At a glance.
- Anti-trust action puts the brakes on tech mergers.
- Twitter’s open access strategy could backfire.
- CISA’s goals for the new year include launch of corporate responsibility subcommittee.
- Japan submits plans for more aggressive cyberstrategy.
Anti-trust action puts the brakes on tech mergers.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to block Microsoft’s plans to purchase video game company Activision Blizzard, stating the deal would harm competition. The FTC noted that Microsoft has a history of acquiring game companies and curbing competition by withholding content from rivals. Holly Vedova, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, explained, "Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets." Experts say the decision could have repercussions for future deals of a similar nature. William Kovacic, a former FTC chair and current law professor at George Washington University told S&P Global, "It does indeed mean that if you are a large tech enterprise and you seek to carry out a transaction, you are going to face close scrutiny from the FTC. This is the most important instance to date where the FTC has sought to fulfill its promise to enforce merger policy more aggressively. This is the biggest test to date of their efforts." The FTC must now provide proof of harm, but it’s possible the deal could go through if Microsoft can demonstrate it has safeguards in place.
Meanwhile, sources say antitrust regulators will be launching a larger investigation into the proposed $61 billion acquisition of cloud computing company VMware by US chip-maker Broadcom. Reuters explains that the deal would be the second-largest globally this year, and Broadcom met earlier this week with European Commission officials, whose initial review of the purchase is set to close in December. The company was hoping cloud computing competition from bigwigs like Amazon and Microsoft would convince the EU to allow the deal to continue as planned, but some insiders have warned that the purchase could lead to massive price increases and other issues for customers.
Twitter’s open access strategy could backfire.
Following his recent purchase of Twitter, Elon Musk has made the controversial decision in recent days to give select reporters insider access in order to expose what Musk views as evidence that the social media giant was mishandling its content moderation. Dubbed the Twitter Files, the data dumps have, in most experts’ opinions, revealed little surprising information about Twitter’s innerworkings, and by opening the door to journalists, Musk might have done himself more harm than good. A spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), Twitter’s lead data protection regulator in the EU, told TechCrunch that the DPC has asked Twitter for more details on this outsider access. “The DPC has been in contact with Twitter this morning. We are engaging with Twitter on the matter to establish further details,” the spokesperson stated. As well, former Facebook CISO Alex Stamos says that a Twitter thread posted yesterday by one of the reporters given access by Musk “should be enough for the FTC to open an investigation of the consent decree.” The FTC decree he references was established in 2011 and is connected to allegations that Twitter misrepresented the “security and privacy” of user data over several years.
CISA’s goals for the new year include launch of corporate responsibility subcommittee.
As we previously noted, last week the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) held the last quarterly meeting of the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee (CSAC) of the year to discuss the group’s strategic goals going into 2023. Meritalk reports that CISA Director Jen Easterly has asked the CSAC to establish a new subcommittee focused on corporate cyber responsibility. The move would be part of CISA’s efforts to ramp up its cyber “civil defense” capacity. During last week’s meeting, Easterly explained the strategic approach to sustainable cybersecurity “includes a technology ecosystem that is secure by design and by default,” and that corporate responsibility on the security front is an important element of that approach. Easterly stated, “It’s essential that the CSAC does focus on how industry effectively manages cybersecurity risks. It’s really about what tech companies and software providers have to do to move away from technology superhighways that have become unsafe [and] can decrease safer products and stop placing the burden of security on consumers.” Easterly also stated that the Transforming the Cyber Workforce Subcommittee will be working on developing a cyber talent management ecosystem that supports a people-first culture. In addition, the Turning the Corner on Cyber Hygiene Subcommittee will focus on providing support to target-rich cyber core sectors like oil and water facilities and small businesses, and the Protecting Critical Infrastructure from MDM information Subcommittee will work to ensure election officials across the country have the support to defend the security and resilience of the nation’s election infrastructure.
Japan submits plans for more aggressive cyberstrategy.
According to proposed National Security Strategy revisions submitted on Saturday, the Japanese government will be given “counterstrike capability,” which will allow officials to monitor the activities of potential attackers and launch defensive cyberattacks if signs of a potential risk are detected. Nikkei Asia explains that under current laws, such actions can’t be taken unless there’s an emergency warranting the deployment of Japanese defensive military forces, and previous Cabinets have said Japan has no need for a counterstrike capability as it relies on ally the US for defense. If approved, the revisions would be the first changes made since the National Security Strategy was established in December 2013, and could mark a shift to more assertive stance for Japan's cyber defense. As the Japan Times notes, the move comes as North Korea ramps up its nuclear program and China beefs up its military forces. The revisions are poised to be approved by the cabinet before the end of the month.