The Justice Department sued to block the company’s AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc.
A judge will determine whether the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would give the new entity too much power in the fast-changing media landscape.
It is assume that AT&T will surely press for a decision before April 22, the date before which the two companies can walk away without penalty.
The first major antitrust enforcement action to be brought by the Trump administration — dealt a blow to a tie-up that appeared to be sailing toward approval as recently as a month ago. That was before Makan Delrahim, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
Delrahim contents that the merger would harm American consumers enormously. Resulting in higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.
The White House has traditionally stayed at arm’s length from merger reviews. Trump told reporters during his recent trip to Asia that the deal might be challenged in court.
Time Warner and AT&T combined, could use its control over programming like CNN and HBO to harm rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute the content, according to the 23-page complaint. The deal also would enable AT&T to impede competition from online video distributors, which would reduce choices for consumers, according to the complaint.
The government is open to dropping the lawsuit if the companies offer a proposal to fix the competitive harm from the deal, a Justice Department official said.
Currently there have been accusations that the Justice Department, driven by political meddling from the Trump White House, is pursuing a risky case that it’s bound to lose.
In addition to the $10 million donation, Verizon is waiving South Texas customers’ data, talk, and text charges, and giving prepaid customers an extra 3GB from August 26th to September 15th – a one-week extension over what had previously been announced. The company is also deploying Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS) to supplement mobile coverage, working with government agencies to help first responders with communications services, staffing shelters with Verizon employees to assist responders and residents alike, matching employees’ donations, and offering emergency financial assistance to employees. Plus, employees will receive up to a week of paid volunteer time to volunteer for the Harvey recovery effort in the coming months.
Amazon: matching cash donations up to $1 million
Apple: $2 million donation to the Red Cross, matching employee donations 2 to 1
AT&T: $350,000 to various organizations, matching employee donations up to $50,000 each
Facebook: matching up to $1 million in donations made on its platform
Google: matching campaign for consumers up to $1 million, $250,000 donation to the Red Cross, matching employee donations up to $250,000
Disney will be launching a new, stand-alone ESPN streaming service in 2018. This is wonderful news to those who have left cable behind but still yearn to watch sports. It is also big for ESPN, which has had a rough couple of years. The sports media empire lost 12 million subscribers since its peak in 2011, and the company fired a number of high-profile employees in 2017, including NBA reporters Marc Stein and Chad Ford. Former ESPN writer Bill Simmons claimed that the company was too slow to recognize the importance of digital infrastructure.
The new ESPN service will offer “approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.”
In a party-line 50-48 vote Thursday, senators approved a resolution to undo sweeping privacy rules adopted by the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission. If it becomes law, it would also prevent the FCC from setting similar rules again.
The rules have not gone into effect, however ISPs must tell consumers what information is being collected and how it is being used or shared. The rules require ISPs in some cases to get users’ explicit consent, for example to sell information such as geo location or browsing history for advertising.
Republicans in Congress and at the FCC have objected to these rules, passed by the Democratic majority at the FCC in October. They have argued with major cable and telcom companies,that the rules put ISPs on unequal footing with other major data-collecting companies like Google or Facebook, which are overseen instead by the Federal Trade Commission.
The California-based TV manufacturer agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle the charges and disclose when and how it collects user information. Since February 2014, software installed on the televisions allowed Vizio to continuously collect customer’s viewing history through software called “ACR,” or automated content recognition. This software captures a selection of pixels displayed on Vizio smart TV screens and sends that data to the company’s servers, where those pixels are compared to a database of different TV shows, movies, and commercials. ACR can also collect information like your Wi-Fi signal strength, nearby Wi-Fi access points, and IP addresses.
The complaint alleges that over 100 billion data points per day (information like what content you’re watching and how long you’re watching it) from more than 10 million Vizio televisions have been collected, and the company planned to store this data on their servers indefinitely. A stipulated federal court order requires that Vizio delete all data collected before March 1, 2016. An anonymized version of the data omitting customers’ name or contact information was sold to third parties for advertising and audience measurement purposes.
FTC’s complaint said Vizio did not make it clear to customers that they intended to collect their TV viewing history, and the collection was turned on by default, which did not give customers a chance to opt out. A key part of the complaint is that Vizio promised customers recommendations based on the data collected, but never provided them to owners of older Vizio TVs
If you own a Vizio TV, you can disable data collection by going to your TV’s Menu > Settings > Smart Interactivity, or any option with Automated Content Recognition, and turning it off.
The Following survivalist Apps are said to get you out of serious situations. These are the apps you should keep installed in case of emergency.
Red Panic Button
You hit the panic button and a message goes out to the emergency contacts you’ve specified in advance, together with a link to your current location. The paid upgrade also enables emergency services calling capability.
This First Aid app can help, giving detailed guidance for all kinds of problems, from asthma to a heart attack, and you can also call up the address of the closest medical center from inside the app itself.You can call 911 from inside the app as well and access various other handy resources.
You hold down the blue button if you feel vulnerable, then let go and enter a PIN when you’ve reached safety. If the PIN isn’t entered when the software button is released, then the app sends out an alert.The alert is sent to the local police who will be on their way using the location info provided by your phone—you don’t need to do anything else. The only downside is there’s a monthly subscription fee of $2.99 (or $29.99/year), but you can try it for free for 30 days.
There’s a Panic Alert feature built into the app that will take care of messaging the friends and family you choose via voicemail, email and notifications if you should get into trouble. The people you alert will also be able to see your last known location on a map.
No matter what life throws at you, this app can help. Adapted from the book written by a British SAS instructor, it covers just about every scenario imaginable when it comes to survival, from the berries you can eat to the knots you need to tie to the dangers to look out for.
The Tor Project has announced the release of its prototype for a Tor-enabled smartphone—an Android phone complete with privacy and security in mind.
Tor developer Mike Perry who designed the phone, says they are trying to demonstrate that it is possible to build a phone that respects user choice and freedom, vastly reduces vulnerability surface, and sets a direction for the ecosystem with respect to how to meet the needs of high-security users. To protect user privacy, the prototype runs OrWall, the Android firewall that routes traffic over Tor, and blocks all other traffic. Users can punch a hole through the firewall for voice traffic, for instance, to enable Signal