More questions arise about OPM hack; Apple under scrutiny

July 13, 2015
In The News

MORE QUESTIONS ARISE ABOUT OPM HACK: Now that former OPM Director Katherine Archuleta has resigned, lawmakers and executive branch officials are starting to grapple with the long-term consequences of the theft of personal information for more than 21 million people from OPM networks. The unprecedented data breach could produce decades of intelligence problems for the United States, perhaps not ending until the people whose data was stolen “age off,” FedScoop reported. Experts are also starting to scrutinize the security failures that allowed the hack to take place. Years of audits chronicled weaknesses on OPM’s network, the Wall Street Journal reported, with a lack of robust multi-factor authentication cited as one major oversight. It remains to be seen whether Congress will take new, specific action in the wake of the breach. Lawmakers are pursuing several different approaches, The Hill reported. In the House, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Steve Russell (R-Okla.) are preparing a bill that would strip OPM of its management of security clearances. A bipartisan group of senators, meanwhile, wants to increase oversight of how the clearance process is handled.

APPLE UNDER SCRUTINY: Antitrust regulators are looking into Apple’s treatment of rival streaming music services, Reuters reported, though the effort has not yet become a formal investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Complaints from rival streaming music apps like Spotify relate to Apple’s decision to take a 30 percent cut of all purchases of digital products made on its platform. Spotify lobbyists are making the rounds in Washington in support of the company’s case, Politico reported. “Spotify has been beefing up its Washington presence in anticipation of the fight with Apple,” Tony Romm wrote. “The company in April hired four outside lobbying shops to tackle issues around music streaming, licensing and “platform neutrality” — an early sign, sources said at the time, that the company was taking aim at the iPhone giant.”

ALWAYS LISTENING? Privacy advocates are urging the FTC and the Justice Department to examine “always-on” devices such as Amazon’s Echo assistant, Microsoft’s Kinect controller and certain smart-televisions, the Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reports. Their concern, articulated in a letter posted Friday, is that consumers might not realize when the devices are collecting data if they are designed to always be at the ready to respond to certain phrases or gestures. “The Federal Trade Commission has looked at a number of these issues in the past, as part of a broader look into the privacy of the ‘Internet of Things’ — a catch-all term for Internet-connected devices ranging from smartwatches to smart water meters,” Tsukayama writes.