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Company calls price “appropriate” but says: “we... understand your concerns.”
AT&T won't commit to public interest statement as it tries to avoid FCC review.
WikiLeaks said that its founder Julian Assange is confident of winning ‘any fair trial’ in the U.S. and indicated that the founder of the whistleblowing website would stand by all the promises he had made in return for clemency to Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. soldier who disclosed classified data relating to the Iraq War to the site. On Tuesday, Manning’s prison sentence was commuted by U.S. President Barack Obama raising questions whether Assange would keep his part of a deal he proposed online, and agree to extradition to the U.S. WikiLeaks has recently also been a thorn in the side of the Democrats in the U.S. by releasing embarrassing emails leaked from the Democratic National Committee that showed that the organization had favored candidate Hillary Clinton over her rival Senator Bernie Sanders for the party nomination for the presidential elections.
It also published mails from the account of John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s campaign. U.S. government officials including from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have pointed a finger to Russia for orchestrating the leaks, though WikiLeaks has said it does not collaborate with states in the publication of documents. Last week, WikiLeaks had tweeted that if “Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case.” On Tuesday, WikiLeaks tweeted that Assange was confident of winning any fair trial in the US. “Obama’s DoJ prevented public interest defense & fair jury,” it added.

The new administration of President-elect Donald Trump takes charge on Friday. WikiLeaks also quoted Assange’s counsel Melinda Taylor as saying that Assange is standing by everything that he has said on the “Assange-Manning extradition ‘deal’.” Assange is holed in the embassy in London of the government of Ecuador as U.K. police say they will arrest him if he comes out, to meet an extradition request from Sweden where he is wanted for questioning in a sexual assault investigation. His supporters have expressed concern that if he he is sent to Sweden he could be extradited from there to the U.S. to face espionage charges. A wrinkle is that WikiLeaks claims it does not know of an extradition request sent by the U.S.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Taylor wrote that “US authories consistently affirmed is ongoing national security prosecution against him, but refused 2 affirm/deny sent extradition request.” She added that the U.K. also refuses “to affirm or deny that they have received an extradition request -not the same thing as there being no extradition request.”  Government officials in both countries could not be immediately reached for comment after business hours. In a letter to Loretta E. Lynch, U.S.

Attorney General, Assange’s lawyer in the U.S., Barry J. Pollack, wrote in August that although the Department of Justice had publicly confirmed through court documents and statements to the press that it was conducting an on-going criminal investigation of Assange, the department did not provide him substantive information on the status of the investigation.

The letter was published online by WikiLeaks. The pending investigation into Assange, mentions of which are said to have been made in court documents in the Manning case, is plainly based on his news gathering and reporting activities, Pollack wrote.
Its intention was not to aid U.S. enemies or obstruct justice but to inform people about “matters of great public interest,” he added. In a statement on Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence, Assange said that “in order for democracy and the rule of law to thrive, the Government should immediately end its war on whistleblowers and publishers” such as WikiLeaks and himself.

The statement did not refer to his promise to face extradition to the U.S. “Mr.

Assange should not be the target of any criminal investigation.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the DOJ the status of its investigation, any request it wants to make for extradition, and its basis for such a request,” Pollack wrote in an email late Tuesday.
Enlarge / AT&T Sponsored Data charges companies for the right to offer Internet content without counting against mobile data caps.AT&T reader comments 36 Share this story With just over a week left as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler today accused AT&T and Verizon Wireless of violating net neutrality rules with paid data cap exemptions.

But with the FCC about to switch to Republican control after next week's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, AT&T and Verizon can likely keep doing what they're doing without any chance of punishment. Wheeler described his views in a letter to US senators who had expressed concern about the data cap exemptions, or "zero-rating." FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staff today also issued a report concluding that AT&T and Verizon zero-rating programs are unfair to competitors.

Both Wheeler's letter and the staff report can be read in full here. The main issue is that AT&T and Verizon allow their own video services (DirecTV and Go90, respectively) to stream on their mobile networks without counting against customers' data caps, while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions. The FCC also examined T-Mobile USA's zero-rating program but found that it poses no competitive harms because T-Mobile offers data cap exemptions to third parties free of charge.

T-Mobile also "provides little streaming video programming of its own," giving it less incentive to disadvantage video companies that need to use the T-Mobile network, the FCC said. Wheeler, who also faulted AT&T for not providing full responses to staff questions, wrote: While observing that AT&T provided incomplete responses to staff inquires, the report states that the limited information available supports a conclusion that AT&T offers Sponsored Data to third-party content providers at terms and conditions that are effectively less favorable than those it offers to its affiliate, DirecTV. Unlike T-Mobile, which charges all edge providers the same zero rate for participating in Binge On, AT&T imposes hefty per-gigabyte charges on third parties for use of Sponsored Data.

All indications are that AT&T's charges far exceed the costs AT&T incurs in providing the sponsored data service.

