Questions being raised after Kodak’s stock has a big moment

Eastman Kodak’s potentially lucrative deal to help the U.S. government make more generic drugs domestically is threatening to turn into a regulatory headache for the fallen photography giant.

Kodak’s depressed stock price surged last week before the company announced its plans to work with the President Donald Trump’s administration in exchange for a $765 million loan. That prompted Sen. Elizabeth Warren to send a Monday letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether insider trading laws have been broken.

The SEC is now in the early stages of a probe, according to a report published Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The SEC declined to comment on the report.

Kodak said Tuesday that the Rochester, New York, company intends to cooperate with any potential inquiries, without saying whether it has been contacted by the SEC.

The company’s stock soared

Read More

How Big Tech Surged in the Coronavirus Era

The U.S. economy’s free fall may be nauseating for some sectors, but for the four tech giants that posted earnings results on Thursday, the past three months have been more like a thrill ride.

The day after taking tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee on whether they’ve become too powerful, chief executive officers from Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook revealed that their influence is only growing.

These captains of tech industry posted a collective $28 billion in profits and added $214 billion in market value, a gobsmacking set of figures even in the best of times. But it stands out against a doom-filled backdrop of a U.S. economy that shrank 33 percent, while fears stretch worldwide across other businesses — from Main Street mom-and-pops to the arbiters of global luxury — that are dancing on the knife’s edge of real or potential extinction.

That may be stunning, but

Read More

Girding for grilling, Big Tech CEOs stress American roots, values

Washington (AFP) – Big Tech’s top executives underscored their firms’ American roots and values Wednesday as they faced a grilling in Congress over their extraordinary economic power and influence.

The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google offered an upbeat assessment of the tech landscape as they prepared for an onslaught of criticism at a House of Representatives hearing expected to be a rare political spectacle.

The hearing comes amid rising concerns over Big Tech dominance, which has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic as they leverage online platforms for needed goods and services.

The unprecedented joint appearance — remotely by video — before the House Judiciary Committee features Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet.

The hearing is part of a probe into the competitive market landscape and antitrust law, but questioning

Read More

Biased Big Tech algorithms limit our lives and choices. Stop the online discrimination.

The leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have some serious explaining to do about bias and discrimination when they appear Wednesday at an antitrust hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. 

The abuse of trust by the platform-based companies we rely on most has largely flown under the radar as a global pandemic heightens and highlights fissures in our society. But our data and our choices continue to be manipulated in problematic ways — often by algorithms that subtly introduce bias into the prices we pay and the information and options made available to us. It is essential that we hold our digital gatekeepers accountable. 

The algorithms at issue have a veritable fire hose of our data at their disposal, and they aren’t the neutral equations we might assume them to be. They are the product of humans, and because of that they have a tendency to perpetuate human biases.

Read More

Spotlight on 4 Big Tech CEOs testifying in competition probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — They command corporations with gold-plated brands, millions or even billions of customers, and a combined value greater than the entire German economy. One of them is the world’s richest individual; another is the fourth-ranked billionaire. Their industry has transformed society, linked people around the globe, mined and commercialized users’ personal data, and infuriated critics on both the left and right over speech.

Now Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook of Apple will answer for their companies’ practices before Congress for the first time as a group. Summoned for a House hearing, they’ll raise a hand (remotely) and swear to tell the truth, in the manner of tycoons of Wall Street or the tobacco industry in earlier high-octane televised shamings. It will be Bezos’ first-ever appearance before Congress.

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust is capping its yearlong investigation of Big

Read More

Jeff Bezos will be an open target when he’s questioned by Congress for the first time. These are the big flash points to watch for.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

  • Amazon CEO will testify before a congressional antitrust committee for the first time on Wednesday, alongside Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, and Mark Zuckerberg. 

  • While experts told Business Insider they expect the questioning to mostly pertain to matters of competition, Bezos will likely be grilled on everything from how Amazon treats third-party sellers to the company’s approach to acquisitions. 

  • The hearing may come at a challenging time for Bezos, who recently added $13 billion to his net worth in a single day as the coronavirus still surges in parts of the US, contributing to widespread job losses. 

  • Bezos will need to downplay Amazon’s size and power in favor of highlighting the benefit the company provides to small businesses and the communities it operates in. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

He’s appeared in a Star Trek movie, built a $42 million, 10,000-year clock in

Read More

Antitrust fever rises as Big Tech CEOs set to testify

Washington (AFP) – Antitrust fever hits a peak in Washington this week with lawmakers set to grill top executives of four of the biggest US technology firms in what promises to be a rare political spectacle for the digital era.

The showdown Wednesday in the House of Representatives comes amid rising concerns over Big Tech dominance, which has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic.

The unprecedented joint appearance in the House Judiciary Committee will include chief executives Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet. All will testify remotely.

The hearing is part of a probe into “online platforms and market power,” taking place as US federal agencies and states conduct their own investigations.

“This is the Super Bowl of antitrust,” said Avery Gardiner, an antitrust expert at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Read More

Asking the big social media companies to remove extremist content more quickly will do little to fight terrorism

'We believe doctors dealing with erectile dysfunction should also be asking about watching pornography,' researchers say: Getty
‘We believe doctors dealing with erectile dysfunction should also be asking about watching pornography,’ researchers say: Getty

Barely a day goes by when social media is not in the firing line from activists and advertisers over hate speech and racist rhetoric.

The controversy goes to the heart of the debate about the extent to which social media platforms should become the arbiter of content decisions and whether internet companies should be solely responsible for dealing with abhorrent content posted by users. Facebook and Twitter are both doing more than ever to reduce “online harms” – certainly much more than is legally mandated – but work carried out by Tech Against Terrorism shows that the majority of activity by terrorists and violent extremists has now shifted to the smaller, newer messaging apps, and niche social networks.

We need to acknowledge that, for all the understandable focus on the bigger platforms, it

Read More

Ahead of hearing with big tech CEOs, Cicilline says a Biden presidency would lead to regulation next year

WASHINGTON — A top Democrat leading an antitrust investigation into the nation’s top technology companies said Wednesday his committee will release a report by the end of August with recommendations on legislation that Congress could pass into law as soon as next year. 

“There’s no reason to not expect a new administration to take this up in their first year,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., in an interview on “The Long Game,” a Yahoo News podcast.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Andrew Harnik/AP, AP)
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Andrew Harnik/AP, AP)

“Antitrust laws were developed during the railroad monopolies and the oil barons. It’s a very different economy now. The question is, do we need to update and modernize our antitrust statutes to ensure that in the digital marketplace we have real competition? I think it’s pretty clear we don’t have real competition, partly because of the size of these platforms, and partly

Read More

Why international students may have Big Tech to thank for the US’s visa reversal

Sometimes, it helps to have friends in high places.

A coalition of powerful U.S. technology companies and trade organizations threw their support behind a legal challenge — launched by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — to block the federal government from banning international students from attending online only classes on U.S. soil in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. And Big Tech’s involvement may have been a key factor behind the administration’s last minute about-face on Tuesday.

Revocation of the rule means that the U.S. Department of State may again issue visas to international students enrolled in U.S. schools for the fall semester. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection no longer has authority to deny those students entry to, or continued residence in, the country.

Yet the Trump administration’s aborted effort was noteworthy for the big guns that joined forces to block the move. A coalition

Read More