Coinbase Calls on Government to Create Separate Crypto Regulator

Coinbase wants the U.S. government to create a cryptocurrency regulation agency separate from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Laws drafted in the 1930s to facilitate effective oversight of our financial system could not contemplate this technological revolution. Elements of those laws do not have room for the transformational potential that digital assets and crypto innovation make possible. They do not accommodate the efficiency, seamlessness, and transparency of digital asset markets, and thus risk serving as an unintended barrier to current innovations in the digital asset economy.

U.S. Justice Department Forms Crypto Enforcement Team

The U.S. Justice Department is forming a crypto enforcement team to “root out abuse” such as money laundering.

“We want to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial ecosystem that enables these criminal actors to flourish and — quite frankly — to profit from what they’re doing,” said Monaco. “We’re going to do that by drawing on our cyber experts and cyber prosecutors and money laundering experts.”

US Army Funds Wearable That Could Treat Sleep Disorders in Real Time

The U.S. Army is funding a special skullcap that aims to analyze how the brain disposes of waste during sleep. Eventually, the goal is for the device to treat sleep disorders for soldiers in real time.

The $2.8 million award issued through the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium is for the first year of what the research team anticipates will be a multiyear grant from the U.S. Army. The primary goal is to noninvasively measure and modulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid as it circulates through the brain and clears waste.

I can’t resist linking to Galactic Cowboys.

Biden Admin Wants to Regulate Stablecoin Issuers as Banks

This article is from The Wall Street Journal and may be behind a paywall. The report says that the Biden administration is looking to impose regulations on cryptocurrency entities that issue stablecoins. Also called fiatcoins, the price of these coins are pegged to fiat currency, such as the US dollar.

While the report is likely to focus primarily on the risks posed by stablecoins and how to impose a bank-like framework around the firms that issue them, other key issues will likely remain unresolved, such as investor protections around the trading of stablecoins, distinct from the regulation of the companies that issue them.

Brazil Fines Apple For Not Including a Charger in iPhone 13 Boxes

Brazil is issuing a fine against Apple for not including a charger inside the iPhone 13 packages. They also fined the company for the same thing with iPhone 12.

Following Brazil’s fining Apple $1.9 million for not including a charger with the iPhone 12, the company was forced to offer chargers to anyone requesting it. Now, the Procon-SP regulator plans to do the same over the iPhone 13.

According to local publication TechTudo, the $1.9 million fine that was issued in March 2021, was the maximum allowable under Brazilian law. The fine is also limited in how it cannot be applied again fewer than six months after issuing.

Chargers, and also cases. By slightly repositioning the buttons on the iPhone 13 so iPhone 12 cases don’t work anymore, Apple flips off the environment and uses its corpse for Tim Cook’s footstool.

Claris Brings 'ECF Records Manager' to K-12 Schools

On Tuesday, Claris International announced the general availability of ECF Records Manager. It’s an app created to help K-12 schools and libraries meet the requirements of a new US$7 billion federal program to support remote learning.

The FCC’s ECF Program provides more than $7 billion in funding to help K-12 schools and libraries address the homework gap by purchasing tools and services that support remote learning. This program also requires schools and libraries to keep specific device or equipment data as well as user, usage and service information and “any and all” records related to applications for funding and reimbursement payments. Required data and documents must be kept for at least 10 years.

Inside Project Raven, a Team of Former NSA Analysts Who Worked for the UAE Government

Project Raven was a team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights activists critical of the monarchy. Reuters tells the story.

The operatives utilized an arsenal of cyber tools, including a cutting-edge espionage platform known as Karma, in which Raven operatives say they hacked into the iPhones of hundreds of activists, political leaders and suspected terrorists. Details of the Karma hack were described in a separate Reuters article today.

An interesting story. We know that iOS 14.8 patched a vulnerability used by the Pegasus spyware, but I haven’t heard much about Karma.

Microsoft President Brad Smith Says Government Agencies Need to Share Data

Microsoft President Brad Smith says intelligence agencies need to share information to better protect the nation against cyberattacks.

Repeatedly in late 2020 we found people in federal agencies asking us about information in other parts of the government, because it was easier to get it from us than directly from other federal employees. A culture of holding information tightly is so ingrained in the government that even its contracts with us forbid us from letting one part of the government know that another part has been attacked.

President Biden has taken a couple of steps so far.

SEC Threatens to Sue Coinbase Over its USDC Lending Feature

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that the SEC is threatening to sue if it launches Lend. Lend is the platform’s feature that would give users 4% APY for USD Coin.

We shared this view and the details of Lend with the SEC. After our initial meeting, we answered all of the SEC’s questions in writing and then again in person. But we didn’t get much of a response. The SEC told us they consider Lend to involve a security, but wouldn’t say why or how they’d reached that conclusion.

They also asked for the name and contact information of every single person on our Lend waitlist.

That second part is particularly gross. Update: I think this is a nice write-up from Bloomberg on the matter.

US Air Force Contract Aims to Improve Blockchain Security

The United States Air Force will use Constellation’s Hypergraph Network to provide data security with the Department of Defense’s commercial partners.

Constellation said it had been working with Kinnami Software Corporation to develop an end-to-end data security solution using blockchain encryption and distributed data management for the United States Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command’s 618th Air Operations Center, and a Civil Reserve Air Fleet partner. According to the platform, its goal is to securely exchange data with commercial partners on missions involving the operations of aircraft and ships under contract to the Department of Defense, or DoD.

How Apple Lobbyists Defeated Two App Store Bills in Georgia

Politico published a report on Friday that examines how lobbying from Apple defeated two app store bills in Georgia and other states.

Apple’s aggressive lobbying efforts in Georgia, the extent of which were previously unreported, highlight a pattern that has played out with little national attention across the country this year: State lawmakers introduce bills that would force Apple and its fellow tech giant Google to give up some control over their mobile phone app stores.

Then Apple, in particular, exerts intense pressure on lawmakers with promises of economic investment or threats to pull its money, and the legislation stalls.

IMF: Credit Scores Should be Based on Browsing History

As if reality couldn’t be more dystopian, researchers for the International Monetary Fund proposed that credit scores should include data from peoples’ browsing, search, and purchase history.

Citing soft-data points like “the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases” that could be incorporated into evaluating a borrower, the researchers believe that when a lender has a more intimate relationship with the potential client’s history, they might be more willing to cut them some slack.

What an insane, stupid idea. Too poor to afford a Mac? Sorry! Your credit score won’t be rising above 600.

FEMA to Test Emergency Alert System on August 11, 2021

On Wednesday, August 11, 2021 FEMA will test its Emergency Alert System as well as the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. It will happen at 2:20 ET.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, runs the test every year or two to ensure the system is working properly. It’s no small task: A national emergency alert system that can broadcast a message to potentially hundreds of millions of people at any given time is fraught with technological hurdles that require close co-operation from the cell carriers and broadcast networks.

On the iPhone you can see if you have these alerts enabled in Settings > Notifications, and scrolling down to the bottom.