Thus, it would appear that AT&T's practices inflict significant unreasonable disadvantages on edge providers and unreasonably interfere with their ability to compete against AT&T's affiliate, DirecTV. The structure of Verizon's FreeBee Data 360 program raises similar concerns. We are aware of no safeguards that would prevent Verizon from offering substantially more costly or restrictive terms to enable unaffiliated edge providers to offer services comparable to Verizon's affiliated content on a zero-rated basis. But the FCC isn't ready to take any enforcement action against either carrier.

That process would be lengthy.
In a separate case, the FCC proposed a $100 million fine against AT&T in June 2015 for allegedly misleading customers about throttling of unlimited data plans, but it still hasn't collected any money.

AT&T challenged the decision, and the case was never resolved.

As we previously reported, AT&T and the FCC could have agreed to a settlement, or the FCC could have issued a final ruling requiring AT&T to pay a fine (which AT&T would have challenged in court), but neither happened. The FCC passed its net neutrality rules in February 2015, but it did not include a strict ban on zero-rating.
Instead, the FCC decided to evaluate zero-rating on a case-by-case basis to determine whether specific implementations harm consumers or competitors. Ultimately, the FCC's evaluation of AT&T and Verizon took too long. Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly will become the commission majority after Wheeler leaves the FCC on January 20. Pai and O'Rielly have criticized the investigation of AT&T and Verizon and say they intend to overturn the net neutrality rules. Pai said today that the FCC staff report "does not reflect the views of the majority of commissioners," and that it "will not have any impact on the commission’s policymaking or enforcement activities following next week’s inauguration." Wheeler's letter to senators acknowledged that paid data cap exemptions will likely proliferate. "Given the powerful economic incentives of network operators to employ these practices to advantage themselves and their affiliates in various edge service markets, staff is concerned that—absent effective oversight—these practices will become more widespread in the future," Wheeler wrote. Even so, Wheeler defended his case-by-case approach to zero-rating. While some programs "might restrict consumer choice, distort competition, and hamper innovation," others "might benefit consumers and competition," he wrote. Wheeler's letter came in response to a November letter written by Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). When contacted by Ars, Verizon today said, “The [FCC] staff’s positions are duly noted. We don’t agree with their view on free data and we don’t think our customers do either. Hopefully the next FCC will take into account the views of our customers who greatly benefit from watching professional football, soccer, basketball and other great content on Go90 free of data charges.” AT&T issued a statement, saying, “It remains unclear why the Wireless Bureau continues to question the value of giving consumers the ability to watch video without incurring any data charges.

