This Week in Washington
Washington Post Fate of lawmakers’ tech antitrust push up in the air
Lawmakers leading a push to pass tech antitrust legislation are calling for the Senate to hold a vote this month on two key proposals, voicing confidence in their ability to clear the chamber. “We wouldn’t be asking for a vote if we didn’t think we could get sixty votes,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the lead sponsor of one of the bills, said last month. But to date, a vast majority of senators have not publicly indicated how they would vote on the measures, S.2992 and S.2710. The Technology 202 asked the offices of all 100 senators last week whether they support or oppose the two bills and would vote in favor of or against them on the floor.
The Hill US announces new tech partnership to study AI, address climate change
President Biden on Wednesday announced a new technological partnership with Israel focused on addressing climate change, studying artificial intelligence and countering the COVID-19 pandemic. The White House released a statement saying the new strategic tech partnership will involve interagency dialogue between the U.S. and Israel and that officials will meet annually, with the first meeting set to take place in the fall of this year. Wednesday’s announced partnership promises to “deepen bilateral engagements” as well as “advance and protect critical and emerging technologies,” according to the White House.
Reuters U.S. lawmakers look to carve off chips funding to speed bill passage -Raimondo
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday that lawmakers appear to be moving to carve off $52 billion in semiconductor chips manufacturing subsidies from a larger bill on boosting U.S. competitiveness with China. “Things seem to be coalescing around the path of chips, or maybe chips plus a thing or two, and getting it done this month,” Raimondo told Reuters in a telephone interview. “It seems like that’s what Congress is coalescing around.”
The Verge FTC says it will crack down on medical and location data sharing after abortion privacy concerns
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it will step up to protect the privacy of consumers in a post-Roe America, declaring the agency is “committed to fully enforcing the law” against illegal sharing of sensitive medical and location data. In a blog post published on Monday by Kristin Cohen, the FTC’s acting associate director in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, the commission took particular aim at data brokers and third parties who share previously collected information. The post points to a wide range of sources that can potentially collect sensitive information about a user but highlights the combination of location data and health data as presenting a particular risk to consumers.
StateScoop NTIA says every state has signed up for a piece of BEAD broadband funds
The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Wednesday that every state and U.S. territory has submitted a proposal for a slice of the new $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment, or BEAD, fund created by last year’s infrastructure law. The BEAD program is the centerpiece of a $45 billion agenda the Biden administration is dubbing “Internet for All,” which also includes smaller funds for digital equity and middle-mile connections. State technology and broadband offices have been eying the program as they plan major expansions of high-speed internet service.
Nextgov CISA Urges FCC to Prioritize National Security in Internet Routing Probe
The Federal Communications Commission should put national security concerns ahead of those internet service providers have expressed regarding measures to address vulnerabilities in the internet’s routing protocol, according to the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. In comments delivered to the FCC on July 7, CISA Director Jen Easterly summarized the concerns of internet service providers—including lack of a sufficient return on the investment that would be necessary—noting they shouldn’t stop the commission from considering a regulatory approach.
Fierce Telecom Microsoft tires of waiting on FCC, creates its own broadband mapping tool
Microsoft has long been a critic of the FCC’s broadband maps, and today the cloud giant released its own new interactive tool to help identify places in the United States that are unserved and underserved. The tool was created by Microsoft’s Chief Data Science Officer Juan Lavista Ferres and the Microsoft AI for Good Lab. It aggregates public data from the Census Bureau, the FCC, BroadbandNow and Microsoft’s own broadband usage data.
StateScoop Over 4,000 confirmed ransomware incidents in 2021, task force says
A report published Wednesday by the Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force says that its data sources counted more than 4,000 documented attacks last year involving varieties of extortion malware, targeting organizations across every sector in 109 countries. The data comes a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of the task force, a group of more than 60 public-sector and industry experts who last year drafted a book of recommendations for the U.S. government to take against what they called a rising global threat.
Madison.com Wisconsin broadband task force calls for continued funding, support to leverage historic infrastructure funds
Billions of dollars in federal assistance could help bring high-speed internet service to thousands of Wisconsin households, according to a new report, but not without continued help and funding from the state. In its second annual report released Tuesday, a task force appointed by Gov. Tony Evers calls on state leaders to continue support for broadband expansion, which has already included nearly $300 million in state and federal funding. Established in July 2020, the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access last year called for more funding, better data and streamlined permitting, among other things, in order to bring high-speed internet to all homes and businesses by 2025.
ZDNet Ransomware is hitting one sector particularly hard, and the impact is felt by everyone
The number of ransomware attacks against schools and universities is on the rise – and victims are struggling to recover after their networks have been hit. According to analysis by cybersecurity researchers at Sophos, education is facing an increased challenge from the threat of ransomware as cyber criminals go after what they perceive to be an easy but potentially lucrative target. “Schools are among those being hit the hardest by ransomware. They’re prime targets for attackers because of their overall lack of strong cybersecurity defenses and the goldmine of personal data they hold,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos.
Axios Raleigh North Carolina’s local news scene is changing
After 118 years in business, the Mount Olive Tribune closed its doors last month, leaving the small town in the Goldsboro metro without a newspaper. The Tribune’s closure is hardly an anomaly. Around two newspapers in the U.S. are closing every week, according to a new report, suggesting the local news crisis made worse by the pandemic will continue to grow in coming years. The lack of reliable local news compounds governance issues that make communities less efficient and prosperous. One study suggests government costs increase when local newspapers shutter. Around 7% of America’s counties — six in North Carolina — now have no local news outlet and around 20% are at risk of their communities becoming news deserts in the foreseeable future.