Seven Key Takeaways From The Department Of Justice’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework

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The Department of Justice recently released a report that served as a “Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework” as part of the Attorney General’s Cyber Digital Task Force. The full contents can be read here. What follows are some key takeaways from the report and some additional context.

1- Distributed ledger technology and even cryptocurrency itself is regarded as a potential positive technological force by the Department of Justice

“At the outset, it bears emphasizing that distributed ledger technology, upon which all cryptocurrencies build, raises breathtaking possibilities for human flourishing.” — in almost the beginning of the report this key point stands out almost right away —a somewhat positive attitude to DLT and blockchain.

The report then brings up case studies of DLT usage in the federal government, from the FDA’s pilot of a machine learning and blockchain-based system to modernize food safety to the Department of Defense’s consideration of blockchain “to provide increased effectiveness, efficiency, and security.”

Even cryptocurrencies, often shorn by states and condemned by European financial institutions and Chinese ones alike, get some light credit in the first section — though it’s in the context of the Federal Reserve piloting digital currencies, not in the context of independent peers arriving to a global consensus — in other words, cryptocurrency concepts without the governance and political choices that make cryptocurrency special.

2- Three categories of crime involving cryptocurrency fall into special scrutiny by the Department of Justice: financial transactions involved with criminal activity (such as buying illegal drugs with cryptocurrencies), money laundering/evading tax laws, and crime such

The case against Amazon: Key takeaways from the U.S. House antitrust report on digital markets

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the report this week from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. (GeekWire Photo Illustration)

Coming in at 451 pages, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee’s report this week on competition in digital markets is a comprehensive summary of the ways in which Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon capitalize on and allegedly abuse their market power to benefit themselves.

Amazon is mentioned by name 1,866 times in the report, almost twice as many times as Facebook, and second only to Google at 1,964 mentions.

The report dedicates an 83-page section to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, informed by internal company emails, extensive market research, interviews with third-party retailers, submissions from industry groups, and testimony including the widely followed hearing this summer with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and others.

PREVIOUSLY: Antitrust report says Amazon has ‘monopoly power’ over sellers, company slams ‘fringe’ findings

But if you’re looking for the essence of the antitrust case against Amazon, scroll all the way down to this sentence on page 276: “Amazon’s pattern of exploiting sellers, enabled by its market dominance, raises serious competition concerns.”

There’s no shortage of supporting details for that statement, including allegations that Amazon uses third-party seller data to inform the creation of its own products; leverages information gleaned from investments in startups as competitive intelligence; compels merchants to use its fulfillment services through preferential placement in product listings; and many more allegations.

Amazon disputes many of the claims and assumptions in the report, and describes the approach taken by the antitrust subcommittee as fundamentally flawed.

“All large organizations attract the attention of regulators, and we welcome that scrutiny,” the company said in a sharply worded blog post issued shortly after the report was released this week. “But large companies are not dominant by definition, and

The Technology 202: Here are seven takeaways from the House’s sweeping report concluding Silicon Valley is too powerful

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(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post). 

The report could provide a regulatory blueprint for lawmakers who have significantly ramped up rhetoric criticizing the tech giants in recent years, but have yet to actually pass any laws that would significantly check the industry’s power. The report’s authors, all Democrats, hope it will be a turning point for how Washington approaches corporate consolidation.

Congress must revive its tradition of robust oversight over the antitrust laws and increased market concentration in our economy,” the report said. 

Here are our top seven takeaways after sifting through the nearly 450-page report:

1. It proposes some most sweeping revisions to antitrust law in decades.

The report proposes changing existing laws in ways that could have far-reaching effects throughout the entire economy. The report recommends:

  • New limits on companies operating in adjacent lines of business, which could impact how tech companies operate their marketplaces
  • Nondiscrimination requirements that would prevent large tech companies from giving their own products and services a boost over rivals
  • Requirements for interoperability and data portability, which would make it easier for consumers to switch from one company’s services to those of another
  • A shift in how antitrust enforcers review mergers (The report’s authors recommend regulators assume a tech giant’s acquisition is anticompetitive until the company proves otherwise)
  • A move to strengthen provisions in decades-old antitrust laws and updating them for the digital age
  • Stronger legal enforcement by overriding problematic precedents in antitrust case law
  • More private enforcement of antitrust law, through eliminating legal hurdles such as forced arbitration clauses

2. It’s also a scathing indictment of top antitrust enforcers.

The report says it’s not clear whether the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission are equipped to tackle anticompetitive mergers in the tech sector. It accuses the agencies

VMworld 2020: 4 Takeaways from This Year’s Event

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3. Partnerships Can Ease the Burden in Times of Crisis

With so many procedures changing, IT departments have a lot to keep straight on their own. That’s where partnering up with an outside resource can be invaluable. 

Todd King, a VMware software-defined data center architect at CDW, said his company was able to help its customers immensely during the initial transition to remote work.

“In the beginning with COVID, we were dealing more with just enabling workers to work from home and enabling those IT staffs to be able to support all that,” King said. “Now, as we start to settle into this work-from-home idea, we’re actually starting to help customers understand security for working from home, understand data center infrastructure, and expanding on demand to address all these dynamic workforces and the needs of the business.”

Tom Cahill, vice president for product and partner management at CDW, said those partnerships can also help bolster operations in the future of work.

“Whether it’s stabilizing the business, whether it’s ensuring that the utility of IT is up and running, we build resilience,” Cahill said. “We future-proof and help their infrastructure so it’s durable and is there for the long haul, especially as we think about this new normal.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how to build resilience with a secured remote workforce.

4. Remote Work Must Be Secured for Business Continuity

Once businesses moved out of the remote work transition phase, their attention fully turned to security. Harsha Nagaraju, senior product marketing manager at VMware, said it all boils down to three buckets of protection: prevention, visibility, and detection and response.

“This tight integration, we believe, is completely going to change the game in the way you manage and secure your endpoints,” he said.

Now that so many endpoints are connecting to