This practice, which has been embraced by AT&T and other broadband providers, has enabled millions of consumers to enjoy the latest popular content and services—for free. We hope the government continues to support a competitive marketplace that lowers costs and increases choice for consumers.”
History made How often can we say that an IT blunder might have changed the course of world history? Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server whilst serving as outgoing US President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State became a key element in the US presidential election this year. The FBI investigation around Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as the US’s top diplomat arguably tipped the balance against her in the US president election and granted leadership of the "free world" to Donald Trump. During the election process, the public was bombarded with insider communications made available through the hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) network and the leaked emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The leaks fuelled the idea that Clinton was given preferential treatment by party officials and that Democratic nomination contender Bernie Sanders was deliberately sidelined. The DNC and the candidate at the very top of the Democrat ticket both suffered as a result. Podesta fell victim to a phishing scheme that compromised his accounts and exposed insider communications that portrayed Clinton as too cosy with the political establishment and Wall Street - in a year when the public wanted an outsider. Revelations from the leaks in themselves were far from explosive and their real significance was arguably in reminding voters about the Clinton private email server controversy, the focus of an on-again, off-again FBI probe. US intelligence agencies blamed Russia for the hacks and by December President Obama promised to take action against Russia over its alleged interference in the presidential election campaign. UK Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an update of the UK’s cyber security strategy in early November that warned that the UK would retaliate against state-sponsored cyber attacks. Important elections in Germany and France next year mean that cyber security will continue to be hot potato politically in 2017. Leak test After a series of high-profile breaches in 2015 that involved criminal and state-sponsored attacks, the leaks continued well into 2016. In September, Yahoo! announced that data associated with 500 million user accounts had been stolen in one of the largest cybersecurity breaches ever, dating back to 2014, and blamed by the internet firm on state-based hackers. The scale of the attack only became evident when a hacker who had previously sold stolen account information from other companies began selling millions of Yahoo! users’ data online. Peace also attempted to flog off data on 167 million LinkedIn accounts and 360 million credentials from MySpace users through the dark web. Threat intelligence firm InfoArmor told El Reg that it suspected the same gang was responsible for breaching Yahoo!, MySpace, LinkedIn and more. By December, Yahoo! admitted that one billion user accounts had been compromised in an earlier attack, dating back to 2013. Possibly stolen user account information included “names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers”, Yahoo disclosed. Verizon, which had agreed to buy Yahoo!, threatened to rescind its $4.8bn offer soon after the first breach disclosure in September. Compounding its problems, Yahoo! also faces a potential class-action lawsuit. Breaches of high profile websites and retail outlets leading to the leak of personal details and (worse) credit card records have, of course, been an issue for many years. Politicians are beginning to act through the introduction of new regulations. The EU’s long awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed this year. GDPR will introduce tougher breach disclosure rules and punitive fines for negligence that results in data breaches of up to four per cent of a business’s annual turnover. UK data protection regulators and politicians are both arguing that post-Brexit Britain should adopt data protection laws similar to those of the EU. Ransomware is the new black Cybercrime continue to be a problem for businesses as well as consumers throughout the year. Hackers targeted banks connected to the global financial messaging service, SWIFT, in a series of high-profile attacks. Hackers stole $81m from an account held in New York by Bangladesh's central bank after apparently lifting the financial institution's authorisation codes using malware. The same hacking crew is suspected in the theft of $12m from an Ecuadoran bank, Banco del Austro SA and $10m from a Ukrainian bank as well as a string of thwarted attacks worldwide in Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere. In response, SWIFT said it will "expand" its use of two-factor authentication as well as mandating “baseline” security standards and improved information sharing. Ransomware as a threat emerged three years ago or more but scams based on file encrypting malware really reached prime-time in 2016. Victims throughout the year included several hospitals worldwide (examples here, here and here) and San Francisco’s subway system. Victims are normally unable to access compromised data until a payment is made for a decryption key. File-encrypting malware - alongside longer established denial of service scams - became the two dominant threats of 2016. The long-standing DDoS threat took another on another dimension this year after hackers created a potent Internet-of-Things botnet. The Mirai botnet (a zombie network of PVR and web cams) was used to devastating effect in October, taking out DNS provider Dyn and leaving scores of high profile websites unreachable as a result. A group called New World Hackers claimed responsibility for the DDoS assault. Weeks later a Mirai variant was detected spreading across the consumer routers of multiple ISPs, creating a potent attack platform in the process. Malware was able to infect IoT devices by taking advantage of default factory-installed passwords. Simply changing passwords may be enough and firmware updates make be required. Fixing the problem is going to be an uphill struggling since consumers rarely update the software on their IoT kit but needs to be resolved for the sake of internet hygiene. ® Sponsored: Flash enters the mainstream. Visit The Register's storage hub
EnlargeAurich Lawson | Justin Sullivan,Spencer Platt/Getty Images reader comments 21 Share this story Campaign 2016 Clinton, Trump do agree on one thing—the right to use marijuana Why a theoretical physicist wants all state bills to be online before final vote State of the biggest, best union: Trump nightly webcast debuts tonight The next President will take power with significant space decisions looming Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump on science, energy, and the climate View more storiesThe hot-button issues this election can be counted on one's fingers—and for most voters, things like copyright and patent policy don't make the list.

Assigned to a wonkish zone far from the Sunday morning talk shows, intellectual property issues aren't near the heart of our deeply polarized political discourse. Of the two major party candidates in 2016, only the Democratic candidate has a platform that even addresses copyright and patent policies.
So today, let's look at what we know about Hillary Clinton's plan, and make some informed speculation about what could happen to these areas under a Donald Trump presidency. Given that the campaign is focused (as always) on a relatively small group of issues, tech policy watchers who spoke to Ars were surprised to see a presidential platform that mentions IP issues at all.

Clinton's briefing paper on technology and innovation addresses both copyright and patent issues directly, and that in itself is something of a surprise.

Trump's website has no such information, so the best clues to his approach lie in his public statements and the people he has surrounded himself with. Clinton on copyright: The no-SOPA promise Hillary Clinton's intentions with copyright represent something of a snapshot of where the debate stands in 2016.

Copyright policy (and one could say this for patents as well) seems like an area where the nation should be able to overcome its wide partisan gap. Yet, no legislative change of any real significance took place during the Obama Administration. Roughly speaking, two huge sectors of the economy—technology and Hollywood—were sharply at odds about what should be done. That standoff made it easy for an already do-nothing Congress to, well, do nothing. Despite the lack of legislation, there was a big change during the Obama Administration in how US lawmakers viewed copyright. Members of Congress from both parties were deluged with calls and e-mails in 2012 as the citizenry absorbed what the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would mean for the functioning of the Internet.

The draconian proposal included methods for quickly blocking websites deemed piratical, demands that ISPs use "graduated response" to disconnect users accused as pirates, and instructions for search engines to be forcibly rearranged with a list of websites more to the liking of the RIAA and MPAA. At that time, the proposed anti-piracy law seemed destined for passage, with advocates of a more balanced copyright system hoping, at best, to whittle away at some of its worst changes.

But SOPA caused a public outcry unlike anything seen before; an Internet blackout prompted millions of calls and e-mails to Congress. Institutional memory of the anti-SOPA uprising is still strong in Congress, where politicians now approach copyright issues tentatively and reluctantly, speaking about not wanting to get "SOPA'd" on a complex topic. Speaking generally, most of the tech sector, and especially Internet companies, want a more balanced copyright system.

