April 1 2022

This Week in Washington 

CyberScoop Biden budget requests big increase for cybersecurity
Federal civilian agencies would get $10.9 billion total for cybersecurity under the fiscal 2023 budget the Biden administration unveiled Monday, an 11% increase from the prior year, and the Defense Department would get $11.2 billion for unclassified cyber operations. The Homeland Security Department accounts for the biggest slice, at $2.6 billion. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within DHS would soak up the vast majority of that, with a $2.5 billion overall budget request, but CISA does more than cyber, such as physical security for chemical plants.

Bloomberg Justice Department Backs Senate Bill to Regulate Tech Platforms
The DOJ expressed its support for the Senate’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act and similar antitrust legislation in the House in what is the Biden administration’s first indication of support for the proposals. In a letter to lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Peter Hyun, DOJ’s acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said the dominance of large digital companies is “a threat to open markets and competition” and can undermine the growth of businesses adjacent to them.

The Hill Russia accuses US of leading massive cyber campaign
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday accused the U.S. of attacking the country’s critical infrastructure and network systems in a massive cyberattack, claims the U.S. government has called false and part of Russia’s disinformation campaign. In a statement posted on its website, the Russian ministry said the U.S. has targeted “state institutions, the media, critical infrastructure facilities, and life support systems” with allegedly thousands of attacks per day. “An army of cyber mercenaries is waging war against us, facing specific combat missions, often bordering on open terrorism,” the ministry alleged.

Wall Street Journal Congress to Take Another Swing at Privacy Legislation
Republican and Democratic aides to the House and Senate Commerce committee leaders are set to meet this week to discuss a new path forward on long-discussed comprehensive data privacy legislation, according to people familiar with the matter. Talks are reportedly expected to focus on individuals’ rights to control what data is collected on them and what data cannot be collected by businesses, which have been talked about by lawmakers for years but never enacted.

Fierce Telecom Here’s what new census data says about broadband in the US
The U.S. Census Bureau released new data showing how the population changed on a county-by-county basis between July 2020 and July 2021, which information analysts said offers interesting insights for cable companies, fiber players and policymakers alike. Analysts took a deep dive into what the map means for cable players in a note issued Tuesday, cross referencing the census data with Form 477 broadband footprint data from Q4 2020 to get a figure for weighed average population growth for each operator.

Bloomberg Senate Passes China Competition Bill to Start Talks With House
The Senate again passed its version of China competitiveness legislation in a 68-28 vote, a move necessary to begin negotiations with the House over a final compromise package that is not expected to be completed until late May. Both bills include $52 billion to bolster domestic semiconductor production, although they differ on how to boost technological innovation and manufacturing, with the Senate emphasizing new technology and the House focusing on research and development.

FedScoop White House proposes extra $300M for Technology Modernization Fund in 2023
The Biden administration has asked lawmakers to approve an additional $300 million in funding for the Technology Modernization Fund as part of the president’s fiscal 2023 budget request. The request for extra funding comes as the board of the federal IT investment fund continues to assess project proposals from federal agencies as it decides how to spend the remaining sum of $1 billion provided as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) 2021.

Reuters U.S. Chamber sides with Facebook in antitrust appeal
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on an appeals court to reject a bid by a group of state attorneys general to revive an antitrust lawsuit against Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook. In a brief, the Chamber said the judge hearing the case was right to initially reject it as the states had waited too long to file, and it said the group’s argument that Facebook broke competition law was “dubious and dangerous.”

Wall Street Journal Democrats Seek to Break Stalemate on Biden Nominees for FTC and FCC
Senate Democrats are set to use discharge petitions to force votes on the nominations of Gigi Sohn and Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, respectively, people familiar with the matter said. Both nominations have been blocked by Senate Republicans amid allegations they are too partisan, but the rarely used discharge petition could be deployed for Bedoya this week if all goes to plan, the people said.

Article Summary

Compliance Week New Utah privacy law ‘lighter’ than predecessors
The Utah Consumer Privacy Act (S.B. 227) was signed into law March 24 by Gov. Spencer Cox (R). Utah joins California, Virginia, and Colorado as states with comprehensive laws that order companies that collect personal data to allow their customers to opt out of the collecting of certain data; to access and delete some types of data upon request, and to be transparent about why they collect data and whether it is sold to third parties.

StateScoop New York City wants vendor investigated after apparent hack affecting 820,000 students
New York Mayor Eric Adams and other city officials are demanding an investigation of a software vendor used by the city’s Department of Education, following the disclosure of a January breach that potentially revealed personal data of 820,000 current and former students. The vendor, Illuminate Education, which provides grading and attendance-records software to New York City public schools, told StateScoop in a written statement that it recently closed an investigation into the January incident, finding that “some personal information” was exposed by unauthorized access into its systems.

Law360 NJ Judiciary Blocks Web Traffic From Outside US For Security
The New Jersey Judiciary is ramping up its cybersecurity efforts by blocking web traffic from outside the United States in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its increasingly hostile relations with the US. Judiciary spokesman Peter McAleer confirmed to Law360 Pulse Tuesday night that the judiciary has increased its cybersecurity measures in response to the developments with Russia.

CNBC How Google and Amazon bankrolled a ‘grassroots’ activist group of small business owners to lobby against Big Tech oversight
Clay Montgomery owns a small blacksmith shop called “Arrow M Enterprises” outside of Mingus, Texas, where he manufactures hand-forged metal works and grilling tools. He also sells a spicy barbeque sauce and a meat rub called “Bite My Butt.” In recent years, Montgomery’s blacksmith shop has been listed as a member of a Washington, D.C.-based trade group called the “Connected Commerce Council” that claims to lobby on behalf of small businesses. On its website, the council describes itself as a non-profit membership organization with a single goal: “to promote small businesses’ access to essential digital technologies and tools.”

PCMag SpaceX to Double Starlink Satellite Count Within 18 Months
SpaceX is aiming to double the number of Starlink satellites in orbit over the coming 18 months, which promises to let more people subscribe to the satellite internet service. CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the goal on Monday. “Expecting over 4200 Starlink satellites in operation within 18 months, which is ~2/3 of all active satellites of Earth,” he wrote.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

The Broadband Bunch

  • Podcast on What’s Next for Broadband Infrastructure
    The rate at which we interact with one another electronically has increased 100-fold in recent years. So what’s next? Quite simply, more. More bandwidth, more to the edge, more to the cloud. Lower latency and higher speeds. Click now to listen as Dennis Kyle of the Zayo Group shares with us what lies ahead not only for the Zayo Group but also the entire broadband industry. (Broadband Infrastructure: Dennis Kyle, SVP Product Marketing with the Zayo Group – March 30, 2021)