Overnight Cybersecurity

Hillicon Valley: ACLU accuses Facebook of discriminatory job ads | EU drops Apple lawsuit | Tesla faces DOJ criminal probe | Symantec offers free security tests for campaigns | Judge allows Georgia to use electronic voting machines

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Ali Breland (@alibreland). And if you don't get our newsletter, CLICK HERE to subscribe.

 

ACLU HITS FACEBOOK WITH LABOR COMPLAINT: The ACLU is accusing Facebook of illegally allowing its advertisers to place job ads that engaged in gender discrimination.

The civil liberties group, along with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the law firm Outten and Golden LLP, filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook and 10 employers that placed ads on the platform.

"Sex segregated job advertising has historically been used to shut women out of well-paying jobs and economic opportunities," Galen Sherwin, an attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project, said in a statement. "We can't let gender-based ad targeting online give new life to a form of discrimination that should have been eradicated long ago."

The complaint says that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude women from seeing certain job ads. When placing an ad, users are asked who the posting should be displayed to and are given three options: men only, women only or "all."

When it comes to job ads, the ACLU says, two of those options are illegal. Read more here.

 

I WONDER IF THEY USED APPLE PAY: The European Union is planning to drop its lawsuit against Ireland over back taxes from Apple after the country announced that it had collected $16.7 billion from the company.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission's top competition regulator, sued Ireland last year for failing to collect the sum, a year after she had ruled that Apple was receiving illegal tax benefits.

"In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal State aid it had received from Ireland, Commissioner Vestager will be proposing to the College of Commissioners the withdrawal of this court action," Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for the commission, said in an email to The Hill.

An Apple spokesman did not respond when asked for comment. The company and Ireland are appealing Vestager's ruling and the funds will be held in escrow during the process.

"While the Government fundamentally disagrees with the Commission's analysis in the Apple State Aid decision and is seeking an annulment of that decision in the European Courts, as committed members of the European Union, we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged State Aid," Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in a statement.

"We have demonstrated this with the recovery of the alleged State Aid which will be held in the Escrow Fund pending the outcome of the appeal process before the European Courts," he added.

Read more here.

 

THANKS, GOOGLE: Users are largely allowed to access infected websites found through search engines, according to new research published Tuesday.

Security firm SiteLock scanned more than 6 million of their clients' sites during the second quarter of 2018.

The firm found only 17 percent of infected sites are blacklisted by search engines like Google, meaning visitors to those sites could be unwittingly exposing themselves to malware.

That statistic generally held from SiteLock's findings in the first quarter of 2018, pointing to a lack of action on blacklisting the sites.

Jessica Ortega, a web security research analyst for SiteLock, said search engines are often hesitant to blacklist sites unless they are entirely certain that it is a security risk, because flagging a site can cause substantial damage to the sites or their reputation.

She said that the responsibility to secure sites instead falls on the website owners.

Read more here.

 

THINGS ARE GOING GREAT AT TESLA: Tesla is facing a criminal probe from the Justice Department over public statements made by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, according to Bloomberg News.

The investigation stems from an August tweet from Musk that said he had secured funding to take the company private.

The criminal probe is running alongside a civil inquiry by securities regulators related to the same tweet.

In a company statement last month, Musk defended his tweet, saying Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had approached him several times over the past two years about taking Tesla private.

In the week following Musk's tweet, Tesla's shares jumped 10 percent, prompting a series of lawsuits over stock manipulation.

"Last month, following Elon's announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it," a Tesla spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. "We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received."

Read more here.

 

SYMANTEC OFFERS FREE CAMPAIGN SECURITY: Cybersecurity firm Symantec announced on Tuesday that it will offer free security testing of campaign websites ahead of the November midterms, a move that comes amid heightened concern that malicious actors will seek to interfere in the elections.

Symantec said candidates, campaigns and other election groups can use its program, called Project Dolphin, to help protect their websites from hostile actors seeking to influence the election through cyber means.

Symantec joins a growing list of companies -- Microsoft, McAfee, and Cloudflare -- that have offered free services and tools ahead of the 2018 midterms as Congress stalls on passing legislation that would bolster election security.

"Attracting unsuspecting users to fake political websites that contain minor, undetectable differences from legitimate websites, is a popular technique that cyber criminals use to gather personal information, such as email addresses and voting preferences," Symantec said in a statement Tuesday. "That information can then be weaponized to influence behavior and attitudes, spread false voting information, or be harvested for cyber crime."

Read more here.

 

JUDGE OKAYS RISKY GEORGIA VOTING MACHINES: A federal judge on Monday ruled that Georgia can continue to use its electronic voting machines despite concerns that they may easily be hacked, according to local outlet The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that forcing Georgia to use paper ballots over voting machines in the upcoming elections would create chaos and confusion, CBS reported.

She wrote that she would have concerns about "voter frustration and disaffection from the voting process" if the state switched to paper ballots weeks before the election. Read more here.

 

A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: Waking up to Twitter today

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Facebook and financial firms tussled for years over access to user data. (The Wall Street Journal)

NLRB sides with Washington Post writer who criticized Bezos. (In These Times)

Parts of a 'virtual' border wall, built with the tech behind driverless cars. (The New York Times)

Women in Silicon Valley have half the options. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Google partners with the world's biggest auto group to bring Android to cars. (The Verge)

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