And they certainly don't want any kind of SOPA, or SOPA-lite proposal, whether it comes in the Congressional front door, through courts, or by lobbying state law enforcement. In that climate, Clinton's most important copyright position is her promise of what she won't be doing—and the Democratic candidate explicitly promises she won't be supporting a new version of SOPA.

As her position paper states, Clinton "maintains her opposition to policies that unnecessarily restrict the free flow of data online—such as the high profile fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)." (For reasons that aren't clear, this important sentence is oddly placed in the "net neutrality" section.) Later, Clinton has a paragraph dedicated to her positions on copyright.
It isn't too long, so it's worth considering in whole, jargon and all: Effective Copyright Policy: Copyrights encourage creativity and incentivize innovators to invest knowledge, time, and money into the generation of myriad forms of content. However, the copyright system has languished for many decades, and is in need of administrative reform to maximize its benefits in the digital age. Hillary believes the federal government should modernize the copyright system by unlocking—and facilitating access to—orphan works that languished unutilized, benefiting neither their creators nor the public.
She will also promote open-licensing arrangements for copyrighted material and data supported by federal grant funding, including in education, science, and other fields.
She will seek to develop technological infrastructure to support digitization, search, and repositories of such content, to facilitate its discoverability and use.

And she will encourage stakeholders to work together on creative solutions that remove barriers to the seamless and efficient licensing of content in the U.S. and abroad. Reading between the lines, what should the interested parties make of this? "There's flowery language, and it's hard to tell what it really means, but its heart is in the right place," said Joshua Lamel, who represents tech companies in Washington as VP of BGR Group, and serves as executive director of Re:Create, a group that pushes for more balanced copyright. "I don't know anyone in the Internet world who didn't like that paper." The most important Internet copyright law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was created and passed under Bill Clinton's tenure as president. "If you see the Internet as a success story, part of that is how [Bill] Clinton approached it in the 90s," Lamel told Ars.

There are problems with the DMCA and things that could be made better, but on the whole, the DMCA has done more good than harm. Of course, Hillary Clinton isn't her husband.

But her own record at the State Department, in Lamel's view, looks pretty good. Internet freedom was a major issue while Clinton ran State given the Arab Spring and related turmoil broke out on her watch.

The department voiced concern over Internet access and free speech during those events. The Clinton policy paper even cites a few points that are on the "wish list" of tech activists, like dealing with the mess around "orphan works," older copyrighted works where the owners can't be found, and ensuring open access to more federally funded content. While Clinton surprised some by citing a problem like orphan works, her platform is vague or silent on issues that are arguably more pressing. One burning issue for copyright reformers that she has no public position on is the deformed DMCA "exemption" process, in which people who want to bypass digital locks for non-piratical purposes have to ask permission from the Librarian of Congress every three years.

That's hamstrung companies, tinkerers, and activists who want to use copyrighted content for purposes that seem obviously good for society—whether it's ripping a DVD for educational slides or a documentary, or letting drivers tinker with their car software. In the view of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that exemption process, detailed in Section 1201 of the DMCA, is "fundamentally flawed." Seeing no progress on a legislative solution, EFF filed a lawsuit in July challenging Section 1201 as unconstitutional.
Is reform of this critical area something that could get Clinton's support? The platform leaves us few clues. Finally, while Clinton was clear about speaking up for Internet access rights in other countries, she's been more heavy-handed when US national security is at issue.
Internet privacy isn't the focus of this article, but Clinton's public statements suggest that she will be at least as supportive of massive Internet surveillance as Obama was, if not more. When asked about Edward Snowden in the debates, she followed Obama's line—that he should come back to the US and face a trial, full stop.
It was her primary opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, who showed more sympathy towards Snowden. Other matters on the wish-list of copyright reformers, such as reforming the massive statutory damages available to copyright owners, are likely to face further stalemate in Congress regardless of who is president. "Statutory damages are in desperate need of change, and the damage to innovation is really high," says Ernesto Falcon, an EFF attorney who focuses on IP issues. "VC's look at litigation risk, and it's copyright is super-risky because of six-figure artificial damages.

But it's hard to get Congress to have the courage to take it up." Guessing at a Trump copyright policy What would we see under a President Trump? The answer is almost entirely speculative for now.
In October, the Trump transition team had a meeting related to tech policy.
Second-hand reports indicate that entertainment industry lobbyists had a vocal presence at that meeting, but Trump's team didn't talk much. As with some other policy areas, we're left guessing at what Trump's position might be like based public statements, his personal history, and the advisers he's surrounded himself with. Here's one unusual reason Trump could actually defend balanced copyright: the "alt-right," the most controversial segment of his supporters, rely on it.

The alt-right grew up the most freewheeling parts of the Internet, like reddit and 4chan.

