April 29 2022

Lead Story

CT Mirror Data privacy bill wins final approval in Connecticut House
The House of Representatives voted 144-5 Thursday for final passage of a data privacy bill that will put Connecticut in the growing ranks of states trying to fill a void created by congressional inaction. The measure cleared the Senate on a unanimous vote last week, a seemingly easy approval that came after nearly two years of intense negotiations with local and national business interests and consumer protection advocates.

This Week in Washington 

NextGov U.S. Joins ‘Historic’ Global Group Focused on Data Privacy
The U.S. announced its membership to a new international digital privacy organization last week that will work to advance, regulate and protect the cross-border sharing of data as international connectivity stands to increase. The U.S formed the Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Forum along with Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan, per an announcement from the Department of Commerce last week. The new forum will work to create an international certification system for privacy protocols, based on existing ones in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Privacy Recognition for Processors requirements.

The Hill Federal agencies issue warning on exploited cyber vulnerabilities
Several federal agencies and international organizations on Wednesday warned organizations to protect themselves against common vulnerabilities that tend to be “frequently exploited by malicious cyber actors.” The statement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency urged organizations to manage and patch known exploited vulnerabilities, enable security features like multifactor authentication and use protective controls and architecture like securing networks and devices.

Wall Street Journal Online Privacy Protections Gain Traction With Lawmakers, Tech Industry
Congressional leaders are negotiating in earnest on long-stalled consumer-privacy legislation, raising the prospect that a bipartisan bill could become reality after years of false starts. Congress is under pressure to act following recent disclosures of content potentially harmful to young people on social-media sites including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. And tech companies themselves, after years of resisting privacy legislation in many instances, have begun to push hard for a federal privacy standard—which to many is preferable to a jumble of state laws, and might ease demands for antitrust legislation that could hit the companies even harder.

Reuters U.S. Senate set to confirm Bedoya as FTC commissioner
Alvaro Bedoya will be confirmed to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday, giving the agency enough votes to investigate oil companies Democrats say are “gouging” consumers with high gasoline prices. Vice President Kamala Harris will be on hand to break an expected 50-50 Senate tie over Bedoya’s nomination, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority among FTC commissioners. Currently, there are two Democrats and two Republicans, resulting in deadlocks.

Axios FCC to vote on new plan to curb robocalls
The Federal Communications Commission will vote in May on a plan by Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel meant to help stem the flow of overseas robocalls into the U.S., the agency said Wednesday. Americans are inundated with spam, and federal agencies are struggling to combat illegal messages. The rules, if adopted by the commission at its May 19 meeting, would require gateway providers — which carry international calls to American networks — to participate in robocall mitigation efforts.

New York Times U.S. and more than 55 other countries pledge to keep an open internet
The United States and more than 55 other governments have pledged to reinforce democracy online by agreeing not to shut down access to the internet, use algorithms to illegally spy on citizens or run misinformation campaigns to undermine elections, the White House said on Thursday. The governments said they would not block or limit the reach of legal content or illegally gain access to an individual’s personal data. The countries also pledged to promote access to the internet and protect the safety of its users, especially young people and women.

Broadband Breakfast NTIA Head Reiterates Need for States to Step Up for Broadband Infrastructure Funds
The success of the program dedicated to distributing $42.5 billion to states from the infrastructure bill will depend on the work that states do, reiterated the head of the agency tasked with managing the money. “Their [the states] success is our success,” Alan Davidson, head of the Commerce department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said Monday at a legislative and policy conference hosted by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association.

Roll Call House, Senate to open conference on R&D, technology bills
Discussions between Senate and House members on one of the most significant pieces of legislation on technology, research and development in recent years gets underway this week. More than 100 lawmakers from both chambers are likely to get the go-ahead to formally begin negotiations to produce compromise legislation that would bridge the gap between versions of the bill passed by the Senate and the House. The key elements of both bills include funding advanced research in several high-tech areas through the National Science Foundation, providing subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers to restart domestic production of chips and funding research labs operated by the Energy Department.

The Hill Commerce Department backs key antitrust bill targeting tech giants
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the Commerce Department supports the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, antitrust legislation also backed by the Justice Department that is designed to rein in the power of major tech companies. In testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, Raimondo said there needs to be increased competition in the technology sector as it would increase innovation.

Reuters In fiery Senate hearing, U.S. CFPB chief focuses on Big Tech influence, competition
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will promote competition and scrutinize the outsized influence Big Tech firms have in the marketplace, its director told the Senate Banking Committee during a hearing on Tuesday. Rohit Chopra, who was sworn in as CFPB director in October, fended off attacks from Republicans over his role in a regulatory spat. He is planning initiatives that will identify ways to lower barriers to entry and expand the pool of firms competing for customers based on quality, price, and service, he said.

Article Summary

CNN Russian hacking in Ukraine has been extensive and intertwined with military operations, Microsoft says
Russian hackers have carried out 240 attacks against targets in Ukraine and appear to have coordinated some of them to coincide with their military operations, according to new research by Microsoft Corp. Researchers at the company found that at least six groups with links to the Russian government have attempted hacks on Ukraine, and that hackers may have been gathering intelligence on the country’s military partnerships months before February’s invasion.

StateScoop California releases draft maps, plan for statewide broadband network
The California Department of Technology on Friday released documents showing its recommended design for the $3.25 billion statewide broadband network Gov. Gavin Newsom approved last summer. The proposal, drafted by GoldenStateNet, the organization tasked with administering the network, outlines 8,700 new miles of “middle-mile” fiber optic cable to connect regions with poor internet access. It provides guidance on how to optimize routes of new fiber builds and recommends “joint build partnerships” to reduce costs.

STAT News AI can predict missed appointments. How can hospitals use that data for better care?
For every five appointments at Boston Children’s Hospital, one patient doesn’t show up. Missed appointments are a common problem at health systems. And they’re a particularly attractive target for machine learning researchers, who can use patient datasets to get a handle on what’s causing patients to miss out on needed care. In new research published this month, a group of researchers at Boston Children’s crunched more than 160,000 hospital appointment records from almost 20,000 patients for clues.

New York Times Regulators are unlikely to block Musk’s purchase of Twitter, former officials say.
Bill Baer, who led the Justice Department’s antitrust division during the Obama administration, said enforcers would “look hard to see whether there is a risk to competition and to consumers.” The big price tag, roughly $44 billion, will require Twitter and Mr. Musk to submit the deal for review by the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission, the two agencies that regulate acquisitions. Officials at both have pledged to take a closer look at how mergers and acquisitions fuel concentration in the technology industry.

Star Advertiser Hawaii senator introduces resolution supporting local journalism nationwide
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii on Wednesday led the introduction of a resolution designating April 2022 as “Preserving and Protecting Local News Month,” recognizing local journalism as an essential function of democracy. “People across the country rely on local news to stay informed, fight disinformation, and strengthen their communities. As the industry faces newsroom closures and budget cuts, it’s critical that we all support and recognize the irreplaceable public service local news provides,” said Senator Schatz.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

Recode Daily

  • Podcast on Apple App Tracking Transparency
    Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature one year ago. But did it actually stop tracking and increase privacy for iPhone users? Recode’s Sara Morrison (@saramorrison) explains. (Sorry, your iPhone apps are still tracking you – April 28, 2022)