Union square ventures lead legal tech startup Juro’s $5m Series A

Union Square Ventures, a New York-based investing company, is planning to invest $5 million in series A in Juro. Juro designed for modern business is AI-enabled and assists fast-growing firms make contracts in a smart, human, and fast way. Juro was founded in 2016 by former Freshfields lawyer Richard Mabey and Pavel Kovalevich. Paul Foster, Taavet Hinrikus, and Point Nine Capital are among the investors participating in Series A. With an initial seed funding of $2million, Series A sees Juro funds increase to approximately $8 million.

Juro is specializing in coming up with interactive and trackable systems breaking the monotonous ways of negotiating and making contracts. Also, it offers services such as contract management and E-signing. Besides, it uses machine learning tech that alerts the client on unusual language and automatic contract tagging. Also, its custom-built editor enables contracts to be retrieved easily and be machine-readable. Juro also assists entrepreneurs in deals with up to 96% faster than using machine learning. Unlike MS words, according to Richard Mabey co-founder and CEO of Juro, Juro has a data model that converts contracts into actionable data. However, their biggest challenge is to drive out lawyers from MS word to Juro. Through custom-built editor, Juro can increase its value since MS word wasn’t designed for legal workflows.

According to Mabey, most of the investments will go into improving machine data science capabilities while other funds will go into hiring web designers, engineers, and data scientists. Mabey adds that it will expand its services to the EU market by increasing its marketing and sales team based in London. Later they will use the funds to expand to the US where they have customers already.

However, Joru has 50000 processed contracts of clients since its founding in 2016. Most of its users are tech-companies that have a deal with large quantities of contracts like Luno (fintechs), Envoy (saas), and Deliverooo (marketplaces) SkyScanner, Reach and Babylon health. In the last few years, E-signature giants startups are invading the contract industry. However, he argues that the E-signature firms don’t deal with browser-based documentation and dynamics. Instead, they deal with pdfs file, which may hinder them from invading the contract industry.

John Buttrick, a partner of Union Square ventures, is merging with Juro’s board as of the Series A. john praises Juros transformative vision in contract management. Lastly, he adds that Union Square Ventures are happy in investing in Juro’s project and making it a reality.

Peruvian McDonald’s Franchisee Arcos Dorados Found to Have Serious Violations of Local Safety Laws

A Santiago, Peru labor watchdog group has recently discovered that a McDonald’s franchisee called Arcos Dorados may have violated some serious food and employment safety laws. They cited them for six “extremely serious” health violations, and this actually comes on the heels of two separate company employees passing away in workplace accidents. The regulating body of Peru’s Labor Ministry is Sunafil, and they suggested that the company should be fined over $250,000 (link here) for the violations.

Arcos Dorados operates all 29 McDonald’s fast-food restaurants in the country, but they declined any requests for comment.

This all stems from an incident where 18-year-old Alexandra Porras and 19-year-old Carlos Campo were electrocuted when they were cleaning a Lima-area kitchen. Protesters have turned this into a crusade, calling it “Justice for Alexa and Gabriel.” The couple had only been working for the fast-food chain for a few months when this unfortunate incident occurred.

Minister of Labor Sylvia Caceres did note that Peru’s Labor Department has made a number of health and safety regulation improvements in response to this incident. This includes focusing on a concerted effort on making spot inspections. Caceres wants to discourage other Peruvian companies from violating labor standards and possibly avoiding more untimely employee deaths.

There is no question that Arcos Dorados is embarrassed by this incident as they not only operate many McDonald’s restaurants in Peru, but also a large number of restaurants throughout the Caribbean and South America. To their credit, the company has announced they will close all of Peru McDonald’s restaurants while they conduct their own investigation into what happened.

Arcos Dorados Holdings has long-established itself as one of the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisees. They own over 6% of the world’s McDonald’s restaurants. They have operated in 20 different countries and were even instrumental in organizing the 2014 FIFA World Cup games.

