Other Developments, Further Reading, and Coming Events (26 August 2021)

Other Developments

  • Epic Games filed an amended lawsuit against Google in its lawsuit over the company’s policy of taking 30% of all in-app purchases from apps downloaded from its Play Store while also allowing Android users to only download apps from the app store. Epic Games launched this lawsuit and its suit against Apple after it started offering versions of Fortnite on both iOS and Android that permitted users to avoid paying the 30% fee. The Epic Games suit has gone to trial against Apple, while the suit against Google has not. A few weeks after Epic Games filed a revised suit, and in response to an effort by Epic Games to minimize redactions, Google released a copy of the complaint that undoes some of the redacting and makes more of the arguments and evidence visible. Nonetheless, in its complaint, Epic Games asserted:
    • On the basis of documents produced to date by Defendants Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited, Google Commerce Limited, Google Asia Pacific Pte. Limited, and Google Payment Corp. (collectively, “Google”), it is clear that very carefully phrased arguments in Google’s pending motion to dismiss give a misleading picture of the full scope of Google’s anticompetitive conduct. Accordingly, although Plaintiff Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”) believes its initial Complaint was more than sufficient, it hereby alleges, by its undersigned counsel, as a First Amended Complaint, with knowledge with respect to its own acts and on information and belief as to other matters.
  • The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) provided an update on its 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT) that “is exploring the benefits and challenges of deploying 5G technologies in line with the following key objectives:
    • Accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and ensure the UK can take early advantage of the applications those networks can enable.
    • Maximise the productivity and efficiency benefits to the UK from 5G.
    • Create new opportunities for UK businesses at home and abroad, and encourage inward investment.
    • The DCMS lauded these successes:
      • The 5G Programme funded the 5GUK Test Networks, which built and integrated three university testbeds (University of Surrey, King’s College London and the University of Bristol) to provide the UK’s first end-to-end 5G network in early 2018.
      • The initial portfolio of projects successfully developed small-scale testbeds and they were used by projects to trial 69 technologies, products, and applications. For example:
        • The Liverpool 5G project created the largest 5G mmWave mesh network in the UK and second largest in the world, providing an affordable private network to test new health applications.
        • The University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab managed to deliver the world’s first 5G music lesson, connecting musicians in London and Bristol to play together, thanks to the low latency capabilities of 5G.
      • We’ve already completed 8 projects and have over 30 more projects up and running in 34 counties across 13 regions across the UK, with around 200 project partners.
      • We’ve encouraged industry to take a leading position in global 5G deployment. We saw all four mobile network operators launching 5G networks in the UK during 2019.
      • Across the 5G Programme, we’re exploring 140 5G use cases accelerating 5G adoption in targeted sectors (including agriculture, utilities, automotive, transport and logistics).
      • We’re supporting over 10 new and emerging equipment vendors and testing new access technologies in a range of trials to help broaden and secure the UK’s telecom supply chain in line with the government’s diversification strategy.
      • Despite the impact of coronavirus, the 5G projects have been resilient in their progress and testing, and 15 new projects from the 5G Create competition were awarded £28 million of industry matched funding in late 2020.
    • DCMS detailed the next steps:
      • This is part of the government’s response to the challenge of diversifying the UK’s supply market for radio equipment set out in the Diversification Strategy. Up to £30 million of government funding will be available.
      • 5GTT is supporting NeutrORAN, a collaborative research project led by Japanese IT and networking multinational, NEC, with grant funding of £1.6 million.
      • The project will create a neutral host Open RAN testbed in the UK. Open RAN is an open-interface solution that is key to diversifying the UK 5G supply chain. The project has been awarded £1.6 million of grant funding.
      • SONIC is a joint programme between Digital Catapult and Ofcom for testing interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, starting with Open RAN. SONIC will be live and operational from May 2021, and will evolve over time to contribute to broader national testbed and laboratory initiatives.
      • The project aims to accelerate investment in advanced wireless networks (including 5G) and create efficiencies for network providers and local authorities by exploring the challenges of using new forms of physical location assets (such as street furniture) to support digital infrastructure.
      • The Digital Platform workstream within the DCIA project will support national adoption of digital platform solutions based on technical specifications jointly developed with key stakeholders including mobile telecommunication infrastructure providers and UK regions and their constituent local authorities.
