David McCabe

The White House looks to coordinate online privacy plan

The White House is in the early stages of determining what a federal approach to online data privacy should look like. The preliminary conversations show that the White House wants a voice in the contentious domestic and global debate about how to protect consumer privacy online. Gail Slater, special assistant to President Donald Trump for tech, telecom and cyber policy at the White House National Economic Council, has met with industry groups to discuss possible ways to put in place guardrails for the use of personal data, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says there was no net neutrality cyberattack in 2014

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says that there was no 2014 cyberattack meant to overwhelm the agency's comment system during the net neutrality debate, as claimed by a former agency IT official in emails recently published by Gizmodo. The Gizmodo story says that in 2017, after the agency claimed to have experienced a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) taking down its comment system, agency IT chief David Bray told the media that there had been a similar attack in 2014 — and that Wheeler had decided to keep the matter quiet for fear of copycat attacks. 

The left turns up the heat to break up Facebook

A collection of progressive groups will launch a six figure digital ad offensive May 21 telling the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook’s social networking empire. The groups are asking for the FTC to do three things:

Democrats bet on net neutrality voters in 2018

Democratic lawmakers say they can make political hay of the battle over network neutrality among a small — but committed — group of midterm voters. The linchpin of that strategy is a vote in the Senate May 16 on a measure to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules. That raises the prominence of the effort to preserve the neutrality rules — and will put at least some Republicans on record as opposing it.

Meet your new FTC overlords

The four new commissioners who joined the Federal Trade Commission -- with another waiting in the wings -- are poised to weigh in on major tech issues, from privacy to concentration of market power. 

Mergers are spiking, but antitrust cop funding isn't

A wave of mega-mergers touching many facets of daily life, from T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint to CVS’s purchase of Aetna, will test the Justice Department's and Federal Trade Commission’s ability to examine smaller or more novel cases, antitrust experts say. More mergers are underway now than at any point since the recession. The total number of transactions reported to the federal government in fiscal year 2017, and not including cases given expedited approval or where the agencies couldn't legally pursue an investigation, is 82% higher than the number reported in 2010 and 55% higher than

Google sets new rules for US election ads

People buying Google ads related to candidates in US federal elections will have to prove they are US citizens or lawful permanent residents beginning July 10. Under Google’s new rules, people or groups who want to advertise in elections will have to go through a process that includes producing a “government-issued ID” as well as other information, like a Federal Election Commission identification number and an IRS Employer Identification Number. Google says it aims to confirm that buyers are who they say they are and can legally participate in American elections.

Facebook can't get a break from DC conservatives

Facebook, despite years of outreach to conservatives, remains a punching bag for the right. Facebook’s lukewarm relationship with the right has complicated its search for DC allies to help fend off new privacy regulations. On April 24, the company announced it had replaced the head of its Washington office with Kevin Martin, former Republican Federal Communications Commission chairman. Facebook is bracing for another beating — this time, from some conservatives at a hearing featuring pro-Trump video stars Diamond and Silk, who say Facebook discriminated against their content.

How to regulate Facebook

No federal law spells out what companies trading in personal information can do with user data. No federal agency has clear jurisdiction over writing rules for internet companies. And public concern about personal data falling into the wrong hands has only recently swelled. Now lawmakers are feeling the heat.

Ex-regulators say Facebook's steps won't stop federal investigations

Former Federal Trade Commission consumer protection enforcers say Facebook's response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal won't be enough to keep federal investigators at bay. "Just because they make changes moving forward doesn’t mean they can’t be investigated or sued for what they did before," said Jessica Rich, who stepped down as the head of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau in 2017.