Morning Consult Tech: What’s Ahead & Week in Review
 

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Essential tech industry news & intel to start your day.
July 25, 2021
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Good morning to you, tech friends and followers. In several major cities across the country last week, Uber and Lyft drivers participated in a strike organized by Rideshare Drivers United, calling for higher pay and the right to unionize. Coincidentally enough, Protocol just partnered with Morning Consult on a new survey of tech industry workers. Can you guess what share of the tech workforce said they’re interested in joining a union? 

 

A. 50%

B. 55%

C. 60%

D. 65%

 

You can find the answer at the bottom of the newsletter. 

 

What’s Ahead

Another week, another jam-packed series of cybersecurity-related hearings on Capitol Hill. Ones to watch include: Pipeline Cybersecurity: Protecting Critical Infrastructure (Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee) on Tuesday at 10 a.m.; America Under Cyber Siege: Preventing and Responding to Ransomware Attacks (Senate Judiciary Committee) on Tuesday at 10 a.m.; Defending the U.S. Electric Grid Against Cyber Threats (House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security) on Tuesday at 2 p.m.; and The Cyber Talent Pipeline: Educating a Workforce to Match Today’s Threats (House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation) on Thursday at 10 a.m.

 

Speaking of cybersecurity, Washington Post Live is hosting an event with Chris Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Krebs will join Post national security reporter Ellen Nakashima for a discussion on misinformation campaigns and the rising threat from ransomware attacks. 

 

The Federal Trade Commission has an interesting week ahead. The agency has until Thursday to decide whether it will re-file its antitrust case against Facebook Inc. — tied to the social media giant’s Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions — that a District of Columbia federal judge threw out in June. Facebook has requested that FTC Chair Lina Khan recuse herself from the proceedings; if she decides to step aside, a 2-2 stalemate among the other commissioners over whether the FTC should move forward seems like a safe bet.

 

And in other agency news, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled “Transforming the FTC: Legislation to Modernize Consumer Protection” on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. 

 

It’s a massive earnings week for top tech companies. Among those reporting are Apple Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday; Facebook Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc. and Spotify Technology SA on Wednesday; and Amazon.com Inc., Pinterest Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday.

 

Events Calendar

 

Week in Review

President Joe Biden kicked off the week by walking back comments that social media platforms are “killing people” by allowing COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation to spread, pointing instead to a Center for Countering Digital Hate study that identified 12 people responsible for the bulk of vaccine disinformation on Facebook and imploring executives to “do something about the misinformation” and not take his comments “personally.”

 

Biden’s previous criticisms of Facebook for allowing the spread of COVID-19 misinformation followed what the White House felt were months of unproductive discussions, according to officials, who said the company failed to adequately respond to requests for information on its efforts to tackle misinformation on the platform. 

 

Days later, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told MSNBC that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is under review and that social media platforms “should be held accountable” for hosting harmful misinformation. And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill that would revoke Section 230 protections afforded to internet companies if misinformation on public health emergencies spread on their platforms

 

In other top tech news of the week:

 

  • The FTC voted unanimously in favor of a policy spotlighting concerns over restrictions on repairing devices and vowed to probe the legality of those manufacturer-mandated constraints, following an executive order Biden signed earlier this month calling on the agency to consider writing “Right to Repair” rules on the “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items.” In a party-line vote, the FTC also revoked its 1995 “prior approval” policy statement, resurrecting merger reporting requirements for startup acquisitions. 
  • Biden tapped Jonathan Kanter to lead the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, with the White House saying in a statement that the former FTC lawyer is “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.” Kanter, if confirmed by the Senate, would take over the monopoly suit filed against Google last fall and a Justice Department probe of Apple tied to its App Store practices.
  • Intel Corp. Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said in an interview that the global semiconductor shortage might not be resolved until 2023, warning that while supply shortages could begin to ease later this year, it simply “takes a long time to build” the needed manufacturing capacity. Meanwhile, a letter organized by the Semiconductor Industry Association and sent to top lawmakers called on Congress to quickly boost U.S. semiconductor production by financing the Chips Act, which provides incentives to manufacturers to build fabrication facilities but was never funded despite becoming law in this year’s defense bill. 
  • Kaseya Ltd., the Florida-based software company that suffered a crippling ransomware attack over the July 4 weekend, obtained a universal key that will enable the more than 1,000 global businesses and public organizations affected by the hack to unlock their data. Earlier in the week, a senior Biden administration official said “we don’t know exactly why” the Russia-based ransomware gang REvil, the group credited with the cyberattacks on Kaseya and meat supplier JBS USA Holdings Inc., disappeared from the dark web, but that the U.S. government is “still pressing on Russia to take action against the cyber criminals that are operating on its territory.” 
  • The United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other allies formally condemned China for allegedly hacking Microsoft Exchange servers in March and attributed a series of other ransomware and cyber-espionage attacks on public and private entities to the Chinese government. 
 
Stat of the Week
 

75%

 

The share of the tech workforce that said in a Protocol/Morning Consult survey that it’s important for their company to allow them to work remotely indefinitely.

 
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