  • The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) filed comments on the European Commission’s “Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on general product safety, amending Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Council Directive 87/357/EEC and Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.” The EC explained the proposal thusly:
    • This proposal for a Regulation on consumer product safety is in line with the New Consumer Agenda of 20201 aiming to: (i) update and modernise the general framework for the safety of non-food consumer products; (ii) preserve its role as a safety net for consumers; (iii) adapt the provisions to challenges posed by new technologies and online selling; and (iv) ensure a level playing field for businesses.
    • The EDPS provided his views on the proposal:
  • The Senators who served on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) (one as chair) and the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Cyber Subcommittee have introduced a “a multi-tiered bill to strengthen America’s cyber resilience and improve cybersecurity among the nation’s Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure (SICI)”, the “Defense of United States Infrastructure Act” (S.2491). Senators Angus King (I-ME), Mike Rounds (S-SD), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) claimed:
    • Their bipartisan Defense of United States Infrastructure Act includes a number of key CSC recommendations to address cybersecurity risks for private and public critical infrastructure, and strengthen leadership within key cyber-focused federal offices. The Senators’ legislation comes on the heels of a newly-signed National Security Memorandum aimed at strengthening cybersecurity for the nation’s critical infrastructure; if passed, the legislation would further advance these goals by providing much-needed tools and authorities to secure SICI.
    • They further asserted the bill would:
      • Establish the National Cyber Resilience Assistance Fund (NCRAF). The Senators’ bill would create the NCRAF to fundamentally change the way the Federal government invests in cyber and shift the focus away from reactive disaster spending towards risk-driven, proactive investments in cyber resilience.
      • Protect Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure. The bill tasks the Secretary of Homeland Security with creating a new designation for the most critical of our critical infrastructure-like elements of the power grid, the financial sector, water systems, and more-whose disruption is likely to cause severe damage to national security, economic security, or public health and safety. The bill further requires the Secretary to undertake a study to determine the benefits and burdens for SICI-designated entities.
      • Ensure Success for the National Cyber Director.  The legislation establishes critical hiring authorities for the newly-created Office of the National Cyber Director, ensuring that the Director will be able to attract and retain high-level talent to enhance the office’s mission.
      • Strengthen the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The legislation directs the CISA Director to establish the Joint Collaborative Environment, a cloud-based information sharing environment to support a whole-of-government understanding of the cyber threats facing the United States and enable public-private partnerships to confront threats. In addition, it institutes a five-year term for the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), allowing the agency’s leader to operate and plan without political questions.
      • Help Businesses and the American People Make Better Cyber Decisions. The legislation establishes the Bureau of Cyber Statistics, which would exist within the Department of Homeland Security to drive insights into what works and what doesn’t to mitigate critical cybersecurity risk to businesses, government, and the American people. The bill further allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization as the National Cybersecurity Certification and Labeling Authority to help critical infrastructure owners and operators better understand the security of the technology products they use as part of their operations.
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Todd Young (R-ID) introduced the “Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable (FAIR) Contributions Act” (S.2427) to “direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a study into the feasibility of collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from internet edge providers such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google.” Wicker, Capito, and Young argued the bill would
    • Direct the FCC to issue a Notice of Inquiry seeking public comment on the feasibility of collecting USF contributions from internet edge providers, and issue a final report on the matter within 180 days.
    • Require the FCC to consider:
    • Possible sources of Big Tech revenue, such as digital advertising and user fees;
    • The fairness of the current system and a system under which contributions could be assessed on Big Tech firms;
    • The feasibility of assessing contributions on such a broad category of firms that do not currently register with the FCC;
    • The effects such a change would have on Tribal, low-income, and elderly consumers; and
    • The changes to current law necessary to implement this system. 
  • Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) reintroduced the “21st Century Jobs Act” (H.R.4661) “a landmark bill in his commitment to make the future of work accessible & sustainable for every American” that “allocates $900 billion in R&D funding for emerging technologies like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology” and “will also create up to three million good new jobs annually, administered by a newly created Federal Institute of Technology (FIT).” Khanna claimed the bill includes:
    • Funding for better and more widespread STEM instruction in public schools, specifically focused on Computer Science. Currently, only 19 states give high schoolers access to Computer Science (CS) courses. Under Rep. Khanna’s plan, CS will be a mandated component of any public-school curriculum for all K-12 students nationwide.