And while the Trump phenomenon thrived from mainstream media's attention, he's also attacked the media and used the Internet (Twitter particularly) to speak directly to supporters.
Some of the more fringe media figures involved in Trump's campaign, like Roger Stone and Alex Jones, wouldn't really have careers without the Internet. Their followers may have been part of the hundreds of thousands of callers to Congress demanding that they stand down before implementing SOPA.
So, the far right could be advocates for Internet freedom. Another space where Trump shares some territory with copyright reformers is in his staunch opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But while tech-sector opposition to TPP centered around copyright policies that some view as draconian, Trump's opposition has always had a traditional, anti-free-trade tone.
It suggests he simply believes TPP represents a bad deal for American workers. Putting aside those coincidental overlaps with reformers, there are a lot of reasons to think a President Trump would be a problem for tech in general and the Internet in particular. He's been happy to talk about "closing" the Internet in the name of fighting ISIS, has suggested boycotting Apple, and has been criticizing Amazon and Jeff Bezos for months, largely because of Bezos' ownership of The Washington Post. First of all, unlike traditional Republicans who often philosophically run "against Hollywood," Trump is in many ways a creature of Hollywood.

That means he's likely spent a time surrounded by folks with a more maximalist view of copyright. Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, for one, is a trusted adviser. Copyright claims have been used, increasingly, as a kind of SLAPP lawsuit to squelch speech.
If anything, Trump has pushed back against free speech and press rights, suggesting he'd like to "open up" libel laws and make it easier to sue news outlets.

Trump regularly threatens libel lawsuits against his critics. While that isn't directly a copyright issue, it does not give reformers much hope. There are two well-known third-party candidates in the race, as well. Libertarian Gary Johnson told Ars in a 2011 interview that his "verdict is out on copyright laws," since they "protect yours and my thoughts, should they be original."  While he said internet freedom was a top priority for him, he As to Green Party candidate Jill Stein, meanwhile, copyrights and patents don't have a place in her platform. A third shot at patent reform? The anti-SOPA revolt notwithstanding, neither Congress nor any potential president has much interest in altering the stalemated copyright landscape, which is likely to upset either the tech or the entertainment sector. In theory, the situation with patents should be different.
In both 2013 and 2015, Congress debated and voted on different types of reforms to a patent litigation system that's widely seen as abused. Bills that would increase transparency, limit venue gamesmanship, protect end-users, and increase fee-shifting were introduced, amended, and found strong support in both parties. In the end, though, neither passed.

The Innovation Act of 2013 passed the House, but it died without a vote in the Senate.

A similar bill in 2015 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it got no further despite the Senate's passing from Democratic to Republican control.

Both bills had broad support from the Obama Administration, but neither could win the support of key sectors, including pharmaceuticals, lawyers' groups, and universities. Clinton's platform calls for "additional targeted rule changes" to patent litigation that mirror what Obama supported, and it offers a big chunk of what the tech sector is asking for.
Specifically, Clinton "supports laws to curb forum shopping and ensure that patent litigants have a nexus to the venue in which they are suing; require that specific allegations be made in demand letters and pleadings; and increase transparency in ownership by making patent litigants disclose the real party in interest." She also praises Obama's "efforts to rein in frivolous suits by patent trolls," like the president's creation of a Patent Trial and Appeals Board.

That entity oversees inter partes reviews (IPRs) that allow accused companies to challenge patents at the Patent Office in a way that's far cheaper than court. "That language is comfortable to me, as a pro-reform kind of guy," said a longtime pro-reform tech advocate who didn't want to be named because of ongoing negotiations in DC. "It makes me think her platform is trolls are bad, IPR's are good, the America Invents Act was a good thing, and that we should have venue reform." It's a continuation of the Obama policy, and during a heated campaign, that's about as much as reformers could hope for. It all looks good on paper—but there's a big "but." Some of the advisers Clinton has tapped give reformers pause.

A Politico report on Clinton's team notes that her working group on regulations includes the general counsel of InterDigital, a patent licensing firm that's in the same group as Qualcomm.
InterDigital was a staunch opponent of the 2013 and 2015 patent bills. Another high-profile IP strategist in Clinton's working group is Q.

Todd Dickinson, a former director of the US Patent and Trademark Office under Bill Clinton.

Dickinson praised Clinton's "drill down" on tech and innovation as "maybe unprecedented," but he isn't a personality that pro-reform groups love being close to Clinton.

During debates over the 2013 patent bill, Dickinson was the head of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), an IP lawyers' group that often told Congress concerns about patent trolls were overblown. So where's Trump in all this? Again, it's guesswork. "There's just nobody working on these issues for Trump," Dickinson told Politico in August. Patent policy might be an area that Trump doesn't care much about.

