April 22 2022

This Week in Washington 

The Hill Federal agencies, international partners issue warning on Russian cyber threats
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency issued a joint advisory warning that cyber threats from the Russian government and hacking groups that support it could target critical infrastructure inside and outside Ukraine. CISA said some groups have promised retaliation for “perceived cyber offenses” against Russia, and the agencies recommended organizations take steps including patching vulnerabilities and training their employees to be ready against any threats.

Axios U.S. Chamber seeks to delay confirmation of FTC commissioner
Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president, has reportedly asked Senate leaders to delay the final confirmation vote on Federal Trade Commission nominee Alvaro Bedoya, which is set to happen as soon as next week. In a letter, Bradley said Bedoya still has not answered questions about his plans for the commission if confirmed, and accused the FTC’s leadership of “a pattern of conduct that undermines the confidence of the business community.”

The Intercept Chuck Schumer “Working Closely With Senator Klobuchar” to Whip Votes for Antitrust Bills
By early this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee had made significant progress toward passage of two major pieces of antitrust legislation. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act and Open App Markets Act both had the public backing of five Democrats and four Republicans on the panel, within striking distance of the minimum 11 needed to move the bills to the Senate floor. Both bills passed the committee in landslides.

Wall Street Journal U.S. Taps Industrial and Cyber Firms for Help Amid Warnings of Russian Hacks
The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday added several industrial and cybersecurity firms to a program aimed at thwarting hacks amid fresh warnings of Russian attempts to disrupt critical infrastructure. DHS expanded its Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative to include vendors that provide equipment and security for the digital tools used in industrial settings such as power plants, factories and pipelines. Washington and its allies have urged such companies to harden their systems during Russia’s war in Ukraine, including a Wednesday alert from U.S. and allied officials that the bloody conflict could expose organizations to international cyber spillover.

NextGov What CISA Wants Critical Infrastructure Partners to Report on Cyber Incidents
As it embarks on a complicated rulemaking process to implement the new cyber incident reporting law, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has published a quick guide of what kind of incidents critical-infrastructure entities should be sharing with the government, and how. The Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022—which became law last month as part of an overdue spending package amid a sense of urgency surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—gives CISA up to 3.5 years to finalize rules that will settle essential questions about the law’s applicability.

POLITICO Midterm politics endanger Biden’s tech agenda
Midterm politics are endangering a key Biden nominee who would give Democrats a majority at the Federal Communications Commission — jeopardizing the administration’s push to restore net neutrality and other tech regulations rolled back in the Trump era. A coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats and telecom industry allies are ratcheting up pressure on potential swing Democrats to oppose FCC nominee Gigi Sohn, including by calling the progressive consumer advocate an “anti-police radical” and accusing her of being biased against rural America.

CyberScoop FBI warns agricultural sector of heightened risk of ransomware attacks
The FBI on Wednesday alerted food and agriculture companies to be prepared for ransomware operatives to potentially attack agricultural entities during planting and harvest seasons — a time frame the feds warned is more likely to draw the attention of ransomware actors bent on leveraging the sector at its most vulnerable, including now as the spring planting season gets underway. The FBI’s notice to the industry asserted that ransomware hackers are bent on “disrupting operations, causing financial loss, and negatively impacting the food supply chain,” and noted there were ransomware attacks against six grain cooperatives during the fall 2021 harvest.

NextGov Energy Aims To Make AI Human-Driven, Accessible To Underserved Communities
Officials within the Department of Energy are looking to apply practical uses of artificial intelligence technology to helping underserved communities. Speaking during a FedScoop discussion panel, Pamela Isom, the director of the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office at Energy, explained the importance of using AI technology to strategically help, as it becomes more and more ubiquitous in daily life. Ipsom elaborated that her office’s mission to ensure equitable access to AI technology came from a community discussion where gaps in adequate technological infrastructure were highlighted.

The Hill Democrats slam Facebook for ‘lack’ of action on Spanish language disinformation
Democrats are pressing Facebook to take action on Spanish language disinformation on the platform spread by Russian state-owned media outlets. The lawmakers sent a letter to Facebook Wednesday expressing concern for the company’s “lack of progress” addressing Spanish-language disinformation, which they said has been escalated by Russian state-controlled outlets making a “concentrated effort to target” Spanish-speaking communities to spread false narratives about the invasion in Ukraine.

Article Summary

Axios States’ next tech target: Regulating online speech
The states, not Washington, are where tech regulation happens for now, thanks to a deadlocked Congress. Statehouses are drawing money and attention from tech firms and advocates hoping to influence laws on everything from privacy to digital taxes to driverless cars — and now online speech. A former Facebook policy executive offers state lawmakers detailed guidance for crafting tech regulations that could effectively reduce harms and withstand legal challenge in a new report shared first with Axios.

Reuters U.S. appeals court will not reconsider California net neutrality ruling
A U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday said it will not reconsider its decision in January to uphold California’s net neutrality law. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January ruled 3-0 that a 2017 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reverse federal internet protections could not bar state action, rejecting a challenge from telecom and broad industry groups to block California’s net neutrality law, which aims to protect the open internet.

Protocol Florida Gov. DeSantis wants Disney to face his ‘censorship’ law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing the state’s legislature to bring Disney under a measure allowing lawsuits against social media companies for their content moderation decisions. The move comes after Disney declared it would work against a separate state law that bans the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation up to third grade, and likely limits it across ages.

Axios Americans are drowning in spam
You’re not imagining it: The flood of spam calls, texts, emails and social media posts into your life is getting a lot bigger. Junk messages aren’t just annoying — they also open the door to more fraud, cybercrime and identity theft than ever before. The average American received roughly 42 spam texts just in the month of March, according to new data from RoboKiller, an app that blocks spam calls and texts. Spammers like using text messages because of their high open rates — and are now even mimicking targets’ own phone numbers to get them to click malicious links, the New York Times reported.

Wall Street Journal The Last of the Afternoon Newspapers
Tucked in the southwest corner of Montana, the city of Livingston claims modest fame as the part-time home of veteran journalist Tom Brokaw and as a setting for the TV Western “Yellowstone.” It also has an unintended distinction in the newspaper business. The Livingston Enterprise and its sister paper, the Miles City Star, appear to be the last remaining U.S. dailies printed after lunch and delivered before dinner. Afternoon production, once dominant in newspaper publishing, is near extinction.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

Tech 4 Climate Podcast

  • Podcast on Climate Tech
    In today’s episode, we are speaking with Ben Kortlang, Partner at G2VP. G2 Venture Partners is a venture and growth firm focused on emerging technologies driving sustainable transformation across traditional industries. In this episode, Ben will share his view of the US climate tech ecosystem, the fundamentals that drive the market today compared to the early days of the Cleantech era 1.0, and the US advantages/weaknesses compared to the EU and rest of the world. (Profitability with sustainability is the key to win big with impact. – April 21, 2022)