Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley — Congress moves to ban TikTok in US

A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S., a move that comes after several state legislators pushed to prohibit the social media platform in their respective states. 

Meanwhile, the former NSA head warned that Russia will likely continue using cyberattacks against Ukraine before using nuclear weapons as it fears that the latter could escalate the war.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. We’re Rebecca Klar and Ines KagubareSign up here or in the box below.

Lawmakers push for a TikTok ban

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of Chinese-based owner Byte Dance’s TikTok social media platform in the U.S.  

The Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship, and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act, also referred to as the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, would protect Americans against using Russian or Chinese-based social media companies by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from those ventures. 

  • The bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), citing the FBI and FCC’s latest concerns about the social media platforms being used to spy on Americans.  
  • “The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok. This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day,” Rubio said in a statement 

The legislation comes as Washington has had a rocky relationship with TikTok over the past year with the then-Trump administration’s failed attempt to implement a ban on the social media platform in 2020. 

Read more here.

Ex-US cyber chief: Putin to pick cyber before nuclear

Retired Gen. Keith Alexander, the former National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to continue using cyberattacks against Ukraine before using nuclear weapons

Alexander explained that although Russia hasn’t done significant damage so far on the cyber front, Putin is not prepared to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, as he knows that could pull the U.S. and other NATO countries into the war. 

  • “I think he will use [cyber] clearly before nuclear,” Alexander said. 
  • “If he uses nuclear, he’s dead,” he said, adding that “if [Putin] uses the nuclear option, I believe that will cause NATO to rethink [whether] they’re in or out…I think [Putin] recognizes that and I think the administration made that clear.” 

Read more here


President Biden’s chief medical adviser, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, brushed aside criticism from Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, who has drawn widespread criticism with comments on policies on the platform. 

I don’t pay attention to that,” Fauci said during an appearance on Andrea Mitchell’s daytime show on MSNBC when asked about Musk. “I mean, yeah, he has a big megaphone, but, I mean, the Twittersphere as it is has really gone berserk lately. It’s kind of become almost a cesspool of misinformation.” 

  • Musk on Sunday, in a tweet, called to prosecute Fauci, who has emerged as a target of right-wing outrage during the coronavirus pandemic and whom congressional Republicans have teased an investigation of. 
  • “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk said on Twitter, mocking Fauci, later sharing a meme edited to show Fauci telling Biden, “Just one more lockdown, my king.” 

Read more here


Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez (Fla.) sent a letter on Monday to Elon Musk recommending that he relocate Twitter’s headquarters from San Francisco to Miami. 

Gimenez suggested that the move would create “good-paying jobs” and strengthen Miami’s “tech ecosystem.” 

He also mentioned that relocating to Florida would free the company from a city that he said has become “openly hostile to diversity of thought and intolerant to those who refuse to conform to the leftist dystopia.” 

“We want to encourage you to explore our Free State of Florida and make the move to relocate Twitter to Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said in the letter. 

Read more here


A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers on Tuesday pushed for support in enhancing literacy when it comes to cybersecurity, expressing urgency on the matter before the U.S. experiences a “doomsday”-like attack. 

As the expected incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said the issue would be a top focus in the next Congress when the GOP will have the majority. 

  • “We need to do more education, have some hearings around what the growing threat around cyberattacks are,” Rodgers told The Hill’s Contributing Editor Steve Clemons at the Risk to Reliance event held at the Bipartisan Policy Center. 
  • She said that such attacks are impacting a variety of different industries, increasing the need for dialogue with experts on the matter.  
  • “I believe that it is important that we address it sector by sector where the experts, those who are on the front lines, have the opportunity to come in and tell us what they’re experiencing,” Rodgers said. “It is our future.” 

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: The US needs a new immigrant visa for the space industry 

Notable links from around the web:

Musk Shakes Up Twitter’s Legal Team as He Looks to Cut More Costs (The New York Times / Ryan Mac, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger) 

YouTube will start warning comment spammers when they violate the rules (The Verge / Jay Peters) 

Russian disinformation rampant on far-right social media platforms (CyberScoop / Suzanne Smalley)

One more thing: Musk no longer richest man

Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person, according to Forbes’s real-time billionaire ranking

Bernard Arnault and his family, who own luxury goods company LVMH, surpassed Musk on the list as Tesla shares fell sharply and the LVMH stock price simultaneously increased early this week. 

Musk’s net worth clocked in at $176.8 billion as of Tuesday, compared to Arnault’s $186.6 billion, according to Forbes. 

Arnault’s company includes many clothing and luxury brands as subsidiaries, including Sephora, Birkenstock and Tiffany & Co. 

Musk’s wealth is largely tied to Tesla, causing him to lose billions as shares fell
6.3 percent on Monday and another 4.1 percent on Tuesday. 

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.

Tags Anthony Fauci Biden Carlos Gimenez Elon Musk Elon Musk Elon Musk Keith Alexander Marco Rubio Russia Ukraine Russia-Ukraine war TikTok ban TikTok ban Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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