Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. | Follow InfoWorld's Off the Record on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. ]But Apple’s senior management and board, who are mostly white, fails to represent the company’s “diversity and inclusion,” argued shareholders Zevin Asset Management and Antonio Avian Maldonado II.
They explained their position Tuesday in a rebuttal to Apple’s opposition filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
The 4-4 vote by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals sets the stage for a potential Supreme Court showdown over the US government's demands that it be able to reach into the world's servers with the assistance of the tech sector. A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit had ruled that federal law, notably the Stored Communications Act, allows US authorities to seize content on US-based servers, but not on overseas servers.
Because of how the federal appellate process works, the Justice Department asked the New York-based appeals court to revisit the case with a larger, en banc, panel—but the outcome fell one judge short. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said the agency was reviewing the decision and "considering our options." Those options include appealing to the Supreme Court or abiding by the ruling. In its petition for a rehearing, the government said Microsoft didn't have the legal right to defend the privacy of its e-mail customers, and that the July ruling isn't good for national security.
The authorities believe information in the e-mail could help it investigate a narcotics case. "The Opinion has created a regime where electronic communication service providers—private, for-profit businesses answerable only to their shareholders—can thwart legitimate and important criminal and national security investigations, while providing no offsetting, principled privacy protections," the government argued. Some of the members of the appeals court agreed with the government, but there weren't enough votes from the full court to rehear the case with all of its judges. In his vote to rehear the case, Judge Dennis Jacobs noted in his dissent that it doesn't matter where the data is stored, as Microsoft can retrieve it to honor the US-based warrant. "But electronic data are not stored on disks in the way that books are stored on shelves or files in cabinets," he wrote, in a dissent joined by three other judges. Dozens of organizations and companies have lodged briefs in the case on behalf of Microsoft.
They include the US Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, CNN, Fox News Network, Gannett, and Verizon. Microsoft did not immediately comment on the ruling.
But right after the July ruling, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer said the outcome "provides a major victory for the protection of people’s privacy rights under their own laws rather than the reach of foreign governments.
It makes clear that the US Congress did not give the US government the authority to use search warrants unilaterally to reach beyond US borders."
But in a letter to shareholders yesterday, Netflix reassured investors that this won't affect the company's financial performance or service quality. "Weakening of US net neutrality laws, should that occur, is unlikely to materially affect our domestic margins or service quality because we are now popular enough with consumers to keep our relationships with ISPs stable," Netflix wrote. The FCC's rules prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling traffic or giving priority to Web services in exchange for payment.
Because of the rules, small video providers that aren't as popular as Netflix don't have to worry about being blocked or throttled by ISPs or having to pay ISPs for faster access to customers.
ISPs would prefer that customers subscribe to the ISPs' own video services, and thus have incentive to shut out competitors who need access to their broadband networks. Though Netflix is no longer worried about its own access to broadband networks, the company's shareholder letter said the company still supports the net neutrality rules. "On a public policy basis, however, strong net neutrality is important to support innovation and smaller firms," Netflix said. "No one wants ISPs to decide what new and potentially disruptive services can operate over their networks, or to favor one service over another. We hope the new US administration and Congress will recognize that keeping the network neutral drives job growth and innovation." Netflix fought some high-profile battles against Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable in 2014, before the net neutrality rules were passed. Netflix at the time was seeking free interconnection so that it could deliver video traffic to the ISPs' networks directly instead of paying transit providers to carry its traffic to the ISPs.
This alone showed that Netflix was already a giant: Most video providers aren't so big that it's worth building out their own content delivery networks. Netflix ultimately paid ISPs for interconnection but the dispute had an impact on the FCC's net neutrality proceedings. The FCC didn't ban interconnection payments but set up a complaint process so that companies like Netflix can challenge specific payment demands as being "unjust" or "unreasonable." There have been no major public disputes since then. Netflix ended 2016 with 47.9 million paid memberships in the US and another 41.2 million outside the US.
In North America, Netflix accounts for about 35 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak viewing periods, according to Sandvine's Internet Phenomena report. Netflix's letter to shareholders this week also poked fun at rival HBO for discouraging binge-watching by doling out episodes of new shows one at a time instead of all at once as Netflix does. Despite its previous fights with ISPs, Netflix has gained a privileged status with those same companies.
