mary was a Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. She is a nationally recognized expert on privacy and technology, trends in social media use, and the impact of digital media on teens and parents. Mary is also a member of the National Cyber Security Coalition’s Data Privacy Day Advisory Committee and the Research Advisory Committee for the Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams Project.
Privacy, Security and Digital Inequality by Mary Madden (Data & Society, 2017)
Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
Ahead of appearances before the House and Senate intelligence Committees this coming Wednesday, social media giants appear to be tidying up. Reddit has announced that it will now ban content from Nazi and alt-right groups. Twitter announced that it will now ban the online media outlets RT and Sputnik. Twitter says the two sites are platforms for Kremlin messaging. Both Facebook and Twitter said that they will be more transparent about who is placing political ads on their platforms. The companies said they will begin to include links and other information enabling users to know who sponsored a political ad. The companies will also vet advertisers to weed out bots. But some Senators, including Virginia's Mark Warner are noting that explicit ads may only represent a tiny percentage of ad spend. Many expenditures, they say, are coming from content that appears to be legit--organic content designed to stoke emotions in favor of a political party.
Mark Zuckerberg also upped his pr game last week. The Hill reports that Zuckerberg will be investing $45 million of his own money to address mass incarceration and the housing crisis.
Still, however, Facebook is expected to reveal at Wednesday's hearings that the number of views Russia-sponsored ads garnered is closer to 126 million. This is compared to the 10 million views it initially reported.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is also demanding that Twitter turn over information about Russia-linked accounts that targeted her. The Congresswoman said that she noticed several mysterious accounts tweeting lies about her every time she tweeted something negative about Donald Trump.
On top of everything else, Axios and Survey Monkey released a study saying 54% of Americans think the issue of Russian meddling is a "serious issue". However, those results were along party lines with Democrats tending to think the issue is more serious than do Republicans.
Apple is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in and prevent a shareholder proposal from taking effect which would base the assessment of the CEO's performance, in part, on the diversity of the ranks of Apple's senior executive team. The shareholder cohort that is pushing for the measure is said to hold almost $10 billion in Apple shares. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.
On July 3rd, election reform advocates concerned about the impact of Russian influence on the 2016 election filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia which attempted to force the state to retire its antiquated election technology. And then Kennesaw State University, which runs the state election system, wiped everything on the voting system clean. The FBI is said to have taken a back-up image of the system back in March. But advocates say the State of Georgia must have had something to hide. Frank Bajak reports for the Associated Press on widespread concerns that outdated election systems in voting districts throughout the country may already be compromised by Russian actors and others seeking to undermine the electoral system.
Former Facebook employees are suing the company for deliberately evading overtime pay laws by misclassifying them as managers. David Kravets reports in Ars Technica.
Uber is facing yet another discrimination lawsuit. This time, Latina engineers accuse Uber of not promoting or paying them at a rate that is comparable to their male, white and Asian counterparts. Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg.
U.S. Air Force training slides obtained by a surveillance researcher at Human Rights Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request show the U.S. expanded its surveillance of suspected "homegrown violent extremists" in August of last year. The guidance states that physical or digital surveillance of such suspects is authorized whether or not they're tied to a foreign terrorist organization. Dustin Volz reports in Reuters.
The FCC announced its agenda for its November 16th Open meeting. Trump's FCC plans to eliminate the media ownership rule that prevents a company from owning a full power TV station and newspaper in the same market. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also wants to place a cap on Lifeline subsidies for low-income broadband subscribers. That subsidy now stands at $9.95/month. The cap would limit the availability of Lifeline support to new subscribers. Brian Fung reports for the Washington Post and Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica.
The Information Technology Industry Council, which boasts tech giants Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others as members, released a set of guiding principles around the industry's development of artificial technology. ITI President Dean Garfield says the framework is intended to eliminate harmful bias, prejudice and discrimination from AI algorithms. Will Yakoqicz reports in Inc.
SoftBank is ending its plan to merge its Sprint unit with T-Mobile, according to a report in the Asian Review. This is the second time Softbank has abandoned its effort to acquire T-Mobile. The first time was during the Obama administration when the deal would have been faced with much harsher scrutiny.
