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
© Getty

BILL TARGETS CHINESE FIRMS: Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator: Supreme Court abortion cases were 'wrongly decided as a constitutional matter' Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes' MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Huawei says inclusion on US trade blacklist is in 'no one's interest' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE (R-Fla.) introduced legislation on Wednesday to prevent the U.S. government from using the products of Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 ConawayOn 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 On The Money: New tariffs on China pose major risk for Trump | Senators sound alarm over looming budget battles | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders team up against payday lenders MORE (R-Texas) and Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House GOP launches anti-BDS discharge petition Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments 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 WarrenButtigieg jokes about holding town hall same night as 'Game of Thrones' finale Buttigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Warren offers to help Twitter user with her love life 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 SandersButtigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Buttigieg: The future 'is personal' for me Donald Trump, president for life? We need term limits now MORE and anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off 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 WarnerOvernight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group 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 EnziKudos to the legislators trying to fix our broken budget On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won't release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo Budget chairs pick former Bush official to head CBO 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 KingTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis' Hillicon Valley: Regulators press Congress on privacy bill | Americans mimic Russian disinformation tactics ahead of 2020 | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders back Uber strike | GOP senator targets 'manipulative' video games 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 ZuckerbergButtigieg: Political leaders need 'some kind of literacy' to regulate tech giants Facebook restricts livestreaming in response to New Zealand attacks Hillicon Valley: WhatsApp issues fix after spyware breach | Pompeo warns Russia against interference | Florida gov confirms election hacking | Federal labor board's lawyer calls Uber drivers contractors | Graham zeroes in on 5G security 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