Taking a look at Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana whom Trump chose as his running mate, may be more instructive. As the former leader of House conservatives, Pence is close to the right wing of the party, and he has a reputation for being someone who's skilled at negotiating with hardline groups like the Freedom Caucus. That could be useful to a President Trump, but nothing suggests Pence would be a friend of patent reform. While GOP House members voted 195-27 in favor of the first patent reform bill, most of the 27 "no" votes came from hardline conservatives, many of who identified as members of the Freedom Caucus. Pence is also a legislative rock-star to the American Conservative Union, another group that opposed patent reform from the right. Tech policy might be a proving ground as to whether a new Congress can work together in 2017.
If Clinton wins the presidency, all signs point to her facing at least one house of Congress controlled by Republicans. Will Congress support her on at least a few matters where majorities of both parties agree—like patent reform? Or, will Congress stay mired in a state of hyper-partisan inaction? Tech policy will be a kind of proving ground.
Mike Mozartreader comments 41 Share this story Advocacy groups are urging US regulators to consider blocking AT&T's purchase of Time Warner Inc., but AT&T may be able to avoid any review by the Federal Communications Commission. The merger will be analyzed by the Department of Justice, but AT&T has said the FCC will be involved only if any FCC licenses are transferred to AT&T.

A TV station is an example of something that requires an FCC license, but AT&T said that it and Time Warner are still "determining which FCC licenses, if any, will be transferred to AT&T in connection with the transaction." The reason for this uncertainty is that "despite its big media footprint, Time Warner has only one FCC-regulated broadcast station, WPCH-TV in Atlanta," Reuters reported. "Time Warner could sell the license to try to avoid a formal FCC review, several analysts said." (Time Warner Inc. is completely separate from Time Warner Cable, which was sold to Charter this year after an FCC review.) WPCH-TV, which is unaffiliated with any major network, is a small station that broadcasts re-runs and old movies, and it's likely worth very little relative to the $85.4 billion AT&T/Time Warner deal, Bloomberg reported. "Companies use sales, transfers, and spinoffs around larger deals in order to face friendlier regulatory review 'all the time,' Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan said in an interview," Bloomberg wrote. Transfer of a license to a third party would still require FCC review, but it would be separate from the AT&T/Time Warner transaction. Multichannel News raised the possibility that there might be other FCC licenses involved, but acknowledged that it isn't clear. "Some analysts, and one veteran communications attorney, thought there might be some satellite uplink licenses, but an FCC source said they did not know of any," the news site reported. We've asked AT&T if the WPCH-TV license is the only one that would potentially be transferred, but haven't heard back yet. We've also sought comment from Time Warner and the FCC. Antitrust and the public interest AT&T has frequently clashed with the FCC over net neutrality rules and other regulations, so it wouldn't be surprising if AT&T wants to avoid review by the agency.

AT&T has said one of the benefits of owning Time Warner is that the company is less heavily regulated than AT&T's existing businesses. The DOJ and FCC follow very different processes when reviewing mergers.

The FCC can block a merger if it doesn't serve the public interest, and the burden is on the merging parties to prove that Americans will benefit. The DOJ can block mergers by suing in federal court, but the federal agency faces the burden of proof and must convince a court that the merger would violate antitrust laws.

The DOJ and FCC coordinate on merger reviews when they're both involved, and their combined influence was enough to sink Comcast's attempt to purchase Time Warner Cable in 2015 and AT&T's attempt to purchase T-Mobile USA in 2011. With AT&T/Time Warner, the DOJ could be going it alone. The FCC says that its own decisions on mergers "must be based on the public record" developed through the public comment process.

By contrast, the DOJ's antitrust authorities "conduct a confidential investigation, and if they believe that consummation of the merger would violate the antitrust laws, they must go to court to stop the merger or get approval for a settlement that will prevent any competitive harms." Still, the DOJ by itself could either try to block the merger or allow it to proceed only if AT&T signs a consent decree with conditions designed to prevent competitive harm, similar to the decree signed by Comcast when it bought NBCUniversal.

Consumer advocates, AT&T's competitors, and lawmakers may try to influence the DOJ by speaking out against the deal. Potential harm to competitors Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge argued that the merger raises many competitive concerns.

As Public Knowledge Senior Counsel John Bergmayer said: Vertical integration between programming and distribution in particular raises a number of issues. [AT&T-owned] DirecTV, for instance, might favor Time Warner content, crowding out or refusing to carry alternative and independent programming that viewers might prefer.

AT&T might also make it more expensive or difficult for competitors to DirecTV or to its streaming service to access Time Warner programming, hoping to drive customers to its own platforms.

AT&T could also give preferential treatment to its own programming and services on its broadband networks—indeed, it has already announced that it plans to zero-rate its upcoming online video service.
Increased vertical integration could also increase AT&T's opportunities for data collection, which has relevance to FCC privacy initiatives.
Similar sorts of self-dealing and discrimination issues have been at the center of the review of similar deals in the past, such as Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal. Bergmayer said the merger highlights the importance of the FCC's proposal to impose new privacy rules on ISPs, which would require ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties. Opposition to AT&T/Time Warner may also come from the American Cable Association, which represents small- and medium-sized cable companies that compete against AT&T's home Internet and TV services. "As the FCC has found in past mergers, combining valuable content with pay-TV distribution causes harm to consumers and competition in the pay-TV market," the group's CEO, Matthew Polka, said. "If an AT&T/Time Warner deal is forged as reported, the vertical integration of the merged company must be an issue that regulators closely examine." US Sen.