Larry Miller (@larrysmiller) is a Clinical Music Associate Professor and Director of the Music Business Program at NYU. He is also a music and technology entrepreneur and advisor and host of the Musonomics podcast. He advises music creators and rights holders on public policy and litigation. Additionally, he has provided expert testimony before the Copyright Royalty Board and in arbitration. Larry supports media and technology companies and their financial sponsors on capital formation and growth strategy. Further, he advises on digital product & service development, as well as acquisitions and restructuring. Previously, Larry was a Partner at L.E.K. Consulting and a senior member of the firm’s media and entertainment practice. He later served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of MediaNet.
Larry founded and operated Or Music, a Grammy Award winning independent record label and music publisher where he signed, recorded and published multi-platinum artists Los Lonely Boys and Matisyahu; he was Vice President of Market Development at AT&T Labs Research, and began his career as a broadcaster at Tribune, NBC Radio Entertainment and WHTZ/Z100 New York, regarded as the most successful startup in U.S. radio history as the station went from “worst to first” within 72 days of signing-on in the country’s most competitive radio market.
Larry has commented on CBS, ABC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News and NPR; in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time, Business Week, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Billboard. His article "Metadata: How to Develop the Foundation for the Music Business of Tomorrow" was published in The Licensing Journal and is available to NYU students on BobCat.
He earned an MBA at Columbia Business School, and previously served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty member in the Music Business program at NYU-Steinhardt.
Paradigm Shift: Why Radio Must Adapt to the Rise of Digital by Larry S. Miller
The Sound Machine:Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook
Five Senators--3 Democrat and 2 Republican--unveiled a new bill that would require sites with more than 50 million visits per month to follow the same political ad disclosure rules that broadcasters follow. It would require disclosures for sponsored posts in addition to explicit ads. Sites would be required to include clear and conspicuous language stating which candidate sponsored the content. Further, it would require sites to keep a record of anyone who attempted to purchase a political placement worth $500 or more. The bill is supported by Senators Klobuchar, Warner, Kilmer, McCain and Coffman.
Major tech companies have lined up in support of young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The companies will be lobbying Congress for bipartisan legislation to allow so-called "Dreamers" to continue working in the U.S. President Trump decided in September to allow the Dreamers program, which began under the Obama administration, to expire in March of next year. This would affect some 900,000 immigrants. Salvador Rodriguez and Jeffrey Dastin cover this in Reuters.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter are planning to send their General Counsels to the Nov. 1st House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russia's use of the platforms to influence the 2016 election. Critics say the company should instead be sending executives with more technical expertise. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week proposed new controls to protect the nation's electrical grid from hacks. Experts have long worried about the effect an attack on the electrical grid might have on everything from the water supply to cars. The proposed rulemaking focuses on mitigating the impact of malicious transient devices, like laptops and mobile phones. Back in January, the Department of Energy released a report warning of an imminent danger to the electrical grid from cyberattacks. Naureen Malik reports in Bloomberg.
The FCC's Media Bureau has pushed back the deadline for the public to submit comments regarding the Sinclair-Tribune merger. The public now has until November 2 to weigh in. Harper Neidig has the story in the Hill.
The European Union has found that the Privacy Shield framework it agreed to with the U.S. last year is working adequately. The Privacy Shield requires the U.S. to ensure the private information of European citizens is adequately protected when it reaches the U.S. However, the first annual report does make some recommendations. It notes that the U.S. could do a better job informing European citizens of their right to redress. Additionally, it says that U.S. agencies should do more to coordinate their compliance efforts. Joe Uchill reports in the Hill.
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded CNN with the first unlimited waiver of rules pertaining to drone flights over crowds. The FAA generally prohibits drone flights over crowds for safety reasons. However, CNN's 1.37 pound Snap drone's rotors are internal and it is designed to break apart in the event of a crash. Alan Levin reports for Bloomberg.
Amazon's Whole Foods announced that the data breach it reported last month affected about 100 of its taprooms. Hackers stole cardholder names, account numbers and security codes. The hack did not affect purchases made in Whole Foods retail stores or purchases made on Amazon.com. Heatlher Haddon reports on the Wall Street Journal.
