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Student loan advocates filed a new lawsuit today that says the U.S. Department of Education, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, is making it harder for borrowers to cancel their student loans. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in New York, defrauded students seeking to assert their legal rights to cancel student loans now have to face “onerous standards” and “procedural hurdles.”
A House subcommittee is asking Amazon's home security outfit Ring for information about its partnerships with city governments and local police departments as well as its data protection policy. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, expressed concerns in a letter to Amazon about reports that Ring cooperates with the local entities to promote its surveillance tools and has agreements with some cities to provide discounts on their products to residents in exchange for city subsidies. He also said he was alarmed by reports that Ring “tightly controls” what is said about them in public and mandates prior approval of any statement.
United States antitrust investigations into Big Tech haven’t yet concluded, but they already seem to be making an impact. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Apple is considering allowing iPhone users the ability to make third-party apps such as Chrome and Gmail the default on their phones, a potential reversal that could alleviate one criticism from competitors and consumers alike that has caught lawmakers’ attention. And earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google executives were informally discussing whether they should consider spinning off their advertising-technology unit as regulators examine the company’s dominance in online advertising and its dealings with publishers. Taken together, the internal discussions at Apple and Google seem to signal that the biggest tech platforms are, at a minimum, taking probes from Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice seriously. On top of that, they could be looking to make sacrifices to ward off potential regulatory actions or lawsuits. This brings up the question of whether Amazon and Facebook are mulling their own changes.