Cybersecurity Education Bill Aims to Diversify Tech Workforce

U.S. Representatives Marc Veasey (D-TX) and August Pfluger (R-TX) recently introduced the Cybersecurity Clinics Grant Program Act. If enacted, this bill would create a grant program administered by the Department of Homeland Security to support cybersecurity education at community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), and other minority-serving institutions. This promising proposal would help grow our nation’s shorthanded cybersecurity workforce and create opportunities in the tech sector for underrepresented communities. See CyberScoop coverage here.

Enjoy the start of your summer—and stay cool! Thank you for reading.

This Week in Washington 

  • Nextgov: The AI Leadership to Enable Accountable Deployment Act, or AI LEAD Act, legislation that would ensure that the government effectively leverages AI, was introduced in the U.S. House. The bill is a companion to legislation that advanced in the U.S. Senate last year.
  • Axios: On September 16, a U.S. appeals court will hold oral arguments to hear challenges to a law that would ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based parent company does not divest ownership by January 19. TikTok and creators have challenged this “divest or ban” law in the past by arguing that it goes against the Constitution’s commitment to free speech and individual liberty.
  • Nextgov: The General Services Administration announced $31 million in funding for modernization projects at three federal agencies on Tuesday. These latest Technology Modernization Fund investments may be some of the last underwritten by a $1 billion plus-up in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, as well as among the last issued by the TMF program if it’s not renewed by Congress.
  • The New York Times and Washington Post: In an opinion piece, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy called for Congress to introduce and pass legislation that would add a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms due to mental health concerns, particularly among children and adolescents. Multiple states have already passed laws aimed at expanding the guardrails around children’s use of social media. Lawmakers are attempting to advance a package of bills that would require social platforms to vet if their products pose harm to children, but the bills have not advanced far in Congress.
  • Broadband Breakfast: The latest National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) internet use survey found that 13 million more Americans used the internet in 2023 compared to 2021. The study is conducted every 2 years in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau. This year, NTIA, found that 83% of people ages 3 and older had some level of internet access as of November 2023, up from 80% in 2021.

Article Summary

  • CNN: New York became the first state with laws regulating social media algorithms as Governor Kathy Hochul signed two bills into law: The SAFE For Kids Act will require social media platforms to display content chronologically by default for kids under 18, and the New York Child Data Protection Act will restrict websites from collecting or sharing the personal data of users under 18 without consent. Federal privacy protections for children under 13 already exist. 
  • Associated Press: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the state’s comprehensive data privacy bill, citing the “unnecessary and avoidable level of risk” it would have incurred. The legislature then failed to override the veto. The governor urged the legislature to craft a law similar to other privacy laws in the region, such as those enacted in Connecticut or New Hampshire. 
  • Portland Press Herald: Maine will receive $272 million in federal funding over the next five years to expand high-speed internet service. This is part of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. It is expected that this funding will bring high-speed internet to 35,000 homes, businesses, and other sites in the state. 
  • Infosecurity Magazine: A tech policy expert at the UK-based Centre for Policy Studies released a report ahead of the UK’s upcoming general election warning about the threat of deepfakes in politics and elections
  • Reuters: A study by autonomous shipping startup Orca AI showed that the global commercial shipping industry could significantly cut down its carbon emissions by deploying artificial intelligence for sea navigation. The technology could reduce the need for route deviation due to close encounters with high-risk marine targets by alerting crews in real-time.  
  • The Independent: A British firm has utilized AI to develop a magnet free of rare earth elements at record speed. This advance could revolutionize clean energy production. The magnet was developed in only three months thanks to AI. The magnets could eventually be made at a fifth of the material cost with reduced carbon emissions using AI. 

Featured Commentary

  • AEI – National Affairs
    Economist Michael R. Strain takes a deep-dive, historically informed look at the potential economic benefits and disruptions of the AI revolution. “Like all technological revolutions, the AI revolution will be disruptive. But it will ultimately lead to a better world,” he concludes. (“The Case for AI Optimism” – June 18, 2024)