Cyber News and Updates


Recent Headlines, Opinions, and More from the Cyber World

News From The Last Month

House introduces bipartisan 2021 Cyber Diplomacy Act (February 23)

DHS announces new measures to boost nation's cybersecurity (February 22)

Treasury Watchdog Report questions legality of using cellphone data without warrants (February 22)

Driverless vehicles successfully operated on public roads (February 22)

Kroger warns pharmacy customers' personal data may have been stolen in hack (February 22)

DOJ charges North Korean hackers with stealing $1.3 billion in cryptocurrency (February 17)

Congress makes renewed push on self-driving cars bill
(February 17)

North Korea tried to steal Pfizer coronavirus vaccine information, South says (February 16)

CISA gets new Deputy Director (February 16)

Hackers breach, attempt to poison Florida city's water supply (February 8)

IBM rolls out $3M grant program for schools to defend against cyberattacks (February 4)

House Armed Services panel establishes new cybersecurity subcommittee (February 3)

Report: Hackers had access to SolarWinds email system for months (February 3)

NCSC warns increase in attempts from China to access health information (February 1)

International authorities disrupt 'world's most dangerous malware' (January 27)

Google says hackers backed by North Korea tried to steal cyber research (January 27)

It was sensitive data from a U.S. anti-terror program – and terrorists could have gotten to it for years, records show
It was sensitive data from a U.S. anti-terror program – and terrorists could have gotten to it for years, records show
It was sensitive data from a U.S. anti-terror program – and terrorists could have gotten to it for years, records show
California blocks police body cameras from using facial recognition
California blocks police body cameras from using facial recognition
California blocks police body cameras from using facial recognition
California blocks police body cameras from using facial recognition
House committee advances drone legislation
House committee advances drone legislation
House committee advances drone legislation
House committee advances drone legislation
House committee advances drone legislation
Twitter solicits feedback on new 'deepfakes' policy
Hackers target health care AI amid coronavirus pandemic
Hackers target health care AI amid coronavirus pandemic
Hackers target health care AI amid coronavirus pandemic
Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations
Hillicon Valley: Four major tech issues facing the Biden administration | Pressure grows to reinstate White House cyber czar | Facebook, Google to extend political ad bans
© Getty Images

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

TOP TECH ISSUES FACING BIDEN: President-elect Joe Biden will face a vastly different tech landscape in January than the one he interacted with just four years ago as vice president.

While he enjoys overwhelming support in the tech industry, a return to the rosy D.C.-Silicon Valley relationship of the Obama-era is unlikely anytime soon.

Here are some of the biggest tech policy issues facing Biden and how his administration may approach them.

Content moderation: Biden has taken an unorthodox position on a law considered to be the bedrock of the modern internet, saying earlier this year that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be revoked “immediately.”

The 1996 law, which has come under increasing scrutiny ever since President Trump targeted it with an executive order in May, gives internet companies immunity from lawsuits for content posted on their sites by third parties and allows them to make "good faith" efforts to moderate content.

While Biden’s stated position on the issue is not too different from Trump’s, the two are worlds apart in terms of their reasoning. Trump and Republicans maintain that the law is being used to censor conservative content on social media platforms, despite no evidence showing any ideological bent in moderation. Biden, meanwhile, argues that tech companies haven’t done enough to tackle misinformation on their platforms.

Antitrust: Scrutiny surrounding the market power of America’s biggest tech companies has increased almost exponentially since Biden was last in office.

House Democrats released a report this fall spelling out alleged abuses of monopoly power by Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, as well as potential legislative recourse.

But unless Democrats pull off the unexpected and win both Senate seats in Georgia’s runoff elections on Jan. 5, getting those suggested reforms through Congress may prove difficult given that Republicans refused to sign on to the blockbuster House report.

The Biden administration can turn to federal agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to push through some of those antitrust changes, said Morgan Harper of the American Economic Liberties Project, an advocacy group focused on fighting monopolies and corporate power.

Privacy: Federal data privacy legislation has been bogged down in Congress for years now, but there is hope that a new administration and increasing pressure coming from a new law in California could provide fresh momentum.

While congressional talks have fractured several times, there is broad consensus on what a privacy bill should contain, including protections for consumers like the ability to access, correct and erase the personal data companies have collected on them. Advocates say those protections are essential and should be a priority.

Broadband: The coronavirus pandemic has made Americans more reliant than ever on the internet, and industry observers and advocates are hopeful that the Biden administration will make expanding and improving broadband a priority.

Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, wrote in a letter to Biden and the incoming Congress that the “first 100 days of a new administration and new Congress are critical to charting a clear, bipartisan course for our nation’s policy agenda.”

Biden laid out a plan to invest $20 billion in broadband infrastructure, a proposal that lines up neatly with some Democratic bills on the issue.

Read more here.