Al Franken (D-Minn.) pledged to scrutinize the deal, saying that he's "skeptical of huge media mergers because they can lead to higher costs, fewer choices, and even worse service for consumers." Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), leaders of the antitrust subcommittee, said that "an acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T would potentially raise significant antitrust issues, which the subcommittee would carefully examine.” Sen.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged regulators to block the merger. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump said his administration would block the AT&T/Time Warner merger "because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." A spokesperson for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said she "certainly thinks regulators should look at it." AT&T argues that customers will benefit from the merger by receiving "enhanced access to premium content on all their devices, new choices for mobile and streaming video services, and a stronger competitive alternative to cable TV companies." With AT&T's wireless network and Time Warner's programming, "the combined company will strive to become the first US mobile provider to compete nationwide with cable companies in the provision of bundled mobile broadband and video," AT&T said. "And it will deliver more innovation with new forms of original content built for mobile and social, which builds on Time Warner’s HBO Now and the upcoming launch of AT&T’s [online streaming] offering DirecTV Now." AT&T says it expects to close the Time Warner merger by the end of 2017.
U.S. accusations that WikiLeaks is helping Russian hackers influence the upcoming election hasn't stopped the controversial website from dumping emails allegedly stolen from a Hillary Clinton aide. On Monday, WikiLeaks released an additional batch of 2,000 emails stolen from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, which could fuel negative press coverage of her candidacy. This came after the site dumped the first batch of emails last Friday, the same day U.S. intelligence agencies publicly blamed the Russian government for hacking the emails of U.S. officials and political groups earlier this year. Allegedly, the Russian government wants to influence U.S. public opinion by leaking sensitive documents to sites including WikiLeaks.
Independent security experts suspect that the hacking has been done to favor Clinton's Republican presidential rival Donald Trump. Although WikiLeaks hasn't revealed its sources, the site claims to have over 50,000 emails taken from Podesta.

The latest email dump contains information about  Clinton's Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, and an alleged feud between an adviser and Chelsea Clinton, among other topics. The Clinton campaign hasn't confirmed whether the batches of leaked emails are legitimate. Podesta himself has tweeted he has no time to "figure out which docs are real and which are faked." Nevertheless, the email dump is shaping media coverage of Clinton, with the more damaging files covering excerpts of private speeches she gave to financial firms.

The emails even became a topic in Sunday's second presidential debate, in which Clinton also blamed Russia for the hacking. "Believe me, they're not doing it to get me elected," she said. WikiLeaks, however, claims to have accurately vetted the stolen emails, without mentioning how. "Reporters should not let themselves be gamed by the Clinton campaign.

There is no denial and we have a 100% record for accuracy," the site said in a tweet. WikiLeaks plans on dumping sensitive files relating to the U.S. election and other matters over the next 10 weeks. 
reader comments 154 Share this story Enlarge / Writer Sam Machkovech gears up for tonight's fireworks. Sam Machkovech Want to make Snapchat great again? Donald Trump has given American users of the social media app that chance thanks to the service's first-ever nationwide "geofilter" ad campaign for a politician. The ad rolled out to American Snapchat users today, just ahead of the 2016 presidential election's first major debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton (the debate starts tonight at 9pm EDT).

The ad joins the usual geofilter available to Snapchat users, which usually list the name of a city or a nearby event as determined by GPS and time information. As shown to the right (featuring me as its puzzled selfie star), the ad stamps a user's photo and video Snaps with a banner phrase reading "Donald J.

Trump vs.

Crooked Hillary," along with Trump's famed slogan and a note confirming that the candidate paid for the geofilter campaign. This campaign differs from the deluge of text, photo, and video ads that politicians have relied on in recent years, as it doesn't publish or display to the public without a personal photo or video attached. While other political campaigns have paid for geofilter ad campaigns on Snapchat in the past, including Clinton and Bernie Sanders, those have been timed and targeted for smaller-scale events like political conventions and primary voting periods. In a statement to CNN, the Clinton campaign said that Trump was "throwing his money into a fire pit," and it pointed out the ad's potential for backfiring, since "given Trump's deep unpopularity with young voters, [the ad's phrasing] will be used mainly at [his] own expense." Listing image by Sam Machkovech
reader comments 27 Share this story Add former Secretary of State Colin Powell to the list of high-ranking Washington insiders whose leaked e-mails are rankling their peers with just weeks to go before the US presidential election. DC Leaks, a site that researchers at security firm ThreatConnect have linked to the Russian government, has published 26 months of Powell's e-mails, spanning from June 2014 to last month, news organizations reported Wednesday.

