Report: FTC to fine Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations
SAN FRANCISCO — The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The report cited an unnamed person familiar with the matter.
Facebook and the FTC declined to comment. The Journal said the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the settlement.
The FTC report has been moved to the Justice Department for review, per the report. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.
The fine would be the largest the FTC has levied on a tech company. But it won’t make much of a dent for Facebook, which had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year. Facebook has earmarked $3 billion for a potential fine and said in April it was anticipating having to pay up to $5 billion.
The report did not say what else the settlement includes beyond the fine, though it is expected to include limits on how Facebook treats user privacy. There also have been calls to the FTC to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally liable for the privacy violations in some way; but based on the party line vote breakdown experts said this is not likely.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the nonprofit online privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center, said he was “confused” as to why the Democrat commissioners didn’t support the settlement and said he suspects, without having seen the actual settlement, that this was due to the Zuckerberg liability question.
“But I thought that was misguided,” he said, adding that EPIC instead supports more wholesale limits on how Facebook handles user privacy.
United will scrap 8,000 flights due to grounded Boeing jets
CHICAGO — United Airlines expects to cancel more than 8,000 flights through October because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max planes.
United said Friday that it is dropping its 14 Max jets from the schedule until Nov. 3 — a month longer than previously planned.
The airline has used spare planes to cover flights that it planned to fly with the Max. Still, cancellations are rising because United was counting on receiving more Max jets this year, but Boeing suspended deliveries in March.
Chicago-based United said that without the planes, it will cancel 40 to 45 flights a day this month, about 60 a day in August, roughly 70 a day in September and 95 a day in October.
Southwest Airlines, which has 34 Max jets — more than any other carrier — does not expect the plane back before Oct. 1 and is canceling about 150 flights a day.
American Airlines has dropped its 24 Max planes from the schedule through Sept. 3, eliminating about 115 flights a day.
The Max was grounded around the world in mid-March after the second of two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
Boeing Co. is working to fix flight control software that appeared to play a role in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, according to preliminary accident reports.
Apple says fix coming for security in Walkie Talkie app on watch
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple says it’s fixing a security flaw affecting the Walkie Talkie app on Apple Watch.
The company said Friday it has temporarily disabled a feature that could have allowed someone to listen through another person’s iPhone without that person’s consent.
Apple says it’s not easy to exploit the bug to spy on a customer and there’s no evidence anyone has done so.
The company says it plans to fix the problem quickly.
Apple pledged earlier this year to respond more quickly to people who report vulnerabilities after a 14-year-old boy in Arizona discovered a serious FaceTime group-chatting bug that went unaddressed for more than a week. Apple later rewarded the teenager for his sleuthing.