At a glance.
- US Federal Trade Commission, 48 state, territory, district AGs, file anti-trust suit against Facebook.
- German court directs backdooring.
- Cyber diplomacy as cyber strategy?
FTC, 46 state AGs, DC, and Guam join to file an antitrust suit against Facebook.
The Wall Street Journal and Silicon Valley Business Journal report that the US FTC, along with forty-six states, Guam, and the District of Columbia are bringing antitrust lawsuits against Facebook. The social media giant is accused of squelching competition by shutting out developers with rival services and acquiring challengers like Instagram and WhatsApp. The Obama Administration’s FTC did not stop Facebook’s mergers with Instagram and WhatsApp, but prosecutors are now calling for the two popular platforms to be peeled off. A Facebook lawyer commented that the case presents a “chilling” precedent: “no sale is ever final.”
The anti-trust action has attracted bipartisan expressions of approval. The suit is expected to set the tone for future tech sector deals, with one Congressman commenting that they could usher in the coda of the industry’s “monopoly moment.” Twenty years ago, states led an attempted breakup of Microsoft. Looking back to 1911, if data are the new oil, then Facebook might be the new Standard Oil.
Kölner court directs encrypted email service to backdoor its product.
CyberScoop says a German court has instructed secure email company Tutanota to hack the account of a customer suspected of blackmail before the close of 2020, in the latest crypto wars skirmish. The firm intends to appeal, citing previous rulings that Gmail and Tutanota aren’t communications providers, and thus can’t be compelled to monitor accounts under EU and German law. As we’ve seen, law enforcement from Toronto to Tokyo are battling to increase their crime fighting capabilities by eroding encryption. A few months ago, Team Backdoors took a blow when Germany’s high court curtailed Federal Intelligence Service surveillance of foreign communications, but it seems to have won a round this week.
You’ve tried strategy, you’ve tried counterintelligence...maybe diplomacy?
On Tuesday, we heard that the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has had about enough of cyber diplomacy, stability, escalation, and norms talk; today, The Hill asks for more. Both parties agree that with novel spheres come novel threats and novel customs, and that the day-to-day deluge of attacks on critical resources is not ideal. While CSIS thinks confidence-building has been tried and failed, at the UN for example, The Hill holds up the Paris 2018 international coalition-building Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace as the path forward, urging Washington to sign on and lead the way in protecting a shared resource. Paris’ Call champions public-private partnerships and global collaboration, requiring a commitment to nine protective principles. The Trump Administration has declined to “limit its options.”
CSIS and the Trump Administration’s hesitation about international coalitions perhaps resembles TAG Cyber’s CEO’s fear, discussed last week, that “this belief that a big-group-hug with our international allies will stop cyber threats is both immature and incorrect.”