Daily Digest (11/12)

Google Cuts Free Photo Storage, Pushes Users to Buy More Space; Tech Executives, Critics Named to Biden’s Transition Team; TikTok Asks Court to Intervene as WH Order Looms; Macy’s Not Liable in Data Breach Lawsuit, Court Rules.

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Google Cuts Free Photo Storage, Pushes Users to Buy More Space

Google said Wednesday that it would start limiting how many high-quality photos users could store on the company’s cloud back-up service starting next June.

The move could help protect Google’s profit margins, Reuters reports.

“Growing demand for storage” means Google Photos can no longer honor a years-old policy of unlimited capacity for high-quality images, the company said in a blog post.

Storage of images, along with files in Google’s document editing services, will instead be capped at a combined total of 15 gigabytes.

“Original-quality” images, or incredibly high-resolution copies, were the only ones to previously count against the limit. Google’s plans for additional storage, dubbed Google One, will start a $2 a month.

More than 1 billion people use Google Photos each month, Reuters reports, but the company estimated that fewer than 20% would need to upgrade to extra storage in the next three years.

Tech Executives, Critics Named to Biden’s Transition Team

Technology company executives and industry critics were named to presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Tuesday.

Tech companies have been trying to strengthen their relationship with a potential Biden administration to ensure they have a voice in an onslaught of federal and state investigations of their business practices, Reuters reports.

Those named to Biden’s transition team and the agencies they’ll be reviewing for potential appointees are:

  • Tom Sullivan, Amazon.com, Biden’s public policy team, overseeing appointments at the State Department.
  • Mark Schwartz, Amazon’s cloud-computing arm and a former Obama administration official, the Office of Management and Budget.
  •  Nicole Isaac, LinkedIn’s senior director for North America policy, the Treasury Department.
  • Nicole Wong, a Google vice president and deputy general counsel, the National Security Council.

Others named include:

  • Gene Kimmelman, senior adviser with Public Knowledge, which focuses on antitrust policy, who will review the Justice Department.
  • Sarah Miller, the American Economic Liberties Project, the Treasury Department.

In addition, the Biden team said that the group reviewing the Federal Trade Commission would include Bill Baer, a former FTC director who worked at the Justice Department.

Baer’s DOJ sued to stop two insurance company mergers on the same day in 2016, Reuters reports.

Others on the team include Laura Moy, who teaches at the Georgetown University Law School and is an expert on consumer privacy, data security and net neutrality, and Heather Hippsley, a three-decade FTC veteran.

TikTok Asks Court to Intervene as WH Order Looms

The Chinese owners of the TikTok video-sharing app, facing a Thursday deadline to sell off its U.S. operations under a White House executive order from August, is asking a federal court to intervene.

In September, Republican President Donald Trump tentatively backed a proposal by TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, that was meant to resolve U.S. national security concerns, The Associated Press reports.

The plan would have placed TikTok under the oversight of two American companies, Oracle and Walmart, each of which would also have a financial stake in the company.

But TikTok said this week that it had received “no clarity” from the U.S. government about whether its proposals had been accepted.

The deal has been under a national-security review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is led by the Treasury Department.

The Treasury Department didn’t return requests for comment, AP reports.

TikTok now is looking to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the White House’s divestment order and the national-security review.

Macy’s Not Liable in Data Breach Lawsuit, Court Rules

A federal district court judge in Massachusetts has dismissed a complaint against Macy’s in a case involving consumer data stolen in a cyberattack last year.

The filing brought claims against the department store chain for unreasonable interference with privacy and unfair and deceptive business practices, along with two other state law claims, Law Street Media reports.

But U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris in Boston ruled that Macy’s privacy policy stated that it had measures to ensure against information theft, but also warned that safeguards did not fully guarantee security.

Her order also noted that Macy’s experienced similar data-security breaches in May and June 2018.

According to the suit, Robert Hartigan, a state resident, filed a class action after he made an online purchase through Macy’s website on Oct. 10, 2019. 

But hackers installed malware on Macy’s website between Oct. 7 and 15 and accessed information of online customers, Law Street Media reports.

While Macy’s later notified Hartigan of the breach, he alleged that he had suffered “emotional distress, a breach of privacy, public disclosure of private facts and loss of time,” according to the suit.

By DPN Staff