White House Outreach To Big Tech Companies During Pandemic Puts Antitrust Probes On Hold, But For How Long?
Yes, the Trump administration has turned to Silicon Valley's giants for various reasons including best practices guidelines during the pandemic, but issues surrounding antitrust laws won't remain dormant for long, say Justice Department attorneys. Other news on technology reports on suspicious websites offering false promises, privacy issues with tracking people's movement through smartphones, and higher than normal use of screen time for teens.
Why Silicon Valley's Virus-Era D.C. Glow May Not Last
Big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are enjoying an unexpected boost in their D.C. popularity after the White House enlisted them to use their tremendous size, reach and mastery of data to fight the coronavirus. But those same traits continue to pose a peril for Silicon Valley's giants, who are the subjects of multiple federal antitrust probes that are nearing a critical stage despite the pandemic. (Overly, Nylen and Orr, 3/25)
Coronavirus Misinformation Makes Neutrality A Distant Memory For Tech Companies
Open up Instagram these days and you might be bombarded with calls to "Stay Home." On YouTube, you may see a link to a government website about the coronavirus. Or go to Twitter and try to find the phrase "social distancing is not effective." It might be there, but probably not for long — because Twitter has banned the phrase as harmful. (Ingram and Glaser, 3/24)
The New York Times:
Coronavirus Spurs A Wave Of Suspect Websites Looking To Cash In
A popular technology company that has helped launch thousands of online retail sites has become a favorite tool for fly-by-night businesses looking to cash in on the coronavirus pandemic. New e-commerce sites that use the company’s services are filled with wildly exaggerated claims about virus-fighting products that may not even exist. The New York Times analyzed registrations with the company, Shopify, which allows just about anyone with an email address and a credit card to create retail websites in short order. (Keller and Lorenz, 3/24)
Can Location Data From Smartphones Help Slow The Spread Of Coronavirus?
It’s emerging as one of the more promising — and potentially controversial — ideas to slow the spread of the coronavirus: collecting smartphone data to track where people have gone and who they’ve crossed paths with. The White House has discussed the notion, and several companies are reportedly in talks with the Trump administration to share aggregated user data. (Robbins, 3/24)
Good Morning America:
American Academy Of Pediatrics 'Recognizes' Kids Will Use More Screens
With millions of children prevented from attending school because of the novel coronavirus, parents are struggling to keep them busy at home. Even after schoolwork, there are hours in the day left to fill. The American Academy of Pediatrics told "Good Morning America" in an email, "AAP recognizes many children will be using more screen media now, whether for entertainment, education, or social connection." (Shaw Brown, 3/24)