Hillicon Valley: House Dems push for $4B in state election funds | Amazon suspends over 6,000 sellers for price gouging | Google says 18M malicious coronavirus emails sent daily

Hillicon Valley: House Dems push for $4B in state election funds | Amazon suspends over 6,000 sellers for price gouging | Google says 18M malicious coronavirus emails sent daily
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

 

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DEMS KEEP ON PUSHING: The Democratic chairs of key House committees on Friday called on Congress to send $4 billion to states to allow for mail-in voting and other efforts to conduct elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the right to vote “may be in jeopardy” without action. 

House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate MORE (D-Calif.), House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyGun control group rolls out House endorsements Overnight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 Business groups throw support behind House Democrat's bill to provide pandemic risk insurance MORE (D-N.Y.), House Administration subcommittee on Elections Chairwoman Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Moniz says U.S. needs energy jobs coalition and Manchin says Congress is pushing Wall Street solutions that don't work for Main Street; Burr to step aside Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race MORE (D-Ohio), and Reps. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse holds first-ever proxy votes during pandemic Dozens of Democrats plan to vote remotely in a first for the House House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes MORE (D-Md.) and Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchHouse Democrats object to Trump sending ventilators to Russia Hillicon Valley: House Dems push for B in state election funds | Amazon suspends over 6,000 sellers for price gouging | Google says 18M malicious coronavirus emails sent daily House Democrats push hard for mail-in voting funds MORE (D-Mass.) criticized Congress for not doing enough to prevent barriers to vote this year. 

“Without decisive action by Congress, the coronavirus crisis may exacerbate dangerous impediments for voters, including closed or restricted access to polling places and public health restrictions that deter voter participation — all of which could result in depressed voter turnout that undermines the will of the American people and degrades confidence in our elections,” the House members said in a joint statement. 

Limited funding on the way: The coronavirus stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE last month included $400 million to assist states conduct elections during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The amount was far lower than the $4 billion proposed in the House version of that bill rolled out by House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO MORE (D-Calif.) and supported by Lofgren. The House version would also have imposed requirements on states on how to use the funds, including expanding early in-person voting and ensuring every voter had the ability to vote by mail.

The version ultimately signed into law was the Senate version, which did not include any requirements on how the funds could be used, and required states to match the funding by 20 percent. The House Democratic leaders on Friday strongly criticized the funding match requirement.

“These funds must be free from burdensome matching requirements that prevent states from quickly deploying resources where they are urgently needed,” the House Democrats said. “Vote-by-mail and early voting options are commonsense and tested solutions that will both protect public health and the fundamental American right to vote.”

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Read more about their efforts here.

 

SUSPENDED: Amazon has suspended more than 6,000 vendors, totaling more than 500,000 listings, from its website for price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic, CEO and founder Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Facebook permanently shifting thousands of jobs to remote work | Congressional action on driverless cars hits speed bump during pandemic | Republicans grill TikTok over data privacy concerns Largest tech company CEOs made billions amid pandemic How the latest X-37B mission may change the world MORE told investors Thursday.

This comes after Amazon in a blog post last month said it had suspended over 3,900 vendors on its U.S. site.

"Amazon turned over information about sellers we suspect engaged in price gouging of products related to COVID-19 to 42 state attorneys general offices," Bezos wrote in the letter to investors.

"To accelerate our response to price-gouging incidents, we created a special communication channel for state attorneys general to quickly and easily escalate consumer complaints to us," he added.

Comes after previous criticism: The company has received criticism during the pandemic for the lack of availability of essential goods such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Also in the letter, Bezos said that mass global testing would be needed to “get the economy back up and running" after the pandemic.

"If every person could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we fight this virus," he wrote. "Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence."

Read more here.

 

THAT SOUNDS CONCERNING: Google saw more than 18 million malware and phishing emails related to the novel coronavirus on its service per day last week, the company revealed Thursday.

That figure is in addition to the nearly 240 million coronavirus-related daily spam messages it sees.

The malware and phishing attacks on Gmail "use both fear and financial incentives to create urgency to try to prompt users to respond," the company said in a blog post.

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Google shared examples of scammers posing as the World Health Organization (WHO) to "solicit fraudulent donations or distribute malware," as administrators targeting employees working from home and as government agents trying to get information to process stimulus checks.

The company says its machine learning software has been able to "block more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware."

Read more here.

 

HOUSTON, WE HAVE LIFT OFF: NASA announced Friday that its historic SpaceX launch will take place May 27 of this year at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

The launch marks the first flight of NASA crews from the U.S. since 2011 and the first launch of a rocket owned by a private company: SpaceX, the commercial space company founded by Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Russian space chief: Elon Musk's plan to bomb Mars is a cover to put nuclear weapons in space The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill MORE.

The news comes as NASA struggles to maintain a consistent presence on the International Space Station, paying Russia $83 million per seat for a ride to the station, as U.S. shuttles have been retired, according to The Washington Post.

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NASA has assigned two of its most experienced astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, to the upcoming SpaceX mission. It’s unclear how long the mission will take.

Read more here.

 

MUSK MESS UP: Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk last month announced that his company purchased 1,255 FDA-approved ventilators from Chinese oversupply and shipped them to hospitals in Los Angeles to help treat COVID-19 patients. 

However, four of the hospitals on the list told CNN that instead of the sought-after ventilators, they received bilevel positive airway pressure (biPAP) and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines from the billionaire and his electric car company.

"We received six CPAPs and we are very grateful for the gift," a spokesperson for Sonoma Valley Hospital told the network.

The news comes after California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomSupreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions Supreme Court denies Illinois churches' request for action after state eases restrictions Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE's (D) office reported on Thursday that the ventilators Musk promised never made it to their destinations. At the time, Musk responded by tweeting a list of the hospitals that he said he sent the ventilators to and asked Newsom to fix the "misunderstanding."

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Kathleen Piché, director of public information for the L.A. County Department of Health Services, noted that the machines had "been distributed to hospitals in our system and are being used as intended."

"These units are used for breathing and airway support, reducing the need for certain patients to be placed on mechanical ventilation," she said.

Read more here.

 

A lighter click: Thank u Reddit

An op-ed to chew on: Women are essential helpers during crises — but they need access to the internet

 

Notable links around the web: 

In Trump's 'LIBERATE' tweets, extremists see a call to arms (NBC News / Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny)

Bill Gates, at Odds With Trump on Virus, Becomes a Right-Wing Target (New York Times / Daisuke Wakabayashi, Davey Alba and Marc Tracy)

Zoom Has a Google Problem (Gizmodo / Shoshana Wodinsky)

Steve Bonnell Made Big Bucks Following a Simple Plan: Play Video Games. Troll Your Fans. Fight the Online Right. (Mother Jones / Ali Breland)