This Week in Washington
- The Hill: A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of Chinese-based owner Byte Dance’s TikTok social media platform in the U.S.
- StateScoop: Another eight states are set to receive planning grants from the Biden administration’s “Internet for All” program, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced Monday.
- Associated Press: The Biden administration is reinstating a task force aimed at helping immigrants integrate into the U.S. that will focus on workforce training, education and financial access as well as language learning and the health of immigrants who have green cards and other types of legal status, according to the White House.
- Broadband Breakfast: The bipartisan Satellite and Telecommunications Streamlining Act, introduced Thursday with the Secure Space Act, would ease the FCC’s permitting process for the rapidly growing satellite industry.
- Nextgov: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is inviting public comment on how to structure a $1.5 billion grant program aimed at reducing reliance on foreign providers of fifth-generation networking technology.
- Roll Call: The 118th Congress will face some long-standing policy challenges as well as a few new ones but may not get to the finish line on any of them — even the federal data privacy bill that has bipartisan backing in both chambers.
- GCN: In several states around the country, officials say they are finding major problems with a crucial, new federal map meant to show the adequacy of internet service at the household level.
- CyberScoop: A whopping 96% of the apps used in U.S. K-12 schools share children’s personal information with third parties — including advertisers — often without the knowledge or consent of users or schools, according to a study published Tuesday.
- Associated Press: Scientists announced Tuesday that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it — a major breakthrough in the decades-long quest to harness the process that powers the sun.
- Axios: Government agencies and critical infrastructure operators will now have the opportunity to test out zero-trust security tools at a lab opening Tuesday at a U.S. Cyber Command-run innovation center in Maryland.
- Washington Post: Three-quarters of devices that keep facilities like electricity and water treatment plants safe and operational have severe, unpatched cybersecurity vulnerabilities, according to research first shared with The Cybersecurity 202.
Microsoft On the Issues
- Expanding our commitments in Africa: Connectivity and skills
The US-Africa Leaders Summit is underway in Washington DC, and Microsoft is announcing new plans to deepen its work and scale its commitments to providing digital connectivity and skills building in Africa.
First, Microsoft is expanding its Airband Initiative through new partnerships with local and global providers to bring internet access to 100 million Africans by the end of 2025. This includes a new global partnership with satellite provider Viasat that will allow them to quickly scale and reach new markets. This is part of a broader global ambition for Airband to bring internet access to a quarter of a billion people around the world by the end of 2025.
Second, as access to the internet grows, so does the need for cybersecurity experts to defend the growing ecosystem of providers and users. Microsoft will support this by expanding its Skills for Jobs efforts in Africa to include a new cybersecurity skilling program. (Expanding our commitments in Africa: Connectivity and skills – December 14, 2022)