Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley — Senator presses FTC to get security clearance

The Federal Trade Commission building in Washington, D.C., is seen on June 18
Greg Nash
The Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) is asking the intelligence community to share classified information with the Federal Trade Commission so the agency can better protect American’s data from foreign hacks. 

Meanwhile, Amazon will let users pay with Venmo and a new study offers some good news for young gamers.  

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.

Wyden asks FTC to access classified info

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to request top security clearance and collaborate closely with the intelligence community so it can effectively protect Americans’ data from foreign hacks. 

In a letter addressed to the FTC and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Wyden called on the intelligence community to share classified information with the agency so it could better detect and secure data that is likely to be targeted by foreign hackers. 

  • Wyden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said he was concerned that the FTC was not “meaningfully participating” with the intelligence community on efforts to prevent U.S. data from being stolen by foreign governments such as China.
  • “The U.S. government cannot protect Americans’ privacy and U.S. national security from the serious threat posed by sophisticated foreign hackers if the FTC does not have a seat at the table,” Wyden said. 

Read more here

Amazon to let users pay with Venmo

Amazon will let users pay with mobile payment service Venmo, the e-commerce giant announced Tuesday

The rollout will begin for select customers Tuesday and will be available to all U.S. customers by Black Friday.

  • To use the feature, customers will add their Venmo account as a payment method to their Amazon account.
  • Once added, customers can use Venmo as a payment method during checkout or set it as their default payment option.  

“We want to offer customers payment options that are convenient, easy to use, and secure—and there’s no better time for that than the busy holiday season. Whether it’s paying with cash, buying now and paying later, or now paying via Venmo, our goal is to meet the needs and preferences of every Amazon customer,” vice president of Amazon Worldwide Payments Max Bardon said in the announcement. 

“We’re excited to continue to offer customers even more options when it comes to how and when they want to pay for their order.” 


Amid an ever-growing set of studies detailing the negative effects of video games and screen time on adolescent health, a new investigation offers some good news for young gamers.   

Children who play video games for at least three hours a day may have better cognitive performance than those who never play the games, according to research published Monday in JAMA Network Open.  

However, authors stress more data are needed to better understand any potential harms or benefits video games may have on children’s developing brains.  

Findings are based on a study of nearly 2,000 children, marking the largest investigation ever conducted to asses the association between video games, cognition, and brain function. 

Read more here


WhatsApp said on Tuesday that its service was restored following a brief outage that left users unable to send or receive text messages.  

Users began reporting problems with the app early on Tuesday, but service was back to normal a few hours later. 

A spokesperson for WhatsApp told The Associated Press that the company was aware of the disruption but was able to quickly fix the issue. 

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: Political satirists’ dereliction of duty is no laughing matter 

Notable links from around the web: 

Musk Tells Bankers He Plans to Close Twitter Deal on Friday (Bloomberg / Jeannine Amodeo, Gillian Tan, Paula Seligson and Ed Hammond) 

Russia’s unsupported ‘dirty bomb’ claims reverberate in right-wing U.S. communities (The New York Times / Stuart Thompson) 

Google Shares Fall as Sales Growth Slows Further (The Wall Street Journal / Miles Kruppa) 

🐇 Lighter click: Hoppy (early) Halloween 

One more thing: College athletes help turn out vote

Top-tier collegiate sports have been transformed by new rules empowering athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, allowing them to promote everything from deodorant and Kool-Aid to local casinos and car dealerships.  

Now, a progressive group is hoping such deals can help turn out the vote.  

NextGen America, founded by billionaire former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, launched its “Draft for Democracy” initiative ahead of November’s midterms, partnering with more than 50 Division I athletes in eight battleground states to promote voter registration among their fans and classmates.  

The student-athletes are paid to promote voting on their social media platforms and hold various in-person events on their campuses. 

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 explore more newsletters here. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Tags Amazon classified information FTC Ron Wyden Ron Wyden video games whatsapp

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