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Tech News Today for May 18, 2017

Tech News for Thursday May 18, 2017

The FCC has voted along party lines to begin dismantling Net Neutrality. The 2-to-1 means the Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step toward repealing the rules that many internet freedom advocates fought hard for only two years ago. The rules had imposed strict oversight over ISPs to help prevent internet fast lanes, preferential treatment, and other measures intended to maintain a free and open internet. As expected, Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mike O'Rielly voted against Net Neutrality and the only democrat on the commission, Mignon Clyburn, voted against the proposal. Read more at axios.com.

Mercedes-Benz is following in Elon Musk’s footsteps. On Thursday, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler announced that it has partnered with Vivint Solar, a US solar panel installation company, to sell and install solar panels and battery storage packs to homeowners. 

The panels and batteries will be sold under the Mercedes-Benz Energy brand and the pitch Benz is making is the same one Musk’s Tesla has made to homeowners: put solar panels on your roof that can power your home and fill up a backup battery, if ever the power grid fails. And charge up you electric cars too. Vivint is saying the Benz solar and battery packages would range from $5,000 for a 2.5 kWh system to $13,000 for a 20 kWh package, fully installed. Read more at arstechnica.com.

The European Union has fined Facebook 110 million Euros (or 122 million dollars) for providing incorrect or misleading information in their acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp. The issue surrounds whether or not Facebook could match user accounts on WhatsApp to user accounts on Facebook. Spoiler Alert: They can and they did last August when WhatsApp changed its privacy policy and terms of service. According to the EU's competition watchdog Facebook claimed that it would be "unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users' accounts and WhatsApp users' accounts. It stated this both in the notification form and in a reply to a request of information from the Commission." This is one of the largest regulatory penalties against Facebook, who acquired WhatsApp for $19 in 2014. A few days ago Dutch and French privacy regulators also fined fined the company over their treatment of data. Read more at reuters.com.

More and more, online actions are having real world consequences that often catch those involved by surprise.

The latest example: San Francisco activist and musician, 35 year old Robert Peralta, was recently jailed for a Facebook post that county prosecutors said was a threat to law enforcement.

 The Guardian has a detailed story on this, but here's the breakdown: In January, a friend of Peralta’s posted a photo of himself being choked by a sheriff’s deputy, while claiming that he had been slammed to the ground as well. Peralta left a comment that said: “Wow, brother they wanna hit our general. It’s time to strike back. Let’s burn this motherf*****’s house down.”

Two months later, Peralta learned of a warrant for his arrest over the comment. He turned himself in and was jailed before a friend bailed him out. The sheriff’s office has seized his phone and combed through his Facebook account.

 Prosecutors have agreed to dismiss the charge in exchange for Peralta giving a presentation to youth about responsible social media use. He told the Guardian in an interview that, like many people posting threats on social media, “I didn’t even mean it.” Read more at theguardian.com.

There's a new hacking attack out there, and according to a security company's Proofpoint and BitDefender, it's making more money than WannaCry. Adylkuzz Cryptocurrency Mining Malware doesn't hold your data for ransom. In fact, you might not even know its there at all. Instead it's silent. The only symptoms you'll see will be loss of access to shared Windows resources and a slow PC or server. Read more at mashable.com.

Jason Howell is out today, so Nathan Olivarez-Giles is cohosting Tech News Today with Megan Morrone. The show streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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