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Bits: The Week in Tech: Amazon’s Burning Problems

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hi, I’m David Streitfeld, reporting from a very quiet week in Silicon Valley. The venture capitalists were at their vacation homes or exotic resorts, dreaming of riches to come. Entrepreneurs also must have taken time off, because I made it to San Jose in less than two hours, a personal record. There wasn’t even a new data privacy scandal to occupy the pundits.Amazon, however, never lets up.…

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Facebook Rebuked for Failing to Disclose Data-Sharing Deals

Facebook and some of the other largest technology firms in the world faced sharp criticism on Wednesday for failing to disclose the extent of its data-sharing deals, many of which went back to the social network’s early years.Details of the deals, revealed in a New York Times report on Tuesday, set in motion a fresh round of rebukes from legislators who had singled out Facebook’s sharing practices in the recent past. And they came at a moment when the Trump administration, Congress and even some Silicon Valley executives are calling for stricter privacy laws that would govern Facebook and other businesses that trade in huge amounts of…

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Senators Call for Federal Investigation of Children’s Apps

Two Democratic senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate whether children’s apps improperly collect personal data and whether app stores are misleading parents by labeling the apps as child-friendly.Senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday saying they were concerned that thousands of apps may “improperly track children and collect their personal information.”The senators asked the agency to examine whether the apps, and the advertising companies they work with, were violating a federal law to protect children’s privacy online. The law requires sites and apps aimed at children under 13 to obtain verifiable…

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Two Senators Call for Investigation of Smart TV Industry

“If you think of the cheap 32-inch, 40-inch, 50-inch TVs — most of the TV manufacturers are lucky if they break even on those sets,” said Paul Gagnon, an analyst for IHS Markit. Profits typically come from larger sets.Tracking software has also appeared as part of expensive models. David Kitchen, a software engineer in London who described his frustration with Samba TV’s tracking in last week’s Times article, said he had paid about 1,000 pounds (about $1,300) for a Sony Bravia set that asked him to enable the software.At the end of last year, about 45 percent of TV households in the United States, or 56 million…

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Silicon Valley Faces Regulatory Fight on Its Home Turf

In the rest of the world, the clamor for regulation is building. The most notable effort is coming from Europe, which is preparing to enact later this month a stringent set of laws that will restrict how tech companies collect, store and use personal data from people across the region.In the United States, the California ballot initiative is part of a wave of activity aimed at reining in the sprawl of personal data across the internet in the wake of revelations that the voter profiling firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users.Last month, Senators Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat…

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