November 12 2021

This Week in Washington

MarketWatch How the infrastructure bill’s $65 billion in broadband spending will be doled out
It took a pandemic to finally drive home what has been discussed for decades: The need for a digital infrastructure plan to connect all Americans. The Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package includes $65 billion for broadband access to improve internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through grants to states.

Reuters Commerce’s Raimondo on how the U.S. will spend $65 billion on broadband
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday detailed plans to spend $65 billion to expand broadband access and affordability, a significant part of the Biden administration’s new infrastructure bill.

NextGov DHS Researching Public Perception of Facial Recognition and AI Use 
The Department of Homeland Security is looking for feedback on new applications of artificial intelligence and facial recognition that the American public could encounter. Kathleen Deloughery, a DHS Science and Technology Directorate program manager, told Nextgov that an Information Collection Request issued last week is part of a larger portfolio to gauge technology acceptance and adoption within national security.

Axios Exclusive: New bipartisan bill takes aim at algorithms
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require online platforms to let users opt out of having personal data-driven algorithms select the content they see, according to a copy of the text shared exclusively with Axios.

NextGov White House Highlights Cybersecurity Benefit in Infrastructure Package
President Joe Biden is set to sign into law a $1.2 trillion bill aimed at improving the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure in the face of physical and cyber threats, including a massive investment to defend against malicious attacks. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history,” reads a fact sheet the White House released Monday reacting to passage of the bill by the House of Representatives Friday evening.

CNN Hackers have breached organizations in defense and other sensitive sectors, security firm says
At least one U.S. organization is among nine in the defense, education, energy, health care and technology sectors to have been breached by foreign hackers, according to findings from Palo Alto Networks, which were shared exclusively with CNN in an effort to warn companies of the threats. Officials from the National Security Agency and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are tracking the security breaches by the hackers, whose actions are similar to that of a group suspected of having ties with China.

Axios New Klobuchar, Cotton bill could block Big Tech mergers
A new bill from Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would make it harder for big tech companies to acquire rivals and would force them to prove acquisitions won’t hurt competition. The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act is a companion to a House bill of the same name, which passed the House Judiciary Committee in June alongside other antitrust measures.

NBC News ‘Dark patterns’: Regulators eye tech tricks that hurt consumers
Tech companies, subscription apps and e-commerce sites have for years used subtle tricks to nudge people toward a decision or purchase they might not otherwise make. There’s even a name for the tactics: dark patterns. Now, a crackdown may be coming. Members of Congress, consumer protection agencies, nonprofit watchdog groups and academic researchers have all announced plans this year to increase the scrutiny they give to dark patterns, laying the groundwork for possible legal action and promising to bring more clarity and fairness to how people navigate the internet.

CNBC In race to provide internet from space, companies ask FCC for about 38,000 new broadband satellites
A flurry of space companies filed requests with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday for new or expanded broadband networks, asking the regulator for approval of nearly 38,000 total satellites. Amazon, Astra, Boeing, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Hughes Network, OneWeb, SpinLaunch, and Telesat are among those asking the FCC for access to what is known as V-band spectrum, a range of frequency that the companies hope to use to provide global broadband service from space.

Bloomberg South Korea Tech Firms to Provide U.S. With Semiconductor Data
South Korea said its technology firms will provide some semiconductor data to the U.S., following a request by the Commerce Department for companies in the supply chain to provide information on inventory and sales of chips. South Korean firms are preparing for a “voluntary submission” of relevant information, the finance ministry said in a statement on Sunday, adding that its tech giants have been negotiating with the U.S. on the extent of data to be submitted. It didn’t elaborate.

Article Summary

Forbes A Cyber Mercenary Is Hacking The Google And Telegram Accounts Of Presidential Candidates, Journalists And Doctors
The breakthrough led to the discovery that, for the last four years, the Russian-speaking RocketHack crew has quietly infiltrated email and Telegram accounts, PCs and Android phones of as many as 3,500 individuals. The targets range from journalists, human right activists, and politicians through to telecommunication engineers and IVF doctors across a few dozen clinics, according to Hacquebord.

Axios The business of privacy is booming
Investors and consumers show growing enthusiasm for privacy-focused alternatives to Google and Facebook amid renewed scrutiny over the real cost of their “free” services. It’s still hard to compete with the massive profit engines those companies have built. A new privacy-oriented search engine,, is entering public beta today and announcing it has landed $20 million in funding, led by Marc Benioff with participation from Breyer Capital, Sound Ventures, Day One Ventures and others.

Reuters Nine governors press U.S. lawmakers to pass semiconductor funding bill
A bipartisan group of governors from nine states sent a letter on Wednesday to U.S. lawmakers urging them to pass subsidies for semiconductor factories that would produce chips for cars. The governors, who include Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, called on Congress to pass the $52 billion CHIPS Act, which would set aside $2 billion for the kind of older-technology chips of which there is a deep shortage in the automotive industry.

StateScoop Oakland, Calif., expects to close 90% of its digital divide within five years
Oakland, California, committed on Thursday to providing internet access to more than 90% of the city’s unconnected homes in the next five years through a new partnership with EducationSuperHighway, a national broadband advocacy nonprofit.

The New York Times Meta plans to remove thousands of sensitive ad-targeting categories.
Meta said it will remove advertisers’ ability to target people with ads based on interactions with content about health, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and thousands of other topics, as of Jan. 19. Meta said the changes are to prevent abuse of its ad targeting tools, which Graham Mudd, a vice president of product marketing for Meta, said in a blog post could lead to “negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”

Tech Podcast of the Week

Exchanges at Goldman Sachs

  • Podcast on Cybersecurity Evolution
    How has the surge in cyberattacks, and companies’ efforts to counter these efforts, evolved? Matthew Chung, Goldman Sachs’ Chief Information Security Officer, Wesley Williams, head of the firm’s Security Incident Response team, and Andy Boura, the Chief Information Security Officer for the Consumer Banking Business explain how cybersecurity is adapting to new threats. (An Evolution in the Cybersecurity Landscape – November 10, 2021)