    • STEM scholarships for students left behind. Of the 331,000 STEM bachelor’s degrees conferred in the U.S. in 2016, nearly 218,000 went to white students, compared to only 57,000 for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous graduates combined. Rep. Khanna’s Act will provide the funds to close that gap and bring more Americans into the technology revolution.
    • Tax incentives for the federal government’s contractors to locate part of their workforce in rural and forgotten areas across America. Companies will be eligible to claim the tax credit by hiring a person who attended a FIT or received the rural/minority STEM scholarship. These types of incentives will encourage companies to hire American workers from historically underserved regions of the country.
    • $8 billion toward teacher training in STEM fields. America has underinvested in the very educators needed to make this vision a reality. Rep. Khanna’s plan lays out a pathway to train, certify, and expand development programs for educators working in both local and higher education.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a new Cybersecurity Workforce Training Guide “to assist future and current cybersecurity and information technology (IT) professionals chart a successful career path.” CISA claimed:
    • By using this guide, the cybersecurity profession will understand the applicable work roles, tasks, and knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are the keys to success; and discover training and professional development opportunities to build skills and maximize potential. Also, they will find:
      • Entry, Intermediate, and Advanced Level Cybersecurity Certifications
      • Professional Development Trainings and Certification Prep Courses
      • Experience and Hands-On Opportunities
      • Additional Cyber/IT Resources from across the federal government
  • The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) an advisory on a strain of ransomware: “2021-006: ACSC Ransomware Profile – Lockbit 2.0.” The ACSC explained:
    • The LockBit ransomware restricts access to corporate files and systems by encrypting them into a locked and unusable format. Victims receive instructions on how to engage with the offenders after encryption. LockBit affiliates have successfully deployed ransomware on corporate systems in a variety of countries and sectors, including Australia, where the ACSC is aware of numerous incidents since 2020. LockBit affiliates are known to implement the ‘double extortion’ technique by uploading stolen and sensitive victim information to their dark web site ‘LockBit 2.0’, and threatening to sell and/or release this information if their ransom demands are not met.
    • LockBit (AKA LockBit 2.0, ABCD) is a ransomware variant first detected in September 2019, used by cybercriminals targeting multiple sectors and organisations around the world, including Australia. LockBit is offered as a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), enabling affiliates to utilise it as desired, provided a percentage of the illicitly gained profits are shared with the LockBit operators as commission. This profile provides information covering the LockBit ransomware’s background, recent initial access indicators, targeted sectors, and mitigations advice.
    • The ACSC is providing this information to enable organisations to undertake their own risk assessments and take appropriate actions to secure their systems and networks. The ACSC will only revise and update this advisory in the event of further significant information coming to light.
  • California has enacted SB156, a bill that will remake broadband policy and funding in the state to address the middle mile and last mile in providing broadband. The legislature’s last bill analysis provides greater detail:
    • Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure. Creates a structure and framework for the construction of a $3.25 billion state-owned open-access middle mile broadband infrastructure through a third party administrator overseen by the Department of Technology. This bill prioritizes for middle mile construction a geographically diverse group of projects in rural and urban areas of the state to achieve the greatest reductions in the amount of households unserved by broadband internet access service meeting federal and state standards. This bill also outlines the roles of the Department of Technology (CDT), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in the project and establishes a Deputy Director of Broadband as the central point of contact. Finally, this bill establishes a broadband advisory council, with legislative appointments, and includes reporting measures.
    • Broadband Last Mile Support. Amends the existing Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account program to allocate $2 billion for last mile expenditures. Of this amount, at least $1 billion must be used for last mile projects in rural counties, and $1 billion is initially allocated to urban counties.
    • Loan Loss Reserve. Creates a continuously appropriated loan-loss fund to assist local governments and non-profits in financing broadband service projects. The budget includes $750 million over three years for this purpose.
