Daily Digest (9/30)

$2.1B Google-Fitbit Deal to Be Approved by UK Regulators; US 911 Dispatch Systems Failed, Allegedly Due to Microsoft Outage; 2 Senators Propose Bill to Hold Big Tech Liable for Online Drug Sales; Amazon Introduces Palm Recognition Tech, Amazon One. Click “Continue reading” below.

$2.1B Google-Fitbit Deal to Be Approved by UK Regulators

Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit appeared close to U.K. approval Tuesday after the tech giant said it would restrict how it uses customer data on Fitbit’s wearable devices.

Google also promised European Union regulators it would not personalize advertisements, Business Insider reports.

“Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition,” E.U. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

In addition, Google guaranteed that other services would not have access to health data unless users consented.

Apps like Strava and Map My Run still will work with Fitbit — and Google said it would let competitors use the Android application, according to Business Insider.

Sources (all external links):

US 911 Dispatch Systems Failed, Allegedly Due to Microsoft Outage

Police departments from Arizona to Florida reported outages Monday in their 911 dispatch services.

The outage lasted 30 minutes before they were restored, CNN reports.

The 911 problems occurred the same evening as Microsoft experienced a huge outage in its Azure cloud-computing service, according to the report.

“A subset of customers in the Azure public and Azure government clouds may encounter errors performing authentication operations for a number of Microsoft or Azure services,” Microsoft said in a statement cited by CNN.

The source is of the 911 problem is unclear, but a memo shared by the New York City Police Department alleges that its outage was related to the Microsoft issue, according to CNN.

In Minnesota, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County sheriff’s office told CNN that is was unsure if the Microsoft issue was related to its 911 outage.


2 Senators Propose Bill to Hold Big Tech Liable for Online Drug Sales

Two bipartisan U.S. senators introduced legislation Tuesday that sought to stop the sale of opioids and illicit drugs online by amending a federal law that protected internet companies, the latest among several bills to go after tech’s legal immunity.

The legislation, the “See Something, Say Something Online Act,” was proposed by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va., and Republican Sen. John Cornyn, Texas, Reuters reports.

It would require such internet platforms as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to report suspicious online activity to law enforcement or be held liable for not doing so.

The bill adds to mounting calls to reform Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability over content posted by users.

“Each year, authorities seize enough fentanyl to kill every American four times over, much of it ordered over the internet and sent by mail from China,” Manchin said in a statement. “We must amend Section 230 to reflect the way the internet impacts our lives today.”

Last week, President Donald Trump, who has bitterly denounced tech companies for allegedly stifling conservative voices, met with nine Republican state attorneys general to discuss the fate of Section 230, and the Justice Department introduced a legislative proposal aimed at reforming the law.


Amazon Introduces Palm Recognition Tech, Amazon One

Amazon released its new palm recognition technology Tuesday in two stores in Seattle, near the company’s headquarters.

Customers placed their palm over an Amazon One scanner, gaining entry into secured areas for shopping, The Associated Press reports.

Amazon said it chose palm recognition because the technology is more private than other biometric tech.

“It’s contactless, which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times,” Dilip Kumar, an Amazon vice president, wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

The palm is unique to each customer, AP reports, but unlike a fingerprint, it is not used for broader identification purposes. The data is encrypted in a custom cloud that can be deleted by a customer at any time, the company said.

Amazon said it expected to roll out Amazon One scanners over the next few months.


— By DPN Staff