This Week in Washington
Washington Post House and Senate members unveil stalled data privacy bill
A bipartisan group of legislators in the House and Senate struck a deal on data privacy legislation Friday, proposing a bill that would allow users to opt out of targeted advertisements and to sue Internet companies that improperly sell their data. The legislation, though, faces a steep uphill climb to become law. Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are still hoping to recruit more supporters, namely Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, who has advanced more liberal priorities for online user rights.
Associated Press FTC Chair Khan plans key work on kids’ data privacy online
The head of the Federal Trade Commission says the agency is pushing a robust agenda of actions and policies to help safeguard children’s privacy online. The ongoing work will include toughened enforcement of a long-standing law governing kids’ online privacy and eyeing the algorithms used by social media platforms targeting young people. “Children’s privacy is enormously important and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can … to vigorously protect children’s privacy and protect them from data abuses,” said Lina Khan, who has led the consumer-protection agency for a year. She spoke in an interview over Zoom with The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Hill Bipartisan antitrust bill sponsors push for floor vote this month
Bipartisan sponsors of a key antitrust bill in the House and Senate on Wednesday urged leadership in both chambers to call floor votes in June on the proposal targeting tech giants. In a joint press conference, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said members of Congress have had months to review the legislation and converse about the proposal. The bill would bar companies from referencing their own products and services.
CyberScoop Multifactor authentication could be long haul for some federal agencies, CISA official says
It could be a lengthy path for some federal agencies to adopt the key security step of multifactor authentication required under an executive order last summer, a top federal cybersecurity official told CyberScoop Wednesday. While Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director for cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said agencies were applying “extraordinary attention and focus and effort on this issue,” there are difficulties that will take time to overcome for agencies that still haven’t met a November deadline on multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to access websites and systems by entering a password, then also using another device to verify their identity.
CyberScoop Senators push for more frequent medical device cybersecurity guidance from FDA
Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Todd Young, R-Ind., are introducing legislation that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to keep federal guidance on medical device security up to date with rapidly evolving cyber threats to the health industry. The legislation, first shared with CyberScoop, would impose requirements on the FDA to work with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to issue binding guidance for industry and FDA staff regarding medical device cybersecurity no less than every two years.
NextGov White House Developing National Strategy to Increase Data Collection as Privacy Tech Improves
The U.S. government wants to collect, analyze and share more of Americans’ data, especially as new technologies and procedures offer the potential to do so without compromising citizens’ privacy, and is developing a national strategy to align policies and regulations with that goal. The Biden administration is developing a national strategy on “privacy-preserving data sharing and analytics,” according to a request for information on advancing privacy-enhancing technologies set to publish Thursday in the Federal Register.
The Verge A Supreme Court speech showdown is coming, and nobody knows what to expect
The US Supreme Court is poised to consider a question with seismic consequences for online speech. Over the past year, laws in Texas and Florida have set up a legal battle over whether the First Amendment protects social networks’ right to curate user-generated content or whether these sites should be treated more like phone companies, required to host nearly any speech their users post. The courts’ split reflects a deepening shift in how to interpret a basic constitutional right, filtered through a political culture war and backlash against large web platforms.
Associated Press Four states receive first allocations of $10B broadband fund
More than half a billion dollars in federal funding will be sent to four U.S. states to expand broadband access as part of a sweeping national effort to bring affordable service to rural and low-income Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday. Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia are the first to benefit from this aspect of the $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, which is expected to bring internet service to 200,000 homes and businesses in the four states. It’s part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package signed by President Joe Biden in March 2021.
Spectrum News School cybersecurity rises amid increase in hacks
The nation saw a 105% surge in cyberattacks in 2021, according to Fortune. Hacks have hit health care, higher education, governments, private and public businesses. “There’s always a steady occurrence and there’s ebbs and flows it’s just a matter of what industry or industries seem to be the target of the month if you will,” said Dan Kalil, CEO of GreyCastle Security. Since 2016, 1,331 school districts across the U.S. disclosed they had been the target of a cyber incident according to data provided by K12 Security Information Exchange. They estimate the number could be 10 to 20 times higher when accounting for the cyber incidents that aren’t disclosed.
WIRED Satellites and AI Can Help Solve Big Problems—If Given the Chance
Proponents of satellite imagery and machine learning have ambitious plans to solve big problems at scale. The technology can play a role in anti-poverty campaigns, protect the environment, help billions of people obtain street addresses, and increase crop yields in the face of intensifying climate change. A UNESCO report published this spring highlights 100 AI models with the potential to transform the world for the better. But despite recent advances in deep learning and the quality of satellite imagery, as well as the record number of satellites expected to enter orbit over the next few years, ambitious efforts to use AI to solve big problems at scale still encounter traditional hurdles, like government bureaucracy or a lack of political will or resources.
Seattle Times Good government requires examination through local reporting
It was 1986, and I was spending the summer interning at a weekly newspaper in Nash County, N.C., called the Spring Hope Enterprise. I had taken news writing and reporting classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s journalism school and served as managing editor of my high-school newspaper. But real-world experience was what I needed. The editor of the Enterprise immediately assigned me to cover a town council meeting. While I got the gist of the proceedings right, I misspelled multiple names, misunderstood a key fact, and missed a promising story lead. I spent the next couple of years working and learned a great deal not only about reporting and editing but also about the critical role that local news organizations play in their communities.
Tech Podcast of the Week
- Podcast on 911 and Data Privacy
As the government and cellphone companies work to improve emergency response, concerns arise around the collection and sharing of sensitive personal information. Recode’s Rebecca Heilweil (@rebheilweil) explains. (911 is getting better but less private – June 7, 2022)