    • Per a press release issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, it was asserted:
      • The historic legislation, announced last week in partnership with legislative leaders, advances the statewide broadband plan with expanded infrastructure prioritizing unserved and underserved areas. The legislation includes:
      • $3.25 billion to build, operate and maintain an open access, state-owned middle mile network – high-capacity fiber lines that carry large amounts of data at higher speeds over longer distances between local networks.
      • $2 billion to set up last-mile broadband connections that will connect homes and businesses with local networks. The legislation expedites project deployment and enables Tribes and local governments to access this funding.
      • $750 million for a loan loss reserve fund to bolster the ability of local governments and nonprofits to secure financing for broadband infrastructure.
      • Creation of a broadband czar position at the California Department of Technology, and a broadband advisory committee with representatives from across state government and members appointed by the Legislature.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-160, Volume 2, Revision 1, Developing Cyber-Resilient Systems: A Systems Security Engineering Approach for comment. The agency claimed the draft “turns the traditional perimeter defense strategy on its head and moves organizations toward a cyber resiliency strategy that facilitates defending systems from the inside out instead of from the outside in.” NIST contended “[t]his guidance helps organizations anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, or compromises on systems – including hostile and increasingly destructive cyber attacks from nation states, criminal gangs, and disgruntled individuals.” NIST asserted:
    • This major update to NIST’s flagship cyber resiliency publication offers significant new content and support tools for organizations to defend against cyber attacks, including ever-growing and destructive ransomware attacks. The document provides suggestions on how to limit the damage that adversaries can inflict by impeding their lateral movement, increasing their work factor, and reducing their time on target.
    • In particular, the draft publication:
      • Updates the controls that support cyber resiliency to be consistent with NIST SP 800-53, Revision 5
      • Standardizes a single threat taxonomy (i.e., Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge [ATT&CK] framework)
      • Provides a detailed mapping and analysis of cyber resiliency implementation approaches and supporting NIST SP 800-53 controls to the ATT&CK framework techniques, mitigations, and candidate mitigations
  • The United States (U.S.) Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report titled “Spectrum Management: Agencies Should Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms and Processes to Address Potential Interference.” The GAO stated:
    • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regulate and manage spectrum, and other agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are among federal spectrum users. To address potential interference among proposed uses of spectrum, these agencies employ various coordination mechanisms. For domestic matters, the agencies coordinate through an NTIA- led committee that provides input to FCC’s spectrum proceedings. For U.S. participation in the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), agencies coordinate via a preparatory committee that provides input used to develop U.S. positions that the Department of State submits to a regional body or directly to the WRC
    • These mechanisms reflect some key collaboration practices but do not fully reflect others. For example, while the documents that guide coordination between FCC and NTIA and the preparatory committee emphasize reaching consensus whenever possible, there are no clearly defined and agreed-upon processes for resolving matters when agencies cannot do so. Additionally, neither document has been updated in almost 20 years, though agency officials said conditions regarding spectrum management activities have changed in that time. GAO’s review of U.S. participation in ITU’s 2019 WRC shows that these issues affected collaboration. For example, disputes among the agencies and the inability to reach agreement on U.S. technical contributions challenged the U.S.’s ability to present an agreed-upon basis for decisions or a unified position.
    • NOAA and NASA conduct and FCC and NTIA review technical interference studies on a case-by-case basis. When originating from ITU activities, the agencies conduct or review technical interference studies through participation in international technical meetings and the preparatory committee process. However, the lack of consensus on study design and, within the U.S. process, specific procedures to guide the design of these types of studies, hampered U.S. efforts to prepare for the 2019 WRC. For example, the U.S. did not submit its studies on certain key issues to the final technical meeting, resulting in some stakeholders questioning whether the corresponding U.S. positions were technically rooted. Agreed-upon procedures could help guide U.S. efforts to design these studies and consider tradeoffs between what is desirable versus practical, to mitigate the possibility of protracted disagreements in the future.