A Looming Legal Controversy Prompts Boeing to Replace Its CEO

Today, the crash of a jetliner holds numerous ramifications. Lawsuits typically ensue when an accident causes injuries and deaths. Boeing, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the United States, revealed this week that the company would replace its Chief Executive Officer after he failed to prevent a controversy from escalating and attracting ongoing media attention. Boeing Chairman David Calhoun will assume Dennis Muilenburg’s vacated post on January 13, 2020, reports Wall Street Journal.

Deadly Plane Crashes

Boeing became enmeshed in legal disputes following two tragic recent airline disasters involving its 737 MAX passenger jets. In October, 2018, a 737 MAX aircraft manufactured by Boeing inexplicably crashed in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. A second fatal accident involving the same brand occurred in Ethiopia in March, 2019. The two crashes caused a total of 346 deaths.

Federal regulators asked Boeing to ground its 737 MAX aircraft following the second disaster. Concern surrounding the source of the malfunctions created a whirlwind of media controversy. The accidents also sparked extensive legal filings. Following the accident in Ethiopia, for example, people purporting to represent U.S. legal firms reportedly began contacting many of the survivors of crash victims in Ethiopia, seeking permission to represent them in future actions. Boeing currently finds itself defending some 114 lawsuits filed in Chicago as a result of the air disasters.

A Crisis of Confidence

The ongoing media attention surrounding the 737 MAX line and the recent court filings hold the potential to keep the recent air disasters as a focus of media attention during coming months. The tragedy has reportedly already imposed significant financial costs upon the aircraft manufacturer. Some reports indicate Boeing will have sustained an estimated loss of $9 billion by the end of 2019. Its financial setbacks might adversely impact the U.S. economy in the opinion of some experts.

During the brief interim period between the departure of Boeing’s previous CEO and the arrival of its new CEO, CFO Greg Smith assumes responsibility for managing the firm. The decision to replace Mr. Muilenburg reportedly originated at the level of the company’s Board of Directors. Some sources indicate the departing CEO may qualify to receive a $39 million severance package.

Major Business Groups and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Oppose Trump Plan For ‘Dreamers’

The United States Chamber of Commerce, as well as, business groups that include Amazon Inc. and Alphabet inc. have filed briefs at the Supreme Court level in an effort to block an attempt by President Trump to end a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children from being deported.

The nation’s highest court is also preparing to hear arguments pertaining to plans by Trump to roll back the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislature that was enacted by former President Barack Obama. The immigrants protected by this program are referred to often as ‘Dreamers.’ An attempt by the Trump administration to rescind the DACA planned has already been blocked in lower courts.

The brief that filed to the court on Thursday argued that Trump’s plan would due great harm to companies who employ workers that are protected under the DACA program. The business groups also contend great harm would come to the American economy as a whole.

According to Reuters, the DACA program currently protects about 700,000 immigrants from being deported. Most of these protected individuals are young, Hispanic adults. Dreamers are allowed to work and enjoy other benefits of life in America but are not provided with a path to citizenship.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, also filed a brief in opposition to the president’s plan in the past week.

The Supreme Court is set to decide next summer at the end of June. This will place the decision during the hot part of the 2020 Presidential Election. Democratic opponents like Joe Biden have made promises to Dreamers that legislation will be introduced that will better protect them if he becomes president.

There have been multiple failed attempts by Democrats and Republicans to come up with an agreement on the matter that both parties can live with. Trump and his administration maintain that former President Obama exceeded the power provided to him by the constitution when he created DACA without input from Congress.

The Supreme Court is tasked with determining whether or not the Trump Administration acted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act when they enacted measures to eliminate DACA protections for Dreamers.

Trump decided to rescind DACA in September of 2017. The protections that Dreamers enjoy were to be phased out beginning in March of the following year. However, the lower courts decided that DACA application renewals will continue processing while both sides await the end of litigation.

CEO Of Peloton Claims To Not Be Concerned About Share Price Drop Following The Closure Of The First Day’s Trading Of Its IPO

Stocks are one of the most widely-traded forms of investments. Conveniently, the United States just happens to be the home of the greatest, most active financial instrument exchanges on planet Earth. The world’s most highly regarded financial instrument exchange – that of the NYSE, or the New York Stock Exchange, which is operated out of its official headquarters on New York City’s Wall Street, where the majority of the country’s financial business takes place – hosts the trading of public shares of some 2,800 public companies right now.

