March 4 2022

This Week in Washington 

CyberScoop Proposal for industries to report big cyberattacks, ransomware payments wins Senate approval
The Senate passed legislation Tuesday evening requiring critical infrastructure owners to report to the feds when they suffer a major cyberattack or make a ransomware payment — shaking loose a bill that got stuck in the chamber last year. Under the measure, which now moves to the House for potential consideration, those critical infrastructure owners and operators as well as federal agencies would have to disclose a significant incident to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency within 72 hours. The same owners and operators would have to report any ransomware payments to CISA, too, only within 24 hours.

Reuters FTC prepares for possible challenge to Amazon’s $8.5 bln MGM deal – The Information
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is gearing up for a potential antitrust lawsuit challenging Inc’s $8.5 billion takeover of MGM Studios, the Information reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation. The FTC is exploring actions, including hiring expert witnesses to appear in an eventual trial, the report said, adding that FTC will decide whether to bring the case in the next few weeks.

Washington Post Biden’s endorsement could be a game-changer for kids’ privacy legislation
President Biden called on Congress to boost data privacy protections for children and ban digital advertising targeting them during his State of the Union address Tuesday night — a prominent endorsement that could jolt lawmakers into action after years of stagnation. It marks the president’s highest-profile boost of any major tech policy legislation to date, and it’s one of the most notable such plugs in recent State of the Union history.

Axios U.S. vs Russia for the future of the internet
U.S. officials are stepping up a campaign to defeat a Russian candidate for a UN agency that could determine how much control governments have over the internet. The big picture: Russia’s designs on the little-known agency raise the stakes for what the Russian government’s vision of the internet could mean for the rest of the world, especially following its invasion of Ukraine.

CBS News How Congress could intervene to aid struggling local news outlets
“It is truly local news that reports on the issues that people face in their everyday lives,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the start of a hearing held by the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights earlier this month. Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, are two key cosponsors of a bipartisan bill called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2021.

NextGov Russia’s Cyber Tactics Are Prompting the FCC to Address Internet Routing Security
The Federal Communications Commission cited Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in announcing its unanimous approval of a notice of inquiry for secure use of the Border Gateway Protocol, the internet’s routing system. “Last week, the Department of Homeland Security warned U.S. organizations at all levels that they could face cyber threats stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” reads a Monday press release from the FCC.

FedScoop NIST wants help with guide for restoring industrial control systems after cyberattacks
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is developing a Cybersecurity Practice Guide with steps for recovering equipment and restoring operations after cyberattacks on industrial control systems in manufacturing environments. The agency’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) and Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) want to show how to use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies for cyber event reporting, log review, event analysis, incident handling and response, and eradication and recovery in a work cell mirroring the typical manufacturing process.

Protocol The Chamber of Commerce is opposing Gigi Sohn for the FCC
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee opposing the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission. Ahead of a Thursday committee vote on Sohn, the Chamber criticized her advocacy for “overly aggressive and combative regulation” of telecommunications, including net neutrality.

Fierce Telecom FCC locks in key vendor for broadband map revamp
Work on broadband maps which will be used to distribute billions in federal funding can finally get underway, after a government watchdog approved the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) selection of CostQuest Associates as a key vendor for the project.

Article Summary

New York Times As Tanks Rolled Into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War.
Last Wednesday, a few hours before Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, alarms went off inside Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center, warning of a never-before-seen piece of “wiper” malware that appeared aimed at the country’s government ministries and financial institutions. Within three hours, Microsoft threw itself into the middle of a ground war in Europe — from 5,500 miles away. The threat center, north of Seattle, had been on high alert, and it quickly picked apart the malware, named it “FoxBlade” and notified Ukraine’s top cyberdefense authority. Within three hours, Microsoft’s virus detection systems had been updated to block the code, which erases — “wipes” — data on computers in a network.

Bloomberg All the Ways Google Is Coming Under Fire Over Privacy: QuickTake
The data that Google collects while we’re online underpins the $1.8 trillion valuation of its parent company, Alphabet Inc. Privacy campaigners have tried to limit its access to everything from search histories to user locations, yet it’s still able to monetize the digital profiles of billions of people. Now some U.S. states and consumer groups are trying to use the courts to force change. If the lawsuits succeed, it could help reshape the $300 billion digital-advertising industry and provide a template for restricting the power of giant technology companies.

TechCrunch Microsoft partners with VCs, accelerators to back 10,000 startups in Africa
Microsoft has today announced plans to support 10,000 startups in Africa over the next five years through a series of initiatives including partnerships with accelerators and incubators across the continent. “There is huge potential for Africa to become a thriving hub of digital innovation on the global start-up landscape. Our ambition is to see an explosion of local inventions that will contribute positively, not just to Africa’s digital economy, but to global society,” said Microsoft Africa Transformation Office managing director, Wael Elkabbany.

The Verge Elon Musk’s promised Starlink terminals have reached Ukraine
SpaceX sent a truck full of Starlink user terminals to Ukraine, according to an image tweeted by the country’s vice prime minister, who had asked CEO Elon Musk for assistance during Russia’s invasion. Over the weekend, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted at Musk, asking him to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations. In response, Musk said that the satellite internet service had been activated for the country and that more terminals were on their way.

Tech Podcast of the Week 

WSJ Tech News Briefing

  • Podcast on Role of Social Media in the Russia-Ukraine War
    As the Ukrainian army squares off against invading Russian forces, both sides are trying to control the war’s narrative on social media. Tech reporter Sam Schechner joins host Zoe Thomas to discuss the role social media is playing in rallying global support during the war and where that leaves the big tech companies behind these platforms. (In Ukraine Conflict, Social Media Is a Key Weapon – March 1, 2022)