Overnight Cybersecurity

Hillicon Valley — TikTok to tackle midterm misinformation

The Hill illustration, Madeline Monroe/iStock/Getty

TikTok released its plan to tackle midterm-related content, including how it will crack down on paid influencer political ads. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that it is investing $45 million in cyber technology that will protect the power grid sector from cyberattacks. 

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 Klar and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

TikTok’s turn to talk midterm plans

TikTok will label all content related to the midterms and crack down on paid influencer political ads as part of its plans to prepare for the upcoming elections, the company announced Wednesday.  

The popular video sharing app will label content identified as being related to the elections and all content from accounts that belong to governments, politicians and political parties in the U.S.  

The labels will direct users to click to enter the TikTok Elections Center, a resource with information available in more than 45 languages about elections and voting access created with partner organizations.  

The center launched Wednesday, six weeks earlier than it did ahead of the
2020 election. TikTok head of safety Eric Han said the earlier launch date will help “capture more of the midterms conversation over the summer months.” 

  • TikTok’s ban on political advertising includes content influencers are paid to create, but the paid influencer content can be harder to detect than a traditional advertisement. 
  • As part of the effort to mitigate such content, over the next few weeks TikTok will publish a series of educational content on the Creator Portal and host briefings with creators and agencies to explain the rules. If TikTok discovers political content was paid for and not properly disclosed, it will be removed from the platform. 

Read more here

DOE invests $45 million in cyber tech

The Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that it is investing $45 million in cyber technology that will protect the power grid sector from cyberattacks. 

The investment will fund up to 15 research projects that will focus on developing new cybersecurity technologies designed to reduce cyber risks in the energy sector. 

“As DOE builds out America’s clean energy infrastructure, this funding will provide the tools for a strong, resilient, and secure electricity grid that can withstand modern cyberthreats and deliver energy to every pocket of America,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. 

The research projects will also establish and strengthen existing partnerships with energy sector utilities, vendors and universities. 

Read more here.

MUSK FEATURED AT MCCARTHY’S RETREAT

Billionaire Elon Musk spoke at a Republican retreat hosted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in Wyoming on Tuesday. 

The event came on the same day that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the former No. 3 House Republican, lost a primary challenge to Harriet Hageman, who was supported by former President Trump and McCarthy. 

A source familiar with the retreat confirmed Musk’s attendance at the event, which included Republican candidates and supporters. 

Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) posted a photo of himself and Musk shaking hands on Tuesday, with the caption: “We should be actively inspiring great things.” 

Morgan Ortagus, a commentator and former spokesperson for the Department of State, also posted a photo with Musk on Tuesday, tagging Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Instagram. 

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Should we break up Facebook to save it? 

Notable links from around the web: 

How a Third-Party SMS Service Was Used to Take Over Signal Accounts (Motherboard / Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai) 

Substack’s promise to be different than a newsroom is getting messy (The Verge / Mia Sato) 

Tech Hacks to Make Traveling Right Now Less of a Headache (The New York Times / Brian X. Chen)

Lighter clickThank you for your service, Truffles

One more thing: More data privacy concerns

Millions of Americans use mobile apps to track their menstrual cycle, sexual activity and ovulation windows and all of that data isn’t always protected, with a new analysis finding most reproductive health apps have weak privacy protections.  

The Mozilla Foundation, creator of web browser Firefox, investigated 25 reproductive health apps and wearable devices, including Flo, Glow, Ovia, Period Tracker Period Calendar and My Calendar Period Tracker, for their privacy and security practices.  

Mozilla found that many of these reproductive health apps collect large amounts of personal data from users, ranging from phone numbers, emails, home addresses, dates of menstrual cycles, sexual activity, doctors’ appointments, pregnancy symptoms and more.   

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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Tags Elon Musk Harriet Hageman Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney
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