In the United States, particularly, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – it’s known as the SEC for short – requires companies that are on the precipice of wanting to offer their shares of ownership to investors through the help of financial instrument exchanges among the likes of the New York Stock Exchange to open up the sale of its shares to the world through what’s known as an initial public offering, or an IPO for short, that lasts for 20 consecutive days.

After this period is over, such companies are able to list their stock on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq, and any other financial instrument exchange based in the United States of America. It is very important for these businesses to make sure to time the opening up of their IPOs effectively, as failing to do so in an effective manner causes them to potentially lose many billions of dollars in funding that they could have received in the event that they had, in fact, managed to time their IPOs effectively.

Although, at any single point in time here in the United States, there are several companies that are considering opening up their IPOs for the public to begin investing in before such shares of ownership hit the market – whether that be the NYSE or the Nasdaq or on another such exchange. One of these companies, as of late September 2019, is Peloton, which is known as one of the best manufacturers of equipment used to exercise and otherwise stay healthy. The company was founded in 2012 in New York City, where it remains in operation today.

After having opened up its shares of ownership to the public for purchase via its IPO yesterday, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, the share price of Peloton dropped significantly. Company CEO John Foley isn’t concerned with the drop, according to a conversation he had with Axios.

FedEx Reports Bad Quarterly Financial Results Months After Cutting Its Partnership With Amazon

FedEx, United Parcel Service, and the United States Postal Service are the three largest couriers in the United States, with each of them having brought in $69.7 billion, $71.8 billion, and $70.7 billion in their most recent fiscal reporting years, respectively, in revenue. According to Market Watch, each of them engages in international operations, though most of the revenue each of them brings in comes from right here within the United States.

The first two companies – FedEx and UPS – are both public companies, meaning their stock is traded on public stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange, whereas the United States Postal Service, or USPS for short, is a government agency that acts independently of all other parts of the federal government.

As the years have gone by, these couriers – all three of them – have seen an uptick in demand from e-commerce retailers, especially Amazon. Although the same isn’t true now, as FedEx and Amazon stopped partnering so closely with one another, with the former company sharing back in June 2019 that it would be declining its option to renew the pair’s annual contract to ship packages in express form throughout the United States to the tune of some $850 million in revenue. With FedEx’s annual revenue already mentioned above, it’s easy to see that $850 million in terms of revenue isn’t much more, relatively speaking, than 1.25 percent of the company’s revenues in that same year.

Two months later, in Aug. 2019, FedEx also turned down the opportunity to take Amazon’s packages and transport them via ground to consumers around the nation.

All considered, Amazon-related revenue didn’t take up that large of a chunk of FedEx’s total revenue. Despite this fact, Amazon domestic shipping via ground-based means offered FedEx a disproportionate amount of profits as compared to other ways that FedEx brought in money from sales.

FedEx’s operating income for the most recent financial quarter, the second quarter of the current financial reporting period – the company’s fiscal year started on Feb. 1, 2019 – dropped a whopping 12 percent in terms of the year-on-year comparison of current quarterly change to that of the previous year. Keep in mind that FedEx only dropped the two lines of Amazon-related services three and one months ago, respectively.

After the company’s report that contained this info and more – lots of it wasn’t so great, either, just like what is mentioned above – was put out, FedEx’s stock managed to fall nearly one-tenth of its value from the close of Tuesday’s trading until roughly midnight Eastern Time.

Uber Faces Lawsuit Over Worker Classification

A driver has filed a lawsuit against Uber for misrepresenting her relationship with the company as an independent contractor. The lawsuit was filed on the same day legislators in California voted in favor of a bill that would allow Uber drivers to enjoy the benefits of full-time employees.

Assembly Bill five has the support of Governor Gavin Newsome and is set to go into effect January 1, 2020. However, there is a chance the bill will undergo changes before it becomes active.

Angela McRay is the woman at the center of the class-action lawsuit that was filed hours after the bill was approved that would affect the classification of workers in many industries. McRay has been an Uber driver for three years and alleges in her complaint that Uber plans to intentionally ignore the new statute. The complaint goes on to characterize Uber’s defiance of Assembly Bill Five as an intentional violation of the law.

