Tony Romm

Justice Department staff had urged rejection of Sprint-T-Mobile merger

Justice Department staff members who’ve have been reviewing the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint had recommended that the US government sue to block the $26 billion deal, fearing the combination of the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers could threaten competition. The recommendation came before the two companies offered new concessions meant to appease regulators, including pledges to divest certain lines of business and cap prices for consumers. Despite the recommendation, a decision to bring such a case has not been made.

White House escalates war against Facebook, Google and Twitter with a campaign asking users to share stories of censorship

The White House announced an unprecedented campaign asking Internet users to share if they had been censored on Facebook, Google and Twitter, tapping into President Trump’s long-running claim that tech giants are biased against conservatives. The effort, which the White House said on Twitter was directed at users “no matter your views,” seeks to collect names, contact information and other details from Americans.

White House will not sign on to Christchurch call to stamp out online extremism amid free speech concerns

The White House will not sign an international call to combat online extremism brokered between French and New Zealand officials and top social media companies, amid US concerns that it clashes with constitutional protections for free speech. The decision comes as world leaders prepare to announce the so-called “Christchurch call to action” on May 15, an effort named after the New Zealand city where a shooter attacked two mosques in an attack inspired by online hate and broadcast on social media sites.

Supreme Court rules against Apple, allowing lawsuit targeting App Store to proceed

Apple suffered a significant defeat at the Supreme Court, when the justices ruled that consumers could forge ahead with a lawsuit against the tech giant over the way it manages its App Store. The 5-4 decision allows device owners to proceed with a case that alleges Apple has acted as a monopoly by requiring iPhone and iPad users to download apps only from its portal while taking a cut of some sales made through the store. The legal question in the case was whether the suit was barred by a 1977 decision, Illinois Brick Co. v.

Political pressure builds for FTC to punish Facebook with more than a “bargain” fine

Sens Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) expressed frustration with a federal probe into Facebook’s privacy practices, urging the government to move more swiftly and consider imposing tough punishments that target the company’s top executives. “This investigation has been long delayed in conclusion — raising the specter of a remedy that is too little too late,” the lawmakers wrote. “The public is rightly asking whether Facebook is too big to be held accountable.

Facebook has told federal investigators it’s open to heightened oversight of its privacy practices

Apparently, Facebook has told the Federal Trade Commission it is willing to submit to greater oversight of its data-collection practices — from the launching of new services to the decisions of its top executives — in order to end a wide-ranging federal probe into a series of privacy abuses that came to light in 2018. The changes would accompany a record-breaking, multi-billion-dollar fine that the FTC has considered levying against Facebook. Under such a settlement, Facebook would have to complete a more rigorous privacy review of new products and services before launching them.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called Rep. Ilhan Omar after Trump’s tweet sparked a flood of death threats

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey phoned Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and stood by the company’s decision to permit a tweet from President Donald Trump that later resulted in a flood of death threats targeting the congresswoman.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg under close scrutiny in federal privacy probe

Federal regulators investigating Facebook for mishandling its users’ personal information have set their sights on the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, exploring his past statements on privacy and weighing whether to seek new, heightened oversight of his leadership. Apparently, the discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook’s data lapses have come in the context of wide-ranging talks between the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook that could settle the government’s more than year-old probe.

Facebook, Google and Twitter under fire from Senate Republicans for censoring conservatives online

Republicans led by Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) pilloried Facebook, Google and Twitter over allegations they censor conservative users and news sites online, threatening federal regulation in response to claims that Democrats long have described as a hoax.

Millions of sensitive Facebook user records were left exposed on public web, security researchers say

More than 540 million Facebook records — including users’ comments, likes, account names and more — were left exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server, researchers announced, marking the latest major privacy and security mishap to plague the social-networking giant. The trove is one of two data sets discovered to be in full public view by the security firm UpGuard, which also raised alarms with a second app developer that appears to have mishandled Facebook records including users’ interests and potentially their app passwords. Facebook said its policies prohibit app developers from “sto