Jason Resendez (@jason_r_dc) directs the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Network. LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's is the nation’s first-ever coalition of Latino organizations focused on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease within the Latino community. Previously, Jason served as senior manager of strategic partnerships at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR is the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization. Prior to NCLR, he served as the director of corporate relations and development at LULAC National Educational Service Centers Inc. (LNESC). LULAC is the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organization. Jason has written about Latino issues for national and regional media outlets. Those outlets include NBC News, Huffington Post, and the El Paso Times. He graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government.
Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
Researchers at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium have discovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol that secures most modern Wi-Fi connections. The researchers call the proof-of-concept exploit KRACK, or Key Reinstallation attacks. What it does is it tells devices connecting to the network to reinstall the network key and replace the password with all zeros. This lets in criminals to steal essentially anything off of your computer. The hack is particularly effective against Android and Linux devices, although other devices aren't immune. Further, websites encrypted with https protocol are also vulnerable. Fortunately, you can still install updates even if your device has already been hacked using this method. Dan Goodin explains in Ars Technica.
In closed-door meetings, the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg last week. According to Politico, the CBC blasted Facebook for allowing Russian operatives to place ads designed to stoke racial resentment.
The ads were intended to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. Additionally, the CBC challenged Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg about the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at the company. CBC Chair Cedric Richmond pointed to a persistent lack of staff and board diversity.
Further, Sandberg met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. In addition to the diversity CBC raised issues, CHC reportedly focused on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the status of 700,000 Dreamers. Heather Caygle and Elana Schor report in Politico. Also, Olivia Beavers reports in the Hill that Pinterest has joined a growing list of companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, that reported ads and content tied to Russia during last year's election cycle.
The Federal Election Commission has opened a rulemaking on disclosure rules for online political ads. Facebook and Google had both received exemptions from the existing rules during the 2012 election cycle. Comments are due November 9th. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding whether U.S. law enforcement officials can obtain a warrant to access digital evidence stored abroad. The case against Microsoft is up on appeal from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The Second Circuit had overturned a lower court decision upholding a warrant U.S. prosecutors served on Microsoft. The court issued the warrant for data stored on Microsoft's servers both in the US and in Ireland. Robert Barnes reports in the Washington Post.
The Supreme Court has asked the Department of Justice to weigh in on whether the Court should hear a class-action against Apple. The case involves the 30% commissions Apple charges app developers to be included in the App store. However, customers--people who download the apps--are the ones bringing the class-action. Apple is saying the customers don't have standing since they're not the ones being charged the commission. Andrew Chung has the story in Reuters.
Ali Breland reports in the Hill that Facebook has removed rapper Lil B for posting race related material.
Google announced a job training initiative last week called Grow with Google. Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, said Google will be investing $1 billion over the next 5 years in the effort. The program will allow anyone to access training and professional certificates to improve their businesses.
Karan Chopra (@karchopra) a is Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Opportunity@Work, where he provides leadership on strategic direction and execution of Opportunity@Work’s priorities and the TechHire initiative. He co-founded Opportunity@Work because he believes that meaningful work is not just a matter of economic wellbeing but of individual dignity.
Karan’s career has focused on building entrepreneurial ventures that increase upward mobility and provide opportunity for all. Prior to co-founding Opportunity@Work, Karan was the co-founder and director of GADCO (Global Agri-Development Company) -- a vertically-integrated agri-food business in sub-Saharan Africa. He led the company from business plan to building and operating the largest rice farm in Ghana, developing a processing center and launching a packaged food brand that contributed to domestic food security in Ghana and impacted the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Leading publications and institutions, including World Bank, UNDP, World Economic Forum, Financial Times and Guardian, have featured GADCO.
Karan is also the co-founder of WAVE (West Africa Vocational Education), a social venture tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria. WAVE is empowering West African youth with industry relevant skills and access to jobs while improving outcomes for employers. Prior to this, Karan was at McKinsey & Company where he was awarded the social sector fellowship. Prior to this, Karan was a software developer with Siemens.
Karan holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with highest honors from Georgia Tech and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with high distinction graduating as a Baker Scholar. In 2014, Forbes named Karan in its 2014 list of Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine and selected as a New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Social media companies turned over more evidence linking Russia to ads placed across their platforms. According to the Washington Post, Google reported tens of thousands of dollars worth of Russia-linked ads across YouTube, Gmail and search results. Facebook had reported 10 million views of Russia-linked ads on its platform. And Twitter suspended 201 accounts linked to Russia. Executives from Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, Twitter are scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1st. The House Intelligence Committee has asked the executives to testify in connection with their own investigation the same day. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.