Uber chose not to respond to questions from the media pertaining to the matter on Thursday.

Tony West, chief legal officer, opines that the new law does not cause Uber drivers to be automatically reclassified as employees of the company. He says Uber could take their case to arbitration and ‘pass the harder test.’

According to nytimes.com, the size of the workforce in California has caused the developments with Assembly Bill five to gain national attention. There are hundreds of thousands of contract workers in the state who may now receive worker protections like minimum wage and overtime pay. Some contractors may also be entitled to expense reimbursement and healthcare insurance.

The law is being opposed by ‘gig economy’ companies who depend on independent contractors for survival.

The bill seeks to provide structure to a state Supreme Court decision a year ago that made it more difficult for companies to classify workers as contractors.

Door Dash and Lyft Inc., both rivals of Uber, have each expressed their support of alternate legislation that would improve pay and benefits for workers while maintaining their status as independent contractors.

Uber has also faced problems over worker status with drivers in Massachusetts and agreed to a $20 million settlement in March to end a six-year-old lawsuit filed by drivers in Massachusetts and California who found fault in their classification as contractors and not employees.

Major Probe Will Focus On Google

Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to announce that he and 39 other attorneys -general will launch a probe of technology companies to determine if they are in violation of US antitrust laws. The probe will specifically look into whether or not tech companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices. It is as yet unknown which companies will be the focus of the probe, but it is being reported that Google will be the firm that will be placed under the greatest level of scrutiny.

There are two main reasons that the attorneys-general are launching this probe. Major social media companies have been criticized heavily for breaches of privacy. This lack of privacy is an issue that has been taken up by many politicians from both sides of the political spectrum including President Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren who is running for the presidential nomination in the Democratic Party.

There is also a major issue with competitiveness that the probe is expected to address. According to a report by indiatimes.com, Google has been accused by some of halting competition from other search engines. Critics of Google have stated that the company uses its search engine dominance to direct those who conduct searches to its affiliate companies to the detriment of those who compete against Google.

Attorneys-general on Friday announced a separate probe into the activities of Facebook. This probe will also focus on breeches of antitrust laws.

Google, Facebook and other tech companies are facing scrutiny from the Justice Department in addition to these newly announced probes by various attorneys-general. The Justice Department delivered a civil investigative demand for records to Google on August 30. Tech companies are also facing investigations in some European nations.

Google has stated that the company will comply with all requests for information from the federal, state and international authorities. The company has reiterated that it has not violated any antitrust laws.

China Wants The WTO To Stop Trump’s Tariff Addiction

Rudy Giuliani came out from the Trumpian rock he lives under long enough to tell the world James Comey “framed” the president. Mr. Giuliani claims former FBI Director Comey put a Special Counsel Mueller in place to bring Trump down. Rudy confirmed Trump’s thoughts about Mr. Comey. Both men say Comey is a liar and leaker as well as a big-time loser.

Attorney General Bill Barr did the Trumpster a solid when special Inspector General Horowitz discovered Comey took the memos he wrote about his meetings with Trump, home. Comey wanted to keep the memos safe, but taking the memos out of the FBI building violated FBI rules. Comey knew Trump would come after him after he refused to profess his loyalty to the Trumpster, according to the New York Times.

President Macron thought he could convince Mr. Trump to talk to Iran’s foreign minister when Zarif showed up at the G7 summit. Trump told the press he knew Zarif would be in France, but he didn’t want to talk to him. Mr. Trump seemed to be off his game after he watched Melania plant some Slovenian sugar on Prime Minister Trudeau’s cheek.

Mr. Trump had to get rid of his personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout after she told reporters Trump doesn’t like the way his daughter Tiffany looks. Madeleine had dinner and a few drinks with reporters in Bedminster while Trump played golf. Westerhout gave the reporters an ear full of Trump antics after hitting the sauce. The reporters promised they would keep her remarks quiet, but a week later, Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney ran to Trump and told him about Madeleine conversation with reporters.

