DOJ formalizes request for encryption back-doors

The US Department of Justice, in conjunction with the “Five Eyes” nations, has issued a statement asking Apple and other tech companies to effectively create backdoors that will weaken encryption strength overall to provide law enforcement access to data.

In a statement released on Sunday by the US Department of Justice, the “International Statement: End-to-End Encryption and Public Safety” is a continuation of the long-running encryption debate. In the latest salvo in the ongoing war, representatives of governments from multiple countries are demanding access to encrypted data for the sake of sexually exploited children.

The lengthy statement demands tech companies “embed the safety of the public in system designs” relating to encryption, to enable companies to “act against illegal content and activity effectively with no reduction to safety,” while enabling law enforcement to do its job. This includes enabling law enforcement officials “access to content in a readable and

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TV Affiliates to DOJ: Broadcast Competition Standards ‘Out-of-Date’

WASHINGTON—ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC television affiliates have joined forces in an attempt to convince the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division that the competition standards for broadcast television are out-of-date and are in need of an update to properly evaluate the impact of satellite, cable and digital competition.

In a joint letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, the affiliates claim that the Antitrust Division has only local broadcast stations competing against each other in their local markets and excludes satellite, cable and digital when it comes to viewership and advertising data. This viewpoint no longer matches the current market reality, the affiliates argue, but it is continuously the determining factor in the division’s review of broadcast transactions, “stifling broadcasters’ ability to achieve efficiencies to allow them to provide high-quality entertainment programming and locally-focused news, weather and sports.”

When it comes to local advertising, the affiliates argue that the

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Fraud claims, DOJ probe and sexual abuse allegations cloud $2 billion deal between GM and Nikola truck startup

What seemed like a simple matter of crossing “t”s and dotting “i”s has turned into a protracted challenge for General Motors and Nikola, after negotiations to pair up and produce new zero-emissions trucks have been extended.

The $2 billion deal, announced on Sept. 9, was billed as a “partnership made in heaven,” according to Nikola founder and then-chairman Trevor Milton, during a media call with GM CEO Mary Barra. But the Phoenix-based startup has since been hammered by claims of fraud, with a Securities and Exchange Commission probe now underway. Allegations surfaced this week of sexual assault by Milton, who stepped down as chairman last week. Nikola’s stock has plunged to barely a quarter of what it was worth when the company went public last June.

Talks expected to wrap up today could now run through Dec. 3, at which time the proposed deal “may be terminated by either (Nikola)

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U.S. expected to sue Google next week as DOJ seeks support from states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is expected to sue Alphabet’s Google <GOOGL.O> as soon as next week, and is currently urging state attorneys general to sign onto the lawsuit, according to three sources familiar with the process.

The lawsuit is expected to accuse Google, builder of the world’s dominant search engine, of looking to disadvantage rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing by depriving them of the data about users and user preferences that they need to improve and to advertise to people.

The Justice Department has also been investigating Google’s “search advertising,” the ads that appear under a search box if a person looks up a consumer item like “dishwasher.” Google controls the sale of the space under these searches, as well as the tools to make those ad sales.

Google has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. The Justice Department declined to comment.

Regarding search, Google has said users have

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Uber’s push to expand its food delivery empire just hit another roadblock as the DOJ scrutinizes its plan to buy Postmates



a person holding a sign: Uber has become increasingly reliant on food delivery during the pandemic. Reuters


© Reuters
Uber has become increasingly reliant on food delivery during the pandemic. Reuters

  • The DOJ is taking a closer look at Uber’s plans to buy Postmates, Uber disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday.
  • The “second request,” as it’s called, puts the deal on hold indefinitely until both companies “substantially comply” with the government’s request for more details and it gives the deal a green light.
  • But the DOJ’s request signals it’s “concerned about the deal,” Sam Weinstein, a former DOJ antitrust lawyer, told Business Insider.
  • Uber pivoted to buy Postmates after merger talks with Grubhub reportedly fell through over similar  antitrust concerns as the platform faces increased scrutiny from lawmakers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Uber’s plans to expand its food delivery business by acquiring Postmates have hit a roadblock.

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In a regulatory filing Friday, Uber disclosed that the US Department of Justice has issued

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DOJ claims TikTok owner is ‘mouthpiece’ of Chinese Communist Party

The Justice Department filed a response to TikTok’s request for an injunction to delay President Donald Trump’s partial ban on the app that is scheduled for September 27, to be followed by a total ban on November 12. 

According to the DOJ’s claims filed Friday night, the Justice Department lawyers accused TikTok parent company Byte Dance’s CEO Zhang Yiming of acting as a “mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist Party and publicly making statements that demonstrate he is  “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging,” The Verge and NPR reported. 

The DOJ claimed that “US user data being stored outside of the United States presents significant risks in this case,” but the section relevant to how this is the case is redacted, according to The Verge and NPR.

ByteDance’s head of security previously stated that it’s impossible for the Chinese government to access user data from TikTok because the app’s

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The DOJ asked Congress to erode big tech’s legal protections as Trump accused firms of anti-conservative bias and ‘cancel culture’



a man looking at the camera: Attorney General William Barr (center) listens during a discussion with state attorneys general on social media abuses hosted by President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner


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Attorney General William Barr (center) listens during a discussion with state attorneys general on social media abuses hosted by President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

  • Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday the Department of Justice has submitted legislation to Congress to reform the part of the US law that gives tech companies broad powers to moderate their platforms.
  • Barr said the proposed legislation is aimed at “requiring greater transparency and accountability when platforms remove lawful speech.”
  • The legislation follows on from an executive order issued by President Trump in May targeting social media for alleged anti-conservative bias.
  • Trump often claims online platforms are biased against conservatives, but has provided minimal evidence backing this up. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump is ramping up the pressure on social media companies.

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DOJ proposes congressional fix of Section 230 as Trump turns up heat on Big Tech

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order to regulate social media, which could lead to attempts to punish companies, such as Twitter and Google, for attempting to point out factual inconsistencies in social media posts by politicians. 


Doug Mills/Getty Images

The Department of Justice proposed legislation Wednesday that would weaken legal liability protections for social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, and hold them accountable for how they moderate content on their platforms. The news comes as the Trump administration turns up the heat on big tech companies as the 2020 US presidential race gets into full swing. 

Specifically, the new law if passed by Congress and signed by the president, would alter the criteria online platforms must meet to benefit from liability protections granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 

“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” Attorney

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