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FCC privacy restrictions could hinder AT&T's targeted ad plan

New privacy rules passed by the FCC could influence AT&T’s plans for its acquisition of Time Warner. Also in recent GRC news, the internet of things proves useful to hackers and privacy regulators in Europe warned WhatsApp and Yahoo about sharing users’ private information.

Privacy rules impact AT&T’s Time Warner acquisition goals

AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner could be influenced by new FCC-approved privacy rules requiring companies to notify customers and gain their permission in order to use their app and web browsing history for targeted advertisement purposes, according to Politico. AT&T planned on tapping into its customers’ data to generate targeted advertising for viewers of Time Warner’s video content, Politico reported. This is not the first time AT&T has dealt with the ups and downs of acquiring another large media company. AT&T successfully purchased DirecTV in 2014 and aborted a 2011 bid to purchase T-Mobile after the deal was opposed by federal antitrust regulators, the New York Times reported.

IoT becomes hackers’ latest exploit

The internet of things has become the latest weapon in hackers’ arsenal, according to the Washington Post. Devices such as webcams, baby monitors and even smart thermostats were infected with malware to “attack” a New Hampshire-based Internet Performance Management (IPM) company Dyn.

The DDoS-style attack directed large amounts of internet traffic to Dyn, a company that helps connect users to websites, and eventually crippled the company’s servers. The first attack occurred at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST on Oct. 21, and primarily affected users on the East Coast. A second attack occurred later that day at around noon EST.   As a result of the attacks, users of websites including Netflix, Spotify, PayPal and Twitter experienced connection issues, the Washington Post reported. A third attack that occurred later in the afternoon led to connection issues for users around the world.

European privacy regulators criticize WhatsApp and Yahoo

WhatsApp and Yahoo have received warnings from European privacy regulators regarding the distribution of users’ data, Fortune reported. WhatsApp came under fire for sharing information with parent company Facebook, while Yahoo was criticized for a large 2014 data breach and for using software to sift through users’ emails at the request of U.S. intelligence agencies.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy gives the messaging service the right to share users’ phone numbers with Facebook — a move highly criticized by European privacy regulators.

Yahoo suffered a major data breach in 2014 that exposed more than 500 million users’ email credentials. European privacy regulators wrote to Yahoo asking for complete transparency regarding details of the data breach and for the company to cooperate with “upcoming national data protection authorities’ enquiries and/or investigations,” according to Fortune. The regulators also asked Yahoo to notify all users affected by the data breach and how those users may be adversely affected.