June 17 2022

This Week in Washington 

The Verge Congress might finally have a deal on data privacy
For decades, lawmakers have pushed for a comprehensive federal law protecting user data — but it has never survived the chaos of a deeply divided Congress. But on Tuesday, the Energy and Commerce Committee held its first hearing to discuss a new proposal lawmakers believe could actually cross the finish line. Called the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, the proposal marks a major step forward in congressional data privacy negotiations. For years now, any measure that would set a national standard for user data protections has fallen short of final approval due to partisan disagreements

Washington Post White House to launch task force to curb online abuse
Vice President Kamala Harris will today unveil a task force aimed at curbing online abuse, which a senior White House official said during a call with reporters will focus on “illegal conduct,” including cyberstalking, online abuse linked to child sex abuse material and trafficking. The task force will have 180 days to provide policy recommendations for the government, as well as for tech companies, schools and other organizations.

Nextgov Mandates Coming to Secure Commercial Information Technology
National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said his office is reviewing legislation that would start the process of requiring providers of critical information and communications technology to make certain security features standard in their offerings. As demonstrated through its establishment and resourcing of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the government has relied heavily on the idea that organizations would voluntarily take measures to improve the cybersecurity of their enterprises.

The Hill Democrats target location data sales
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday introduced legislation targeting the sale of location data by third-party data brokers. The Health and Location Data Protection Act would ban companies in the shadowy multibillion-dollar industry from selling or transferring sensitive data. The Federal Trade Commission would be given $1 billion over 10 years to promulgate and enforce rules on data brokers. State attorneys general and individuals would also be allowed to sue for violations of the new law.

Nextgov Government Leaders: Export Controls, Public-Private Partnerships Key To Safeguarding U.S. Tech Development
Maintaining the U.S.’s competitiveness in developing new, emerging technologies will rely on a tenuous combination of strategic alliances combined with export controls to stop intellectual property theft, a panel of government leaders said. Discussing the posture of the technological industry within the U.S., lawmakers and officials spoke during the Center for a New American Security’s 2022 National Security Conference on Tuesday, praising the U.S.’s leadership in innovation as well as advising on how to maintain its international leadership in technology development.

Wall Street Journal Why Rural Americans Keep Waiting for Fast Internet, Despite Billions Spent
The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars on several rounds of programs to upgrade internet speeds in rural areas over the past decade. Despite those efforts, many residents are still stuck with service that isn’t fast enough to do video calls or stream movies—speeds that most take for granted. Many communities have been targeted for broadband upgrades at least twice already, but flaws in the programs’ design have left residents wanting.

The Hill Four Senate Democrats push Klobuchar to revise antitrust bill over hate speech concerns
Four Senate Democrats asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to revise a key antitrust bill that they said could “supercharge harmful content online” as written. In a letter Wednesday, Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.) said they support the overall goal of the bill to rein in the power of tech giants — but said it could lead to unintended consequences that would limit companies’ ability to moderate violative content.

NBC News Nebraska Senator unveils plan to strengthen U.S. technology competitiveness
Several senators have introduced new legislation to strengthen U.S. technology. Friday, U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) unveiled the American Technology Leadership Act. The senators say the new bill would establish a new Office of Global Competition Analysis, aimed at assessing how the U.S. compares to other countries in emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Wall Street Journal U.S., EU Plan Joint Foreign Aid for Cybersecurity to Counter China
The U.S. and the European Union plan to introduce joint funding of secure digital infrastructure in developing countries, according to officials involved in the talks. The effort marks the first time the EU and U.S. will work together to fund and help protect other countries’ critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. By working together on cybersecurity, the EU and U.S. aim to help countries that otherwise might be eager to accept funding from China, an EU official said. Initial projects, likely in Africa or Latin America, could be under way by the end of the year, officials said.

Article Summary

Washington Post Microsoft enters agreement to respect Activision Blizzard unionization
Microsoft said Monday it would respect the rights of Activision Blizzard workers to join a union, and would enter into a so-called labor neutrality agreement with major media union Communications Workers of America, which has been helping video game workers organize. If Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved, the new labor agreement will take effect for the video game giant 60 days after the deal is finalized.

Associated Press Cybersecurity courses ramp up amid shortage of professionals
Targeted training programs have been popping up nationwide for the past decade as nearly every business with a website, ecommerce offering or other internet-based operation must deal with data breaches, ransomware and other cyber threats. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, which tracks breaches and supports victims, the number of publicly reported data breaches in the U.S. more than doubled since 2015 to 1,862 last year.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pittsburgh’s not yet a news desert, but it could become one
The pervasive decline in American journalism isn’t new, nor is it news. The New York Times reported a couple of years ago that one out of five American newspapers had closed in the past 15 years, and that the number of journalists working for newspapers had dropped by more than half. There’s been wide discussion about the emergence of so-called “news deserts” in our country: places where the absence of credible and comprehensive news and information places a community at risk.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

The Security Podcasts

  • Podcast on US Data Privacy Laws
    Which states are passing data privacy legislation? What privacy rights do the bills include? Is a federal data privacy law on the way? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this Security podcast episode featuring Bill Tolson, Vice President of Global Compliance and eDiscovery at Archive360. (Understanding the Patchwork of US Data Privacy Laws – June 14, 2022)