As everyone sleeps off the last traces of tryptophan, IT companies are also taking this time to pause and reflect… except for Uber who is in trouble AGAIN.
The ride share company announced a massive breach that happened last year (which they did not inform the public of until this week). The company also paid the hackers that breached their security $100K to delete the stolen data (and let’s take the hacker’s word that they complied with that gentlemen’s agreement) and not make any public statements.
Uber’s CSO has been terminated.
In other news, FCC chairman Ajit Pai seems poised to overturn net neutrality rules on December 14th which could greatly impact the way companies and consumers interact with each other on the internet.
- AT&T Faces U.S. Antitrust Suit Over Time Warner Deal
The U.S. Justice Department is poised to sue to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner, according to a person familiar with the matter, culminating more than a week of sparring over the deal and dealing a major blow to the carrier’s bid to create a media and telecommunications empire, Bloomberg News’ Sara Forden and David McLaughlin report.
The Justice Department said it plans to make a major antitrust announcement Monday afternoon, without specifying the topic. The person familiar with the matter said the news regards the government’s plan to sue to block the proposed AT&T merger with Time Warner.
- 5 Companies That Microsoft Could Put on Its Shopping List
Workday Inc. (WDAY) and ServiceNow Inc. (NOW) , as the largest SaaS pure-plays not named Salesforce, could catch its attention. Workday, worth $23 billion, is the top provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and financials apps for enterprises, and it has also rolled out analytics tools and apps meant for universities.
ServiceNow, worth $22 billion, is the top provider of cloud-based IT service desk software and is also now a meaningful player in the IT operations management (ITOM) and IT business management (ITBM) software spaces. Buying the company would extend Microsoft’s reach within corporate IT departments and yield some synergies with the company’s System Center systems management software platform.
- AI Can Help Hunt Down Missile Sites in China
The deep learning algorithms proved capable of helping people with no prior imagery analysis experience find surface-to-air missile sites scattered across nearly 90,000 square kilometers of southeastern China. Such AI based on neural networks—layers of artificial neuron capable of filtering and learning from huge amounts of data—matched the overall 90 percent accuracy of expert human imagery analysts in locating the missile sites. Perhaps even more impressively, the deep learning software helped humans reduce the time needed to eyeball potential missile sites from 60 hours to just 42 minutes.
- Amazon’s cloud is about to announce a huge health-care deal with Cerner, sources say
As part of his keynote at re:Invent, AWS CEO Andy Jassy is planning to announce that Amazon is teaming up with Cerner, one of the world’s largest health technology companies, to help health-care providers better use their data to make health predictions about patient populations, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The sources, who asked not to be named because the discussions are still in the final stages, said the partnership is initially focused on Cerner’s so-called population health product — HealtheIntent — which enables hospitals to gather and analyze huge volumes of clinical data to improve patients’ health outcomes and lower treatment costs.
- Google Cloud Platform cuts the price of GPUs by up to 36 percent
Google today announced that it’s cutting the price of using Nvidia’s Tesla GPUs through its Compute Engine by up to 36 percent. In U.S. regions, using the somewhat older K80 GPUs will now cost $0.45 per hour while using the newer and more powerful P100 machines will cost $1.46 per minute (all with per-second billing).
The company is also dropping the prices for preemptible local SSDs by almost 40 percent. “Preemptible local SSDs” refers to local SSDs attached to Google’s preemptible VMs. You can’t attach GPUs to preemptible instances, though, so this is a nice little bonus announcement — but it isn’t going to directly benefit GPU users.
- HPE and Rackspace bring pay-as-you-go service to OpenStack Private Cloud
“The launch of OpenStack Private Cloud with pay per use infrastructure delivered by Rackspace and HPE marks a pivotal moment in the private cloud market and in the industry at large,” said Antonio Neri, president of HPE. “This experience is the best of the cloud and on-premises worlds, and we fully expect this simple pay-per-use technology model to change the way enterprises make technology decisions.”