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe keeps telling Trump North Korea has the missile power to break through their defenses. But Trump claims Kim won’t do anything stupid now that the dictator loves him. But according to Abe, Kim could waste Japan and South Korea if Trump doesn’t calm Kim down. Mr. Kim wants more attention from Trump. But the president has no idea what to do about Kim’s nuclear program, according to the New York Times.

China wants the World Trade Organization to step in and stop Trump from destroying the global economy with tariffs. China claims Trump broke WTO rules when he decided to start a cold-hearted tariff war. The Chinese know the WTO won’t make a decision right away. If the WTO finds Trump guilty of breaking the rules, Trump can still disrupt China’s economy along with the global and U.S. economy. Mr. Trump believes the rules don’t apply to him, according to Nancy Pelosi.

Read More: https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3025558/china-seeking-moral-high-ground-against-donald-trump-wto

Waymo Requests The United States To Lift Restrictions For Autonomous Vehicles

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is interested in seeing restrictions lifted for autonomous automobiles. Waymo is the self-driving car division for the company and made a strong request to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remove the barriers that prevent the production of cars with no brake pedals and steering wheels.

Presently, there are approximately 75 safety standards in place that govern the efforts of automakers who produce self-driving cars. Many of these safety standards were written with the assumption that an individual who holds a driver’s license is able to control the vehicle in a traditional manner.

The NHTSA has been grappling internally for three years regarding how they will handle these and other complex issues regarding self-driving automobiles. Waymo communicated through a letter that the NHTSA should look to maintain the same level of safety while working to lift barriers that are impeding the progress of the industry. Waymo suggests this process can be jumpstarted by removing the barriers that are established under the assumption a human is behind the wheel.

Waymo says a decision by the NHTSA to lift these barriers will ensure the next generation of driverless cars can be delivered to consumers.

A spokesperson for General Motors expressed the company’s agreement with Waymo by saying it is important for the NHTSA to handle the matter in a way that will guarantee regulations evolve to fit the rate of technological advancement.

Lyft Inc and Honda Motor Co have also suggested the Association handle driverless cars as a separate class of vehicles from cars operated by humans drivers.

The NHTSA plans to rewrite some rules that govern seating positions in 2020. This includes implementing safety standards for rear and side facing passengers being transported in self-driving cars. However, Waymo says that seating positions are not integral to the future development of autonomous vehicles.

The NHTSA is also in talks to determine how and where self-driving cars should be tested. One question that needs to be answered is if simulators should be used or if the cars will be controlled by remote control.

GM tried to obtain an exemption from NHTSA policies in 2017 as part of an effort to produce fully automated cars by 2019. A month ago, the self-driving car division of GM announced it will not be able to meet the previously established deadline.

United States Department Of Commerce Extends Respite For Huawei, Though Adds 46 Huawei Affiliates To Already-Lengthy Entity List

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, best known as Huawei, is a Chinese tech company that prides itself in being the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones and the single largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment on the global market.

In Aug. 2018, the United States prevented all members of the federal government from carrying out their operations with equipment from Huawei due to concerns that Huawei works directly with the government of the People’s Republic of China, providing the country with an unfair advantage over the United States.

In Jan. 2019, one of Huawei’s leading executives, Chief Financial Officer and Vice-Chairman Meng Wanzhou, was indicted alongside Huawei as a company on 13 counts of federal crimes, which included the misappropriation of trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.

Four months later, in May 2019, the United States Department of Commerce placed Huawei and 70 international subsidiaries of the company, as well as affiliates of Huawei, to the Export Administration Regulations’ Entity List. This made it illegal for companies based in the United States to do business with Huawei without first having been afforded a license that specifically gives such American entities the right to engage in commerce with the Chinese electronics giant.

Earlier today, on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, the United States federal government – via the Bureau of Industry and Security, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce – lengthened its Entity List, throwing 46 additional affiliates of Huawei onto the blacklist. While the long-term outlook for Huawei insofar as doing business with companies based in the United States, home to the world’s most powerful economy in terms of gross domestic product, is nothing short of grim, the U.S. Department of Commerce did, in fact, extend Huawei’s respite for an additional 90 days, allowing Huawei to keep doing business with all businesses based in the United States. The previous such deadline would have expired on Monday, Aug. 19.

