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Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers

Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers
© Greg Nash

WARREN BACKS DOJ OVER AT&T-TIME WARNER MERGER: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis Clinton aide: Chances 'highly unlikely' but 'not zero' Hillary will run for president again MORE (D-Mass.) says she supports the Department of Justice's lawsuit to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner.

In a speech Wednesday, Warren said the $85 billion proposed deal is the type of large merger that poses a threat to competition and consumers.

"By bringing together one of the nation's leading content distributors and one of the world's largest TV and entertainment companies, this merger invites higher prices, fewer choices and worse service for consumers," the Massachusetts senator said at an event with the left-wing think tank Open Markets Institute in Washington, D.C.

But she also expressed concerns about the DOJ's independence under President Trump.

"At the same time, the Justice Department's move rings alarm bells. The President's attacks on our free press have cast a cloud of suspicion over the decision to block the merger," Warren said.

"It's essential that the courts and the public approach this case as they would any other – based on the law and the facts, and not on President Trump's repeated efforts to punish his enemies."

The DOJ decision to block the merger has sparked concerns about potential political interference in the review process, something administration officials have denied.

Trump has long feuded with cable news channel CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.

Warren in her speech also directly questioned the independence of the DOJ's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, and whether he would be tough on other proposed mergers.

"President Trump has made it clear that he expects his agency heads to carry out his orders -- and Delrahim is no exception," she said.

"I'll be honest; I'm deeply worried about the Antitrust Division under President Trump," Warren continued. "While DOJ's action on the AT&T-Time Warner merger is a good step, one case alone does not prove that DOJ will be the strong antitrust enforcer that America needs."

Read more here.

 

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NET NEUTRALITY SUPPORTERS PREDICT COURT FIGHT OVER REPEAL: Net neutrality supporters are predicting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have a hard time defending its decision to repeal the landmark rules in court.

The agency, led by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, will vote next week on scrapping the 2015 net neutrality rules, which prevent internet service providers from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet "fast lanes."

"The draft order seems to say that the FCC is no longer interested in exercising its responsibilities as an expert agency," Jonathan Sallet, a former FCC general counsel under the Obama administration, said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

"I do not believe a court of appeals will uphold this order," he added.

Read more here.

 

HOUSE DEMS WANT GAO TO PROBE NET NEUTRALITY COMMENTS: A group of House Democrats are urging the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate fake comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the agency's efforts to repeal its net neutrality rules.

Eleven Democrats sent a letter to the GAO on Monday raising concerns about the use of fake or stolen identities in the net neutrality comment record.

"We understand that the FCC's rulemaking process requires it to address all comments it receives, regardless of who submits them," the letter reads. "However, we do not believe any outside parties should be permitted to generate any comments to any federal government entity using information it knows to be false, such as the identities of those submitting the comments."

Read more here.

 

NC COUNTY WON'T PAY HACKER RANSOM: Local officials in North Carolina have decided not to pay hackers who are demanding a $23,000 ransom in return for stolen data.

Dena Diorio, the manager of Mecklenburg County, announced the decision Wednesday afternoon hours after telling reporters that officials were weighing whether to pay the ransom to retrieve the data.

"I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves," Diorio said in a statement. "It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible."

Read more here.

 

VOLKSWAGEN EXEC SENTENCED TO 7 YEARS IN PRISON OVER EMISSIONS SCANDAL: A former manager at Volkswagen was sentenced to 84 months in prison on Wednesday for his role in the company's emissions cheating scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, a German resident, pleaded guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act.

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered him to serve seven years in prison and pay a $400,000 fine for this role in connection with the emissions scandal.

Federal officials in 2015 uncovered a Volkswagen effort to bypass emissions limits for hundreds of thousands of its diesel-fueled vehicles by installing software allowing them to emit more pollution than federal guidelines permit.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

A House Transportation subcommittee on highways will hold a roundtable on trucking technologies at 10 a.m.

The House Oversight information technology subcommittee will hold a hearing on the VA's cybersecurity at 2 p.m.

 

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