Overnight Technology

OVERNIGHT TECH: Tech firms scrub Confederate flag listings

LEDE: A trio of e-commerce companies on Tuesday rushed to scrub sales listings of the Confederate flag.

Amazon, one of the largest online sales companies in the world, confirmed Tuesday it would begin pulling down Confederate flag merchandise. The announcement came hours after eBay announced the same decision, releasing a blunt statement that said the flag had become a “symbol of divisiveness and racism.” Etsy also said it was removing those listings, consistent with its ban on items that “promote, support or glorify hatred.”

{mosads}The trend follows brick and mortar retailers, like Walmart and Sears, who took similar steps. The difference is that while companies like Walmart sold the products, e-commerce sites for the most part list items from third-party sellers. Amazon saw sales of Confederate flag merchandise spike in recent days.  

A major sea change on the issue has taken place in the last few days, following the shooting deaths of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. Numerous photos of the accused shooter show him holding the flag, which many see as a symbol of racism. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Monday said she would press the state legislature to remove the flag from a memorial on state grounds. 

Others in the tech industry — like the chief executives of Apple and Salesforce — had previously expressed displeasure with the symbol. 

LISA JACKSON TO TAKE ON LARGER ROLE AT APPLE: Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who has been leading environmental initiatives for Apple, will take over the company’s government affairs activities around the world. Her new job title will be “vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives,” according to The Washington Post. That role may become more prominent, as the company takes a larger role in advocacy fights under CEO Tim Cook.

RIGHT-LEANING GROUP RELEASES DIGITAL CAMPAIGN GUIDE: The GOP-leaning Lincoln Labs released what it called a digital campaign guide on Tuesday that provides tips on how organizations should use technology during election season. The group noted that if campaigns refuse to embrace a “digital and analytics oriented strategy” they will be left behind. The white paper includes tips on organizational structure, as well as recommended tools and pointers on how they are used. 

THE RECORD STARTS ON CHARTER-TIME WARNER: The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday officially opened up the docket on the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable. The docket, with the number 15-149, will offer a space for all parties to disclose their meetings and advocacy to the commission about the merger. The deal came about after regulators raised objection earlier this year to Comcast’s attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable.  

MASS. INTROS ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION: Massachusetts on Tuesday became the 21 state to implement an online voter registration website. A total of 27 states and the District of Columbia have approved online voter registration laws, including 2015 laws in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Florida. Six of those states have yet to implement those online changes. 

FACEBOOK CAN RECOGNIZE YOU WITHOUT SEEING YOUR FACE: The social network can look at a person’s body pose and parts of their mostly-obscured face to ascertain their identity, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

WHY GMAIL USERS ARE BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF: Google is officially making “undo send” an option in Gmail — to the relief of everyone who can still remember the sinking feeling of the last time they sent an email to the wrong person. With the feature, users can set a time delay on their emails — ranging from five to 30 seconds — and recall any messages that were sent to, for example, a source instead of an editor. The feature has been available in Gmail’s Labs tab for years.

T-MOBILE, AT&T TRADE INSULTS: T-Mobile and AT&T lobbed insults at one another in an ongoing battle between the carriers related to spectrum. T-Mobile called on regulators to bar AT&T from buying valuable spectrum in rural Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio, saying the purchase poses anticompetitive risks because of its share of the market. T-Mobile also released a short YouTube video characterizing AT&T and Verizon as super villains. AT&T says the buy would allow it to offer better mobile speeds to rural customers and advised T-Mobile to “stop complaining and start investing in rural America.”


At 3 p.m., R Street Institute and Public Knowledge will hold a briefing on patent reform in Congress.

At 6 p.m., Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) speaks at a Startup Grind event at 1776.

At 6:30 p.m., Network for Progress will hold a discussion on trends in “digital and media savvy politics” for 2016 and the future. 


The Navy will pay more than $9 million to keep using Windows XP under a contract signed this month, Computerworld reported Tuesday.

EBay announced Tuesday that it will ban listings for the Confederate flag and other items containing the image. 

Verizon on Tuesday announced it officially owns AOL after finishing an acquisition that was announced last month. 

Probes into Facebook’s data practices in Europe may cost the social network financially, a research firm said Monday.

A San Diego company has filed a complaint against Time Warner Cable alleging that the company is violating new net neutrality rules.


Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.comand Mario Trujillo,mtrujillo@thehill.com Follow us on Twitter:@HilliconValley, @dmccabe

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