Morning Consult Tech: Cantwell Pours Cold Water on Federal Data Privacy Bill
 

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June 23, 2022
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Top Stories

  • Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said in an interview that she cannot support bipartisan federal data privacy legislation, over which her committee has jurisdiction, as written because it has “major enforcement holes” and is weaker than existing state privacy laws. Ahead of a House subcommittee’s markup of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act today, Cantwell said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pledged not to bring the bill to a floor vote. (The Washington Post)
  • Meta Platforms Inc. has withdrawn its sponsorship of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and the America250 Foundation, the two organizations planning the government’s celebration of the United States’ 250th anniversary. The project is the subject of a discrimination lawsuit by former female executives, and while a person familiar with the matter said Meta was under the impression it would be one of many corporate sponsors, it was the only company to pledge its support. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Microsoft Corp. warned that Russia’s intelligence agencies have stepped up their hacking efforts against the United States and its allies since the start of the war in Ukraine in a bid to gather intelligence. The Microsoft report said Russia has targeted U.S. organizations the most along with networks in 41 other countries, with the hackers trying to infiltrate any organizations that Russia thinks could have information related to the war, including governments, think tanks and humanitarian groups. (CNN)
  • The Facebook Oversight Board called on Meta to be more transparent about its process for decisions to take down posts and accounts, including its strikes system against those who violate its terms of service. The board said of the 20 cases referred to it by Meta and its users — primarily around content moderation — it overturned the company’s decision 14 times, though it supported the company’s ban of former President Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Computer chip subsidies face a make-or-break moment in Congress

Jeanne Whalen and Marianna Sotomayor, The Washington Post

When the Senate passed a rare bipartisan measure last summer to spend $52 billion subsidizing computer chip manufacturing and research in the United States, it seemed like an easy legislative priority for both parties.

 

Mark Zuckerberg envisions a billion people in the metaverse spending hundreds of dollars each

Jordan Novet, CNBC

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday that the metaverse could be a considerable part of the social network operator’s business in the second half of the decade.

 

Google is paying the Wikimedia Foundation for better access to information

Emma Roth, The Verge

Google is paying the Wikimedia Foundation to help serve up the most accurate and up-to-date information on its search engine. The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group behind Wikipedia, says Google is one of the first companies to buy into its commercial Enterprise service.

 

Thomas Kurian remade Google Cloud into an enterprise-first company. Customers and partners approve.

Donna Goodison, Protocol

His top-to-bottom overhaul included a ramp-up of Google’s salesforce and focused on core infrastructure, data analytics, cybersecurity and industry-tailored products and services.

 
Antitrust and Competition
 

Antitrust influencers? Big Tech allies, opponents draft social media stars into bout.

Cristiano Lima, The Washington Post

For months, groups representing the tech giants and advocates pushing to rein them in have relied on a flurry of old-school lobbying tactics as they clash over antitrust proposals on Capitol Hill. The campaigns have spanned from newspaper op-eds to billboards to TV ads.

 

Former Google exec: Antitrust enforcement is key to online privacy

Ashley Gold, Axios

Antitrust action is desperately needed to reel in the practices of Big Tech companies, especially around privacy, Google’s former head of advertising said Tuesday.

 

Meta Antitrust Judge Backs TikTok, WeChat, Telegram Data Request

Malathi Nayak, Bloomberg

Meta Platforms Inc. won a judge’s backing to obtain information from ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat and Telegram Group Inc. to bolster its defense against an antitrust lawsuit by the US Federal Trade Commission.

 
Artificial Intelligence/Automation
 

General Motors is using AI to speed up the vehicle inspection process

Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

General Motors is bringing artificial intelligence into the vehicle inspection process.

 

Pentagon unveils long-awaited plan for implementing ‘responsible AI’

Brandi Vincent, FedScoop

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks signed the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Strategy and Implementation Pathway (RAI S&I pathway) on Tuesday marking a highly anticipated next step in the Defense Department’s carrying out of its AI Ethical Principles adopted more than two years ago.

 

Cerebras just built a big chip that could democratize AI

Max A. Cherney. Protocol

Chip startup Cerebras has developed a foot-wide piece of silicon, compared to average chips measured in millimeters, that makes training AI cheap and easy.

 

Toyota Halved Stake in Uber Following Self-Driving Unit Sale

River Davis and Tsuyoshi Inajima, Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp. sold about half of its Uber Technologies Inc. shares after the US mobility company carved out its self-driving division.

 
Telecom, Wireless and Internet Access
 

6 issues to get the ball rolling on mass fiber deployments in the U.S.

Linda Hardesty, Fierce Telecom

Last week everybody who is anybody in the fiber ecosystem in the U.S. gathered in Nashville for the Fiber Broadband Association’s Fiber Connect 2022 conference.

 
Mobile Technology
 

Shopify unveils new tools, Twitter tie-up to beat e-commerce slowdown

Nivedita Balu, Reuters

Shopify Inc has launched new tools to help its merchants sell to other businesses and on Twitter, as the Canadian tech giant attempts to shore up sales to counter a post-pandemic slowdown in online shopping.

