Facebook, government urge court to approve $5-billion FTC settlement

Facebook | January 27, 2020

Facebook, government urge court to approve $5-billion FTC settlement
Facebook and the Justice Department are urging a federal judge to approve the $5-billion deal the Federal Trade Commission reached with Facebook to settle Cambridge Analytica privacy complaints. The landmark settlement was challenged in July by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, known as EPIC, and is under review by Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In legal filings Friday, the Justice Department said the deal would bring "substantial relief" to consumers and Facebook argued that the settlement would provide "privacy protections far beyond those required by United States law" and "an unsurpassed level of accountability by its executives."

Spotlight

The Board of County Commissioners is the governing body of Polk County, as established by the Florida Constitution, and serves as the legislative branch of county government, as defined in the county charter.  The five commissioners must reside in their district. Commissioners from District One, District Three, and District Five are elected in presidential election years; District Two and District Four are elected in the intervening years. And shortly after the beginning of a new fiscal year, a chairman and vice chairman are elected by the members of the county commission.

Spotlight

The Board of County Commissioners is the governing body of Polk County, as established by the Florida Constitution, and serves as the legislative branch of county government, as defined in the county charter.  The five commissioners must reside in their district. Commissioners from District One, District Three, and District Five are elected in presidential election years; District Two and District Four are elected in the intervening years. And shortly after the beginning of a new fiscal year, a chairman and vice chairman are elected by the members of the county commission.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Qualtrics Emphasizes Engagement to Administer COVID Vaccine

Qualtrics | October 26, 2020

Governments around the world are preparing for a project unprecedented in scale for most of them: the dissemination of a COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible. After helping governments meet earlier challenges of the pandemic, such as contact tracing and the transition to telework, several software companies have announced new products to help manage rollout of the forthcoming vaccine. The latest company to do so, the customer research company Qualtrics, is betting that success will depend upon consistent, quality citizen engagement.

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US Government Unveils Plan to Develop National Quantum Network for Secure Internet

The U.S Department of Energy | July 28, 2020

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled its plans to develop a parallel national quantum network that is super-fast and unhackable and could be used by sensitive government departments and banks to send information, according to the Department of Energy. The blueprint of the network was revealed in an event at the University of Chicago on Thursday. The department detailed four research areas that need to be given priority for the technology to achieve completion and stated it could be functional in a decade.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce to Allow U.S. Companies to Work with Huawei on 5G Technology

Huawei | May 07, 2020

The U.S. Department of Commerce is close to signing off on a new rule that would allow U.S. companies to work with China’s Huawei Technologies on setting standards for next generation 5G networks. The U.S. government wants U.S. companies to remain competitive with Huawei, Wilson said. The rule, which could still change, essentially allows U.S. companies to participate in standards bodies where Huawei is also a member, the sources said. The U.S. Department of Commerce is close to signing off on a new rule that would allow U.S. companies to work with China’s Huawei Technologies on setting standards for next generation 5G networks, people familiar with the matter said. Engineers in some U.S. technology companies stopped engaging with Huawei to develop standards after the Commerce Department blacklisted the company last year. The listing left companies uncertain about what technology and information their employees could share with Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. That has put the United States at a disadvantage, said industry and government officials. In standards setting meetings, where protocols and technical specifications are developed that allow equipment from different companies to function together smoothly, Huawei gained a stronger voice as U.S. engineers sat back in silence. The Commerce Department placed Huawei on its “entity list” last May, citing national security concerns. The listing restricted sales of U.S. goods and technology to the company and raised questions about how U.S. firms could participate in organizations that establish industry standards. Read More: What Is 5G Technology, and What Does It Mean for Federal IT? After nearly a year of uncertainty, the department has drafted a new rule to address the issue, two sources told Reuters. The rule, which could still change, essentially allows U.S. companies to participate in standards bodies where Huawei is also a member, the sources said. The draft is under final review at the Commerce Department and, if cleared, would go to other agencies for approval, the people said. It is unclear how long the full process will take or if another agency will object. As we approach the year mark, it is very much past time that this be addressed and clarified, which represents companies including Amazon.co Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp. Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia. The U.S. government wants U.S. companies to remain competitive with Huawei, Wilson said. “But their policies have inadvertently caused U.S. companies to lose their seat at the table to Huawei and others on the entity list.” The rule is only expected to address Huawei, the people familiar with the matter said, not other listed entities like Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision. In adding Huawei to the list last May, the Commerce Department cited U.S. charges pending against the company for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. It also noted that the indictment alleges Huawei engaged in “deceptive and obstructive acts” to evade U.S. law. Huawei has pleaded not guilty in the case. A Department of Commerce spokesman declined to comment. A Huawei spokeswoman also declined to comment. “I know that Commerce is working on that rule,” a senior State Department official told Reuters on Wednesday. “We are supportive in trying to find a solution to that conundrum.” The White House and departments of Defense, Energy, and Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment. “International standard setting is important to the development of 5G,” said another senior administration official, who also did not want to be identified. “The discussions are about balancing that consideration with America’s national security needs.” Six U.S. senators, including China hawks Marco Rubio, James Inhofe and Tom Cotton, last month sent a letter to the U.S. secretaries of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy about the urgent need to issue regulations confirming that U.S. participation in 5G standards-setting is not restricted by the entity listing. “We are deeply concerned about the risks to the U.S. global leadership position in 5G wireless technology as a result of this reduced participation,” the letter said. In the telecommunications industry, 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks, are expected to power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars. Industry standards also are big business for telecommunications firms. They vie to have their patented technology considered essential to the standard, which can boost a company’s bottom line by billions of dollars. The ITIC’s Wilson said the uncertainty has led U.S.-base standards bodies to consider moving abroad, noting that the nonprofit RISC-V Foundation (pronounced risk-five) decided to move from Delaware to Switzerland a few months ago. The foundation oversees promising semiconductor technology developed with Pentagon support and, as Reuters has reported, wants to ensure those outside the United States can help develop its open-source technology. Read More: 3 Things Government Can Learn About Cloud from the Private Sector About Huawei Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

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