‘What’s Hot’ List 9/4/15

What’s Hot List: 9/4/15

Judge Grants Uber Drivers Class-Action Status In Federal Lawsuit

(Forbes 9/1/15)

A federal lawsuit filed by three Uber drivers against the ride-hailing company can proceed as a class-action suit, a U.S. judge ruled Tuesday.

The drivers’ lawyers hoped to extend the lawsuit, which focuses on whether drivers should be classified as employees and reimbursed for expenses and tips, to a potential class of 160,000 drivers who ever signed up to drive in California. But U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen, while granting class-certification, limited the class: it will only include drivers who contracted directly with Uber and who have not driven since May 2014. (A small group of current and recent drivers who opted out of an arbitration clause can also join.)


AT&T expands FTTH network in Florida, Georgia and Texas, reaches parts of 15 major U.S. markets
(Fierce Telecom 9/1/15)
AT&T (NYSE: T) is extending its U-verse with GigaPower service to over two dozen new cities in seven major metro areas where it has made its 1 Gbps FTTH service available to consumers and businesses.

In its latest network deployment push, the telco launched service concentrating on Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Among the new market areas are Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Kansas City, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth.


Sinclair: FCC had nothing to do with retrans deal
(Katy on the Hill Blog 8/27)
Sinclair Broadcast Group shot down claims by the Federal Communications Commission that the agency’s intervention was the reason that Dish and Sinclair finally hammered out a new retransmission consent agreement.


FCC’s LightSquared Scandal: Another Solyndra In The Making? 
(Forbes 8/31/2015)

Remember the Solyndra scandal? Solyndra was a shaky solar panel company backed by the Department of Energy through a process “infused with politics at every level.” When Solyndra finally collapsed, it left taxpayers liable for $535 million in federal guarantees.

Solyndra pales in comparison to what’s at stake with LightSquared, another shaky company that went bankrupt after betting on billions of dollars in government benefits. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initially doled out government benefits to LightSquared in 2010, when a trio of agency bureau chiefs illegally granted LightSquared a nationwide cellular license in a spectrum band allocated for satellite communications. LightSquared wanted to convert the satellite frequencies into far more valuable cellular spectrum, “much as a developer would use a change in zoning to make land more valuable,” but its plan backfired when a host of other government agencies and companies proved that LightSquared’s proposed network would interfere with the Global Positioning System (GPS).


Russia Puts Off Data Showdown With Technology Firms
(Wall Street Journal 8/31/15)
Russia is postponing a showdown with a handful of technology titans, including FacebookInc., over installing data centers on Russian soil, handing an interim victory to companies that have resisted a divisive new rule.

Ahead of a law that goes into effect Tuesday requiring companies to store and process data about Russian users within the country’s borders, Russian regulators have told companies such as Facebook, Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. that they don’t plan to check until at least January whether the companies are in compliance, executives and Russian officials said.


A Risk Google Faces in Its Antitrust Case in Europe
(Wall Street Journal 9/1/15)
If Google loses its antitrust case against the European Commission, the company could face even steeper costs than the billions in fines likely to be imposed by the bloc.

The Brussels-based consultancy firm Avisa Partners and the London-based law firm Hausfeld & Co LLP, which both represent complainants against Google, are trying to line up clients to take Google to court in a bid that European antitrust regulators will likely rule against Google in a case over its comparison-shopping service.


Apple & Cisco Plot an Enterprise Fast Lane

(Lightreading.com 9/1/15)

Apple and Cisco have teamed up to create an enterprise Internet “fast lane” for iOS users in workplaces that have deployed Cisco’s video and networking infrastructure.

That covers a broad range of enterprises, as 95% of companies in the Fortune 500 use Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)’s collaboration and networking tools, according to the vendor, and nearly every company has Apple Inc.(Nasdaq: AAPL) products in-house thanks either to company policy or, more commonly, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.


Federal Court Overturns Ruling Against NSA Mass-Surveillance Program
(National Journal 8/28/15)
A fed­er­al court on Fri­day up­held the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency’s bulk-spy­ing pro­gram, over­turn­ing a lower court’s 2013 rul­ing that had deemed the sur­veil­lance pro­gram “al­most Or­wellian” and likely un­con­sti­tu­tion­al.

A pan­el of three Re­pub­lic­an-nom­in­ated judges on the D.C. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals de­term­ined that a con­ser­vat­ive act­iv­ist and civil-liber­ties groups did not have stand­ing to chal­lenge the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the pro­gram, first ex­posed by former NSA con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden two years ago.