Overnight Tech: Cities scramble to win second Amazon HQ | Apple Face ID fails to work during demo | Lawmakers pile on Equifax | Yelp claims Google violated FTC settlement

Overnight Tech: Cities scramble to win second Amazon HQ | Apple Face ID fails to work during demo | Lawmakers pile on Equifax | Yelp claims Google violated FTC settlement
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CITIES WOO AMAZON: Local officials around the country are scrambling to put together enticing proposals to attract a new corporate headquarters for Amazon, a once-in-a-lifetime development project that would amount to billions of dollars in direct and indirect investment.

The world's largest online retailer posted a surprising request for proposals last week, seeking a city to host what it calls its second North American headquarters, where it will employ up to 50,000 well-paid workers. The company said it would invest more than $5 billion in construction.

Cities and states routinely compete to host major corporations and new factories, offering tax incentives and promises to build infrastructure or educational capacity. Wisconsin legislators are finalizing a deal to bring the tech manufacturer Foxconn to Racine. Nevada officials recently gave a massive tax break to attract a new Tesla battery factory near Reno. Washington state officials offered Boeing more than $9 billion in incentives to keep thousands of jobs in the Puget Sound area.

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But experts said the size of Amazon's new proposal makes the project perhaps the largest potential investment in recent memory.

"This is definitely a different scale. We don't generally see companies the size of Amazon siting a second headquarters and bringing in 50,000 workers," said Brooks Rainwater, the director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities. "The impact of Amazon building a new headquarters in a new city will be significant."

Read more here, from our colleague Reid Wilson.

 

APPLE'S FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY FAILS TO WORK DURING DEMO: After a decade of development, Apple finally unveiled its facial recognition software on Tuesday during the announcement of the new iPhone X -- but, embarrassingly, the feature didn't work during its grand debut.

The new feature is meant to allow owners of the new phone to unlock their device simply by looking at its screen.

Craig Federighi, Apple's vice president of software engineering, attempted to demonstrate the new feature while unveiling the iPhone X on Tuesday, but the phone didn't recognize his face, and instead went to the phone's passcode screen where the device can be unlocked with a password instead.

The company assured audiences Tuesday that the software works, saying it has tested the technology extensively.

The feature, which Apple has been developing since 2007, won't come cheap. The new X model will retail for $999, making it the most expensive iPhone yet.

Read more here.

 

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YELP BLASTS GOOGLE IN FTC LETTER: Yelp is accusing Google of violating a 2012 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in which the internet search giant agreed to stop passing off third-party content as its own.

Luther Lowe, Yelp's vice president of public policy, sent a letter to acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen on Monday saying that Google has been pulling images from Yelp to include in search results for certain local businesses.

"Google should be held accountable and subject to remedies sufficient to ensure its anticompetitive conduct does not continue to harm competition and consumers," Lowe wrote.

Read more here.

 

SENATE INTEL CONSIDERING HEARING ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK: The top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee have both signaled interest in having Facebook and Twitter testify about Russian interference on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

The panel's top Democrat Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks Facebook adds two lobbyists amid Russia probe MORE (Va.) has repeatedly said he would like a hearing on the matter after Facebook revealed last week that a pro-Kremlin organization had bought $100,000 worth of political ads on its platform during the 2016 election.

Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Energy: Chemical safety regulator's nomination at risk | Watchdog scolds Zinke on travel records | Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog Collins ‘leaning against’ Trump EPA chemical nominee MORE (R-N.C.), who has been comparatively mum on the subject, told reporters Tuesday that a hearing with Facebook and Twitter on Russian interference is "probably more when [than if]."

"We're trying to work through the parameters and figure out where does the hearing take us," Burr explained. "What is it we're looking for and importantly we know it has some value to our investigation."

Read more here.

 

NEW BLUETOOTH VULNERABILITIES EXPOSED: A newly discovered suite of security vulnerabilities in Bluetooth devices gives attackers the ability to take over any system that has its wireless protocol turned on.

The vulnerabilities, discovered by the cybersecurity firm Armis and nicknamed "Blueborne," can allow an attacker to install malware on systems or steal credentials. The attack is especially potent because it doesn't require a user to click on a file or agree to an installation.

Since the attacks are wireless, malware taking advantage of Blueborne could spread from device to device. That worst-case scenario would see the malware rapidly overtake all vulnerable systems and spread as users with infected phones move from place to place.

Read more here.

 

HOUSE DEMS WANT ANSWERS FROM EQUIFAX CEO: Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from the CEO of Equifax about the company's data breach that left the personal information of 143 million people exposed.

All 24 minority members of the committee signed a letter to the Equifax executive, Richard Smith, calling on him to come forward with more information about his handling of the crisis.

"We are writing with serious concerns about the immense scale of this data breach, and we have a number of questions about whether Equifax took appropriate steps to safeguard the personal information of consumers," the letter reads. "We also have concerns about the amount of time it took for Equifax to notify the public of the breach and about the way Equifax is providing information to consumers."

Read more here.

 

DEM KEEPS HEAT ON EQUIFAX STOCK SALE: Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe 200 nations plan 2018 talks to keep Paris Agreement momentum Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-Hawaii) is publicly pushing Equifax to provide answers as to why three of its executives unloaded almost $2 million worth of stock just after its massive cybersecurity breach in July. In a series of tweets, Schatz demanded that Equifax explain why Chief Financial Officer John Gamble, president of U.S. information solutions Joseph Loughran and president of workforce solutions Rodolfo Ploder sold and exercised options of equity collectively totaling at $1.8 million.

"Hey, @equifax, just following up. Why did your execs sell stock before your company told the public of security breach? LMK ASAP," Schatz tweeted on Tuesday.

Read more here.

 

JAMIE DIMON CALLS BITCOIN A 'FRAUD': JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon on Tuesday called bitcoin a "fraud" and vowed to fire any employees who trade in the crypto-currency.

"The currency isn't going to work," Dimon said at an investor conference in New York, according to reports. "It's a fraud" and "worse than tulip bulbs," he said.

"You can't have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart."

Dimon said that use of bitcoin -- a digital currency without any government oversight that allows buyers to send payments directly to buyers around banks -- "won't end well."

Trading in bitcoin is against JPMorgan's company rules and Dimon said he would fire any employees "in a second" because "they are stupid and both are dangerous."

He expects that the bottom will eventually drop out of bitcoin.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

The FirstNet board meets for the first time at 9 a.m.

The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on self-driving trucks at 10 a.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Daily Beast: Russia used Facebook to organize anti-immigrant rallies

Google appeals $2.9 billion EU fine

The Verge looks at Apple's new campus

Spanish regulators fine Facebook $1.4 million over data-collection practices

Lawmakers push credit report legislation after Equifax breach

Buzzfeed's Ben Smith on the new political climate for tech giants

The New York Times on the new iPhone unveiling

 

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