For example, Netflix is now available on Comcast's X1 set-top boxes, letting customers browse Netflix video alongside Comcast content. Netflix, video, however, is not exempt from the data caps Comcast imposes on customers.
Those data caps and overage fees do remain a roadblock for online video providers that seek to offer a replacement for the cable TV services offered by ISPs.
From 1979 to 1984, he led the cable industry's top lobby group, and from 1992 to 2004 he was the chief lobbyist for the mobile phone industry. Looking back, Wheeler says it was easier being a lobbyist. "To make decisions that are in the common good is tough," Wheeler said at a press conference today. "Remember: I have been on the other side. Making demands that benefit a specific constituency is easy, as is attacking the decision-makers when you don't like that decision." Wheeler was no industry lap-dog Some consumer advocates were skeptical of Wheeler when he was chosen by President Obama to regulate the industries he used to lobby for.
But he pushed through consumer protection regulations and other decisions that were bitterly opposed by the industries he used to represent, such as imposing network neutrality rules on ISPs and refusing to approve a Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. Consumer advocacy groups praised Wheeler today. "Rather than be the lap-dog of industry some feared, or hoped for, Tom Wheeler proved himself to be the most ferocious watchdog for consumers and competition in nearly two decades," Public Knowledge Senior VP Harold Feld said. "In the days ahead, the public must be prepared to fight vigorously to keep the consumer protections he created.” Wheeler announced today that he will leave the commission on January 20; the next monthly meeting is scheduled for January 26. President-elect Donald Trump will have to appoint a new chairperson. Wheeler said his greatest lesson from being chairman "is how malleable the definition of the public interest becomes when it comes to protecting self-interest.
Good people would come into the office and explain that what benefited them was in the public interest, and those of an opposing view would argue that the public interest was only as they defined it." Wheeler said he concluded that "I needed to define the public interest as the common good. At a time when everyone is wrapping their self-interest in their definition of public interest, the question has to be what is the best way to serve the common interests of the most [people]." Republican Ajit Pai, who could be chosen for the chairmanship on at least an interim basis, said at today's meeting, "there's no question that Chairman Wheeler made the most of his time here at the Federal Communications Commission." Pai opposed many of Wheeler's key initiatives, but today he called his colleague "a tenacious worker." "I salute him for his public service, his love for this agency, and the people who work here," Pai said. Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who is also on her way out after the Republican-controlled Senate refused to act on her re-confirmation, thanked Wheeler "for what has undeniably been an activist agenda." Wheeler in turn praised Rosenworcel for being "an early champion" of reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act, a move that helped the FCC defeat legal challenges to net neutrality rules. Public Knowledge's statement on Wheeler listed some of his biggest achievements.
It wasn't just the net neutrality regulations that everyone will remember, the group noted. Wheeler extended the Lifeline subsidy program to help poor people buy broadband, "created the strongest privacy rules ever" for customers of ISPs, lowered phone prices for inmates, and overhauled the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to "protect... consumer privacy and curb... unfair practices such as Wi-Fi blocking by hotels and convention centers." In short, Wheeler "pushed to transform every aspect of the FCC’s jurisdiction to serve the public and the public interest," Public Knowledge said. (The advocacy group was founded by Gigi Sohn, who was hired by Wheeler to serve as one of his top counselors.) Praise for Wheeler also came from New America’s Open Technology Institute, another consumer advocacy group. Wheeler and fellow Democrats "enacted historic rules to preserve an open Internet and protect consumer privacy, thwarted the harmful Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable, and reformed the Commission’s important E-rate and Lifeline programs—all within a framework grounded in improving competition and innovation and promoting a vision of the Internet as an open platform for all voices," said Sarah Morris, the group's director of open Internet policy. Competition? NCTA, the cable lobby group that Wheeler used to represent, frequently opposed Wheeler over the past three years but today released a statement thanking him for his service. "Chairman Wheeler’s mantra from the beginning of his tenure has been ‘competition, competition, competition’ and he should be proud that American consumers are enjoying the benefits of today’s vibrant and highly competitive video and broadband sectors," NCTA CEO Michael Powell (a former FCC chairman himself under President George W.