BRING IN THE CYBER CZAR: Pressure to reinstate a cyber czar within the White House is growing, with bipartisan allies lining up on Capitol Hill to push such a proposal while the incoming administration zeroes in on addressing cybersecurity challenges.

Outside experts and allies say they are optimistic President-elect Joe Biden will establish a cybersecurity coordinator position in the White House, after the Trump administration cut such a position in 2018.

Then-national security adviser John Bolton said the move was intended to reduce bureaucracy, but members of both parties criticized the decision, saying it took away a key mechanism for coordinating cyber policy.

With a new administration set to take over in January, lawmakers are ramping up their efforts to establish a national cyber director position to provide a central coordinating force for federal cybersecurity initiatives.

“I think the coordination needs to be improved, and the way to do that is to have somebody at the center whose job it is to provide that coordination and direction,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), one of the key lawmakers leading the charge in Congress to establish the position, told reporters on a call last week. 

King, who caucuses with Senate Democrats, co-chairs the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), a group created by Congress and made up of lawmakers, federal officials and members of industry who were tasked with laying out recommendations for defending the U.S. in cyberspace.

Earlier this year the group submitted a recommendation to establish a national cyber director at the White House, which would have greater authority than the eliminated position and would be Senate-confirmed. King and other lawmakers in the CSC have fought hard to get such a position included in the annual defense policy bill being negotiated in Congress.

The House-passed version of the 2021 defense funding bill included a provision to establish such a position, but the version approved by the Senate earlier this year did not. The Senate version only included a requirement to conduct an “independent assessment” of the “feasibility” of establishing the role.

Read more here.


NO NEW POLITICAL ADS: Facebook and Google are set to extend their bans on political advertising longer than expected as President Trump and his allies continue to delegitimize his electoral loss.

Facebook notified advertisers Tuesday that they should expect the pause “to last another month, though there may be an opportunity to resume these ads sooner.”

Google has told advertisers that the ban is unlikely to be lifted this month or next, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Both platforms had initially said that the bans would likely last a week after the election but had cautioned they could extend longer.

The bans were instituted to avoid misinformation or confusion from spreading via ads given that the coronavirus pandemic would make election results take longer than usual.

Read more here.



International authorities disrupt 'world's most dangerous malware'
Congress makes renewed push on self-driving cars bill
Congress makes renewed push on self-driving cars bill

Speeches, Articles, Etc.

Cybersecurity for Attorneys: The Ethics of Incident Response (Law Practice Today, November 2020)

ABA TechReport, 2020

New GAO report says K-12 students are vulnerable to harm (September 2020)

Hackers take aim at target beyond election 2020, experts report (September 2020)

NSA Director Nakasone lays out Cyber Command's new approach (August 25, 2020)

How to help employees working remotely protect client data (YourABA, April 2020)

Experts warn lawyers of cyber risks to remote work (ABA News, March 2020)

Task Force Liaison Suzanne Spaulding discusses preparing for cyber election interference (The Washington Post, March, 2020)

Artificial Intelligence in Our Legal System (The Judge's Journal, February, 2020)

Mitigating Your Business Risk: Board Responsibilities in Cybersecurity (Business Law Today, January 11, 2020)

NSA General Counsel Urges Action Against Cyber Threats (January, 2020)

ABA legal tech report sees drop in attorneys pursuing cloud cybersecurity measures (November, 2019)

Coding Out Implicit Bias with AI (Washington Lawyer, October 2019, p. 12)

Rewriting the Rules: User Data, Privacy, and Big Tech (Washington Lawyer, October 2019, p. 18)

Hardware Hacking Dangers (Washington Lawyer, October 2019, p. 24)

Task Force Government Affairs Office Liaison David Eppstein writes, The State of Cybersecurity in Congress (August, 2019)

As state actors continue to wage cyberwar on the United States, they have a powerful ally (ABA Journal, November, 2018)

NIST has a new blog

About the Task Force: Cyber Experts: Law Firm Info Security Is Not Just IT's Problem

About the Task Force: Veteran advocates continue to sound alarm on cyberattack vulnerability of law firms 

ABA Section of Criminal Justice magazine: Facial Recognition Technology: Where Will It Take Us? (Spring, 2019, Volume 34, Issue #01)

2019 Experian Data Breach Industry Forecast

Cybersecurity-as-a-Service Can Help Law Firms Protect Client Information, and Satisfy Client Audits (New York Law Journal, May, 2019)

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at US DOJ Delivers a Speech on Online Extremism

Mary McCord of the Department of Justice gave the closing keynote address at the George Washington University Program on Extremism's two day conference "Toward a Global Partnership to Counter Online Radicalization and Extremism." Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord discussed the importance of safeguarding the internet from terrorism, and how the government and private tech industries could work together to further this goal.

"Ex-DHS official offers  5 steps to address cyber espionage"