    • The GAO made “a total of 11 recommendations, including 5 to FCC, 5 to NTIA, and 1 to NOAA:
      • The Chair of FCC should establish clearly defined and agreed-upon processes for making decisions on spectrum-management activities that involve other agencies, particularly when consensus cannot be reached, in consultation with NTIA and—as appropriate—State. (Recommendation 1)
      • The Chair of FCC should clarify and further identify shared goals or outcomes for spectrum-management activities that involve collaboration and ways to monitor and track progress, in consultation with NTIA and— as appropriate—State. (Recommendation 2)
      • The Chair of FCC should update the FCC-NTIA MOU to address identified gaps (such as the lack of clearly defined goals and agreed-upon processes for making decisions) and develop a means to continually monitor and update this agreement, in consultation with NTIA. (Recommendation 3)
      • The Chair of FCC should request that State initiate a review of the General Guidance Document—in consultation with FCC, NTIA, and other relevant participants—and update and develop a means to continually monitor and update this document. (Recommendation 4)
      • The Chair of FCC should establish procedures to help guide the design (including selection of acceptable assumptions and methodologies) of spectrum-sharing and potential-interference studies intended as U.S. contributions to WRC technical meetings, in consultation with NTIA, State, and other federal participants of the U.S. technical preparatory process. (Recommendation 5)
      • The NTIA Administrator should establish clearly defined and agreed-upon processes for making decisions on spectrum-management activities that involve other agencies, particularly when consensus cannot be reached, in consultation with FCC and—as appropriate—State. (Recommendation 6)
      • The NTIA Administrator should clarify and further identify shared goals or outcomes for spectrum-management activities that involve collaboration and ways to monitor and track progress, in consultation with FCC and— as appropriate—State. (Recommendation 7) The NTIA Administrator should update the FCC-NTIA MOU to address identified gaps (such as the lack of clearly defined goals and agreed-upon processes for making decisions) and develop a means to continually monitor and update this agreement, in consultation with FCC. (Recommendation 8)
      • The NTIA Administrator should request that State initiate a review of the General Guidance Document—in consultation with NTIA, FCC, and other relevant participants—and update and develop a means to continually monitor and update this document. (Recommendation 9)
      • The NTIA Administrator should establish procedures to help guide the design (including selection of acceptable assumptions and methodologies) of spectrum-sharing and potential-interference studies intended as U.S. contributions to WRC technical meetings, in consultation with FCC, State, and other federal participants of the U.S. technical preparatory process. (Recommendation 10)
      • The NOAA Administrator should clarify and document NOAA’s internal processes for identifying and raising concerns about potential interference to NOAA satellite instruments. (Recommendation 11)

Further Reading

  • Uber Requires Nondisclosure Agreement Before Helping Carjacked Driver” By Dara Kerr — The Markup. Five months after he was carjacked while driving for Uber, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to his car, David Morrow finally received an offer of assistance from the company: $1,000, the amount of his insurance deductible. But there was a catch—Morrow would need to sign a nondisclosure agreement promising to not sue Uber, disparage the company, or talk any further about his carjacking or the details of his settlement.
  • Is the UK’s pingdemic good or bad? Yes.” By Chris Stokel-Walker and Lindsay Muscato — MIT Technology Review. Oscar Maung-Haley, 24, was working a part-time job in a bar in Manchester, England, when his phone pinged. It was the UK’s NHS Test and Trace app letting him know he’d potentially been exposed to covid-19 and needed to self-isolate. The news immediately caused problems. “It was a mad dash around the venue to show my manager and say I had to go,” he says. The alert he got was one of hundreds of thousands being sent out every week as the UK battles its latest wave of covid, which means more and more people face the same logistical, emotional, and financial challenges. An estimated one in five have resorted to deleting the app altogether—after all, you can’t get a notification if you don’t have it on your phone. The phenomenon is being dubbed a “pingdemic” on social media, blamed for everything from gas shortages to bare store shelves.
  • The Dish ‘fix’ for the T-Mobile-Sprint merger seems more shortsighted than ever” By Karl Bode — The Verge. To sell regulators on their $26 billion mega merger, T-Mobile and Sprint executives told anyone who’d listen that the deal would provide near-miraculous benefits. But economists warned that US telecom merger promises are historically meaningless, and the reduction in overall competitors would — sooner or later — result in higher prices and job cuts. Instead of heeding their warnings and blocking the deal, US antitrust enforcers concocted an elaborate workaround: they would erect Dish Network as the nation’s new fourth major wireless carrier. Under the plan Dish received some T-Mobile spectrum, the Boost Mobile prepaid brand, and the assurance that T-Mobile would help Dish run a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) while it got its own nationwide network up and running.
