With help from John Hendel, Leah Nylen and Mark Scott
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— Apple’s plea: The Silicon Valley giant returns to the courtroom today to try to hold up a ruling related to linking to third-party payment options.
— Collateral damage: Is the commercial use of spectrum coming at the expense of science? Lawmakers who think so want the Biden administration to weigh in.
— Disinfo talk: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will speak to a global group of lawmakers today on how to clamp down on misinformation.
IT’S TUESDAY, NOV. 9. WELCOME TO MORNING TECH. I’m your host, Benjamin Din. One of my must-watch shows this fall is “Dopesick” (new episode tonight!). What’s on your list?
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APPLE BACK IN COURT TO DEFEND APP STORE — The iPhone-maker returns to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ courtroom today to push for a pause on changes she ordered to the App Store as part of Epic Games’ antitrust suit.
— Flashback to September: Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple’s lucrative 30 percent commissions on App Store sales don’t violate antitrust law. But she said Apple’s rules barring developers from informing customers of cheaper options are illegal, and she ordered the company to eliminate those provisions. Both Apple and Epic have appealed, though in response to different parts of the ruling.
— Apple’s arguments: The company argues that it will be irreparably harmed if it has to let developers steer their customers to cheaper payment systems starting in December, as the judge ordered. In its court filings, the company highlighted a recent class-action settlement under which it agreed to allow developers to email customers, as well as a settlement with Japanese antitrust regulators to let certain apps bypass its commissions. Apple said it was “working hard to address these difficult issues in a changing world, enhancing information flow without compromising the consumer experience.”
— Not so fast: Epic, the developer behind the popular game Fortnite, said Apple hasn’t provided any evidence of how it would be harmed by implementing the new disclosure rules now. “Better-informed consumer choice is not irreparable harm to Apple — it is competition,” Epic said in its filing. “A stay would simply let Apple off the hook, and perpetuate the harms to consumers and developers.”
Meanwhile, the two companies have traded barbs over a dispute on when Apple will let Fortnite back onto its App Store. Apple told Epic CEO Tim Sweeney in September that the app would be banned until the appeals process is exhausted — a process that could take years to play out.
LAWMAKERS TO WHITE HOUSE: SAFEGUARD AIRWAVES FOR SCIENCE — House Science Committee leaders want to get the White House on their side early in the feuds over wireless airwaves. These lawmakers are asking President Joe Biden’s council of science and tech advisers to write a report on ways to protect and boost spectrum access and quality for science and operational uses, they wrote council co-chair Eric Lander in a letter released Monday.
“As demand for spectrum for mobile applications has increased drastically in recent years, spectrum-dependent scientific fields and operational functions such as weather forecasting are facing increasing threats,” Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and ranking member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) wrote in the letter.
The duo says the findings from such a report should influence the U.S.’s global stance on spectrum as well as empower the White House Office of Science and Tech Policy (which Lander directs) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration “to advocate for science spectrum needs more effectively.”
OSTP did not respond to a request for comment. The Biden administration has said it wants a national spectrum strategy but has provided no timeline or details.
The letter underscores the larger tensions with the wireless industry and the FCC. The House Science Committee has frequently sided against FCC decisions on these matters in recent years, and this summer, lawmakers held a hearing on spectrum-related interagency chaos. Those spats often came down to disagreements among the FCC and other government officials about what amounted to technical disruption in the airwaves. Trump-era FCC leaders regularly disputed claims about potential threats to weather forecasting and the like. So did wireless heavyweights, which want to be able to use as much spectrum as possible to handle next-gen wireless demand for data in the 5G era.
— Trying to catch the White House at the right time: Watch for more jockeying as the White House decides its spectrum approach. By prodding the White House now, House Science leaders likely hope to also amp up pressure on Biden’s FCC.
FCC DOLES OUT BROADBAND CASH — The agency has committed more than $421 million as part of its Emergency Connectivity Fund, a pandemic relief program that helps connect students, school staff and library patrons to broadband internet. This latest round of commitments brings the FCC’s total to more than $3 billion of the total $7.17 billion in funding available.
Lawmakers and broadband advocates have sought to replenish those funds using Democrats’ party-line social spending package. The current text of that bill would allocate another $300 million to the fund.