Huawei spoke out against the lengthening of the Entity List, alleging that the “actions violate the basic principles of free market competition,” via an official statement released shortly after the Bureau of Industry and Security carried out the move.

The Department of Commerce ultimately decided to extend the stay of punishment on Huawei in the name of giving more time to American companies to make necessary changes to their business practices in order to prevent disruption as a direct result of not being able to use Huawei products any longer.

Tariffs Against China Delayed Until End Of Year, Some Products Excluded From List Of Affected Goods

For many years, according to businesspeople, financial market experts, and government officials around the world, Chinese manufacturers have forced business owners to divulge trade secrets to them in order to do business with one another. Businesses around the world have adhered to such demands by Chinese businesspeople because China is home to many of the world’s most valuable manufacturing offers.

United States President Donald Trump, a longtime businessman, has also long been aware of allegations against the Chinese government and its businesspeople for requiring foreign business entities, many of which have been and currently are based in the United States, to give up such information.

As a means of protecting the business and financial interests of the United States, President Donald Trump lobbied a litany of tariffs against the People’s Republic of China on March 22, 2018.

Just as President Trump, as well as financial experts around the world, had expected, Chinese government officials moved to place their own tariffs on products imported from the United States just two weeks after the United States made its move, on April 2, 2018. From there, the two countries have levied a ton of tariffs against one another, all of which have been maintained since they were implemented.

According to CNBC, earlier today, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, the United States Trade Representative office released a report that a line of tariffs that were slated to be enacted in the next few weeks by the Trump administration would be held off until the end of the year. Further, the U.S. Trade Representative office indicated that a handful of the consumer items that have been subject to tariffs for over a year will be excluded from the United States’ list of tariffed products.

The aforementioned tariffs were slated to be written into law in the next few days and be realized on Sept. 1.

As predicted, stock markets around the world have rallied since the outset of the announcement, with the Nasdaq, S&P 500, and Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1.95 percent, 1.46 percent, and 1.41 percent at the end of trading hours yesterday, respectively.

Bibles were dropped from the list of tariffs, which is substantial relative to the global supply of bibles, as the United States imports more from China than anywhere else. Frozen haddock, salmon, and cod fillets, as well as radioactive compounds and elements, were dropped from the list.

A portion of goods, however, will be faced with a renewed tariff on Sept. 1, including shelled nuts, unworked human hair, and American flags.

Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to FTC for Exposing User Data

Facebook has been in the news recently for not doing enough to protect its users’ privacy data. These issues came to a head and received more international attention after Facebook Inc. may have been the unwitting participant in a Russian propaganda campaign designed to mislead voters and give eventual President Donald Trump a leg-up during the campaign. The Federal Trade Commission’s decision to fine Facebook Inc. was more general, however, and centered around issues like Facebook’s inability to employ basic privacy practices and safeguard user data from advertisers and nefarious actors (e.g., scammers).

The Federal Trade Commission’s probe began last year as an inquiry into whether Facebook had violated its own 2012 consent decree. Part of the fine levied against Facebook stemmed to a breach in this 2012 consent decree that resulted in the improper sharing of 87 million users’ data with the political consulting outfit Cambridge Analytica. Coming full circle to politics, Cambridge Analytica was associated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign and could have received Facebook user information that it shouldn’t have had the social media firm lived up to its 2012 consent decree.

The Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to levy a $5 billion fine against Facebook. Interestingly, given the political angle, the three Republicans on the commission were thrilled with the outcome whereas the two Democratic commissioners were less enthusiastic. The Democrats felt as though the fine wasn’t nearly hefty enough given the financial clout of Facebook and the damage done to Facebook users and the U.S. political system. Notwithstanding the celebrations and grievances of Federal Trade Commission commissioners, the decision to fine Facebook $5 billion still faces court approval and could theoretically be struck down or effectively redecided.