The trove, which contains highly candid comments lambasting presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are part of a new batch that's separate from Powell e-mails leaked a few years ago. Powell aides reportedly confirmed the new compromise, telling The New York Times that the leaked messages "are his e-mails." In the e-mails, Powell describes Trump as a "national disgrace" and portrays the candidate as someone who is unfit to be president. As reported by Politico, Powell wrote in a June 23 e-mail to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "if Donald were to somehow win, by the end of the first week in office he'd be saying 'What the hell did I get myself into?'" The e-mails also castigate Clinton aides for linking Clinton's use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state to Powell's use of a private e-mail address while he held the same post. The Clinton campaign’s “email ploy this week didn't work and she once again looks shifty if not a liar,” Powell wrote on August 20 to someone he worked with at the White House. “Trump folks having fun with her.” There are many more highly critical remarks on a range of people and highly charged issues.
It remains unclear how the 26 months of e-mail, which all appear to have been sent to or received from Powell's Gmail account, were compromised. Many of the similar leaks attributed to Russian hackers, including one from Tuesday involving the World Anti-Doping Agency, have stemmed from spear phishing attacks, which use personalized e-mails to trick a target into inadvertently revealing login credentials to the attacker. Another possibility is that Powell used the same password to protect both his Gmail account and a separate account from a server that was compromised in the past.
Indeed, Powell's e-mail address and password hash are contained in the list of 68 million Dropbox accounts compromised in 2012 that was made public two weeks ago, an independent security researcher said. The leak comes a few months after a person or group with the name Guccifer 2.0 published e-mails taken from one or more hacks of the Democratic National Committee.
Some of the contents that appeared to show Democratic officials denigrating former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders before he was defeated in the primaries led to the resignation of DNC Chair Debra Wasserman Schultz. Powell's e-mails were published on a password-protected portion of DC Leaks that was available only to select news outlets.
So far, there have been no definitive reports on precisely how the messages were obtained by DC Leaks. Listing image by DoD News
In face of alleged Russian attacks on U.S. election databases security experts warn that some states may have problems proving the integrity of their vote tally. The U.S. election system will likely face a significant trial this year, thanks to a summer of startling revelations including nation-state-linked attacks targeting the Democratic National Committee and state voter databases along with a statement of no-confidence by the Republican nominee.The result has been a slew of media stories positing how the election could be hacked.

The ongoing cyber-attacks and raised doubts will put states' choice of voting technology under the microscope with a focus on the security of voting system and the ability to audit the results produced by those balloting systems, according to election security experts.Unfortunately, while all but five states now have at least some systems with a verifiable paper trail, more than half do not have meaningful post election audits, according to Verified Voting, a group focused on improving election-system integrity and accuracy."We would like to see post election audits everywhere," Pamela Smith, director of the group, told eWEEK. "There is actual research showing that being able to conduct a robust audit in a public way brings confidence in the election.

A voter-verifiable paper ballot is a tool to instill confidence that the election has come to true result." The spotlight on election security and doubts from grand-standing candidates brings into focus a truth about elections: They are only as good as the citizens' confidence in them.
In the end, it matters little whether there is a threat and more whether the election technology and systems can convince the vast majority of people that the election was fair and accurate, J.

Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering at University of Michigan and director of UM's Center for Computer Security and Society, told eWEEK. "Any election system must be able to prove to the supporters of the candidate who lost that the loser was indeed defeated," he said. "But unfortunately, the assertions … that the elections will be rigged are really hard to disprove."U.S. elections have never been free from issues.

The 2000 U.S. presidential election resulted in a contested vote in Florida bringing the term "hanging chad" into the America's lexicon.
It also resulted in the Help America Vote Act, a federal mandate to upgrade states' election systems.In 2004, the race for the governor of Washington state was decided by 127 votes, amidst legal challenges and a laundry list of election official mistakes, questionable ballots and polling-book discrepancies.Unfortunately, many states chose to purchase electronic systems that do not produce a verifiable paper record of a person's vote.

The lack of a paper ballot makes any recount of the election meaningless. Now, a decade later those systems are in need of upgrading, but many jurisdictions put off the expensive process.This summer's reports of nation-state cyber-attacks on election data systems have ratcheted up the pressure on election officials and political party leaders.  Hackers—allegedly linked to the Russian government—compromised computers at the Democratic National Committee and leaked sensitive emails and documents in July.Just before the Democratic National Convention convened, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as DNC chairwoman, after leaked emails showed a lack of neutrality among the party leadership during the primary campaign that pitted Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
Click To View Slideshow» In recent decades, we've seen some of the most secure servers in the world breached by black hats. Last month, the media was all abuzz about the Democratic National Committee email hack and subsequent Wikileaks dump, which revealed bias against Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump even weighed in and said that he hoped Russia would continue to compromise American networks and further weaken Hillary Clinton, which is pretty intense.
Information warfare is more serious than ever, and governments and companies are on guard. Unfortunately, being vigilant just isn't cutting it. Over the last few decades, we've seen some of the most secure servers in the world breached by black hats.
In this feature, we'll spotlight the intrusions and leaks that caused serious damage, whether it be financial or informational.