June 24 2022

This Week in Washington 

The Hill Biden signs cyber bills into law
President Biden on Tuesday signed two bipartisan bills into law aimed at enhancing federal, state and local governments’ cybersecurity measures. The bills’ passage comes following an increased pace of cyber incidents in recent years against government entities. Biden had signed another cybersecurity bill last month that improves the federal government’s collection of data related to cybercrime. One of the bills signed into law on Tuesday, dubbed the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act, establishes a program to allow cybersecurity professionals to rotate through multiple federal agencies and enhance their expertise.

Reuters Democrats in Congress ‘optimistic’ chips deal can happen soon
U.S. Democrats said on Tuesday they were hopeful of reaching a $52 billion bipartisan deal to subsidize U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and boost U.S. competitiveness with Chinese technology. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, met with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to try to hammer out a compromise but did not announce an agreement. Pelosi and Schumer issued a statement urging swift action and said they believed there was no reason the bill should not move through Congress in July.

Nextgov CISA Plans to Hire Chief People Officer to Boost Cyber Workforce
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is searching for an official to ensure its recruitment efforts reflect its operational priorities and coordinate with the private sector and other agencies to address the infamous shortage of cyber personnel across the country. “Move urgently to hire a Chief People Officer responsible for working with the director and senior leadership to advance a unified approach to talent acquisition,” CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, or CSAC, wrote in draft recommendations.

The Hill House panel to debate bipartisan comprehensive data privacy bill
A House panel will debate a bill that would set national standards for how companies obtain and manage data on Thursday. The bipartisan bill, known as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, was formally introduced in the House on Tuesday by Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.). The Energy and Commerce consumer protection subcommittee will hold a markup on the data privacy bill, along with seven others.

Fierce Telecom Biden aims to train more broadband workers to fend off labor crunch
The U.S. president sought to give the telecommunications talent pool a boost, launching a new workforce development initiative aimed at bringing together employers, training providers and federal funding to help meet demand for skilled infrastructure workers. President Joe Biden’s new Talent Pipeline Challenge encourages employers to partner with and hire skilled workers from training providers and work together with those providers to build and scale regional training models. The program urges employers and their training partners to work with community-based organizations to include women and under-represented groups in their efforts.

Nextgov DOJ Ramps Up Efforts To Halt Cybercrime
The Justice Department announced the creation of a new task force last week dedicated to furthering the fight against online harassment and abuse, focusing particularly on protecting the LGBTQ+ community. Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed the new task force on Thursday, June 16, noting that the majority of victims enduring online harassment are women, children and LGBTQ+ community members.

Reuters Treasury’s Adeyemo sees elevated cyber threats in wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo warned bankers about elevated cyber threats in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and underscored the department’s commitment to sharing real-time intelligence, Treasury said on Friday. Adeyemo told members of the Bank Policy Institute’s technology policy division that it was important for the federal government and financial institutions to work together to share information and stay ahead of “committed adversaries,” it said.

FedScoop White House nominates Arati Prabhakar for OSTP director role
President Biden intends to nominate the former director of two federal research and development agencies to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, increasing the science and technology agenda’s emphasis on innovation, the White House announced Tuesday. Arati Prabhakar would be the first woman, immigrant and person of color confirmed by the Senate to lead OSTP, after serving as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency from 2012 to 2017 and being unanimously confirmed director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology at 34 in 1993.

Article Summary

Microsoft Defending Ukraine: Early Lessons from the Cyber War
Wednesday morning, Microsoft published a report titled “Defending Ukraine: Early Lessons from the Cyber War” and explores the lessons learned 100 days into Russia’s comprehensive war against Ukraine. This report offers five conclusions that come from the war’s first four months: Defense against a military invasion now requires for most countries the ability to disburse and distribute digital operations and data assets across borders and into other countries. Recent advances in cyber threat intelligence and end-point protection have helped Ukraine withstand a high percentage of destructive Russian cyberattacks.

StateScoop 21 states now have chief privacy officers, with more on the way
The role of chief privacy officer now exists in 21 state governments nationwide, as the explosion in digital government services has put far more personal data online, according to a National Association of State Chief Information Officers paper released Wednesday. Many states’ privacy programs are also maturing as citizens become more conscious of privacy rights and worried about how government and other entities might be handling their personal information, the association found.

Venture Beat How AI helps improve the workforce
Managing a complex workforce has never been an easy task, and the pandemic only made it that much worse. Not only have processes surrounding hiring, firing, payroll and benefits become more difficult, but the work-from-home and rising freelance culture is adding new stresses to HR – all at a time when the pace of business is increasing rapidly and driving a greater need for workforce flexibility. Necessity is the mother of innovation, however, and in this case organizations are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to not only lighten the load on traditional human resource management systems, but to engage the workforce in novel new ways. Far from putting humans out of work, these tools are helping people work better and improve their work-life balance.

Associated Press California may make social media firms report enforcement
Social media companies would have to make public their policies for removing problem content and give detailed accounts of how and when they remove it, under a proposal being considered by California legislators who blame online chatter for encouraging violence and undermining democracy. The bipartisan measure stalled last year over free speech concerns, but Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel said Tuesday he hopes to revive his bill by adding amendments he said will make it clear that lawmakers don’t intend to censor or regulate content. But his bill would require companies to say how they regulate their own content under their social media terms of service.

Seattle Times A Green Bay Packers-style approach to rescue Colorado newspaper
An intriguing new approach to saving local newspapers is percolating in Aurora, Colorado. The Sentinel, a strong weekly with daily email newsletters, was acquired this month by a holding company that’s pursuing a Green Bay Packers-style model of community ownership, with shares sold to residents and supporters. The goal is to have local owners save an essential local news source and perhaps create an approach other communities can use to save their newspapers.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

WSJ Tech News Briefing

  • Podcast on Broadband Access
    The federal government has set aside billions of dollars aimed at improving internet speeds for rural Americans. But, despite multiple government programs designed to fix the problem, many in those communities are still waiting for faster speeds. WSJ reporter Ryan Tracy joins host Zoe Thomas to discuss how communities are being impacted by slow internet. (Why Many Rural Americans Are Still Waiting For Fast Internet – June 23, 2022)