  • Predictably, T-Mobile’s merger promises weren’t enough to make a carrier out of Dish” By Allison Johnson — The Verge. When T-Mobile acquired Sprint in April 2020, it brought our major wireless carrier choices from four down to three. Recognizing that this would indeed be a bad thing for US wireless customers (aka all of us), T-Mobile agreed to a set of conditions with the FCC’s blessing that would theoretically position Dish Network to fill the Sprint-shaped hole in our wireless landscape. In other words, one wireless competitor was allowed to reduce competition only if it agreed to help set up another competitor in its place. Sounds a little suspect, right? Surely a deal like that would include a lot of conditions, requirements, and oversight to make sure it would actually work.
  • The FCC’s emergency internet discounts are leaving millions behind” By Issie Lapowsky — Protocol. Nearly 4 million households have enrolled in the Federal Communications Commission’s emergency broadband benefit program since it launched in May. But as researchers have begun digging into data recently released by the FCC, they’re finding that not only are the vast majority of eligible Americans still being left out of the $3.2 billion program, but there are also stark geographic differences in where people are being enrolled.
  • Australia Seeks to Block China With Stake in Pacific Mobile Networks” By Stuart Condie — The Wall Street Journal. The Australian government plans to provide most of the financing for the acquisition of mobile networks in six Pacific nations, a move that foreign-policy experts say is designed to block China from buying the strategically important assets. Telstra Corp. , Australia’s biggest communications provider, said Monday it is considering buying the mobile networks in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, and that the Australian government would help pay for the acquisition. The networks, currently owned by Jamaica-based Digicel Group, are adjacent to subsea cables that carry communications between Australia and its neighbors.
  • 38M Records Were Exposed Online—Including Contact-Tracing Info” By Lily Hay Newman — WIRED. More than a thousand web apps mistakenly exposed 38 million records on the open internet, including data from a number of Covid-19 contact tracing platforms, vaccination sign-ups, job application portals, and employee databases. The data included a range of sensitive information, from people’s phone numbers and home addresses to social security numbers and Covid-19 vaccination status. The incident affected major companies and organizations, including American Airlines, Ford, the transportation and logistics company J.B. Hunt, the Maryland Department of Health, the New York City Municipal Transportation Authority, and New York City public schools. And while the data exposures have since been addressed, they show how one bad configuration setting in a popular platform can have far-reaching consequences.
  • South Korea set to curb Google, Apple commission dominance” By Heekyong Yang — Reuters. South Korea is likely to bar Google and Apple from requiring software developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commissions on in-app purchases, the first such curbs on the tech companies by a major economy. An amendment of the Telecommunications Business Act, dubbed the “Anti-Google law,” that takes aim at app store operators with dominant market positions, is being considered by lawmakers in South Korea, who have pushed the issue of the commission structure since mid-2020.
  • Facebook wants you to hold your next meeting in VR” By Rachel Metz — CNN Business. For those who don’t think Zoom meetings are a good enough substitute for the real thing, Facebook has another idea: a virtual reality app that lets you and your coworkers feel like you’re sitting around a table in a conference room. On Thursday, Facebook (FB) unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a free app for users of its Oculus Quest 2 headset, a device that starts at $299. The app stands out as the company’s most ambitious effort yet to enable groups to socialize in VR and move the still niche medium beyond entertainment uses such as gaming.
  • Amazon Plans to Open Large Retail Locations Akin to Department Stores” By Sebastian Herrera, Esther Fung and Suzanne Kapner — The Wall Street Journal. Amazon.com Inc. plans to open several large physical retail locations in the U.S. that will operate akin to department stores, a step to help the tech company extend its reach in sales of clothing, household items, electronics and other areas, people familiar with the matter said. The plan to launch large stores will mark a new expansion for the online-shopping pioneer into bricks-and-mortar retail, an area Amazon has long disrupted.

Coming Events 

  • 1 September
    • The House Armed Services Committee will mark up the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.4395).
  • 30 September
    • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting. No agenda has been announced as of yet.

© Michael Kans, Michael Kans Blog and michaelkans.blog, 2019-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael Kans, Michael Kans Blog, and michaelkans.blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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