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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios; Photo via the Washington Post
The Trump administration is siding with Oracle in the database giant's dispute with Google before the Supreme Court — a move that comes as Oracle's founder hosts a high-dollar fundraiser for the president, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Why it matters: Billions of dollars — and, Google argues, the future of software innovation — are at stake as a long-running copyright dispute between the two giant companies heads to the Supreme Court next month.
Driving the news: The solicitor general's office weighed in Wednesday with a brief in support of Oracle.
The big picture: The Trump administration brief came Wednesday just as Oracle founder Larry Ellison opened a campaign fundraiser for President Donald Trump at his southern California estate. Tickets ran as much as $250,000, according to an invitation obtained by the Desert Sun.
Details: The News Media Alliance, the Motion Picture Association and the Internet Accountability Project — frequent Google foes — were among the organizations that also offered support for Oracle in Supreme Court briefs Wednesday.
The other side: Google previously secured support from IBM, Microsoft and smaller tech companies like Etsy and Reddit. The search giant argues an Oracle victory would upend the long-standing industry practice of re-using software interfaces that has led to the development of interoperable computer software.
Yes, but: SAS Institute, a software company, argued in support of Oracle and told the court limiting copyright protections would deter investment in creating software.
Ross LaJeunesse. Photo: Ross for Maine
Ross LaJeunesse, the former Google executive running for a Senate seat in Maine, is laying out his plan for regulating tech.
Why it matters: The former Google executive made headlines earlier this year when he detailed his exit from the company. Now he is hoping to parlay his tech know-how into a Senate seat.
"We don't have people in Congress who even understand the basics around tech, let alone how to make sure everyone benefits," LaJeunesse said in an interview. "It's crazy."
LaJeunesse's 10-point tech agenda covers a range of issues, including:
To highlight one pressing tech issue — so-called deepfakes — LaJeunesse's campaign created a video showing Susan Collins voting to convict Trump on impeachment. (She voted to acquit.) Congress, he says, has taken no action on deepfakes and not done enough to protect elections more broadly.
Expanding access to high-speed Internet, LaJeunesse says, is the top item on his list.
What's next: LaJeunesse is hoping to get to Washington, of course. But even if he doesn't get the Democratic nomination, he plans to work to elect whomever does.
"I am going to support that person 100%," he said. "We really need to retire Susan Collins."
The European Commission released long-awaited position papers Wednesday on several key digital issues, including how to treat the continent's digital data and how best to regulate artificial intelligence.
Why it matters: Europe has traditionally trailed the U.S. in creating giant tech companies that gobble up consumer data, but it has led in issuing rules and policies to govern such practices.
What they're saying: Not surprisingly, many trade groups released statements praising the goals of the proposals, while urging restraint in regulation.
Meanwhile: Cornell business professor Thomas Jungbauer argues the proposals aren't what's needed to help Europe catch up.
What's next: The tech giants all have a new decision to make: How to treat the data of users in the U.K., post-Brexit. Reuters reports that Google is likely to move U.K. customers to U.S. rules, thereby avoiding Europe's stricter data protections and heavier consequences for violations.
Google released an earlier-than-expected test version of Android 11, offering developers a glimpse of what to expect in the final release later this year. Among the changes in the early code are improved support for 5G and foldable devices, as well as more granular security protections.
The big picture: Once upon a time, Google waited until its spring I/O developer conference to share code for the next version of Android, but has been moving the release earlier in recent years to give developers more time to prepare for the under-the-hood changes.
One key feature is the ability to give apps one-time permissions for access to things like location, microphone or camera. (Apple added the ability to grant one-time location access in the latest version of iOS.)
What's next: This release is only aimed at developers and Google typically holds back some of the key consumer-facing features for its I/O developer conference. Expect the eye candy and public beta versions in the coming months.
I'm not encouraging anyone to be a jewel thief. But, if you are going to pursue that career, be better than these guys.