Overnight Tech: More Ex-Obama officials flock to Silicon Valley

LEDE: The list of former Obama administration officials who have jumped to the tech sector is growing by the day.

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and former Obama adviser Melody Barnes on Wednesday were named to Uber's public policy advisory board, along with a host of former government officials across the world. The announcement was made by Uber executive David Plouffe, Obama's one-time campaign manager who made the transition to the tech industry back in 2014.

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A few hours earlier, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife brought on Jim Shelton, former Education Department deputy secretary, to run the education portion of their philanthropic work.

The trend is nothing new. Google alone has hired at least 197 people from the federal government since 2006, with the rate increasing every year, according to the Campaign for Accountability.

FCC MAY AGENDA: The Federal Communications Commission's agenda for its open meeting on Wednesday lacks the high profile items of the last couple of months. The commission will consider three items in total. One is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a proposal to "eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public inspection file and the requirement that cable operators reveal the location of the cable system's principal headend." The other two items concern communications outage reporting and another auction through the Connect America Fund.

DATA BREACH REPORTS UP IN NEW YORK: An interesting data point comes courtesy of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), who says that reports of data breaches to his office are up more than 40 percent this year compared to a similar period in 2015. "Data breaches are an escalating threat to our personal and national security, and companies need to do more to ensure reasonable security practices and best standards are in place to protect our most sensitive information," he said in a statement. He also announced a new system for filing reports of data breaches electronically.

FTC GETS ANOTHER PHONE CRAMMING SETTLEMENT: The Federal Trade Commission settled unauthorized phone billing charges with the company Billing Services Group for $5.2 million. The settlement stems from charges that the company violated its previous settlement with the FTC over unauthorized billing from 1999. The company admitted that they violated the previous settlement and failed to vet third-party charges or follow up on consumer complaints.

WHITE HOUSE RELEASES STUDY ON BIG DATA AND CIVIL RIGHTS: The White House has released a number of reports on big data. The latest report released Wednesday "illustrates how big data techniques can be used to detect bias and prevent discrimination. It also demonstrates the risks involved, particularly how technologies can deliberately or inadvertently perpetuate, exacerbate, or mask discrimination," according to a White House blog.

ICYMI: WHATSAPP OUTAGE GOOD FOR OTHER APPS: The Washington Post wrote last night about how the block on WhatsApp in Brazil (now overturned) was good for its competitors. Encrypted apps like Telegram and Viber reported an uptick in new signups in Brazil. You can read more here. It's an important reminder of just how popular WhatsApp is in Brazil, with 100 million users. For more on WhatsApp's troubles in Brazil, click here. And for reaction from Mark Zuckerberg, whose company Facebook owns WhatsApp, click here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Unions representing striking Verizon workers say they are planning hundreds of protests for Thursday, when the company holds its annual shareholders meeting.

A Republican super-PAC wants the public to use a new iPhone app to help it with opposition research.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday announced new guidelines meant to make it easier for students to use drones for academic purposes.

A progressive group is using a new Chrome extension to criticize Google for its partnership with the Republican National Convention.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the prospect of messaging service WhatsApp or other communication services being blocked in Brazil is "very scary."

A federal judge on Wednesday opened the door to interviewing Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE as part of a review into her use of a private email server while secretary of State.

 

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