A new report came to light last week that Russia hacked an NSA contractor's home computer back in 2015. We're just finding out about it now, but officials discovered it in Spring 2016. According to the Wall Street Journal, Russia stole sensitive information that lays out how the U.S. hacks into foreign governments' computer networks. The Russian hackers apparently got in via the Kaspersky antivirus software the contractor was running on his computer. A separate Fed Scoop report found that hackers breached the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corp. more than 50 times between 2015 and 2016. Hackers exposed the personal identifying information of hundreds of thousands of Americans in those breaches.
Google's crackdown on fake news is biased against smaller, independent content producers. That's a according to several smaller content producers that have noticed sharp declines in their web traffic. The declines have come since April. That's when Google announced its Project Owl initiative the company says it designed to boost more authoritative content. Daisuke Wakabayashi reports in the New York Times.
The FCC has finally developed a plan to help Puerto Rico's communications infrastructure get back up and running. On the advice of Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC has established a Hurricane Recovery Task Force, which will focus on all Hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico. The FCC has also approved $77 million to help repair Puerto Rico's communications networks. The agency also gave Google an experimental license to deploy its ballon-based communications system dubbed "Project Loon".
The IRS came under fire last week for entering into a $7 million contract with Equifax. The deal was for Equifax to help the IRS prevent tax fraud. The IRS and Equifax signed the agreement just three weeks after the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information of 145 million customers.
The IRS's Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Tribiano told the House Ways and Means Committee that the contract was a "bridge contract." The IRS had put the contract out for rebid and awarded the new contract to Experian. But Equifax protested that decision. As a result, Tribiano said, the IRS was under pressure to sign a bridge contract with Equifax since the existing one was set to expire on September 29th.
Tribiano told members of Congress that if the IRS failed to sign the bridge contract, millions of Americans would be unable to get their credit transcripts. But the Government Accountability Office says the IRS could have moved forward with Experian. It said that the IRS could have moved forward with Experian if it considered doing so to be in the best interests of the United States. The GAO is expected to decide the outcome of Equifax's protest against the Experian award on October 16th.
Backpage.com settled with 3 women who allege they were victims of sex trafficking that the now-defunct site facilitated. The women were between the ages of 13 and 15 when the alleged sex trafficking happened. The court did not disclose the amount of the settlement. The parties settled in Pierce County, Washington Superior Court, which is in the Seattle area. In the meantime, IBM has announced that it is backing Senator Rob Portman's bill to make websites amore accountable for content posted by third parties.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford last week. The key question in the case is whether courts can throw out voting district maps for being too partisan. This will be a landmark decision. The outcome of this case is likely to have huge implications for American democracy for generations to come. But a recent paper published by computer scientists at the University of Illinois proposes letting algorithms do the work of redistricting. Daniel Oberhaus reports in Motherboard.
The European Union has ordered Amazon to pay $295 million in back taxes to Luxembourg. The EU's Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that Luxembourg did not tax almost three quarters of Amazon's profits. Robert-Jan Bartunek reports in Reuters.
Marsha Blackburn announced last week in a YouTube video that she's running for Bob Corker's Senate seat in Tennessee. But Twitter took down Blackburn's campaign ad because in it, she talks about having fought against "the sale of baby body parts".
Verizon announced last week that, back in 2013, hackers compromised ALL of Yahoo's 3 billion accounts. Before the acquisition, Yahoo! had said that the hacks affected just 1 billion accounts. Verizon acquired Amazon earlier this year for $4.5 billion. Nicole Perlroth reports in the New York Times.
One of Donald Trump's main campaign promises was to build a border wall on the U.S./Mexican border. But can iris recognition technology be used instead?
George Joseph (@GeorgeJoseph94) is a reporting fellow at Demos focusing on surveillance, immigration, law enforcement, and the entry of big data in criminal justice systems. His work has appeared in outlets such as The Guardian, NPR, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Verge, Slate, and CityLab.