 

Twitter tests long-form text feature called ‘Notes’

Akash Sriram, Reuters

Twitter Inc said on Wednesday it was testing a new feature called “Notes” that would allow users to share essay-like write-ups as a link both on and off the social media platform.

 

Tim Cook gives clearest hint yet that Apple’s building a headset

Todd Hasleton, CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently gave the closest thing to a confirmation that Apple’s building a headset.

 

Gas at $5 tips some U.S. rideshare drivers to wrap cars in ads

Nivedita Balu, Reuters

When Duana Malcolm had her blue Hyundai Sonata sedan ‘wrapped’ as a mobile advertising board, the part-time delivery driver did not expect to make an extra $200 per month.

 
Cybersecurity and Privacy
 

Research questions potentially dangerous implications of Ukraine’s IT Army

AJ Vicens, CyberScoop

The European Union and NATO are not fully grappling with the potential consequences of Ukraine’s IT Army, a volunteer group that executes cyberattacks on Russian targets, a Center for Security Studies researcher argued Wednesday.

 

Big Tech Pushes for Harmonized Global Policy Amid Emerging Regulations from Allies

Mariam Baksh, Nextgov

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, a key industry witness pressed lawmakers to rely on companies voluntarily including appropriate cybersecurity measures in their proliferation of emerging technologies while highlighting a need for global-policy synergy as allied jurisdictions have taken a more proactive approach.

 

CISA advisory panel wants agency to act on election disinformation, multifactor authentication

Tim Starks, CyberScoop

A panel advising the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on everything from combatting disinformation to reducing critical infrastructure risks approved its inaugural set of recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security cyber agency on Wednesday.

 
Social Media and Content Moderation
 

Instagram cracks down on young users who lie about their age

Margaret Harding McGill, Axios

Instagram is the latest platform to launch new tools aimed at enforcing its age policies, as kids’ screen time rises and regulators threaten greater scrutiny of social media’s affects on children.

 

Google faces second turnover fine in Russia over banned content – regulator

Reuters

Alphabet’s Google faces a second fine of 5-10% of its turnover in Russia for what the state communications regulator said on Wednesday was a repeated failure to delete banned content, including “misleading information” on YouTube about events in Ukraine.

 

VidCon Returns as Chill Falls on Creator Economy

Kaya Yurieff, The Information

VidCon, the annual gathering of social media creators, fans and industry representatives, will descend on Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday for the first time since 2019. While the pandemic hijacked the conference’s plans to meet in person for two years running (it took place virtually in 2020), it made the YouTube- and TikTok-famous stars that throng this convention an even more powerful force in online entertainment.

 

Inside the subreddit dedicated to busting shoplifters

Jessica Lucas, Input Mag

On r/LossPrevention, security pros swap tips of the trade and share “funny” apprehension videos. Not everyone is amused.

 

‘Hang them all’: January 6 committee members target of violent rhetoric on right-wing social media platforms

Donie O’Sullivan and Whitney Wild, CNN

Calls for violence against members of the January 6 committee are circulating on some of the same online platforms that helped fuel the lies that led to the insurrection, a new analysis has found.

 

As Midterms Loom, Elections Are No Longer Top Priority for Meta C.E.O.

Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, The New York Times

Mark Zuckerberg, who once said securing elections was “the most important thing,” has shifted Meta’s focus to the metaverse. That may have real-world implications.

 
Tech Workforce
 

U.S. tech companies yank job offers, leaving college grads scrambling

Sheila Dang, Reuters

One by one, over the last week of May, Twitter Inc rang up some members of its incoming class of new hires who had recently graduated from college and revoked the job offers in 15-minute calls, according to some of the recipients.

 

Tech Giants Make Headway on Gig Worker Classification

Maddy Varner, The Markup

Tech giants have won over two more states in their ongoing battle with worker advocates over the classification of gig workers. Georgia and Alabama are the latest states to pass laws ensuring that gig workers for companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash are not considered employees.

 

Amazon CEO acknowledges loss of Black leaders in internal memo

Jennifer Elias, CNBC

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy acknowledged losing two top Black executives, who led warehouses and transportation, in a company email Tuesday night.

 

‘Left Behind’ Tech Workers Ready to Embrace Labor, Union Says

Emily Chang and Nick Turner, Bloomberg

Tech workers around the country are ready to embrace the labor movement after years of being “left behind,” said a top executive at the union that just won a first-of-its-kind election at an Apple Inc. store.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

ARPA-H must think differently and leverage technology

Shantanu Nundy and Susan J. Blumenthal, The Hill

The Biden administration has announced the formation of the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an organization that will be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the mission of bringing to medicine the kind of breakthrough research ideas and methods that led to the advent of the internet and GPS.

 

Gadgets Were Hot. Now They’re Not.

Shira Ovide, The New York Times

Not long ago, it seemed impossible to find a laptop. The pandemic has upended that, too.

 

A tale of two Facebook whistleblowers

Madhumita Murgia, Financial Times

Frances Haugen and Daniel Motaung have contrasting experiences of taking on the world’s biggest social media company.

 
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