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Data Sheet—Friday, July 1, 2016

The business world got rare good news out of Europe this week. It came in the form of a shiny new data pact between the United States and the European Union, and, though the so-called “Privacy Shield” still requires a final sign-off, all indications suggest the plan is a go.

This comes as an enormous relief to U.S. companies like Facebook and Ford, which count millions of Europeans among their customers. In the absence of a deal, these firms faced an ongoing legal muddle over how to handle data that, in the worst-case scenario, could have meant choosing between large fines or pulling out of Europe.

Yes, the deal is not final and will run into legal challenges but, as one lawyer notes, European courts have likely lost their appetite for upending treaties.

So all hail the good news about the data pact—unless, that is, you happen to be British. Its Brexit opens what one columnist calls a possible “data chasm” in which the island nation will be outside the EU’s legal umbrella, and also without a treaty like the one the U.S. is about to complete.

And, The Wall Street Journal notes, the European Union may look askance at the U.K.’s surveillance practices and even use them to justify a new form of data-based trade barrier. Fun times.

It’s too early to predict just how this will play out in the long run—recall the U.K. still needs new leaders for its major political parties—but for now it’s safe to say data regulation is emerging as yet another unexpected consequence of Brexit.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a completely different dispute over access to data underlies an intriguing new lawsuit. It was filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union, challenging a 30-year-old anti-hacking law as unconstitutional. The law is popular with prosecutors but, the ACLU claims, it puts academics and others in peril when they access data for legitimate research purposes.

So data issues—deal with them. But first, readers in the United States and Canada, enjoy a safe and happy long weekend.

Jeff John Roberts is a writer at Fortune. Follow him on Twitter or reach him via email.

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Bad day in court for Oracle. A San Francisco jury on Thursday sided with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, awarding it $3 billion in a dispute over Oracle’s decision to stop developing its database and other software applications for Itanium, a sophisticated computer server architecture. HP Enterprise called Oracle’s decision a breach of contract. Oracle will appeal. (Wall Street Journal)

Is Apple courting Jay Z? The tech giant is exploring a deal to acquire the rapper’s Tidal streaming music service, reports The Wall Street Journal, although a deal is far from certain and Tidal denies talks have taken place. Such a move could bolster Apple Music’s influence with musicians. Meanwhile, several reports suggest that Apple’s rivalry with music streaming service Spotify is intensifying. The Swedish company claims (in a letter by its chief lawyer) that Apple has blocked the latest update to its mobile app for competitive reasons. (Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg)

Zenefits halves its valuation to $2 billion. The troubled HR software startup, which ran afoul of insurance regulators for sloppy licensing practices, has repriced its stock in order to “reset” its relationship with investors. It was previously valued at $4.5 billion. Certain investors will receive larger stakes to compensate for the change. (Fortune, New York Times)

Marissa Mayer reports ‘great progress’ on Yahoo sale. The auction for the Internet company’s core assets is winding down and she is “heartened” by the level of interest, the Yahoo CEO told shareholders Thursday at its annual meeting. Yahoo isn’t talking, but there are reported to be at least six bidders still in the running include several private equity firms, AT&T, Verizon, and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. (Fortune)

Tim Cook becomes Nike’s lead independent director. Apple’s CEO has been a board member for the athletic apparel company since 2005 and is chair of its compensation committee. (Fortune)

HP Inc. offers personal computers as a service. It’s not exactly a new concept, but the tech giant says businesses can now pay for desktops or notebook computers for a fixed monthly fee per employee rather than buying the equipment upfront. Alongside the hardware, HP is offering services that keep the systems updated and secure. (Wall Street Journal)

Regulators eye role of self-driving tech in fatal Tesla crash. The accident last May in Florida involving a Model S occurred while the car’s Autopilot software was engaged. The technology uses sensors, cameras, and wireless technology to aid drivers with steering or lane changes. (Fortune)

J.P. Morgan Chase wants to learn from fintech startups, and vice versa. The financial services giant is inviting entrepreneurs who are working on machine learning or blockchain software projects to work alongside its bankers and in-house tech team for up to six months. The idea is to move these projects out of labs and into the real world. Participating startups will retain ownership, although J.P. Morgan could become an investor at the end of the residency. (Fortune)


Spy tech that reads your mind. It’s not illegal to be disgruntled. But today’s frustrated worker could engineer tomorrow’s hundred-million-­dollar data breach.

Cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg says it can spot these “insider threats” before they happen—with software called Scout that reads all your workers’ email. Big Brother-ish? Absolutely, reports Fortune‘s Roger Parloff. But all an organization needs is “informed consent” to read employee missives, something many big companies have already arranged. Read more about why more financial services firms, manufacturers, and healthcare organizations are giving Scout a try.


Elizabeth Warren says Apple and Google ‘snuff out competition’
by Don Reisinger

Facebook and Google really want to kill this face-scanning law
by Jeff John Roberts

Disneyland’s hometown is banning Airbnb by Kia Kokalitcheva

Mysterious investor Citi Ventures helps startup Cylance join ‘unicorn’ club by Robert Hackett

IBM, Amazon are strange bedfellows in cloud infrastructure deal
by Barb Darrow

These growing virtual reality firms are attracting Wall Street’s attention by Aaron Pressman

This startup helps marketers optimize mobile outreach by Heather Clancy


The Olympics, brought to you (but only some of you) in virtual reality. NBC is teaming up with Samsung to broadcast part of the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a special format for Samsung Gear VR headsets. (Fortune)


Inforum: Infor’s annual user conference. (July 10-13; New York)

Fortune Brainstorm Tech: The world’s top tech and media thinkers, operators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and influencers. (July 11-13; Aspen, Colo.)

Sage Summit: For fast-growth businesses. (July 25-28; Chicago)

Gartner Catalyst: Takeways for technical professionals. (Aug. 15-18; San Diego)

Oktane 16: Explore the role identity plays in connecting people and technology. (Aug. 29-31; Las Vegas)

BoxWorks: Box’s annual customer conference. (Sept. 6-8; San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18-22; San Francisco)

Gigaom Change: 7 transformational technologies. (Sept. 21-23; Austin)

Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)

Microsoft Ignite: Product road maps and innovation. (Sept. 26-30; Atlanta)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce ecosystem gathers. (Oct. 4-7; San Francisco)

DellWorld: Dell’s annual global customer conference. (Oct. 18-20; Austin, Texas)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: The world’s largest gathering of women technologists. (Oct. 19-21; Houston)

TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)

Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)

AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s annual cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.