Business Briefs: Congress probes Capital One data breaches

Business Briefs: Congress probes Capital One data breaches

August 1st, 2019 by Staff and Wire Reports in Business Around the Region

Texas joins challenge to T-Mobile-Sprint deal

Texas has joined more than a dozen states that are suing to stop T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of rival cellphone company Sprint, arguing that the deal is bad for consumers because it would reduce competition.

It's the first Republican attorney general of the group, which now consists of 14 states and the District of Columbia. California, New York and now Texas are leading the states' case.

The Justice Department approved the deal last week alongside five Republican state attorneys general who were not involved in the states' case. The federal government's conditions would make satellite-TV company Dish a new U.S. wireless provider.

Critics worry that the deal would still lead to higher prices and fewer consumer perks because Dish would be a weaker competitor than Sprint currently is. Dish has to build out its network and will start life with only 9 million customers, about one-sixth of Sprint's subscriber base today.

On Thursday, a federal judge set a December trial date for the states' case.

 

Congress probes Capital One data breaches

Leaders of House and Senate committees want Capital One and Amazon to explain to Congress how a hacker accessed personal information from more than 100 million Capital One credit card customers and applicants.

The incident was the latest massive data breach at a large company.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, asked for a staff-level briefing by Aug 15 on the breach that was reported late Monday.

The chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee also said the committee will look into the matter. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, plans legislation that would establish new data safeguards for consumers.

"I have concerns about all aspects of this," Crapo told reporters this week. "We want to understand how this happened, how other breaches happened ... and we want to know how vulnerabilities (appear) in systems and figure out what we must do to deal with them at a policy level."

 

Mortgage rates flat; 30-year at 3.75%

U.S. long-term mortgage rates were flat to slightly higher this week, hovering around three-year lows after the Federal Reserve's cut in its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade.

The Fed announced the landmark rate cut Wednesday after a two-day meeting of its policymakers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the key 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 3.75%. That's a historically low level for the 30-year rate, which a year ago stood at 4.60%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans ticked up to 3.20% from 3.18% last week.

The Fed made the quarter-point rate reduction with the aim of countering the impact of President Donald Trump's trade wars, stubbornly low inflation and global economic weakness.

 

EBay says Amazon poaches its sellers

EBay has accused three Amazon managers of illegally conspiring to poach its sellers, escalating a months-long feud between two of the country's largest e-commerce companies.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in California, eBay says the Amazon managers directed dozens of workers to illegally use eBay's private messaging system to solicit sellers onto Amazon's platform. The suit, which claims violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, says the employees' actions were "coordinated, targeted and designed to inflict harm on eBay."

EBay says the outreach was not a few rogue employees but part of a larger effort within Amazon, with managers giving lower-lever employees lists of eBay sellers to target.


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