HAUGEN ADDRESSES THE WORLD IN EUROPE — After spending more than two hours talking to European lawmakers on Monday, the Facebook whistleblower will join another cohort of lawmakers today in Brussels — the so-called International Grand Committee on Disinformation — from across the world, from the EU and the U.K. to Canada and Singapore. (ICYMI, here are five takeaways from Haugen’s testimony to the European Parliament, via POLITICO’s Clothilde Goujard and Laura Kayali.)
— What’s on today’s agenda? Expect a lot of Facebook bashing. Experts from civil society and anti-disinformation advocates will first weigh in on wider issues around misinformation on social media and how hate speech can target minority groups online. Haugen will participate in the event’s closing panel with Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa, a vocal Facebook critic who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize.
— Will there be any immediate results? In short, no. But that’s not the point. By bringing together politicians from around the globe, the goal of this committee is to build trust between lawmakers in countries that face similar issues. They are using this event to swap notes and help build momentum in their respective countries to act on online content.
BLUMENTHAL FILES HIS RESEARCH REQUEST — Back in the U.S., the thousands of pages of internal Facebook research leaked by Haugen have spurred Congress to force the spotlight onto other social media platforms, too.
Senate Commerce consumer protection Chair Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has helped lead the charge, called on Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube to make public their internal research, algorithms and datasets on how those platforms affect children and teens. The letters to the three companies follow a hearing last month in which representatives from the three companies committed to disclosing internal research with the panel.
“Thank you for your commitment, as this transparency and access is critical to identifying possible harms to young users and preventing their devastating consequences,” Blumenthal wrote in his letter to Snap. “As the subcommittee works to draft protections for kids online, this information is also vital to our legislative efforts.” He requested the companies provide the materials by Nov. 24, as well as explanations for any documents they may choose to withhold.
Dan Jaffe will retire from the Association of National Advertisers at the end of the year. Jaffe, who is ANA’s group EVP, has led its government relations office in Washington for 36 years. He spent more than a decade on the Hill, including as staff director of the Senate Commerce consumer subcommittee and counsel to the full committee. ANA SVP Chris Oswald will be promoted to EVP in January. He was previously VP of advocacy for the Data and Marketing Association.
Kevin Walsh joins Invariant, the lobbying firm run by Heather Podesta, where he will advise clients on privacy, supply chain, semiconductors, cybersecurity and emerging technology policies. He was most recently an executive on IBM’s government and regulatory affairs team, and is a Claire McCaskill alum. … Marcus Robinson is now press secretary for Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. He most recently was communications coordinator at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. … Rob Tappan will be managing director at the International Biometrics + Identity Association. He currently is president of the Tappan Group.
Paul Singer has joined Kelley Drye & Warren as a partner in the state attorneys general practice group. He was most recently Texas associate deputy attorney general for civil litigation. Beth Bolen Chun is joining as a senior associate after working in the consumer protection division of the Texas attorney general’s office. … Todd Breasseale is now the deputy assistant to the secretary of Defense for public affairs for media. He most recently was director of public affairs communications at Microsoft. He also worked as a political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration and as an Army officer at the Defense Department. … Chris Wendt is joining Somos as VP for systems engineering. He comes from Comcast, where he was most recently director of the innovation and technology team for communications engineering.
Maribeth Petrizzi, the FTC Bureau of Competition’s assistant director of the compliance division, received this year’s Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership from American University’s Key Executive Leadership Programs. The award is given to career executives in the federal government for “exceptional public service and dedication.”
Google.org announced 34 organizations that won up to $1 million in funding as part of its $25 million Impact Challenge for Women and Girls.
NKOTB: The semiconductor shortage has created new power players in the industry, including many lesser-known chipmakers, via NYT.
Big winners: “In the supply chain battle of 2021, small businesses are losing out to Walmart and Amazon,” WaPo reports.
Boosting the FTC: A coalition of civil rights and consumer protection groups — including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Common Sense and the Center for Digital Democracy — is endorsing the FTC-related provisions in Democrats’ partisan package and urging lawmakers to keep them in the final version of the bill.
Number crunchers: The FTC released its annual Hart-Scott-Rodino report with premerger notification data for FY 2020.
Keeping tabs: A survey commissioned by SumOfUs and Parents Together looks at how parents with different vaccination statuses approach Covid-related information on social media.
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Apple’s Epic fight continues – POLITICO Source link Apple’s Epic fight continues – POLITICO