Bush) said in the group's statement. Wheeler, however, does not agree with NCTA's claim that the market is "highly competitive," a view that influenced numerous FCC policies. The FCC's Republican future Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be the sole remaining Democrat in the FCC after the departure of Wheeler and Rosenworcel. Wheeler today called Clyburn "the conscience of the commission." The FCC will have a 2-1 Republican majority in Trump's first days, though another Republican and Democrat will likely be added to restore the FCC's traditional 3-2 split.
All members of the commission are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, with minority party commissioners usually being selected based on suggestions from the minority party leadership. Wheeler said he met with Trump advisors to help facilitate the transition. He said that they had "good meetings" but declined to say what was discussed.
Trump appointed three advisors who are outspoken opponents of the FCC's net neutrality rules and are affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Wheeler mostly declined to speak about the Trump administration's potential policies but said he hopes that net neutrality rules that forbid blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization will survive. One possibility is for Congress to eliminate Wheeler's net neutrality rules and impose a new, weaker version. "I hope that if there is legislation, that it is net neutrality in more than name," and "not some kind of false labeling where net neutrality rules are actually gutted under the name of being net neutrality," Wheeler said. The Title II reclassification was criticized by ISPs who claimed it would hinder investment, although a Comcast executive recently admitted things haven't turned out so bad. "There is no dearth in the number of folks who are willing to manipulate [network investment] numbers," Wheeler said today. "I think the key is we should be looking at investment decision numbers as they are reported to the FCC and shareholders, in which all of the major ISPs are talking about increasing investment." Wheeler pointed to ISPs building gigabit networks, saying, "the margin in high-speed broadband is very good."
Symantec has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Zscaler alleging the cloud security vendor violated seven of its patents in its portfolio.
Zscaler offers a security platform that uses a cloud-based firewall proxy architecture to deliver a full portfolio of software-as-a-service web and network security solutions.
The lawsuit, filed with the U.S.
Federal District Court for the District of Delaware, claims that Zscaler violated Symantec's patents around web security, DLP, threat prevention, access control and antivirus.
The lawsuit affects U.S. Patent Nos. 6,279,113; 7,203,959; 7,246,227; 7,392,543; 7,735,116; 8,181,036; and 8,661,498.
Symantec said it will continue to investigate its patents and may file further lawsuit claims if necessary.
"We have an obligation to our customers and our shareholders to defend our intellectual property when we believe it has been infringed, and the lawsuit filed against Zscaler is intended to stop them from copying our pioneering technologies in network security," Scott Taylor, Symantec’s executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, said in a statement about the lawsuit. "Since 2004, Symantec has invested over $10 billion in R&D to provide our customers with innovative technologies, and much of that investment is protected by our portfolio of more than 2,000 United States patents.
Today’s action is a necessary step to defend our valuable ideas and assets that Symantec customers rely on for industry-leading cyber defense."
Zscaler did not provide a comment by the time of publication.
CRN will update this story later, if necessary.
The lawsuit is the latest example of an increasingly combative tone at Symantec towards its competition, a rhetoric that hasn't necessarily been present at the vendor in months and years past.
Symantec, in particular, has gone after its competition in the next-generation endpoint security market, with CEO Greg Clark recently calling out Cylance, Carbon Black and Tanium, as well as taking shots at Sophos and Proofpoint, claiming the technologies were merely "trendy" and lacked effectiveness.
Partners have also noticed this shift in tone at Symantec, particularly since the company brought in new leadership from its Blue Coat acquisition, which closed in August. One partner executive, who did not want to be named, said "this is new" for Symantec to be so combative, though said the recent shots at Zscaler are "kind of out of nowhere."
"We need to step up and be a leader and continue to be a leader," the partner executive said.
The challenge, the partner said, is that Symantec needs to be careful that partners don't get caught in the crosshairs, as many of them partner with other vendors, including Zscaler.
"It’s tough," the partner said, as his company partners with both Zscaler and Symantec, among many others. "I'm going to be stuck right in the middle of it."