Overnight Cybersecurity

Hillicon Valley — Expected vote on tech bills prompts GOP infighting

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., questions Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the oversight of the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, July 28, 2020 in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

An expected House vote on antitrust bills aimed at giving enforcers more power to target tech giants has prompted GOP infighting, signaling a rough path ahead for antitrust reform if Republicans win the House in November.  

Meanwhile, Meta said it disrupted a network of fake accounts from China that were targeting U.S. domestic audiences ahead of the midterm elections. 

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.

GOP squabbles over antitrust bills 

Republicans are fighting amongst themselves over proposals aimed at giving antitrust enforcers more power to rein in tech giants ahead of a House vote expected later this week. 

The package of three bills is backed by Republicans in the House and Senate, but House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is railing against the bills, signaling the GOP will likely be split in the vote.  

“Do you think we should give the Biden DOJ [Department of Justice] and FTC [Federal Trade Commission] more money? Do you trust they won’t use the money to target conservatives? Do you think [President] Joe Biden, [Attorney General] Merrick Garland, and [FTC Chairwoman] Lina Khan have your best interests at heart? No, No, No,” Jordan tweeted on Tuesday

Jordan speaking out against the three bills set for a vote this week also signals that if supporters aren’t successful in passing the package, or other proposals aimed at revamping antitrust laws to target tech giants, they may face little chance of moving forward if the GOP wins back the majority in the chamber in the 2022 midterms. 

  • The House is expected to vote on the package of three bills Thursday evening or Friday, according to a spokesperson for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.
  • The three bills together would update filing fees for mergers to reduce them for smaller firms and increase them for larger ones that require more in-depth reviews, allow state attorneys general to select their venue when enforcing antitrust laws and use the merger notification process to require parties to disclose subsidies they have received from countries that pose a risk to the U.S., including China. 

Read more here.  

Meta disrupts fake account networks

Meta said on Tuesday that it had disrupted a network of fake accounts from China that were targeting U.S. domestic audiences ahead of the midterm elections. 

The Chinese network was the first that Meta has identified focusing on U.S. domestic politics leading up to November’s elections, the Facebook parent company said in a press release. 

“Chinese influence operations that we’ve disrupted before typically focused on criticizing the United States to international audiences, rather than primarily targeting domestic audiences in the US,” Meta noted in the release. 

The network targeted individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, according to Meta. 

Another Chinese network that Meta disrupted was primarily producing anti-government content in the Czech Republic that criticized the country’s support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. 

Read more here.

ORACLE TO PAY $23M SETTLEMENT

Oracle will pay $23 million to settle charges that the company bribed foreign officials through its subsidiaries in several countries, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Tuesday.  

The SEC order alleges that Oracle subsidiaries in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India used slush funds to bribe officials in return for business between 2016 and 2019.  

As part of the settlement, Oracle did not admit or deny the findings, but agreed to cease and desist from committing violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and pay the settlement, according to the SEC. 

“The creation of off-book slush funds inherently gives rise to the risk those funds will be used improperly, which is exactly what happened here at Oracle’s Turkey, UAE, and India subsidiaries,” Charles Cain, the SEC’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit chief, said in a statement. “This matter highlights the critical need for effective internal accounting controls throughout the entirety of a company’s operations.” 

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Journalism competition bill would benefit the radical right 

Notable links from around the web: 

Amazon’s robots are getting closer to replacing human hands (Vox / Jason Del Rey) 

Elon Musk and Twitter Argue Over Unresolved Pretrial Information Requests (The Wall Street Journal / Alexa Corse) 

Duolingo founder on his Guatemala roots and recipe for success (Axios / Marina Franco) 

🍲 Lighter click: Creative dinner 

One last thing: Ukraine warns of cyberattacks

Ukraine’s defense ministry warned on Monday that Russia is planning to launch massive cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, particularly targeting the energy sector, in an attempt to slow down Ukrainian counteroffensives. 

The advisory said that the cyberattacks will aim to increase the effectiveness of Russia’s missile strike operations on electricity supply facilities, primarily located in the eastern and southern region of Ukraine. 

“The occupying command is convinced that this will slow down the offensive operations of the Ukrainian Defence Forces,” the defense ministry said in the advisory. 

The agency added that Russia also intends to carry out more distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks targeting the critical infrastructure of Ukraine’s closest allies, including Poland and the Baltic states. 

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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