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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is facing pushback from Facebook following his comments that the gunman who killed 21 people at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday publicly announced his intentions on the social media platform.

In other news, a group of more than 40 Democrats sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai urging the company to stop collecting location data.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Abbott claim rejected by Facebook

Facebook is denying Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) allegation that the gunman who killed 21 people, including 19 children, at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday posted publicly about the attack on its platform. 

Abbott said during a press conference Wednesday that the gunman, Salvador Ramos, posted three times before the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. 

“There was no meaningful forewarning of this crime other than what I’m about to tell you,” Abbott said.  

“As of this time, the only information that was known in advance was posted by the gunman on Facebook approximately 30 minutes before reaching the school,” he continued. 

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said shortly after those comments that the messages described by the governor were “private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred.” 

Read more here

Dems urge Google to cease data collection 

A group of more than 40 Democrats sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai Tuesday evening urging the company to stop collecting and storing location data out of concern that it could be obtained by prosecutors to target individuals seeking abortions. 

“We believe that abortion is health care. We will fight tooth and nail to ensure that it remains recognized as a fundamental right, and that all people in the United States have control over their own bodies,” the members, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), wrote.  

“That said, we are concerned that, in a world in which abortion could be made illegal, Google’s current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care,” they continued. 

The leak of a majority decision indicating that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade has amplified concerns about the ways that digital footprints could be used to identify individuals seeking or assisting the termination of a pregnancy. 

Read more here.  

OIL AND GAS FIRMS JOIN CYBER RESILIENCE PLEDGE 

More than a dozen global companies in the oil and gas industry are uniting for the first time to promote cyber resilience amid growing cyber threats. 

The energy companies announced their commitment on Wednesday at the annual global conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. 

The pledge aims to encourage global firms to collaborate and take collective steps to strengthen cyber resilience across the industry. The initiative was led by the WEF’s cyber resilience in oil and gas initiative, which seeks to incentivize the oil and gas industry to adopt cyber resilience practices. 

Read more here.

CVS HALTS PRESCRIPTIONS FROM TELEHEALTH STARTUPS 

CVS Pharmacy will no longer be accepting prescriptions for controlled substances issued by telehealth companies Cerebral and Done Health, citing ongoing concerns that were unable to be resolved. 

In a statement to The Hill, CVS said it was “important that medications are prescribed appropriately.” 

“We recently conducted a review of certain telehealth companies that prescribe controlled substance medications,” the pharmacy chain said. 

“As a result of our being unable to resolve concerns we have with Cerebral and Done Health, effective May 26, 2022 CVS Pharmacy will no longer accept prescriptions for controlled substances issued through these companies.” 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: ‘Anticipatory diplomacy’ would help us to better deal with crises  

Notable links from around the web

AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public (The Washington Post / Steven Zeitchik) 

Twitter’s Chief Tries Staying the Course as Elon Musk Upends Plans (The New York Times / Mike Isaac and Kate Conger) 

On Discord, Music Fans Become Artists’ Besties, Collaborators, and Even Unpaid Interns (Pitchfork / Cat Zhang) 

One more thing: Court blocks retrieval of records

A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the House Jan. 6 select committee from obtaining Republican National Committee (RNC) records while the GOP challenges a subpoena for documents pertaining to its fundraising efforts in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. 

A three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the RNC a temporary administrative injunction prohibiting third-party vendor Salesforce from turning over the party’s fundraising records to the select committee. The injunction will remain in effect until the judges decide the RNC’s emergency motion for a more lasting injunction, the panel said in a brief order. 

“The purpose of this administrative injunction is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion,” the panel said. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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