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Government (excluding military)

AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner draws regulatory scrutiny

AT&T is set to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, giving it control over the latter's massive content if the deal is approved by regulators. Time Warner owns HBO, CNN and TBS. The deal will give AT&T multiple sources of revenues including potentially subscription revenues and advertising fees. They could also earn from the data based on the content that customers consume. The deal has sparked criticism from regulators with US lawmakers calling for an antitrust hearing on the issue, reports The Washington Post. Some antitrust experts think the FCC should be involved in the deal as it can put the company's competitors at an unfair disadvantage in different ways, including favoring its content over competitors in its platforms, offering unlimited streaming of Time Warner content or overcharging competitors to gain access to its content. The acquisition could also encourage other buyouts, adding more consolidation to the industry. Other carriers Verizon and Comcast are also buying content as they can drive network revenues.

Key Takeaway: 

AT&T’s acquisition deal with Time Warner, producer of entertainment content such as HBO, CNN and TBS, for $85.4 billion received much regulatory scrutiny for antitrust concerns that the company can have massive control over the content that Time Warner creates, its revenues and distribution, which can be used to throttle competitors to favor its content and services.

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October 24, 2016

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

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October 24, 2016

India calls on tech sector to innovate on its tax system

The government of India is tapping the private sector to aid in tax reform initiatives and build more efficient tax management systems. It is looking into technology to support its plan of simplifying the country's tax rules and applying a single tax rate for all goods and services, which include national, state and inter-state taxes. It recently awarded a $207 million contract to Infosys to develop the underlying infrastructure of the tax network in a span of five years. Large software companies Tally and SAP are also involved in developing tech solutions using the government's tax-related APIs, while some startups are focusing on cloud solutions to help people file their taxes.

Key Takeaway: 

India's government plans to leverage technology-enabled solutions to reform its tax system; it is collaborating with the private sector, especially startups, to make filing, monitoring and paying taxes in the country as efficient as possible.

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October 10, 2016

UK opens National Cybersecurity Centre in London

The UK has created a new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in London whose goal is to build and operate a defense network to respond to increasing incidents of cybercrime. It will be tasked to respond to cyber threats, work with public and private sector organizations on cybersecurity matters, research on the cybersecurity environment, and build expertise on cybersecurity technologies and identifying threats. The NCSC will be under the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the country's national surveillance body. Public communications relevant to protecting citizens from cybercrime will be handled by the NCSC. According to Europol, cybercrime is surpassing traditional crime incidents in Europe. In fact, all types of cybercrime are on an upward trend for some time. There is also an expanding cyber criminal economy that use digital currencies to buy criminal products and services, reports Europol.

Key Takeaway: 

The UK recently launched its own National Cyber Security Centre that focuses on defending the country from cybersecurity threats, collaborating with private and public sector organizations on cybersecurity issues, understanding the cybersecurity environment, and building capability to identify threats and other technology trends which are all vital in an increasingly digital environment with a progressing trend of cybercrime.

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October 3, 2016

Paris Agreement expected to take effect after EU's approval

EU member states gave their approval to officially join the Paris Agreement, the new climate deal wherein countries pledge to reduce their emissions to counteract climate change. Once the EU ratification papers are submitted to the UN on Wednesday, the deal is expected to take into effect. So far, seven EU members have ratified the Paris Agreement with others expected to follow. This brings the total to 68 nations, representing 57% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, embracing the new climate deal. Europe has pledged to reduce its carbon output by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. US, China and India have already formalized their participation. Other countries that could also submit their formal approval of the new climate deal include Canada and Japan.

Key Takeaway: 

With the 28 member states of the European Union informally approving the new climate deal, the Paris Agreement is expected to take effect soon on Wednesday; 68 nations have so far ratified the agreement, representing 57% of the world's emissions.

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Publication Date: 
October 3, 2016

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