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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 CottonFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Susan Collins becomes top 2020 target for Dems MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Meghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family The Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump 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 ConawayLawmakers fail to pass annual intel bill after key Dem objects House Intel votes to release Russia transcripts Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems MORE (R-Texas) and Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTrump administration could use military bases to export coal, gas Liz Cheney: Fighting past wrongs not first duty of elected officials, particularly women Republican office in Wyoming catches fire: report 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 WarrenBig Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches DNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Live coverage: Gillum clashes with DeSantis in Florida debate Miami Herald endorses Gillum for governor MORE and anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Arizona newspaper backs Democrat in dead heat Senate race 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 WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel 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 EnziOvernight Energy — Presented by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance — Judge upholds Obama's marine monument | GOP lawmakers worried states using water rule to block fossil fuels | Lawmakers press Trump ahead of ethanol decision GOP senators ask EPA to block states that have 'hijacked' rule to stop fossil fuel production Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke 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 KingCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel People have forgotten 'facade' of independent politicians, says GOP strategist Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight 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 ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video 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