Daily Digest (4/2)

NY Probing Zoom’s Privacy Practices; Washington State Adopts Facial-Recognition Law; T-Mobile Completes $31.6B Sprint Deal; FCC to Vote on Wi-Fi Speed Plan. Click below for more.

NY Probing Zoom’s Privacy Practices

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is investigating Zoom, the videoconference app, for its data privacy and security practices.

The app’s traffic has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic — and James’ office is probing to see whether Zoom has new security measures in place to detect hackers amid the spiraling traffic, The New York Times reports.

In her letter Monday to Zoom officials, the attorney general said the company was slow to address security vulnerabilities “that could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams.”

Source: NY Times (external link)

Washington State Adopts Facial-Recognition Law

Washington adopted a detailed law on facial recognition backed by Microsoft Corp. that could serve as a model for other states amid growing use of the technology.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed the legislation Tuesday, allowing state agencies to use facial recognition, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The law includes restrictions designed to ensure the technology is not used for broad surveillance or for tracking innocent people.

Washington’s law is stricter than many states without facial-recognition policies, though more permissive than at least seven U.S. cities that have blocked government from using it out of concerns about privacy violations and bias.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., endorsed the law and lobbied for its passage.

Source: Wall Street Journal (external link)

T-Mobile Completes $31.6B Sprint Deal

Mobile carrier T-Mobile finished its acquisition of Sprint, creating a $31.6 billion wireless behemoth rivaling AT&T and Verizon in size.

The deal was announced two years ago, The Associated Press reports, and the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved it last year.

But regulators required the companies to spin off satellite TV company Dish as a new wireless carrier — an unusual arrangement, AP reports — for approval.

Public-interest groups argued, however, that creating the new entity would not balance the harms from the merger.

State attorneys general also sued to block the deal, but a federal judge ruled against them in in February.

Source: AP News (external link)

FCC to Vote on Wi-Fi Speed Plan

The Federal Communications Commission said it would vote to change how public airwaves are allocated to increase the speed of Wi-Fi networks, but move could come at the expense of broadcasters, telecommunications firms and others who want the bandwidth for their business.

The FCC said Wednesday that it would will vote April 23 on allowing Wi-Fi devices to access a wider swath of airwaves, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The commission is expected to approve the policy change — and consumers could start feeling the impact of the new superfast Wi-Fi as soon as this year.

The change is backed by Silicon Valley, which sees it as a boon to Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., but it was challenged by broadcasters and others in danger of losing those airwaves.

Source: Wall Street Journal (external link)

By DPN Staff