STLR Link Roundup – February 1, 2019

Apple Turns to Self-Help to Punish Violators of Developer Policies Regarding Personal Data

This week, Apple suspended internal apps used by both Google and Facebook employees on Apple’s iOS operating system after acknowledgement that Google and Facebook independently used these internal apps to gather data on internet use from consumer volunteers. Apple has since restored the apps on Apple devices. This approach has highlighted the lengths Apple is willing to go to protect user information, as it concurrently calls for privacy legislation yet simultaneously produces bugs of its own. Apple notified users of its own FaceTime privacy glitch this week, where one FaceTime user calling another in a group could eavesdrop while the device was still ringing. New York state is now launching an investigation into Apple’s bug and its response to properly notify consumers.


Healthcare Venture backed by Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway Taken to Court by UnitedHealth

United Health’s Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager, has taken the still unnamed and closely under-wraps venture to court to try and enforce a former executive’s noncompete, claiming that the venture is a competitor and the executive has taken Optum’s trade secrets to the venture. This venture has been built to be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints” and will focus on using technology to provide healthcare for their employees (which number over a million). The scope of this venture has been kept under wraps thus far, resulting in a high amount of uncertainty regarding just how far it will go, though the venture claims there’s no short-term plan to sell this venture to the broader market beyond the backers’ employees.


Federal District Judge Throws Out Maryland Suit Aiming to Protect Obamacare

Baltimore U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander has held that Maryland’s suit asking to find Obamacare constitutional did not show that the Trump administration is likely to end enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. This suit was originally brought in response to a similar suit in Fort Worth, Texas, where a Federal District Judge found that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional after Congress removed the Obamacare tax penalty for failing to obtain health insurance. Also tied into this lawsuit was whether Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general was legal or not. by tossing this lawsuit, Judge Hollander avoided having to decide this secondary issue.


Ride-Hailing Apps Lyft and Juno Sue New York City Over a New Driver Minimum Wage Rule

Lyft and Juno have filed suit against the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, attempting to stall new guaranteed rate requirements for ride-hailing drivers. These rate requirements result in a mandated pay of minimum $17.22 per hour for drivers before commission but Lyft and Juno argue that this will disproportionally affect them compared to other ride-hailing apps such as Uber. This is due to the fact that the driver pay rate is partially calculated based on the utilization rate of the company, and as Uber dominates the city’s ride-hailing industry, Lyft and Juno argue that they will end up having to pay more out of pocket to cover the difference from their lower utilization. However, the Taxi and Limousine Commission estimate that the new requirements will result in average annual salary increases of almost $10,000.


Florida Drug Compounder Settles Allergan False Advertising Lawsuit

Sincerus Pharmaceuticals Inc, a Florida-based drug compounding business, has agreed not to market its medication as FDA-approved or claim they are superior to already approved drugs in order to settle a lawsuit brought by Allergan. The original suit claimed that Sincerus conducted false advertising and unfair competition by mass-manufacturing and marketing unapproved compounded drugs that were cheap and custom-made. This was allegedly done through use of an outsourcing facility that created the drugs that were sold in bulk to hospitals without patient-specific prescriptions. Federal District Judge David Carter found Sincerus liable on the false advertising claims and left the rest of the claims to a jury. In the deal, Sincerus agreed to pay Allergan a confidential sum of money and label its drugs with disclosures stating that the drugs are not FDA approved.

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