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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High-Tech Technology News From the Associated Press


China says ex-top internet regulator under investigation

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:49:57 UT

BEIJING (AP) — China's former top internet regulator and censor is being investigated by the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption arm, the agency said Tuesday. The party's anti-graft watchdog agency said in a brief statement on its website that Lu Wei is suspected of "serious violations of discipline." Until Tuesday's announcement, Lu had been deputy head of the party's propaganda department. Lu was known as a hard-liner responsible for leading the government's efforts to tighten control over domestic cyberspace and championing the party's position that governments have a right to filter and censor their countries' internet.

FCC chairman sets out to scrap open internet access rules

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:02:29 UT

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission set out Tuesday to scrap rules around open internet access, a move that would allow giant cable and telecom companies to throttle broadband speeds and favor their own services if they wish. Ajit Pai followed through on a pledge to try to repeal "net neutrality" regulations enacted under the Obama administration. The current rules treat internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon as if they were utility companies that provide essential services, like electricity. The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps. Pai said those rules discourage investments that could provide even better and faster online access.

Uber reveals cover-up of hack affecting 57M riders, drivers

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:28:12 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is coming clean about its cover-up of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service's customers and drivers. So far, there's no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber's recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information. The revelation marks the latest stain on Uber's reputation.

AT&T suit may herald a new antitrust era - or Trumpian pique

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:02:22 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump administration's decision to oppose the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger may be clouded by suspicions of political influence. But considered on its merits, it could mark a significant departure in antitrust policy, one that might block or modify a broader set of mergers found to harm consumers. The move disconcerted both Wall Street and the telecom and media industries, none of which expected it. Consumer groups are applauding, saying it's a good step by the Justice Department to protect people from higher cable bills and ensure that web-based alternatives to TV aren't stifled.

Iran-based hacker charged with trying to extort HBO

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:49:47 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — An Iran-based hacker plotted to extort HBO out of $6 million by threatening to release stolen episodes and scripts of hit shows, such as "Game of Thrones," at one point taunting the network with a twist on a catch phrase form that series: "Winter is coming. HBO is falling." An indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan accuses Behzad Mesri of hacking into the cable network's computer system in New York. It says he stole unaired episodes from shows including "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Deuce," story plot summaries and scripts for "Game of Thrones" and confidential cast and crew contact lists.

Meg Whitman stepping down as HP Enterprise CEO

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 23:44:22 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Meg Whitman, who oversaw the breakup of one of Silicon Valley's pioneering companies, is stepping down as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. HPE said Tuesday that Whitman will hand over the reins of the company to its president, Antonio Neri, on Feb. 1. Whitman, 61, took over in 2011 at the former Hewlett-Packard Co., a company founded in 1939 and for years a tech bellwether. But it had struggled to keep up with industry trends toward mobile and cloud computing, shedding thousands of jobs in the process. In 2015, Hewlett Packard was split in two: one company, HP Inc., sells PCs and printers.

AP Explains: What is net neutrality and why does it matter?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 22:13:43 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — "Net neutrality" regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to undo the Obama-era rules that have been in place since 2015 . Here's a look at what the developments mean for consumers and companies. ___ WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY? Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it's pretty much how the internet has worked since its creation.

Hulu sued for not offering audio service for blind customers

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 21:23:20 UT

BOSTON (AP) — Advocacy groups have sued Hulu in an effort to force the subscription streaming service to provide an audio track that helps people who are blind or visually impaired enjoy TV shows and movies. The federal lawsuit filed in Boston on Monday asks the court to declare that Hulu's failure to provide services for the blind violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The groups say Hulu has refused to do so despite repeated requests from advocates and blind customers. "They want to enjoy Hulu like everyone else in the country," said Meredith Weaver, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind and a blind Massachusetts couple.