Republican FTC Chairman Joe Simons was one of those commissioners excited about the fine against Facebook, so he lamented the fact that it might be watered-down due to the Federal Trade Commission’s limited legal authority and unwillingness to mount a sustained court challenge should the FTC’s fine be subsequently questioned or overruled in court. Commissioner Joe Simons felt that he got about as much as the FTC could have mustered by rhetorically answering “no” to the question that he posed to himself during a press conference – namely, would it have been possible to further curtail Facebook’s ability to collect and store customer data and fine Facebook $10 billion instead of $5 billion? Still, $5 billion is onerous.

Memphis’s Methodist Hospital System Suspends Wage Garnishment Practice Over Unpaid Bills

Memphis, Tenn.’s largest hospital system, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, is immediately suspending its court collection activities pending a review of their policies. When attorney R. Alan Pritchard appeared in Shelby County General Sessions Court in Memphis on July 3, he asked the court to drop over 24 cases related to unpaid hospital bills.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare came under fire recently after MLK50 and ProPublica Local Reporting Network published an article highlighting the aggressive debt collection tactics the hospital system uses against low-wage patients who cannot pay their bills. In June, Mary Washington Healthcare in Virginia was similarly exposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association for seeking legal action against low-income individuals for unpaid bills. The hospital also suspended the practice until they can review their policies.

Critics of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare say the non-profit hospital pays no tax in return for serving Memphis. Instead, the health system filed 8,300 lawsuits in five years to collect debts. They point to the case of Carrie Barrett who ran up a $12,019 bill in 2007 for a necessary heart catheterization. The non-profit system garnished her less than $13 wage multiple times and added interest to her debt. Barrett, now 63, owes $33,000 which she cannot pay.

According to NPR.org, part of the problem is Methodist’s policy of ignoring patients needing financial assistance to help with their out-of-pocket expenses. The hospital owns its own collection agency which goes after judgments to garnish wages. Lawmakers expressed surprise at the hospital system’s debt collection practices as did the Rev. Anthony Anderson, an elder at Memphis’s Faith United Methodist Church.

According to the hospital system’s own statements, they made $86 million in 2018 after expenses. In 2017, CEO Dr. Michael Ugwueke earned $1.6 million in total compensation and his assistant, former CEO Gary Shorb earned $1.2 million as Ugwueke’s advisor.

Chinese Drone Manufacturer DJI Voices Concerns Against Potential Interference From United States Government

Beginning last year, the United States has been in a trade war with the People’s Republic of China. The two countries are the largest two economies in the world; by gross domestic product (GDP), the United States’ economy is the largest, whereas China has the world’s most powerful economy by measure of purchasing power parity (PPP).

Since the start of 2019, the Trump administration has raised concerns about doing business with Chinese tech firms, namely Huawei.

One of the largest drone manufacturers on the planet, DJI, a Chinese manufacturer of tech products, recently spoke out against the Trump administration’s and Congress’ recent actions taken against Chinese tech giants.

Although the United States federal government hasn’t taken any actions against DJI specifically, the company is worried that it may soon have to quit doing business in the United States, reports Reuters. Americans collectively purchase more drones from DJI than any other manufacturer, regardless of whether they’re found in China or elsewhere.

The Senate’s Transportation Subcommittee, which is part of the Senate’s Commerce Committee, shared in a meeting last week that prolific Chinese drone manufacturer DJI could be of as much concern as Huawei in terms of collecting information from American users and then directly turning around and sharing those insights with the Chinese government.

This is of concern because China has been accused of having unfair intellectual property guidelines that allow Chinese manufacturers, which largely provide the most value in terms of all manufacturers, to require businesses from the United States to share their organizations’ patents, trade secrets, and other helpful information with them. Chinese manufacturers have been able to demand the sharing of such information with widespread success for many years, thanks to the best manufacturers on planet Earth in terms of providing the highest value for the lowest cost having outshined the rest of the world’s manufacturers by leaps and bounds.

Some industry experts based in the United States have alleged that DJI directly sends all information that it collects from American users and the American market to the Chinese government. However, DJI has repeatedly denied such allegations.

Even though some American government officials and industry experts believe that DJI is operating against the concerns of the United States government and the country’s economy, DJI has been awarded the rights to several government contracts. For example, DJI just came out with a drone system intended solely for use by governments earlier today, which the United States is already expected to utilize.