Twitter’s board of directors told shareholders to give the OK on Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company for $44 billion.  

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a bill that would bar tech companies from retaining data about users’ reproductive health.

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Twitter tells shareholders to approve Musk deal

Twitter’s board of directors on Tuesday unanimously recommended shareholders approve Elon Musk’s bid to buy the social media company. 

The board recommended stockholders approve Musk’s $44 billion offer, stating they determined it to be fair and in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Once the merger is complete, stockholders will be entitled to $54.20 per share, the board said.  

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum on Tuesday, Musk said there were still some “unresolved matters” about the deal, amplifying concerns he’s raised about the number of bots on the platform. He’s cast doubt on Twitter’s assessment that bots make up fewer than 5 percent of users. 

Read more here.

New bill aims to protect reproductive data

Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) and Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Ron Wyden
(D-Ore.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would bar companies from retaining data about users’ reproductive health without consent.  

The bill would also give people the power to demand companies disclose and delete the data, as well as the power to sue companies for violations of the law. 

The legislation was put forward in response to a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked in May that showed the court was prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision that would trigger abortion bans or severe restrictions in a number of U.S. states. 

“This is some of the most sensitive and personal data that exists. It deserves the highest level of privacy protection that the government can provide and that’s what our bill does,” Jacobs told The Hill. 

Read more about the bill.

PRIORITIZE TECH ACCOUNTABILITY

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) led several House Democrats in a letter urging President Biden to use the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) leaders’ summit to prioritize international collaboration on social media accountability to address online disinformation, extremism, hate and harassment.  

In the letter sent to Biden Tuesday, the Democrats said the U.S. should “ensure it has a seat at the table” as other countries continue to roll out new requirements for tech platforms. 

“If the United States does not join these social media transparency efforts on an international level, it risks the formation and enforcement of new rules, standards, and best practices without American input,” they wrote. 

Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) also signed the letter. 

Although Congress is discussing a “range of policy proposals” on social media accountability, the lawmakers said that “given the international nature” of most platforms it is beneficial to structure requirements in a “modular way” with consistent standards and frameworks that allows countries to have some additional requirements or approaches to enforcement. 

Read more about the letter.

BIDEN SIGNS CYBER LAWS

President Biden on Tuesday signed two bipartisan bills into law aimed at enhancing federal, state and local governments’ cybersecurity measures. 

The bills’ passage follows an increased pace of cyber incidents in recent years against government entities, including the SolarWinds hack, which involved Russian agents compromising nine federal agencies and at least 100 private sector groups. 

Biden had signed another cybersecurity bill last month that improves the federal government’s collection of data related to cybercrime. 

Read more here.

TESLA EX-EMPLOYEES SUE OVER LAYOFFS

Two former Tesla employees filed a class-action lawsuit this week against Tesla, accusing the electric automaker company of violating federal law after they say executives recently approved “mass layoffs” without giving proper notice. 

The 10-page complaint, filed by John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas on Sunday, alleges Tesla violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988, which requires 60 days written notice before a mass layoff. 

“Instead, Tesla has simply notified the employees that their terminations would be effective immediately,” the complaint reads. “Tesla has also failed to provide a statement of the basis for reducing the notification period to zero days advance notice. 

Read more here.

DOJ, Meta settle discriminatory advertising case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said that it has reached a settlement agreement with Meta, the owner of Facebook, over allegations of discriminatory advertising on its social media platforms.  

In a statement, the DOJ said that Meta has until Dec. 31 to stop using an advertising tool for housing ads known as “Special Ad Audience” (previously called “Lookalike

Audience”) that relies on an algorithm the department has called discriminatory. 

Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc., also has been ordered to develop a new system to address racial and other disparities caused by the use of the previous algorithm system, according to the settlement agreement. 

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Congress can do better than the Howey test for crypto regulation 

Notable links from around the web: 

State by state, some patients are losing telehealth access to doctors (NBC News / David Ingram) 

Researcher Hacks Into Backend for Network of Smart Jacuzzis (Motherboard / Matthew Gault) 

Twitter Accounts Hyped Company Seeking Covid Vaccine Trials (Bloomberg / Jeff Stone) 

Drivers’ Lawsuit Claims Uber and Lyft Violate Antitrust Laws (The New York Times / Kellen Browning and Noam Scheiber) 

Lighter click: Nate Silver’s final boss

One more thing: Airing NASA feuds

When Lori Garver was tapped by President-elect Obama to become NASA’s No. 2 official in 2009, she saw it as a chance to usher in a new era of space exploration for the U.S. and transform the agency into a more efficient bureaucracy. 

Garver, who grew up enamored with space and politics after witnessing Neil Armstrong’s historic moon landing as a child, came prepared to effect massive change. 

Instead, Garver writes in her new book “Escaping Gravity: My Quest to Transform NASA and Launch a New Space Age,” she encountered stiff pushback from lawmakers who wanted to keep existing space programs that benefited companies who contract with NASA. The resistance held the space agency and the future of space exploration back, according to Garver. 

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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