Politics or policy? Behind the dispute over AT&T-Time Warner

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 21:07:11 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T is vowing to fight the U.S. government to save its $85 billion bid for Time Warner, after the Justice Department sued to block the deal on grounds it could hike television bills and hamper innovation. The government's objections have raised red flags for those who worry that the White House is using the merger-review process to try to hurt Time Warner-owned CNN, with which President Donald Trump has tangled frequently. Here's a look at what's behind the deal: ___ WHY DOES AT&T WANT TO BUY TIME WARNER? As U.S. wireless growth slows down, AT&T has been looking for ways to marry its nationwide wireless business with video, which Americans increasingly watch on the internet.

Fiat Chrysler and Eni cooperating on emissions reductions

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 18:38:05 UT

MILAN (AP) — The CEOs of Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles SpA and Italian energy giant ENI have agreed to jointly develop technologies to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. The companies signed the agreement Tuesday in Rome with Premier Paolo Gentiloni that broadly focus on technologies related to compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas - alternative fuels in which Italy has long been a market leader. The deal also includes the use of a new alternative fuel - 15 percent methanol and 5 percent bioethanol - that will be tested by five Fiat 500 vehicles in ENI's car sharing service. The companies said the fuel can reduce carbon emissions by 4 percent.

Justice Dept. sues to stop AT&T's $85B Time Warner deal

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 01:16:45 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The Justice Department is suing AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, setting the stage for an epic legal battle with the telecom giant. It could also create a new headache for President Donald Trump, whose public statements have raised suspicions that he might have interfered with the department's decision, potentially undermining its legal case. DOJ's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, has said the president did not tell him what to do. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday she wasn't aware of any specific action related to the case taken by the White House.

Colorado fines Uber $8.9M for nearly 60 problem drivers

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:46:20 UT

DENVER (AP) — Colorado regulators issued an $8.9 million fine against Uber's parent company on Monday for allowing employees with serious criminal or motor vehicle offenses to work for the company as drivers. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said it launched an investigation into the ride-hailing service in March after an Uber passenger said his driver assaulted him in the mountain resort town of Vail. Within the last year and a half, the commission said it found that nearly 60 Uber drivers were allowed to work in Colorado despite having previous felony convictions. The drivers included a habitual offender, a former prison escape and others with major traffic violations including drunk driving.

The Latest: Colorado fines Uber $8.9M for problem drivers

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:13:19 UT

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on a $8.9 million fine issued by Colorado regulators against Uber's parent company (all times local): 1:55 p.m. Colorado has fined Uber's parent company $8.9 million for allowing employees with serious criminal or motor vehicle offenses to work for the company. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said Monday that it found that nearly 60 Uber drivers were allowed to work in the state despite previous felony convictions. The drivers included a former prison escape and people with major traffic violations or problems with their driver's licenses.

Volvo to supply Uber with thousands of self-driving cars

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:16:50 UT

HELSINKI (AP) — Volvo Cars said Monday it will sell tens of thousands of self-driving cars to Uber, which is expanding to become an operator and owner of its own car fleet. Volvo said in a statement that it would provide the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company with its XC90 premium SUVs complete with autonomous driving technologies, from 2019 until 2021. The framework deal is non-exclusive. "The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption," said Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson. The carmaker, owned by China's Geely Holding since 2010, didn't disclose the agreement's value or the precise number of vehicles.

Google signs lease for office space near downtown Detroit

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:37:37 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Technology giant Google is opening an office in a planned office, retail and residential development just north of downtown Detroit. The Mountain View, California-based company and Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in Detroit announced Monday that a lease has been signed for more than 29,000 square feet (2,700 sq. meters) of space alongside the new Little Caesars Arena. The arena is home to the NBA's Pistons and NHL's Red Wings. Ilitch Holdings says Google is projected to be the first tenant in the 50-block District Detroit. More than 100 Google employees are expected to work there when it opens next spring. Its media sales and technical support staff currently works in Google's Birmingham location, north of Detroit.