August 5 2022

This Week in Washington 

Nextgov Senators Propose Cybercrime Training Center Get 6 More Years of Congressional Support
As law enforcement officials across the country continue to struggle with growing cyber and electronic crime-related threats, two leading senators are introducing legislation to reauthorize the National Computer Forensics Institute, the nation’s foremost training center for digital forensics. The federally-funded institute—a partnership between the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the state of Alabama and the Alabama District Attorney’s Association—provides law enforcement officials with the training and technical expertise needed to investigate and respond to cyber and electronic crimes, including providing courses on countering ransomware attacks and dealing with encrypted devices.

Axios Klobuchar admits Tech antitrust vote will have to wait
The Senate’s most-likely-to-succeed tech antitrust bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, won’t get a vote before the Senate heads into August recess, the bill’s leading Democratic sponsor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said Saturday. Klobuchar and other supporters have said a summer vote on the bill was essential, because passing bipartisan legislation gets harder as midterm elections approach. Now they’ll have to try to push their proposal forward in the fall. Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) previously told Klobuchar he aimed to hold a floor vote for her bill this summer.

CyberScoop CISA, Ukrainian cyber agency deepen partnership to combat Russian threat
Ukraine’s state cybersecurity agency announced details of an expanded partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Friday, revealing that the agencies will begin joint training exercises and enhance how they exchange technical information. A press release from the Ukrainian State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection called the collaboration an “important step towards the integration of Ukrainian cyber defenders into the global expert environment” and noted that the U.S. and Ukraine are the two countries “upon which the greatest number of cyberattacks have been waged.”

Multichannel News ‘Internet Subscription’ Is Now a White House Infrastructure Metric
The White House has released an update on its massive Infrastructure law, including the $65 billion earmarked for internet access, and it includes a new metric for broadband access and the suggestion that it has almost solved the affordability issue. In each of the state update internet sections, the White House talks about the lack of internet in terms not only of access to broadband, but according to how many residents of each state “do not have an internet subscription.” The White House has made it clear that availability entails more than access and includes affordability, competition, access to information about the value of broadband and training in how to use it and service quality.

Broadband Breakfast Agriculture Department Announces Fourth Round of ReConnect Funding
The Rural Utilities Service of the United States Department of Agriculture announced the fourth round of funding for the ReConnect Program, with publication of the funding opportunity announcement scheduled for the federal register on August 4. The announcement is the second round of ReConnect funding in fiscal year 2022. The RUS has seen great interest in the third round of funding and is considering drawing on other federal infrastructure funds to satisfy demands, said the Acting Administrator Christopher McLean said in June. The latest round of funding received 305 applications requesting a total of $4.8 billion, but the program only allocated $1.15 billion. The ReConnect Program uses funds provided under the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act which sets aside $42.5 billion for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to disburse among states for broadband infrastructure.

Axios Online privacy bill faces daunting roadblocks
The federal online privacy bill approved by a key House committee last month — which is farther than any such proposal has previously advanced — is still a long shot to become law. The U.S. has never had a comprehensive national law governing online privacy — and the odds are it’s not going to get one this year, despite concerns about companies’ appetite for personal data, a growing number of potentially conflicting state laws, and the emergence of strong privacy regulations abroad.

Nextgov How the Cyber Ambassador In Waiting Plans to Control $1.5 Billion for Open Networks
Pending confirmation by the Senate—and with the help of $1.5 billion in funding through legislation the president is poised to sign into law—Nathaniel Fick intends to prioritize the development and adoption of networking technology in Europe and Asia that policymakers hope will address threats they associate with Chinese telecommunications supplier Huawei. Fick testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday where he and a number of other nominees received bipartisan support. Fick is President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead a new bureau at the State Department which the administration created—with Congressional backing—to engage with international partners on cybersecurity and other emerging technology issues.

Article Summary

Wall Street Journal Big Tech Is the West’s Surprise Weapon in Competition With Russia, China
In February, Ukraine passed a law allowing private cloud providers to host government data outside its borders, then struck contracts with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Days later Russia invaded, and a missile destroyed a data center in Kyiv where information had been stored, said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation.  “All of the backups were already transported to other European countries and no damage was done,” he said. Big tech companies face intensifying criticism at home over their influence in the marketplace and public square. But at the same time their role in Ukraine shows how they are becoming a key asset in the West’s rivalry with Russia and China.

ZDNet Reported ransomware attacks are just the tip of the iceberg. That’s a problem for everyone
The level of reported ransomware incidents doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what’s really going on, as the unwillingness of many victims to talk about what happened to them makes it difficult to find out what’s really going on, the European Union’s cybersecurity agency has warned. Following an analysis of 623 ransomware incidents between May 2021 and June 2022, the ENISA threat landscape report for ransomware attacks warns that “the findings are grim” as ransomware becomes more efficient and is causing more devastating attacks. Ransomware presents a massive cybersecurity challenge, with many victims feeling as if they’ve got no other choice but to pay potentially millions in Bitcoin to free their data.

New York Times A Cyberattack Illuminates the Shaky State of Student Privacy
The software that many school districts use to track students’ progress can record extremely confidential information on children: “Intellectual disability.” “Emotional Disturbance.” “Homeless.” “Disruptive.” “Defiance.” “Perpetrator.” “Excessive Talking.” “Should attend tutoring.” Now these systems are coming under heightened scrutiny after a recent cyberattack on Illuminate Education, a leading provider of student-tracking software, which affected the personal information of more than a million current and former students across dozens of districts — including in New York City and Los Angeles, the nation’s largest public school systems.

The Columbian Local news plays important role in democracy
It is not a coincidence that we choose this, Election Day, to write about journalism. Since America’s founding, newspapers have been essential for keeping members of the public informed about the world around them, their government and the very pillars of democracy. No less an expert than Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.” There is an inextricable link between democracy and reliable media, a link of which we are mindful as citizens turn in their ballots.

Featured Podcast

The Sunday Show

  • Podcast on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act
    On Wednesday, July 20, the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee held a markup that included H.R. 8152, the “American Data Privacy and Protection Act,” which is touted as the first comprehensive national privacy legislation with bipartisan support. To discuss the bill and its prospects in detail, Tech Policy Press spoke with two experts on tech policy and civil rights issues: Nora Benevidez, Senior Counsel and Director of Digital Justice and Civil Rights at Free Press, and Justin Brookman, Director of Technology Policy for Consumer Reports. (Prospects for the American Data Privacy and Protection Act – July 24, 2022)