Planned Parenthood Cyberattack Affects 400,000 Patients

A hacker accessed the personal information of roughly 400,000 patients of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles in October, the reproductive healthcare provider said Wednesday. Staff members first noticed suspicious activity on their computer network Oct. 17, and later determined that the hacker installed “malware/ransomware” and took some files from the system. Planned Parenthood Los Angeles took its systems offline, notified law enforcement and retained a third-party cybersecurity firm to help investigate. Out of caution, Planned Parenthood is sending letters to the affected patients explaining what happened and outlining steps they can take to protect themselves from fraud.

White House Readies Plan to Boost Cybersecurity of Water Supply

The Biden administration is readying a proposal to shore up the cybersecurity of the U.S. water supply, a system maintained by thousands of organizations with sometimes glaring vulnerabilities to hackers. U.S. officials hope water utilities will analyze and voluntarily report such data to help authorities monitor threats to different types of critical infrastructure. As a part of the White House plan, the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the cybersecurity of water utilities, will work with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to help utilities improve their ability to spot such attacks, an EPA spokesman said.

Court Enjoins Texas’ Attempt to Censor Social Media in NetChoice, Inc. v. Paxton

Earlier this year, the Texas legislature enacted HB 20, in an attempt to censor social media service while resting its arguments on the common carrier theory. However, basing itself on the First Amendment right to moderate content, the “Court start[ed] from the premise that social media platforms are not common carriers.” Social media platforms “are not engaged in indiscriminate, neutral transmission of any and all users’ speech.” User-generated content on social media platforms is screened and sometimes moderated or curated. The State balks that the screening is done by an algorithm, not a person, but whatever the method, social media platforms are not mere conduits.”

SEC Probes Tesla Over Whistleblower Claims on Solar Panel Defects

The U.S. securities regulator has opened an investigation into Tesla Inc over a whistleblower complaint that the company failed to properly notify its shareholders and the public of fire risks associated with solar panel system defects over several years. Henkes, a former Toyota Motor quality division manager, was fired from Tesla in August 2020 and he sued Tesla claiming the dismissal was in retaliation for raising safety concerns. In the SEC complaint, Henkes said Tesla and SolarCity, which it acquired in 2016, did not disclose its "liability and exposure to property damage, risk of injury of users, fire etc to shareholders" prior and after the acquisition.

Toyota Homes in on its First EV Battery Plant in the US

Toyota that it will build a new battery plant in North Carolina, the company’s first North American factory for car batteries. The $1.29 billion site will go up in the Greensboro Randolph Megasite, and is slated to go online in 2025. The company will start with four initial production lines that will be capable of creating enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 EVs. However, Toyota plans to expand to at least six production lines that can build batteries for up to 1.2 million vehicles a year.

Italy Fines Amazon Record $1.3 bln for Abuse of Market Dominance

Dec. 9

Italy's antitrust watchdog said on Thursday it had fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.28 billion) for alleged abuse of market dominance, in one of the biggest penalties imposed on a U.S. tech giant in Europe. Italy's watchdog said in a statement that Amazon had leveraged its dominant position in the Italian market for intermediation services on marketplaces to favour the adoption of its own logistics service - Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) - by sellers active on The antitrust authority also said it would impose corrective steps that will be subject to review by a monitoring trustee.

FCC Gets Its First Permanent Female FCC Head Ever

The US Senate this week approved a new five-year term for Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, making her the first permanent FCC chair in agency history. Technically the first female chair was Mignon Clyburn, who temporarily served as interim chair before Tom Wheeler was appointed boss back in 2013. Rosenworcel's appointment still leaves the agency gridlocked at 2-2 commissioners, and incapable of having a voting majority on any policy issue of substance.