President Trump has made his Supreme Court justice pick: Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Supreme Court justices decide on cases every year that affect everything from education to marriage equality to free speech, and tech has increasingly been seen on the court’s docket. In 2018, the justices ruled on cases that affected online shopping and phone location data history privacy. Kavanaugh, 53, has served as a US Court of Appeals judge for the DC Circuit for 12 years, providing opinions on key tech issues like net neutrality and government surveillance.
President Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court is drawing fire from privacy advocates and civil libertarians who object to his strong endorsements of warrantless government surveillance as a federal judge. His detractors — from both parties in Congress — worry his confirmation could mean a powerful voice on the bench against expanding privacy protections at a time when data collection tools are becoming more sophisticated.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation Thursday directing the president to name and shame foreign hackers accused of helping countries conduct cyberattacks against the U.S. Introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho, Florida Republican, the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act of 2018 would let the government sanction individuals involved in waging state-sponsored cyberattacks against the U.S. and publish their names in the Federal Register.
About 23.4 million people who live in rural areas have inadequate access to the internet. Because the United States is so large and because it would be hugely expensive to build out fiber and cable infrastructure in remote areas, many rural dwellers are restricted to bandwidths that were surpassed in urban areas more than a decade ago. Without broadband, people are denied access to the innovations driven by new communications platforms, cloud applications and educational opportunities.
It’s 2018 and women have made their mark in fields as varied as law, medicine and politics. And yet, in the technology sector, only 17% of employees are female. To address the imbalance, the Tech Talent Charter was set up in 2017. 210 companies have now signed up for the charter, including Microsoft.
Microsoft is catching up to Amazon in obtaining federal security approvals, giving it an edge over other potential bidders in the Pentagon’s winner-take-all competition for a multibillion-dollar cloud-computing contract. The company best-known for its office software is advancing toward the certification needed to host the government’s most sensitive, classified information — a status held currently only by Amazon Web Services — as it expands cloud-computing storage centers through its Azure Government Secret unit.
Twitter has sharply escalated its battle against fake and suspicious accounts, suspending more than 1 million a day in recent months, a major shift to lessen the flow of disinformation on the platform, according to data obtained by The Washington Post. The rate of account suspensions, which Twitter confirmed to The Post, has more than doubled since October, when the company revealed under congressional pressure how Russia used fake accounts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, according to the data.
Google could face a record penalty this month from European regulators for forcing its search and Web-browsing tools on the makers of Android-equipped smartphones and other devices. The punishment from Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition chief, is expected to include a fine ranging into the billions of dollars. At the heart of the decision are Google’s policies that pressure smartphone and tablet manufacturers that use Android operating systems to pre-install the tech giant’s own apps.
Facebook is facing its first financial penalty for allowing the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to forage through the personal data of millions of unknowing Facebook users. A U.K. government office that investigated the Cambridge Analytica scandal announced its intention to fine Facebook 500,000 pounds ($663,000) for failing to safeguard that user information. The amount is the maximum that the agency, the Information Commissioner’s Office, can levy for violation of Britain’s data-privacy laws.
With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.
THINK TANK/TECH TRADE ASSOCIATION HIGHLIGHTS
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
- Statement on Trade: ITI president and CEO Dean Garfield stated, “Trade is critical to economic growth and supports millions of jobs from Silicon Valley to the savannahs of the heartland. We urge President Trump to delay this unnecessary escalation before more consumers and workers are harmed and instead make a concerted effort to build a coalition while he is in Europe this week and then negotiate with China to achieve tangible commitments including accountability mechanisms and implementation timelines.” (ITI STATEMENT — Tech: Additional Tariffs Only Mean More Bad News for Consumers and Businesses, July 10, 2018)
- Statement on California Privacy Legislation: Internet Association Vice President of State Government Affairs Robert Callahan stated, “Maintaining people’s privacy and security has always been and remains a top priority of internet platforms. It is critical going forward that policymakers work to correct the inevitable, negative policy and compliance ramifications this last-minute deal will create for California’s consumers and businesses alike.” (INTERNET ASSOCIATION STATEMENT — Statement on the Enactment of California Privacy Legislation, June 28, 2018)
- Statement on California Privacy Legislation: TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore stated “Protecting consumers’ privacy and data security is a top concern for our industry. Policymakers around the country looking at what California has done on this issue should understand that the California legislature’s work is far from finished and that this law remains a work in progress before it takes effect in January 2020.” (TECH NET STATEMENT — TechNet Statement on California Privacy Legislation, June 28, 2018)
- Statement on Immigration: In this release, TechNet urges the Trump Administration to maintain the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore writes, “In this era of economic disruption and increased competition abroad, we need to exhaust all available policy options to develop and encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs to step forward and fuel the growth of our economy across the country.” (TECH NET STATEMENT — TechNet Urges Trump Administration to Preserve International Entrepreneur Visa, June 29, 2018)