President Trump attacked Mark Zuckerberg last week. The president complained on Twitter that “Facebook was always anti-Trump ... The Networks were always anti-Trump." He continued, " hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” So Zuckerberg fired back "Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like.” Further, UNC Associate Professor Zeynep Tufekci wrote an op-ed for the New York Times. In it, she denounced Zuckerberg's rebuttal as more "both sides" false equivalency, pointing out Facebook's record ad revenues last year.
The Senate has called Twitter and Facebook to testify regarding Russian election interference. Facebook reports that 10 million users saw Russia-linked ads around the time of last year's election. One of the ads reportedly showed an image of a black woman shooting a rifle. In the meantime, Russia is threatening to ban Facebook unless the company stores Russian users' data on servers within Russia. Additionally, a new Oxford study has found that Twitter users shared more fake news, than real news, during the 2016 election.
On Monday, the Senate confirmed Republican Ajit Pai to a five-year term as FCC Chairman. The vote was 52-41 along party lines.
Conservatives are railing against YouTube for taking down ads appearing on content YouTube deemed to violate its terms of service. YouTube says the move was part of an effort to remove hate speech. But those on the right say YouTube is just discriminating against them. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.
The Senate unveiled a driverless car bill. However, it doesn't address driverless trucks. The bill places safety oversight with the federal government instead of the current patchwork of state laws. Moreover, the bill includes language on cybersecurity standards. Harper Neidig reports in theHill.
Vindu Goel of the New York Times reports that a third of IBM's workforce is now based in India--more than any other country. Ivanka Trump last week announced a $200 million in Education Department grants to boost science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Further, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce are kicking in about $300 million. Cecilia Kang reports for the New York Times.
Ron Nixon of the New York Times reports that he U.S. government will require all immigrants to turn over their social media data. Their social media data will become part of their immigration file. The order is set to take effect on October 18th. However, U.S. citizens are not immune from government scrutiny of their social media data. Zoe Tillman reports in Buzzfeed that the Department of Justice is seeking identifying information and data from three Facebook users. The users are now challenging the warrants. The Trump administration seeks to identify Facebook users who helped organize inauguration day protests.
Apple reported an uptick in secret National Security orders in the first half of this year. Zack Whittaker at ZDNet reports that there was a threefold increase in secret orders issued against Apple users compared to the same period last year.
TechNet president Linda Moore wrote an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle in support of the the Trump administrations tax plan. Moore wrote that the current tax code is outdated and that the Trump proposal would clear the way for jobs and investment.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is charging two scammers in connection with their sale of cryptocurrencies. ReCoin Group Foundation and DRC world allegedly told investors they could expect huge returns for their investments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The problem is that the companies weren't actually in operation. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.
Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria are stranded on the island without water, food, electricity or access to the Internet. What is Ajit Pai's only proposed solution? Telling Apple to open up iPhones to receive FM signals. FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called out the FCC on its non-response in Puerto Rico. She tweeted that during hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the FCC held network recovery hearings. But the FCC hasn't held network recovery hearings in response to hurricanse Irma, Harvey, or Maria. Ali Breland reports for the Hill.
The Senate has confirmed Makan Delrahim to lead the DOJ's antirust division. Previously, Delrahim worked in the White House counsel's office. Harper Neidig reports for the Hill that Delrahim will head up the review of the $85.4 billion AT&T/Time Warner Merger.
Ivana Kottasová at CNN reports that the European Union has issued a final warning against Facebook and Twitter regarding hate speech. Mariya Gabriel, the EU's top digital economy and society official, says flagged hate speech needs to come down quickly. Gabriel says that in almost a third of cases, it's taking more than a week. Some European countries are cracking down on hate speech with or without the EU. Germany, for example, is instituting $59 million fines for failing to remove hate speech within 24 hours.
Democrats are proposing $40 billion to boost rural broadband. Democrats released the recommendation as part of their "Better Deal" agenda released in July. Harper Neidig reports in The Hill.
Google acted last week to separate its online shopping unit from its traditional search. Some experts see the move as a concession to European officials who fined Google $2.7 billion over the summer. The European Commission had found that Google had prioritized its shopping results over rivals. The new structure will allow officials to directly regulate Google shopping. James Kanter has the story in The New York Times.
Ali Breland reports in the Hill that Equifax as raised its estimate of the number of people affected by its massive data breach by 2.5 million. Equifax has now brought the total estimate of affected customers up to 145.5 million.