Overnight Tech: GOP bill would bar agencies from using Chinese tech | How Russian accounts used Tumblr during the election | Warren, Equifax spar over breach claims | Dem worries about tech addiction | New lobster emoji

Overnight Tech: GOP bill would bar agencies from using Chinese tech | How Russian accounts used Tumblr during the election | Warren, Equifax spar over breach claims | Dem worries about tech addiction | New lobster emoji
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BILL TARGETS CHINESE FIRMS: Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Five things to know about Iran's breaches of the nuclear deal Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAna Navarro lashes out at Rubio for calling outrage over Trump's 'go back' tweet 'self righteous' US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Fla.) introduced legislation on Wednesday to prevent the U.S. government from using the products of Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei.

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Cotton and Rubio's legislation is rooted in concern that the Chinese government could use encryption backdoors in ZTE and Huawei phones to spy on U.S. government officials.

"Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it's more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices," Cotton said in a statement. "There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us" he added.

Their bill joins legislation from Reps. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLobbying world On The Money: House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns | Trump touts trade talks as China, US fail to reach deal | Five things to know about Trump's trade war with China | GOP offers support for Trump on tariffs GOP offers support for Trump on China tariffs MORE (R-Texas) and Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTrump tweets, rally chant dominate Sunday shows as president continues attacks Sunday shows - Fallout over Trump tweets Liz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender MORE (R-Wy.) in the House calling for similar measures against Chinese technology.

It's the latest step in a growing push to cut ties with Chinese telecommunications firms.

Last month, lawmakers reportedly pushed AT&T to get nix a plan to offer Huawei devices to customers.

The White House has also blocked multiple attempts by U.S. firms to acquire Chinese telecommunications companies, also out of national security concerns.  

"We don't want undisclosed backdoors into our systems," Conaway told The Hill last month.

"The relationship those companies have with different Chinese intelligence agencies themselves and their government -- it's opaque. We don't know what is or isn't there."

See the original story here.

 

Please send your tips, comments and compliments to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland and @hneidig. We're also on Signal and WhatsApp. Email or DM us for our numbers.

 

EQUIFAX, WARREN SPAR OVER BREACH CLAIMS: Equifax is contesting part of a report from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission MORE (D-Mass.) that alleged the credit reporting agency "failed to disclose" that consumers' passport numbers were exposed in a massive data breach last year.

Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for Equifax, said that the company has no reason to believe that passport numbers were compromised.

"We examined passport numbers as an element of our forensic investigation, however we found no evidence that any passport numbers were affected, accessed or stolen," Griffanti told The Hill.

Warren's report, which was released Wednesday, claims that "Equifax failed to disclose the fact that the hackers gained access to consumers' passport numbers."

Read more here.

 

RUSSIAN ACCOUNTS USED TUMBLR IN INFLUENCE CAMPAIGN: Russian trolls pushed pro-Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission MORE and anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton5 things to know about Boris Johnson Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike MORE content on Tumblr around the time of the election.

Kremlin-linked accounts used the blogging platform to pose as black activists to promote their messages, according to researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.

"The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015," Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, told BuzzFeed.

Read more here.

 

WARNER: AD MARKET NEEDS TO CRACK DOWN ON MISINFORMATION: The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the digital ad market was helping incentivize the spread of misinformation and abusive content on online platforms.

In a speech, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerEquifax breach settlement sparks criticism Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties MORE (D-Va.) noted that YouTube discovered in recent months that some disturbing content aimed at children was also collecting ad revenue.

"The perverse incentives in the digital advertising marketplace can, I believe, have a perverse impact, particularly on kids," he said.

Warner said the government and private sector need to jointly figure out how to prevent people from abusing platforms to tap into ad revenue.

Read more here.

 

WARNER SOUNDS ALARM ON TECH ADDICTION: Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern on Wednesday over young people's vulnerability to technology, saying there's growing evidence that technology products are addictive, Axios reported.

"I think there's more and more evidence that there are addictive properties," Warner said at an event focusing on the health effects of technology, according to Axios.

He cited the high rates at which people check their phones and noted that other countries are taking a more proactive approach than the U.S. to controlling kids' addictions to their devices.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS EYE RETIREMENT HELP FOR GIG ECONOMY WORKERS: Lawmakers on Tuesday weighed ways to provide retirement benefits for independent contractors and other so-called gig economy workers.

"Retirement savings options for those in the gig economy are quite limited compared to those of their counterparts in the traditional workforce," said Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLawmakers concede they might have to pass a dreaded 'CR' Bottom Line Former GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis files to run for Wyoming Senate seat MORE (R-Wyo.), at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's subpanel on primary health and retirement security, which he chairs.

"And where they do exist they impose complex burdens on the individual that will ultimately discourage savings."

Experts testifying before the committee agreed that freelance workers should receive retirement benefits but were divided on how to achieve that goal.

Read more here.

 

MAINE SENATOR CELEBRATES LOBSTER EMOJI: Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Senate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees MORE (I-Maine) is celebrating the upcoming addition of a lobster emoji for smartphone users after previously lobbying for its creation.

"Great news for Maine - we're getting a lobster emoji!!!" King tweeted Wednesday. "Thanks to @unicode for recognizing the impact of this critical crustacean, in Maine and across the country."

The Unicode Consortium, the group in charge of smartphone emojis, announced the addition of the 157 new emojis in 2018, including a lobster.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

New America will host an event about democracy and tech at noon.

The Federal Communications Bar Association will host a brown bag lunch with the FCC's CTO at 12:15 p.m.

Consumer Technology Association will host its SXSW teaser at 5:30 p.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

BuzzFeed: Greed, bros, "cheat codes": Travis Kalanick testifies for the second day In Waymo vs. Uber

Reuters: Big Tech should pay more taxes: German coalition

The Verge: Facebook's full-time pollster that tracks Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBig Tech has big credibility gap Hillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra MORE's public approval

WSJ: How YouTube drives people to the internet's darkest corners

The Hill op-ed: The social media dilemma: With a child, how old is old enough?

Sens. Blumenthal and Cotton call on DOD to investigate fitness trackers