The Morning Download: ‘Brexit’ Could Widen Schisms Over Global Tech Policy

Good morning. Britain's stunning vote in favor of leaving the EU could make current disagreements over global tech policy even more difficult to bridge. As the WSJ noted on Wednesday, prior to the referendum, a Brexit could complicate regulatory battles in the European Union on issues ranging from privacy to taxes to antitrust law. And as the Download noted on Wednesday, "Minus London's moderating influence, there is the fear that the EU could push through tougher regulations."

There's widespread concern that many multinational firms and banks will now move operations out of the U.K., since the rationale for being there was predicated on the U.K.'s membership in the EU. If those fears are realized, the tech sector in the U.K. could face a loss of financial and human capital.

Smaller firms tend to be more optimistic about the prospect of a post-EU Great Britain. Says the WSJ: "Many British small-business owners had instead pushed for leaving the European Union, saying British business is better off unencumbered by regulations made in Brussels." How do you see tech innovation faring following the Brexit vote? Let us know.

Toyota unit joins R3 blockchain group. Beyond financial transactions, Toyota Financial Services eyes distributed ledger technology for use in the automotive supply chain and in connected cars. "That's fairly far out and extremely speculative," Chris Ballinger, the unit's CFO and head of strategic innovation, tells CIO Journal.  "But it's important to get your toe in the water."


For LinkedIn China, Microsoft deal is a complicated connection. LinkedIn Inc. has succeeded in China, where other U.S. tech firms struggled (or left, or were blocked). The company in 2014 agreed to abide by local censorship rules, earning both more China-based members as well as the ire of human-rights advocates for helping play the role of censor. The WSJ's Alyssa Abkowitz reports that Microsoft Corp.'s recent announcement that it would acquire the professional social network is raising concerns among some China technology watchers that the software giant could interfere with LinkedIn China's progress.

BlackBerry reports loss but sees improvement in software sales. Sales from BlackBerry Ltd.'s software and services operations generated $166 million in the fiscal first quarter, up from $153 million in the previous quarter. BlackBerry expects the segment to generate 30% revenue growth in the current fiscal year. But a continuing slide in handset sales, including those for the Android-equipped Priv phone, continued to drag revenue lower, the Journal's David George-Cosh reports.

Facebook will train employees to spot their own political bias. Facebook Inc. will train employees to identify and check their political leanings, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told a Washington, D.C., audience Wednesday. The announcement comes on the heels of  a report last month from the tech blog Gizmodo that said curators of Facebook's "trending topics" feature suppressed news about conservative events and from conservative sources.

EU, United States agree changes to strengthen data transfer pact. Members of the European Union are expected to hold a vote on revisions to the Privacy Shield trans-Atlantic data-sharing pact after EU and U.S. negotiators agreed to changes that include stricter rules for companies holding customer data, Reuters reports.

Xerox picks insider to succeed Ursula Burns as CEO. Xerox Corp. said it selected insider Jeff Jacobson to lead its core copier and printing business after the company splits later this year, the WSJ's Drew Fitzgerald and David Benoit report. Mr. Jacobson will succeed Ursula Burns, who said earlier this year she would step aside as CEO but remain chairman of the copier business. Xerox plans to split itself into one company focused on its core documents business and a second called Conduent Inc. that provides outsourcing services.

How to look your best for video chats. To avoid the dreaded double-chin effect you want the camera to sit roughly at eye level, the WSJ's Michael Hsu recommends.


Every week, CIO Journal offers a glimpse into the mind of the CEO, whose view of technology is shaped by stories in management journals, general interest magazines and, of course, in-flight publications.

Tape: Part of every CEO's cyber arsenal. A photo of Mark Zuckerberg beaming in Facebook Inc.'s open-plan Menlo Park headquarters made news this week when some noticed what appeared to be tape covering the camera and possibly the microphone of a nearby laptop. How funny that the person made rich vacuuming the personal data of millions should be so concerned about his own privacy, the hoi polloi chuckled. Slate's Will Oremus thinks a little paranoia is a good thing, given that "webcam hacking is a demonstrably real phenomenon." He continues: "[Zuckerberg] is highly likely to be the subject of various attempted hacks, to the point that it would be rash of him not to take extra security measures. FBI Director James Comey does it, too." Break out the tape.

The hack that could take down NYC. New York Magazine's Reeves Wiedeman imagines a scenario where Europe-based black hat hackers, after spending the last decade infiltrating corporate networks, shift from making money to making mayhem: "The hackers would get paid, but they also hoped their attack would dent America's complacent faith in order and in the technology and political authority that undergirded it." Included in the cyber-horror tale, where hospital, water and mass transportation systems go kaput, are links to descriptions of real-world events. Think that story's description of how the hackers took down NYC's power grid sounds far-fetched? It has already happened. Writes Mr. Wiedeman: "Two days before last Christmas, a worker at the Prykarpattyaoblenergo control center, in western Ukraine, watched as the cursor on his monitor began moving, then proceeded to shut down 57 different substations, leaving more than 230,000 Ukrainians in the da rk."

The Met ousted a top executive, so he used Facebook to show the world how to do unemployment right. When Sree Sreenivasan (@sree to his 77 thousand Twitter followers) learned last Friday that his employer, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, was cutting his chief digital officer gig, he went public, posting the news on Twitter and Facebook. "It appeared Sreenivasan, in one fell swoop, had taken a stressful and potentially embarrassing experience—the public loss of a high-profile position—and spun it into an opportunity," Quartz's Jenni Avins notes. Controlling the narrative appears to be paying off. In the past week Mr. Sreenivasan, who regularly shares social media tips, family news and photos of NYC across several platforms, tells Ms. Avins that he is meeting a lot of people.  "Everything I've gotten has come from being completely open and sharing everything I know," said Mr. Sreenivasan. "So then I said, 'Let me be open and free. Se e what happens. Let the universe help.'"


'Brexit' vote wreaks havoc in markets. Britain's surprise vote to leave the European Union battered the British pound by more than 11%, sent stocks in Europe and Asia tumbling to their February lows, and broke new records in government-bond yields as the world's financial markets anticipated a prolonged uncertain future for the politics and economies of Europe. It was a historic drubbing for investors who had stacked up bets that the U.K. would choose to stay.

David Cameron to resign after losing his big 'Brexit' gamble. Scarcely a year after a triumphant general-election victory, British Prime Minister David Cameron is already on his way out of office following an epic miscalculation that on Thursday resulted in U.K. voters opting to leave the European Union. Mr. Cameron said Friday morning that he would step down as prime minister within a few months, a consequence of the U.K.'s historic referendum on whether to remain in the EU. Mr. Cameron in effect became collateral damage in a battle he himself launched by promising he would offer the public a vote on the Europe issue if his Conservative Party won the 2015 general election.

Fed stress tests: All big banks clear bar for capital requirements. The largest U.S. banks have significantly bolstered their defenses against an economic downturn, and could continue lending even during a deep recession, the Federal Reserve said. In the first part of the Fed's annual "stress tests" released Thursday, some of the country's biggest banks, such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup, fared particularly well, with their capital ratios—a key measure of financial strength—increasing briskly from levels seen during last year's drill and comfortably exceeding the level that the regulator views as a minimum

Tom Loftus contributed to this article. The Morning Download comes from the editors of CIO Journal and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking

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