Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley — Biden announces effort to boost broadband access

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The Biden administration announced 20 internet providers committed to increase speeds or cut prices to provide free high-speed internet to eligible Americans.

Meanwhile, it’s been one year since the Colonial Pipeline attack, which served as a wake-up call for industries to invest in cybersecurity.  

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 KagubareSubscribe here.

Expanding free high-speed internet

The Biden administration secured commitments from 20 internet service providers to increase speeds or cut prices so that tens of millions of eligible U.S. households can receive free high-speed internet, the White House announced on Monday. 

The commitments build on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was created through the bipartisan infrastructure law and provides eligible families with $30 a month off their internet bills. 

“Here in the United States of America, how many times have you seen a mom or a dad drive up to a parking lot outside a McDonald’s, just so they can get connected to the internet so their kid can do their homework during the pandemic? It’s just not right, it’s not who we are,” President Biden said in remarks at the White House.

He called the need for high-speed internet “pretty consequential” and said it’s not a luxury item but a necessity. 

Read more here

Colonial Pipeline attack was a wake-up call 

One year ago, the Colonial Pipeline was hit by a disruptive ransomware attack forcing it to shut down operations for nearly a week. 

The incident, which caused gas shortages in several states as fuel prices spiked, was a major wake-up call for critical industries to start taking cyber threats seriously and invest more in cybersecurity.  

However, experts say that the war in Ukraine has put even more pressure on companies to expedite the investments they had begun a year ago as cybersecurity became front and center — both domestically and globally. 

“The biggest escalator beyond Colonial last year has just been the war in Ukraine and the potential spillover into the U.S. and other developed parts of the world,” said Peter Lund, a cyber expert and chief technology officer at Industrial Defender. 

“That’s really what’s gotten everyone on edge and rushing to mature their security programs,” he added.  

Read more here.

UBER SEES ‘SEISMIC SHIFT’ IN MARKET

Uber is planning to cut back on costs and slow hiring in response to a “seismic shift” in the market, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees in an email Sunday evening. 

“The average employee at Uber is barely over 30, which means you’ve spent your career in a long and unprecedented bull run,” Khosrowshahi wrote.  

“This next period will be different, and it will require a different approach,” he continued. “Rest assured, we are not going to put our heads in the sand.” 

Read more here

CLEARVIEW AI TO STOP SELLING TO PRIVATE ENTITIES 

Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition company with a database of more than 10 billion facial images, agreed in a legal settlement filed Monday to stop providing its product to businesses and other private actors. 

The settlement was reached in a case alleging the company violated Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), considered the strongest data privacy law in the country. 

The case, brought by a coalition of civil society groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), alleged that Clearview was illegally scraping images of Illinois residents from the internet without their knowledge or permission. 

Read more here

Match Group goes after Google

Match Group, the company behind popular dating apps Tinder, Match and OkCupid, filed a lawsuit Monday against Google alleging its billing system is anticompetitive — escalating the growing feud between app developers and tech giants that control the app store markets.  

The antitrust lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, focuses on Google’s billing system for Android products, largely based on the up to 30 percent fees collected from payments on apps that are offered through the Google Play store.  

“This lawsuit is a measure of last resort. We tried, in good faith, to resolve these concerns with Google, but their insistence and threats to remove our brands’ apps from the Google Play Store by June 1 has left us no choice but to take legal action,” Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said in a statement. 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Elon Musk is more China’s darling than the right’s 

Lighter click: Shout out to Gru and them 

Notable links from around the web

Amazon’s surprising new delivery partners: Rural mom-and-pop shops (ReCode / Jason Del Rey) 

The Turkish Drone That Changed the Nature of Warfare (The New Yorker / Stephen Witt) 

She’s in charge of Twitter safety. Her days there may be numbered. (The Washington Post / Elizabeth Dwoskin, Cat Zakrzewski, Will Oremus and Joseph Menn) 

Russia is quietly wielding its cyber weapons as its military struggles in Ukraine (Insider / Stavros Atlamazoglou) 

COLLEGE CITES CYBERATTACK IN CLOSURE

A predominantly Black rural university in Illinois will close on Friday after struggling with declining student enrollment during the pandemic and falling victim to a major cyberattack in December.

Lincoln College, about 2.5 hours outside of Chicago, posted a notice about the permanent closure on its website, saying that despite “record-breaking student enrollment” in 2019, it was winding down operations after a crippling cyberattack and a devastating pandemic. 

The school said the attack “thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections. All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable.”

The closure is expected to have a big impact on the rural area of Lincoln. Before the pandemic, the nonprofit college typically had an active enrollment of close to 1,000 students, about 40 percent of whom were Black, and an estimated $53 million economic impact in the central Illinois area. 

Read more here

One more thing: Judge tosses Trump’s Twitter suit

A California judge on Friday tossed out former President Trump’s lawsuit that sought to lift his Twitter ban. 

U.S. District Judge James Donato, who was nominated by former President Obama, said in his ruling that Trump’s claims that Twitter’s ban against him violated the First Amendment did not hold much water, given that the amendment only applies to the government violations of the right and not private company abridgments. 

Trump’s “only hope of stating a First Amendment claim is to plausibly allege that Twitter was in effect operating as the government under the ‘state-action doctrine,’” the judge said, noting that an activity could be so heavily dominated by governmental authority that those participating in it are, by extension, accountable to the constraints of the Constitution. 

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 Biden Dara Khosrowshahi

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