Overnight Tech: Dems target AT&T-Time Warner deal | House panel to take up DHS cyber revamp | Google parent's profits take hit after EU fine

Overnight Tech: Dems target AT&T-Time Warner deal | House panel to take up DHS cyber revamp | Google parent's profits take hit after EU fine
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DEMS CAMPAIGN AGAINST AT&T-TIME WARNER: Democrats singled out the AT&T-Time Warner merger in their new messaging campaign on Monday, signaling a tougher stance on policing corporate consolidation.

In a set of documents posted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democrats laid out their "Better Deal" vision of cracking down on "extensive concentration of power" in a number of industries, including the cable and telecom fields.

"Consolidation in the telecommunications is not just between cable or phone providers; increasingly, large firms are trying to buy up content providers," the document reads. "Currently, AT&T is trying to buy Time Warner. If AT&T succeeds in this deal, it will have more power to restrict the content access of its 135 million wireless and 25.5 million pay-TV subscribers.


"This will only enable the resulting behemoths to promote their own programming, unfairly discriminate against other distributers [sic] and their ability to offer highly desired content, and further restrict small businesses from successfully competing in the market."

Democrats have been speaking out against the $85 billion deal since it was announced last October. Though it is widely expected to be approved by the Justice Department in the coming months, the merger has had to navigate a number of political obstacles, including early opposition on the campaign trail from President Trump.

The Democrats also singled out airlines, beer manufacturers and agriculture companies as examples of industries that needed tougher antitrust enforcement.

Read more here.


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AT&T, DOJ IN TALKS OVER MERGER: AT&T is in preliminary discussions with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about potential conditions to win approval for its pending merger with Time Warner, according to Bloomberg.

The talks indicate that the DOJ's antitrust division is getting closer to finishing its review of the $85 billion deal, which experts and observers expect the DOJ to clear.

Competitors and lawmakers have pressured the DOJ, however, and warned of potential anti-competitive practices that AT&T could engage in after the merger is finalized. Those concerns include the possibility that AT&T would favor Time Warner content such as CNN and HBO on its TV services.

But good faith conditions set up with the DOJ could help AT&T allay these worries, Bloomberg noted, pointing to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's comments to CNBC last October that he would be open to such considerations.

Read more here.


HOUSE PANEL WILL CONSIDER REVAMPING DHS CYBER DIVISION: The House Homeland Security Committee will consider legislation this week that would reorganize and elevate the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity branch.

The draft bill, from committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), would replace the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at DHS with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

NPPD is currently responsible for the department's cyber and physical infrastructure protection efforts. The new agency would be headed by a director who would report to the Homeland Security secretary, a post now held by John Kelly. NPPD is now headed by an undersecretary.

Read more here.


EU FINE HURTS ALPHABET PROFITS: Google parent company Alphabet's second quarter profits this year fell nearly 28 percent when it was hit with a massive antitrust fine by the European Union.

Alphabet's quarterly earnings report showed $3.52 billion in profits, a decline from the $4.88 billion it recorded over the same period in 2016. The profits per share dropped from $7 to $5.01.

Last month, Google was slapped with a record $2.7 billion fine by the EU for favoring its own comparison-shopping tool in its search results.

Read more here.


EU WANTS TERMS OF SERVICE CHANGES: The European Union is pushing Google, Facebook and Twitter to change their terms of service for users.

The European Commission -- the executive arm of the EU -- sent the three American tech firms letters in June asking them to amend their terms of service by the end of September, Reuters reports. The Commission said the firms' current proposals to change their terms were not sufficient, according to the news outlet.

Read more here.



TechFreedom will host its "Back to the Future of Policy" summit starting at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold an FCC oversight and reauthorization hearing on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on an online sales tax on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.



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