Uber to settle breach claims for $148 million

Uber has agreed to pay $148 million to settle allegations from 50 states and the District that the ride-hailing company violated data-breach laws when it waited a year to disclose a hack affecting tens of millions of its riders and drivers.

The settlement is among the biggest in Uber’s history and is the largest multistate penalty ever levied by state authorities for a data breach.

Uber not only waited a year to disclose the breach — which exposed names, email addresses and phone numbers of 57 million people around the world — but also paid $100,000 to the hackers to keep the incident quiet.

“Uber’s decision to cover up this breach was a blatant violation of the public’s trust,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

The breach was disclosed in November after an investigation ordered by Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

— Brian Fung


Comcast to buy rest of Murdoch's Sky stake

Rupert Murdoch is officially walking away from Sky, the satellite broadcaster he helped build over three decades.

Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox agreed to sell its 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast for more than $15 billion after a months-long bidding war. Comcast was poised to acquire the other 61 percent of the company, but it wasn’t clear until Wednesday that Murdoch would sell the remainder.

The move lets Fox focus on another megadeal underway: The majority of the company will be sold to Walt Disney Co. in a $71 billion deal slated to close next year. Disney supported the decision to sell Fox’s Sky stake.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, is on track to take control of the British pay-TV company and its 23 million subscribers in five European countries.

— Bloomberg News


Telemarketer is fined $82 million in scheme

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday imposed an $82 million fine on a telemarketer who made more than 21 million unsolicited calls to consumers to try to sell health insurance and generate leads.

Over a three-month period beginning in 2016, Philip Roesel and his companies made more than 200,000 calls every day, the FCC said, using a technique known as spoofing in which a person’s caller ID displays a number different from the one the caller is actually using.

“By spoofing his caller ID information, Mr. Roesel made it difficult for consumers to register complaints and for law enforcement entities to track and stop the illegal calls,” the FCC said in a statement.

The FCC did not say how much money Roesel generated from his robo-calling scheme, but Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that “it’s impossible to believe that he would have generated the same volume of leads (and potential commissions) had he not made over 21 million unlawfully spoofed robo-calls.”

Roesel, who is based in North Carolina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment made through his business Wilmington Insurance Quotes. He has claimed that the FCC did not prove that he intended to harm consumers and that any value he received from the calls was not obtained wrongfully, according to the FCC. The agency concluded that “the evidence did not support these claims.”

— Hamza Shaban

Also in Business

Sales of new homes climbed 3.5 percent in August, snapping a two-month decline as buying surged in the pricey Northeast and West housing markets. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that newly built homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 629,000 last month. Sales of new homes have advanced 6.9 percent this year. Still, rising costs and higher mortgage rates have tempered some of the enthusiasm from would-be buyers. The average sales price has risen 5.2 percent from a year ago to $388,400.

An Apple computer built in the 1970s that helped launch the personal computer age, as well as a trillion-dollar company, has sold for $375,000. The fully functioning Apple-1 was auctioned and sold by Boston-based RR Auction on Tuesday. RR said the winning bid was from a U.S.-based business executive who wishes to stay anonymous. The computer is one of 60 or so remaining of the original 200 designed and built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 and 1977, and one of 16 that still work. It sold back then for less than $700.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases durable goods for August.

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases second-quarter gross domestic product.

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates.

10 a.m.: National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for August.