Overnight Tech: Lawmakers grill ex-Equifax CEO over hack | 3 billion accounts affected by Yahoo 2013 breach | IBM backs anti-sex trafficking bill | EU court to hear Facebook data case

Overnight Tech: Lawmakers grill ex-Equifax CEO over hack | 3 billion accounts affected by Yahoo 2013 breach | IBM backs anti-sex trafficking bill | EU court to hear Facebook data case
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LAWMAKERS GRILL FORMER EQUIFAX CEO: Lawmakers got their first crack at former Equifax CEO Richard Smith on Tuesday, bombarding him with criticism for the massive data breach that occurred on his watch.

The lawmakers could barely mask their anger as they pressed Smith on why the company's data security practices were inadequate, given the mass amounts of personal data the company handles.

Smith opened his testimony with a public apology.

"The criminal hack happened on my watch and as CEO I'm ultimately responsible," said Smith, who retired from the company last week.


In one exchange with Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Smith repeatedly dodged questions about whether Equifax's response will make consumers whole.

"Do you think consumers should have to pay a penalty for your mistake, including potential identify theft, false credit accounts, fraudulent tax returns or medical identity theft?" Luján asked. "Or do you commit to compensating any consumers who suffer harm as a consequence of your breach?"

"We take this seriously," Smith responded. "I've apologized, apologized again to the American consumer. We've offered a comprehensive set of products for free."

"Mr. Smith, will those comprehensive sets of products make consumers whole?" Luján shot back.

"It will protect them going forward," Smith said.

Read more here.


A Republican lawmaker at the hearing also floated fining credit-reporting firms that are hacked.

"We could have this hearing every year from now on if we don't do something to change the current system," Barton said to former Equifax CEO Richard Smith during his testimony in front of the House Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.

"I would hope that you'd go back to your peers and work with the committee chairman and the subcommittee chairman, ranking member, and let's figure out something to do that actually gives an incentive to the industry to protect ourselves," the Texas Republican added.

The Hill's Mallory Shelbourne has more on that here.


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EQUIFAX WINS IRS CONTRACT: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has agreed to give Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayers' identities and help combat fraud, according to a recently issued contract.

The IRS is hiring the embattled credit reporting agency to "verify taxpayer identity and to assist in ongoing identity verification and validations needs of the Service," according to its filing on Federal Business Opportunities, a website that lists federal contracts.

The IRS labels Equifax as a "sole source order," which means that the agency believes the credit reporting company is the only business capable of providing the service.

Read more here.


3 BILLION ACCOUNTS AFFECTED BY YAHOO BREACH: Yahoo's massive data breach revealed last year affected all of its 3 billion accounts, the company announced on Tuesday, triple the number that it had said were impacted when it revealed the breach last year.

After Yahoo was purchased by Verizon this year, it was rebranded as Oath. Oath announced that it would be notifying all of the additional users impacted by the breach.

"Our investment in Yahoo is allowing that team to continue to take significant steps to enhance their security, as well as benefit from Verizon's experience and resources," said Chandra McMahon, Verizon's head of information security.

Read more here.


IBM ENDORSES ONLINE SEX-TRAFFICKING BILL: IBM is throwing its support behind a Senate anti-sex trafficking bill that has drawn opposition from most internet companies in Silicon Valley.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) from Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Bipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure The Memo: Trump allies hope he can turn the page from Russian fiasco MORE (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is aimed at cracking down on sites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

"Your bill would allow law enforcement officials and victims to take legal action against those who have taken insufficient measures to limit the promulgation and advertising of such exploitative material on the internet," Christopher Padilla, IBM's vice president for regulatory affairs, wrote in a letter to Portman and Blumenthal.

The bill would cut into the broad legal immunity that internet platforms are afforded when it comes to content posted on their sites by third-party users.

Companies such as Google and Facebook worry that the bill would lead to frivolous lawsuits for legitimate sites.

Read more here.


EU TO HEAR DATA STORAGE CASE: A European Union court will hear a case that could have a massive impact on Facebook and other American internet companies.

The case, which an Irish court on Tuesday referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union, revolves around where companies can store personal information.

Max Schrems is suing Facebook, claiming that because the United States allows bulk surveillance programs, the U.S. cannot guarantee data stored on servers located on its shores abides by the E.U.'s stringent personal data protections laws.

Read more here.


AMAZON COULD FACE MASSIVE EU FINE: The European Union will order Amazon to pay several hundred million euros in back taxes on Wednesday, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The EU's enforcement arm, the European Commission, opened up an investigation three years ago into a partnership between Amazon and Luxembourg that allowed the e-commerce giant to shield some of its assets from taxation.

The FT report did not say how much Amazon will be ordered to pay.

The fine would be the latest action Europe has taken to try to rein in American tech giants.

Read more here.


FACEBOOK SAFETY PAGE SHOWED HOAXES AFTER LAS VEGAS: Scammers looking to push hoaxes flocked to Facebook in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting to take advantage of Facebook's safety check feature.

During major crises like shootings and natural disasters, Facebook lets users in the affected area mark themselves "safe," sending out a notification to their friends and family on Facebook. Users can also visit a Facebook page with information about people they know in the area and see breaking news on the disaster.

Scammers immediately took advantage of that after Sunday night's mass shooting.

Read more here.


GOOGLE CRITIC SITS DOWN WITH THE HILL: Barry Lynn has been pushing the government to crack down on corporate power for 16 years, but his ideas never received as much attention as when they cost him his job at a Google-sponsored think tank.

After parting ways with think tank New America over the summer, Lynn has launched a new independent group to raise awareness about the threats posed by corporate giants.

Lawmakers are increasingly willing to confront tech leaders on a growing list of issues, and Lynn's transition comes as authorities are investigating whether Russians used Google, Facebook and Twitter to sow division during last year's election.

"I think people are understanding just how poorly structured these institutions are, how sloppily they were built," Lynn tells The Hill. "It's not just a matter of the fact that these people have too much power, it's also that they are sloppy in the use of their power."

Read more here.


JUDGE DELAYS UBER-WAYMO TRADE SECRETS TRIAL: A federal judge pushed back the trial date in a dispute between Google-owned Waymo and Uber until December.

Waymo, which pushed for the delay, argues that Uber stole trade secrets on autonomous vehicles by hiring one of its former employees.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted Waymo's request, but expressed

skepticism that the legal challenge will succeed.

Read more here.



The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a markup to consider David Redl's nomination to head NTIA at 10:00 a.m.

The heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a press conference on Russian election interference at 12:15 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Equifax breach at 2:30 p.m. The credit reporting firm's former CEO will testify.



SEC didn't seek DHS cyber help after breach

Private data of more than 1,100 NFL players, agents exposed

DHS says Kaspersky decision based on 'open source' information

GOP rep pitches fines for hacked credit-monitoring firms

US cyber official floats getting rid of Social Security numbers for ID

The New York Times's 2015 profile on the Internet Research Agency

The Guardian: Uber, London plan more talks over ban

The Wall Street Journal: Uber document shows ex-Google engineer possessed secret files