Daily Digest (12/10)

FTC, 46 States Sue Facebook Over Antitrust Issues, Call for Break-Up; CDC Asks for Personal Data of COVID Vaccine Recipients; China Orders the Removal 105 Apps from App Stores; Cybersecurity Firm Says Nation-State Hackers Breached Its System.

FTC, 46 States Sue Facebook on Antitrust, Call for Break-Up

The Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 46 states, Washington and Guam sued Facebook on Wednesday, saying that it violated antitrust laws and should be broken up.

The commission said in a statement that it would seek an injunction that “could, among other things: require divestitures of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp,” Reuters reports.

In its complaint, the coalition also asked for Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp to be declared illegal.

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals, snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Facebook said it was reviewing the FTC and state antitrust complaints, Reuters reports. 

Sources (all links external):  

CDC Asks for Personal Data of COVID Vaccine Recipients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has instructed states to sign so-called data-use agreements that commit them to sharing personal information — including names, birth dates, ethnicities and addresses —  of those who received COVID-19 vaccinations with the federal government.

Administration officials said that the information would not be shared with other federal agencies and that it was “critically necessary” for several reasons, The New York Times reports.

But some states have pushed back by refusing to sign the agreements, or they have done so and refused to share the information.

Officials from Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine initiative, defended the plan Monday. 

“There is no Social Security number being asked for; there is no driver’s license number,” Deacon Maddox, who runs the operation’s data and analysis system, told a news briefing.

“The only number I would say that is asked is the date of birth,” he said.

Four organizations — including the Association of Immunization Managers, representing state health officials — sent a letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield outlining their reservations about the plan.

“It’s an awful lot to ask 50 states to sign the data-use agreement and to send potentially identifiable data into a cloud,” Claire Hannan, executive director of Association of Immunization Managers, told the Times.

“The experience that states have had with data around COVID in the federal government has not been ideal.”

China Orders the Removal 105 Apps from App Stores

Chinese regulators have ordered several companies to remove their mobile phone apps in what the Beijing government said was a crackdown on pornography and other improper content.

The National Cyberspace Administration ordered the removal of 105 apps, including TripAdvisor, from app stores this week, The Associated Press reports.

The administration gave no further details about the designated apps.

But it cited what it claimed were public complaints about obscene, pornographic and violent information or fraud, gambling and prostitution, AP reports.

Cybersecurity Firm Says Nation-State Hackers Breached Its System

One of the world’s largest cybersecurity firms, FireEye, was hacked in what officials claimed was a highly sophisticated state-sponsored attack that compromised its software tools used to test customer security. 

The company, based in Milpitas, Calif., said attackers also accessed internal systems and primarily sought information about government clients, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

FireEye said it found no evidence that customer data had been compromised. 

The company declined to comment on who it believed was behind the breach, but a person familiar with the matter told the Journal that Russia was a suspect, specifically its foreign-intelligence service known as the SVR.

However, an investigation is ongoing. 

“I’ve concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities,” Kevin Mandia, FireEye’s CEO and a former Air Force officer, said in a Tuesday blog post.

“The attackers tailored their world-class capabilities specifically to target and attack FireEye.”

The Russian embassy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, the Journal reports. 

By DPN Staff