The move is meant to respond to increased interest in public cloud services. The offering allows customers to pay only for what they use like a utility bill using HPE’s Flexible Capacity, making it easier to manage growth and bursts in workloads without paying for fixed capacity. The companies said providing the pay-as-you-go service will make private cloud 40% less expensive than the leading public cloud, an estimate based on Rackspace internal pricing analysis.
- Uber admits massive data breach
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi confirmed Tuesday that, in late 2016, hackers stole the data of 57 million of the company’s riders and drivers from around the world, including names, email addresses, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers. Khosrowshahi also confirmed that the $70 billion ridehailing giant has kept the cyberattack quiet for more than a year, in violation of laws that regulate such breaches.
As a result, Uber has fired chief security officer Joe Sullivan and one of his employees, according to Bloomberg. Sullivan was in charge of the company’s response when the attack took place. Former CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly learned about the hack roughly a month after it occurred.
The breach was reportedly discovered by a team hired by Uber to investigate Sullivan and the security department as a whole. The outside law firm in charge of the investigation found that two hackers broke into Uber’s Amazon Web Services account to gain access to rider and driver data, then asked Uber for money to keep the information private. Uber reportedly paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and conceal the incident.
New York attorney general launches investigation of Uber’s $100,000 hack cover-up
The office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman confirmed to TechCrunch that it has opened an investigation into the incident.
The new investigation won’t be the first time that Uber has tangled with Schneiderman. Flaunting laws over the course of its aggressive pursuit of growth, Uber often ran into conflict with city and state legal authorities, and New York is no exception. The company reached a settlement with Schneiderman’s office in January 2016 over its abuse of private data in a rider-tracking system known as “God View” and its failure to disclose a previous data breach that took place in September 2014 in a timely manner.
Given the New York Attorney General’s interest in the latest Uber scandal, it follows that Uber will likely be in the hot seat in its home state of California, where under Civil Code 1798.82 businesses are required to disclose data breaches affecting more than 500 state residents to the Attorney General “in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.”
- Philip Hammond just declared war on tech firms like Amazon and Apple that avoid UK tax
Amazon, for example, uses a intricate arrangement that involves paying itself royalty fees for its own intellectual property. Those royalty fees are shielded from tax, and mean the company can wipe out its taxable income.
The Treasury source explained: “If you’re hosting your intellectual property in a country that doesn’t charge tax, and using that IP to make profit by interacting with UK customers, we will be taxing you at 20%.”
Since the UK’s tax authority can’t tax an overseas subsidiary, it will charge a “withholding tax”, meaning the money will be deducted at source.
Richard Murphy, a tax specialist who has previously written about the way tech firms avoid paying UK tax, described the announcement as “a good move.”
- Meg Whitman out as CEO of HPE early next year
Six years after taking the helm as head of HP, Meg Whitman will step down from her role as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in February 2018. Whitman’s spot will be filled by the company’s current President, Antonio Neri.
Neri has been with HP since 1995, starting as a customer service engineer at at call center, ultimately rising the ranks to Executive Vice President of HPE in 2015 and then to President in June of this year.
- What the End of Net Neutrality Means for You
On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to gut net neutrality and hand over control of the internet to service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon (which also happens to be Pai’s former employer).
The new plan, titled the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” promises to end government “micromanaging” of the internet in exchange for added transparency from service providers. However, it’s also ready been widely criticized for removing the consumer protections passed by the FCC in 2015.
The FCC is set to vote on the proposal on December 14, and it’s expected to pass thanks to a 3-to-2 party split favoring the Republicans.
FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use
One major beneficiary of the rule-change may be AT&T, which is embroiled in a landmark legal dispute with the Justice Department over an $85 billion purchase of the entertainment conglomerate Time Warner. Should AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner be allowed to close, a repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules could give the telecom giant greater power to flex its new content properties in different ways, according to some analysts.
The most immediate effect of the FCC’s plan “is that constraints limiting contractual arrangements [between Internet providers and other companies] … will be lifted for both AT&T and its competitors,” said Joshua Wright, a former Republican FTC commissioner.
Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Very NSFW!)
I probably posted this before in the “News You Can Use” section, but this is a good summary of the situation… beware of colorful language and singing goats.
Photo: João Victor Xavier