Senators on the Intelligence Committee asked the Federal Tade Commission (FTC) to investigate TikTok, ramping up scrutiny of the company’s data practices.  

Meanwhile, Apple announced on Wednesday that it will be releasing a new security feature called “lockdown mode” intended to protect its devices against spyware deployed by state-sponsored hackers, The Associated Press reported. 

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.

Senators ask FTC to investigate TikTok

Top senators on the Intelligence Committee requested the FTC investigate TikTok over concerns that the company is misleading the public about its data practices.  

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the FTC Tuesday urging the agency to launch an immediate investigation on “the basis of apparent deception by TikTok.” 

  • The letter escalates the scrutiny from lawmakers, largely among Republicans, on the popular video sharing app since BuzzFeed reported last month that employees of TikTok’s parent company in China have access to private data on U.S. users.  
  • “In light of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok concerning its data security, data processing, and corporate governance practices, we urge you to act promptly on this matter,” the senators wrote. 
  • In response to the letter, a TikTok spokesperson said “for two years, we’ve talked openly about our work to limit access to user data across regions, and in our letter to senators last week we were clear about our progress in limiting access even further through our work with Oracle.”

Feds warn against North Korean ransomware

U.S. federal agencies issued a joint advisory on Wednesday regarding North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors using Maui ransomware to target the health sector. 

The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of the Treasury said that particular ransomware has been used by North Korean government-backed hackers since at least last spring to target health care and public health sector organizations. 

“This malicious activity by North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors against the healthcare and public health sector poses a significant risk to organizations of all sizes,” said Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity. 

Read more here.

APPLE INTRODUCES NEW SECURITY FEATURE

Apple announced on Wednesday that it will be releasing a new security feature called “lockdown mode” intended to protect its devices against spyware deployed by state-sponsored hackers, The Associated Press reported.  

The new safeguard, which is expected to be released in the fall, will initially be offered as a test version so that researchers can assist the tech giant in identifying bugs or vulnerabilities, the AP said. 

Read more here.

PRIME, GRUBHUB STRIKE DELIVERY DEAL

Amazon and Grubhub announced a deal Wednesday that will allow Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States to get free delivery from certain restaurants. 

The e-commerce giant also has an option to purchase a 2 percent stake in Grubhub as part of the deal. Amazon can purchase a further 13 percent stake at a “formula-based price,” calculated primarily by the number of new customers added in the deal. 

Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to sign up for a free one-year membership of Grubhub’s premium service starting Wednesday, according to a press release from Just Eat Takeaway.com, the Dutch company that owns Grubhub. 

“I am incredibly excited to announce this collaboration with Amazon that will help Grubhub continue to deliver on our long-standing mission to connect more diners with local restaurants,” Grubhub CEO Adam DeWitt said in a statement. 

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Restaurants show weakness of the case against ‘big is bad’  

Notable links from around the web: 

How a fake job offer took down the world’s most popular crypto game (The Block / Ryan Weeks) 

Disinformation Has Become Another Untouchable Problem in Washington (The New York Times / Steven Lee Myers and Eileen Sullivan) 

Google Eases Ad Restrictions for Abortion Pill Providers After Roe (Gizmodo / Shoshana Wodinsky) 

Lighter click: Inflation hitting home

Cipollone to testify

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to testify Friday behind closed doors before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, according to multiple news reports. 

A person familiar with the discussions told The New York Times Cipollone would be participating in a transcribed interview. 

The Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that the testimony is scheduled to take place for the first half of the day on Friday. 

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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