Overnight Tech: GOP bill would bar agencies from using Chinese tech | How Russian accounts used Tumblr during the election | Warren, Equifax spar over breach claims | Dem worries about tech addiction | New lobster emoji

Overnight Tech: GOP bill would bar agencies from using Chinese tech | How Russian accounts used Tumblr during the election | Warren, Equifax spar over breach claims | Dem worries about tech addiction | New lobster emoji
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BILL TARGETS CHINESE FIRMS: Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting The Memo: Trump allies hope he can turn the page from Russian fiasco Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (R-Fla.) introduced legislation on Wednesday to prevent the U.S. government from using the products of Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei.

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Cotton and Rubio's legislation is rooted in concern that the Chinese government could use encryption backdoors in ZTE and Huawei phones to spy on U.S. government officials.

"Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it's more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices," Cotton said in a statement. "There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us" he added.

Their bill joins legislation from Reps. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayHuawei: FCC proposal would hurt poor, rural communities Senate panel upholds finding that Russia backed Trump, contradicting House Trump era ramps up tech worker revolt MORE (R-Texas) and Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei Trump faces criticism for photo with mostly white male lawmakers discussing migrant family separations MORE (R-Wy.) in the House calling for similar measures against Chinese technology.

It's the latest step in a growing push to cut ties with Chinese telecommunications firms.

Last month, lawmakers reportedly pushed AT&T to get nix a plan to offer Huawei devices to customers.

The White House has also blocked multiple attempts by U.S. firms to acquire Chinese telecommunications companies, also out of national security concerns.  

"We don't want undisclosed backdoors into our systems," Conaway told The Hill last month.

"The relationship those companies have with different Chinese intelligence agencies themselves and their government -- it's opaque. We don't know what is or isn't there."

See the original story here.

 

Please send your tips, comments and compliments to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland and @hneidig. We're also on Signal and WhatsApp. Email or DM us for our numbers.

 

EQUIFAX, WARREN SPAR OVER BREACH CLAIMS: Equifax is contesting part of a report from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump pick to face grilling over family separations On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (D-Mass.) that alleged the credit reporting agency "failed to disclose" that consumers' passport numbers were exposed in a massive data breach last year.

Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for Equifax, said that the company has no reason to believe that passport numbers were compromised.

"We examined passport numbers as an element of our forensic investigation, however we found no evidence that any passport numbers were affected, accessed or stolen," Griffanti told The Hill.

Warren's report, which was released Wednesday, claims that "Equifax failed to disclose the fact that the hackers gained access to consumers' passport numbers."

Read more here.

 

RUSSIAN ACCOUNTS USED TUMBLR IN INFLUENCE CAMPAIGN: Russian trolls pushed pro-Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas House Dems launching Medicare for All Caucus Let's remove the legal shield from hackers who rob us of our civil rights MORE and anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE content on Tumblr around the time of the election.

Kremlin-linked accounts used the blogging platform to pose as black activists to promote their messages, according to researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.

"The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015," Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, told BuzzFeed.

Read more here.

 

WARNER: AD MARKET NEEDS TO CRACK DOWN ON MISINFORMATION: The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the digital ad market was helping incentivize the spread of misinformation and abusive content on online platforms.

In a speech, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Overnight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart MORE (D-Va.) noted that YouTube discovered in recent months that some disturbing content aimed at children was also collecting ad revenue.

"The perverse incentives in the digital advertising marketplace can, I believe, have a perverse impact, particularly on kids," he said.

Warner said the government and private sector need to jointly figure out how to prevent people from abusing platforms to tap into ad revenue.

Read more here.

 

WARNER SOUNDS ALARM ON TECH ADDICTION: Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern on Wednesday over young people's vulnerability to technology, saying there's growing evidence that technology products are addictive, Axios reported.

"I think there's more and more evidence that there are addictive properties," Warner said at an event focusing on the health effects of technology, according to Axios.

He cited the high rates at which people check their phones and noted that other countries are taking a more proactive approach than the U.S. to controlling kids' addictions to their devices.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS EYE RETIREMENT HELP FOR GIG ECONOMY WORKERS: Lawmakers on Tuesday weighed ways to provide retirement benefits for independent contractors and other so-called gig economy workers.

"Retirement savings options for those in the gig economy are quite limited compared to those of their counterparts in the traditional workforce," said Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziBudget chairs press appropriators on veterans spending Forcing faith-based agencies out of the system is a disservice to women Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-Wyo.), at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's subpanel on primary health and retirement security, which he chairs.

"And where they do exist they impose complex burdens on the individual that will ultimately discourage savings."

Experts testifying before the committee agreed that freelance workers should receive retirement benefits but were divided on how to achieve that goal.

Read more here.

 

MAINE SENATOR CELEBRATES LOBSTER EMOJI: Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure Lawmakers say Trump tariffs are threatening local newspapers Senate adds members to pro-NATO group MORE (I-Maine) is celebrating the upcoming addition of a lobster emoji for smartphone users after previously lobbying for its creation.

"Great news for Maine - we're getting a lobster emoji!!!" King tweeted Wednesday. "Thanks to @unicode for recognizing the impact of this critical crustacean, in Maine and across the country."

The Unicode Consortium, the group in charge of smartphone emojis, announced the addition of the 157 new emojis in 2018, including a lobster.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

New America will host an event about democracy and tech at noon.

The Federal Communications Bar Association will host a brown bag lunch with the FCC's CTO at 12:15 p.m.

Consumer Technology Association will host its SXSW teaser at 5:30 p.m.

 

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WSJ: How YouTube drives people to the internet's darkest corners

The Hill op-ed: The social media dilemma: With a child, how old is old enough?

Sens. Blumenthal and Cotton call on DOD to investigate fitness trackers