Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal

Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal
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JUDGE BLOCKS AT&T REQUEST FOR WHITE HOUSE-DOJ COMMUNICATIONS: A federal judge overseeing the Justice Department's lawsuit against the AT&T–Time Warner merger rejected AT&T's request for records of communications between the agency and the White House.


AT&T had been preparing to argue in the upcoming trial that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE's animus toward CNN, a Time Warner subsidiary, had influenced prosecutors' decision to bring a case against the $85 billion deal.

"We respect the judge's decision and look forward to the upcoming trial," Daniel Petrocelli, the attorney for AT&T and Time Warner, said in a statement.

The order is a major win for the Justice Department, which had called the argument a "sideshow," and a setback for AT&T, which had attempted to use Trump's attacks on CNN to its advantage.

"We are pleased with and respect today's decision, which will permit the parties and court to focus on the case at hand," said Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. "This case has always been about protecting consumers from competitive harms, and we look forward to presenting our case at trial on March 19."

Judge Richard Leon wrote in his decision on Tuesday that AT&T had failed to prove that the government had unfairly singled out the merger in suing to block it.

The Justice Department had handed over a log of communications between its antitrust division and the White House that referenced the merger, and Leon wrote that there was nothing "untoward" in those documents.

AT&T asked Leon to force the Justice Department to produce similar logs of communications between the White House and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE's office, and between Sessions's office and the antitrust division.

Read more here.


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FACEBOOK VP APOLOGIZES OVER RUSSIA INFLUENCE TWEETS: Facebook's vice president of ads apologized for his claim that the goal of Russian ads on the social media platform was not to sway the 2016 presidential election.

"I wanted to apologize for having tweeted my own view about Russian interference without having it reviewed by anyone internally. The tweets were my own personal view and not Facebook's. I conveyed my view poorly," Rob Goldman said on Monday, according to Wired.

"The Special Counsel has far more information about what happened [than] I do--so seeming to contradict his statements was a serious mistake on my part," he continued.

"To those of you who have reached out this weekend to offer your support, thank you. It means more than you know. And to all of you who have worked so hard over the last six months to demonstrate that we understand our responsibility to prevent abuse on Facebook--and are working hard to do better in the future--my deepest apologies."

Read more here.


TECH GROUPS WANT TREASURY TO FIGHT EU TAX PROPOSAL: Top technology trade associations are pushing the Trump administration to fight back against an expected European Union tax proposal.

Lobbying groups for major firms like Google, Amazon and Apple say the firms are worried by the expected release in the next two months of European Commission recommendations calling for taxes on unsold goods or digital advertising revenue.

"It is imperative the United States express its concern with the direction of the work and its possible impact on the global business climate in general and digital commerce in particular and forcefully engage in any multilateral discussions," the tech groups wrote in a letter to Department of Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia | Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program | Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program created by Trump tax law MORE.

The groups charged that the tax proposal is a part of a European Union pattern of targeting American technology firms.

Read more here.


FCC TO OFFICIALLY RESCIND NET NEUTRALITY ON THURSDAY: The Federal Communications Commission is slated to publish on Thursday its order scrapping net neutrality rules, a source with knowledge of the matter told The Hill on Tuesday.

The official publication of the measure, which was first reported by Reuters, in the Federal Register will start the clock on the 60-day window that Congress has to pass a resolution reversing the FCC's order to get rid of net neutrality rules.

Between Democrats, Independents and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsConservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Susan Collins and the mob mentality MORE (R-Maine), 50 senators have backed a Congressional Review Act resolution to preserve the rules -- one vote shy of the 51 votes that measure needs to pass the Senate.

If Democrats can get the support of one more Republican, the resolution could be sent to the House, where it is unlikely to advance. And even if the resolution passed both chambers of Congress, President Trump could veto it.

Read more here.


UK, US REGULATORS JOIN FORCES ON FINTECH: Two top U.S. and British trading watchdogs have agreed to join forces on efforts to help financial technology companies navigate regulations.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Monday released a cooperation agreement outlining how officials will share information, help businesses in one country operate in the other, and trade notes on best practices and changes in strategy.

"We believe that by collaborating with the best-in-class FCA FinTech team, the CFTC can contribute to the growing awareness of the critical role of regulators in 21st century digital markets," said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo.

The new pact comes as regulators, lawmakers and banks around the world grapple with emerging online banking, lending and payment services.

Read more here.


TESLA CLOUD HACKED TO MINE CRYPTOCURRENCY: An unidentified outside hacker infiltrated Tesla's Amazon cloud account and used its systems to quietly mine for cryptocurrencies, a cybersecurity firm announced Tuesday.

The hack also potentially exposed the electric car company's data.

Researchers for RedLock found that Tesla's credentials on an IT administrative console were not password protected. They made the discovery while trying to track down which organizations had left their Amazon Web Services (AWS) credentials openly exposed on the internet last month.

Read more here.


UBER CEO PREDICTS FLYING TAXIS WITHIN A DECADE: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Tuesday that he sees his company taking to the skies within the next five to 10 years.

Khosrowshahi said at an investor forum in Tokyo that he expects flying vehicles to become an affordable means of mass travel and that Uber could jump in with its own Uber Air taxi service, according to Reuters.

The company had previously introduced its plans for an air-taxi service in 2016 as part of a 99-page white paper detailing the company's vision for the commercialization of mass air transit.

The plan relies on the development of smaller, electric helicopter-style vehicles that can be used to transport riders from the suburbs into cities, or as a way to avoid city congestion altogether.

Read more here.


RUSSIAN BOTS TURN TO GUN CONTROL AFTER FLORIDA SHOOTING: Twitter accounts with suspected ties to Russian actors have sent a series of posts and hashtags on the gun violence debate sweeping across the U.S. following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last week, according to The New York Times.

The accounts have reportedly tweeted hashtags such as #Parklandshooting and #guncontrolnow in the days following the shooting, which has reignited the divisive issue of gun control.

Wired first reported the bots' increased activity after the shooting.

Read more here.



Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold an event on worker displacement from automation at 10:00 a.m.

The Federal Communications Bar Association will hold a brown bag lunch discussion on tech and telecom at noon.

National Economists Club will host a happy hour on cryptocurrency at 5:00 p.m.



The New YorkTimes: The case against Google

Reuters: Congress sets sights on federal cryptocurrency rules

Wired: Inside a Facebook executive's apology to the company and Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE

Digital Trends: U.S. Copyright Office considering exemption for abandoned online games

The Wall Street Journal: Why was Facebook so easy to hijack?